A question from a reader:
I ran across this [Genbucks] while going through Craigslist job listings & wondered if you would give me your take on it. Since your SECP presentation my situation has changed from employed to a mixture of job hunting & developing my own freelance/residual income models. In time I want to create a site or two along the lines of your beadage.net — & this thing is a very different animal! But how different really? Can you comment? Have you heard of this company before? They seem to have an element of a pyramid setup which makes me a bit uneasy (not to mention the content!)
You’re right to feel uneasy. There are a million such “opportunities” on the web. Do a search for “turnkey website” or “drop shipping” and you will see this is a huge market segment. There are many websites that will offer, either for free or for a setup fee, to create a website for you that is based on a template and contains millions of products. They will expound on how many features their store has and how much potential money you could make. It all sounds great, but remember “these results are not typical”.
The problem with a turnkey website is that you still need to market those products, and just having a website that anyone else can also have for free will not give you any sales.
Think about what they are offering: a website template (how many other “stores” have the exact same one?). A set of products (how many other “stores” are selling the exact same products for the exact same prices?). I put “store” in quotations because unlike a brick-and-mortar store, where you have to put some thought and planning into setting it up, stocking it, and where you locate it, you can set up an online store in about 10 minutes. What they are offering is a process they have automated so they can set it up instantly. And it really is amazing that we can now set up something with so much potential so quickly. But it’s still just potential.
The truth is that it’s possible that with dedication and a lot of marketing you could probably turn one of their template stores into a business. But chances are you won’t, because there’s no passion behind it. Do you really feel excited about selling anti-impotence pills or anti-acne cream? Are you going to put the time and energy into marketing it and growing the business? I doubt it.
All of that potential doesn’t turn into actual sales without a whole lot of effort. And that is the same effort you are going to have to put into any venture that will pay off. There really is no quick easy “get rich quick” scheme, and if someone offers you one, notice how much money they stand to make if you believe them. What is their income model?
None of these “opportunities” can offer the ingredient that will make your products sell: unique value.
Your passion is what will attract customers.
Knowledge of an industry and a mission to improve something about it is what drives good businesses. Your unique knowledge is what will help you develop your niche–the corner of the world that is ready for you to offer your wisdom in the form of information or a product that solves a problem in a way that no one else has yet.
All of those things are what go into a business that is something you will be dedicated to, that will be marketable, that has a purpose in the world and will be successful and fulfilling. And a shrink-wrapped template business is not going to do that.
But I hear that you want to get started on doing something in the direction of not earning all your money from hourly work. Here is my advice for anyone who is starting a “passive income” site from zero.