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The Secret to Success Isn't a Secret

We’ve all seen the cringy YouTube ads with sleazy “businessmen” trying to sell you on their “proven” methods. “I used to be just like you! Struggling to make ends meet was hard, until I started following my foolproof, three step plan. You can have Lamborghinis and penthouse seafood dinners too! Just click the link and follow my three-step method for success.” Sound familiar?

People are aware that get rich quick schemes don’t work, but that doesn’t stop people from wanting them to work. The reason these scam artists exist is the same reason people continue to fall for their beguiles: people want to believe there’s an easier way. Not only do they want to believe in an easier way, but that it comes in a 10-page e-book for $24.99.

Listen, if success came in three easy steps, any barnyard animal could be running a hedge fund from a Manhattan high rise. While I do feel that a barnyard animal would be equally effective at picking stocks as any analyst, there is still a lack of donkeys in the hedge fund demographic. Though, they are plentiful in its pseudonym.

Now, this isn’t a pull yourself up by the bootstraps article, but let’s get something straight. These charlatan crooks aren’t going to get you off the dollar menu. In fact, they are preying on you for being on the dollar menu. The only difference between you and them is that you haven’t started trying to scam people yet. When someone like Tai Lopez (the read a book a day YouTube shuckster) says that he “used to be like you,” what he means is, “until I began exploiting you.”

Tai Lopez read a book a day steps to success fraud

Okay, I’ll throw you a bone. Here’s the secret to the financially thriving by the pool Instagram stars: debt. Tons of credit card debt. They’re swimming in debt more than the pools they’re posting on social. See, the first step to success is the illusion of success. The reason for this is that, especially in America, people associate wealth with intelligence. If you can create the illusion of wealth, people will assume you know something they don’t. So much so that they will give you money for your “services” to pay off your debt. Ingenious, really.

“Success is a mindset” scams are becoming more popular by the day. Everyone knows somebody from high school who makes obnoxious Instagram posts about how you can become like them too. I’m speaking personally, because I do know someone from high school who started maxing out their credit cards to get free airline miles. Now they travel to exotic locations to post photos of themselves without a shirt on to compel you to learn how to commit credit fraud too. Sorry, but if the only service you provide is consultation and weekly inspirational quotes, I’m good. Hopefully your bunkmate in prison needs consultation.

Every industry has its own sub-niche of parasites who prey on the difficulty within their field. Let’s be honest, working can be tedious and time consuming. As a digital marketer, acquiring clients can be a frustrating task. Sending outreach emails to potential prospects can be exhausting and, at times, disheartening. Because of that fact, there is a growing population of people that attempt to take advantage of prospecting frustrations. I can’t begin to tell you how many targeted ads I’ve had shoved down my browser’s throat, claiming they’ve cracked the code to client acquisition. Yeah right.

Not to say there aren’t innovative solutions to common problems, but at the end of the day, nothing beats out determination. Someone offering a means to cut corners is most likely playing on your desire to do less work. After all, it would be nice for less work to equate to more product. Sadly, that’s not how the world operates. The best strategy to becoming more effective at what you do is doing more of what you do. If there is a better angle, it will come with time and experience.

Be wary of anyone who claims to have the secret sauce because the only secret is that you don’t have the secret. Nobody does. That’s what makes it so alluring.

Dreams are personal and must be realized by the visionary. Take advise, but don’t wait for someone to give you their secret formula to achieve your dream. Anyone claiming to have the answer is selling snake oil.