NOVEMBER 2016 ;e Costco Connection 15
LOOKING FOR BUSINESS advice online? Scroll
through your Facebook newsfeed and you may see
sponsored ads offering free webinars on topics like
how to start your own six-figure consulting business
or how to make money from online advertising.
Take one of these webinars and it will likely lead you
to a sales pitch for a costly service offered by a so-called successful entrepreneur, coach or consultant.
There are legit business experts out there advertising
their services. The problem is that anyone can set up
an online advice business, and it’s not easy to tell the
real business experts from the hucksters.
“It’s unbelievable how much garbage is out
there,” says veteran entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk,
Costco member and CEO of digital agency
VaynerMedia, which offers creative and production
services. “There are so many people who are not for
real.” As people who follow Vaynerchuk’s advice, we
wanted to sift through this issue with him. Here’s
what we think you need to be aware of if you’re considering paying for business services you find online.
Don’t believe hype. Beware of anyone who
flashes big income figures, a fancy car or a nice
home to get you to buy their information. The only
financially viable skill they may have is salesmanship, so if you believe the hype, you could be getting
swindled. Houses and cars can be rented for video
shoots and are not an indicator of a legitimate busi-nessperson to take advice from.
Be wary of formulas. Money is made in different ways by different people; there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. If you’re told you can make money
quickly and easily by following a particular method,
it’s a tip-off to a rip-off. If you’re guaranteed results,
walk the other way. Business growth and development don’t happen overnight. If someone is trying to
sell you easy, quick business growth, it’s likely a sham.
Watch out for high-pressure selling. While
sales and marketing are necessary in business, it’s a
red flag if you’re being pressured to buy or spend
fast. Vaynerchuk says, “The person who’s looking to
get into your wallet quickest is always dangerous.”
A perfect example is a free webinar we took
with a “millionaire consultant” who boasts about his
eight-figure income and claims his program has cre-
ated a handful of other millionaires. His take is that
anyone can be a consultant and all that’s needed is a
cellphone, which already sounds too good to be
true, but we had to act quickly to get the deal. If
someone is trying to get you to spend fast, beware.
Don’t be afraid to question claims. With peo-
ple who claim to have created millionaires,
Vaynerchuk recommends asking, “Can I have con-
tact information for the people who made a million
dollars? Are they making a million dollars selling
other people on the system that you sold them to
make a million dollars? Because then that becomes
You have a right to ask to speak with other cli-
ents and get more information from a service pro-
vider to back up his or her claims. If you don’t get
the information you want, or if the answer strikes
you as fishy, don’t spend money on the program.
Use the power of community. Evaluate collective
feedback from social media, reviews and a general
online search of the person and the program. “Read
the comments to see if the audience is giving you a
‘tell’ that this person has the make-money-fast thing
or if they’re tried-and-true,” Vaynerchuk suggests.
Empower yourself. If you want to launch a
business, you can get information from reputable
professionals online for relatively little or no money.
When it comes to finding what works for you,
Vaynerchuk suggests giving yourself a year to go out
and execute on advice, test different approaches,
then double down on what brings you the most
value. Remember to watch out for hype, be on the
lookout for exaggerated claims, stay on guard for
high-pressure selling and do research before you
commit to a program. C
David Horowitz is a leading
consumer advocate. David’s
daughter Amanda Horowitz
is the CEO of Fight Back! and
Questions and answers of the
greatest interest to Costco
members will be used in this
column (with the permission
of the contributor) and will be
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Online biz advice
Check your sources very carefully