Not everyone offering to help you intends to actually do so.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a scaremongering article! This subject is something that came across my radar recently, and I wanted to share some advice on dealing with it.
I’m sure you’ve been on a site, reading an article or perusing a message board, and you’ve seen a spam comment that reads something along the lines of, “My sister’s cousin’s nephew makes $1000 a day just sitting at the computer!1! Click this totally-not-a-scam link to learn more!!!11!”
Those are obvious and generally easy to avoid, if pretty annoying. But what about from sites that seem to genuinely want to help you? That offer courses and marketing presentations for your benefit? That promise you can write your way to earning six figures a year?
Well, it’s not impossible, but it’s highly improbable.
(I’m not going to name the names of these sites, so forgive me for being vague.)
The problem with these sites is that you almost always have to pay fairly steep prices to access all their expertise. Say you want to learn the basics of copywriting. Depending on the site, this may cost you upward of $500 to “attend” (usually these are virtual classes that use PDFs or videos) one of the copywriting courses they offer.
Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t seem worth it. There’s a plethora of free advice all over the Internet, and with a bit of common sense and some hard work, you can sort the helpful from the not so helpful, and learn how to copywrite by yourself.
Because that’s basically what it comes down to: hard work. It’s the very rare, lucky few who get to be successful without having to put any work in. Even celebrities like singers and actors almost always began at the bottom and worked their way to the limelight, even if it took years (like the famous bit of trivia about Mark Ruffalo, who had over 600 auditions before booking a role!). Whether it’s writing, editing, painting, dancing, etc., you may have the passion, but you won’t get anywhere without commitment and hard work.
So where do these get-rich-quick sites fit in?
To start, it does depend on the site. Some are actually pretty helpful, you’ll just have to pay through the nose to get their information. Personally, I don’t think it’s ever worth it, since free advice is so readily available. But if you think you would benefit from a guided course with step-by-step instructions, then go ahead and invest in one – and it really is best to consider it an investment, since you’re spending money now to (hopefully) make more money later!
Other sites are total ridiculousness, where they teach you to copywrite, yes, but spam emails or fluff pieces for very little money per article. It’s not worth your time, money, or effort. You’d be far better off slowly building your own brand and networking on social media. It may not be fast, and it may be tedious, but you’ll work on your own terms.
All that being said, it’s best to take such advertisements with a grain of salt and check out other people’s reviews and testimonies before buying anything. More reputable sites will usually offer a free trial or an sample ebook so you can see if it’s worth it. Don’t submit your information if you’re worried about actual scams/viruses, and google the site name with “reviews” to see what message boards and forums are talking about user experiences. Then make your best judgment.
Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and there’s really no such thing as “get rich quick” (because if there was, everybody would be rich). The only thing that matters is hard work borne out of a love for what you do.
What about you? What experiences have you had with pay-to-learn writing/editing sites?