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Monday, November 17, 2008

Seth Godin on how one doesn't get rich...

Marketing guru Seth Godin writes on the overnight millionaire's scam:
You probably don't need to read this, but I bet you know people who do. Please feel free to repost or forward:

Times are tough, and many say they are going to be tougher. That makes some people more focused, it turns others desperate.

You may be tempted at some point to try to make a million dollars. To do it without a lot of effort or skill or risk. Using a system, some shortcut perhaps, or mortgaging something you already own.

There are countless infomercials and programs and systems that promise to help you do this. There are financial instruments and investments and documents you can sign that promise similar relief from financial stress.

Resist.

There are four ways to make a million dollars. Luck. Patient effort. Skill. Risk.

(Five if you count inheritance, and six if you count starting with two million dollars).

Conspicuously missing from this list are effortless 1-2-3 systems that involve buying an expensive book or series of tapes. Also missing are complicated tax shelters or other 'proven' systems. The harder someone tries to sell you this solution, the more certain you should be that it is a scam. If no skill or effort is required, then why doesn't the promoter just hire a bunch of people at minimum wage and keep the profits?

There are literally a million ways to make a good living online, ten million ways to start and thrive with your own business offline. But all of these require effort, and none of them are likely to make you a million dollars.

Short version of my opinion: If someone offers to sell you the secret system, don't buy it. If you need to invest in a system before you use it, walk away. If you are promised big returns with no risk and little effort, you know the person is lying to you. Every time.
In what might appear to be a weakening economic times, one might be tempted to shore up one's financial position by getting involved in plans that promise quick and heady returns.  Trinbagonians in particular seem to have a penchant for multi-level marketing and other complex pyramid schemes.  At least one renowned local film maker has been taken by advance-fee fraud.  (If anyone can send me a link to the newspaper article where she bared her soul about being taken by a 419 scam, I'll do an addendum with full credit.)

With the Lotto and other hopes for ready wealth soon to disappear, my people need to be careful not to be taken by anything more insidious than a late hand in a sou-sou .  Colombians did recently, and when de mark buss, they did themselves more harm than good by rioting in the streets, some of their scammers long gone with collected millions.

There is no quick buck, not without being grossly unscrupulous and causing another to come to harm, hardship, or financial ruin.  So watch your dollars.  Spend wisely.  Make good choices.  Rather than look for quick ways to make more, make what you have work better for you. [Link 1, Link 2]

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