By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR
I am completely guilty. Every single time an article crosses my eyes that says something to the effect of “How to Become a Millionaire in 3 Simple Steps” or “5 Simple Steps to Success,” I admit to taking the bait and clicking. The humorous part is I know exactly what I am about to get myself into, long before I finish reading the article. I may be able to withhold my compulsion for a minute; however, my curiosity often overcomes my internal voice of reason. And honestly, who doesn’t want to be extremely successful right?
After clicking these links I am almost always immediately filled with regret. It creeps up from the pit of my stomach as if reading each painstakingly oversimplified suggestion renders me less and less satisfied than the tip that preceded it. Pick any three “adjectives” you want, insert them into an article, and then summarize with “follow these steps and BOOM Zillionaire.” Many of these articles come from non-credible sources; however, surprisingly some of these same ambiguous “buy my program today” articles come from reputable entrepreneurs and A-list magazines.
Typically, the article ties back to a consulting service, training class, or another tangible item that can be purchased at an additional cost, ultimately feeding revenue back to its source. It’s a good business model and it does work, so in a way, these articles do provide a value as it serves as a business model to mirror. Regardless of the sellable item, whether the industry is real-estate, financial sales, insurance, consulting, etc., the concept can be duplicated and tweaked with varying façades.
I have no issue personally with this type of hustle, but I do have a concern for those who are seeking guidance in these articles because they are in dire financial straits. There are certainly many ways to achieve multiple revenue streams utilizing today’s technology online without paying for “John Doe’s” get rich quick program. Millennials have got this figured out, they are starting businesses younger and starting more average businesses than any other generation that has preceded them. Not only do they have little fear of failure in starting a business, but they are quicker to embrace current technology and stay on top of hottest trends. A winning combination.
I won’t insult your intelligence with a simplified list of adjectives and call it a recipe for success, but I know generating additional income online is certainly achievable because I have. If you are in-between professions, waiting patiently for interview feedback, or have hit a low point in your savings accounts, there are many creative ways to source additional income and there is no need to pay for someone’s unique system. For every pay-for system that is listed online, there is someone willing to give out the information out for free. YouTube is a fantastic resource. In terms of practical information, YouTube has taught me more than my undergraduate and graduate degree combined. If you want to monetize a website, write a blog, create a drop shipping business, you name it, there is a video on it. Hundreds of thousands of free videos and walkthroughs on how to generate an active and passive income for free if you’re willing to take the chance.
The most successful people I know didn’t get to where they are today because of a list of descriptive action words listed in a motivational article. They had luck, knew where to acquire resources, and had no fear. Thankfully you can teach an old dog new tricks, and as the world is changing we had better be prepared to learn new information and become fearless. When we have hit a point in our timeline when college degrees can generate a minimum wage and certificate programs return six-figure incomes, it is time to get creative with our income strategies today because who knows what tomorrow brings.