I originally answered this on Quora. It got a lot of views and so I decided to post this to help people struggling with their business.
Okay. Here we fucking go. Best kept secrets and I’m only giving you the dark ones.
I’ve been blogging for over 4 years now. I’m in business as I sell my own books and products to my subscribers list.
I consider myself successful in many personal ways; ways you probably don’t consider successful in a mainstream manner.
No I don’t make millions. I don’t have statistics, life hacks and all that shit for you too. This is just my journey.
I’ve had my ups. Nothing beats the feeling of hitting a good old pay day where you see money coming in automatically into your PayPal. It’s awesome to see something you create pay off.
I even had readers email me, thanking me for my writing.
Someone even said I saved him from suicide.
I’ve had my downs. I’ve been screwed over by assholes all around. I’ve discovered what works well to make money online, and it’s not very pretty. I’ve encounter douchebag entrepreneurs who try to manipulate people.
It can honestly be very disillusioning when you realize what most entrepreneurs out there do just to make money, even when they seem like “good” people.
Call this a rant or whatever. This is my journey as a writer, blogger and entrepreneur. It may be a little controversial, but these is all real, my thoughts, my opinions and what I observe.
1) Originality be damned. People steal shit
Wanna know how some business folks create their products without getting sued for copyright and stuff?
They just steal, only they call it “reverse engineering.”
Yeah. That’s how it works.
This is legit though. It’s legal. But it honestly turns me off.
Many have been the times I read up on some company or entrepreneur and how they’re there to share their passion, change the world and do some philanthropic shit as if they’re God’s gift to Earth. This is very true in the personal development/self-help niche. They talk about living an authentic and honest life…
… then they blatantly steal shit, but call it reverse engineering.
I personally think this is hypocritical. If you really want to help people, then be original and take PRIDE in yourself by producing your own work.
2) A positive facade is usually put up to make you like them, but it’s a lie
Again, I’ve no idea how many fucking bios and About Mes I’ve read about some company or someone who want to make the world a better place and that their passion is to help people lead better lives.
I happen to know some of these entrepreneurs locally. They’re complete assholes.
They lie. They manipulate. They show off. They talk down to others. They only mix with people who they know they can use or benefit from.
I know all this to be true because I get actual text messages from friends who tell me about them. That said, yes, successful business folks can be gossipy as fuck.
3) A lot of their work is not their own
Yeah some entrepreneurs absolutely LOVE helping others so much with “authenticity” that they hire people from third-world countries for cheap to produce content. You can easily do this with Fiverr or hire some dude from India via some freelance network.
Still think the shit you read online or the product you’re using is super authentic? Think again dude.
No, this is not hiring workers to mass-manufacture a product after the entrepreneur work hard to create it. I’m talking outright, blatant lies by entrepreneurs who claim they create their own shit, but then outsource it entirely.
4) They will stretch every tactic possible to put the onus on YOU to make you fork out money
Real words I’ve learnt from business people all around and even my own mentor (whom I’ve no idea where the fuck is now.)
“Nobody ever asks for a refund dude”-
That is why refund policies are always so nice and flowery what with your triple-money-back and no-questions-asked.
Why though? Why don’t people ask for a refund? I don’t know. Maybe it’s some psychological thing. Or maybe it’s because they WILL ask you the question of whether you actually used the product, then they will ride you on and on and guilt trip you into thinking it’s your fault for not using your money wisely.
Whatever it is, the refund policy is mostly there to make you feel more secure so you actually buy something.
“Nobody would actually finish the course dude”-
Say you’re selling a 30-day course online on whatever. From what I guess are “statistics”, people who buy won’t usually finish up the course or product. They’re going to stop at 10 days or something.
Hence, entrepreneurs would simply use this fact to create a piece-of-shit product or even deliver something incomplete.
If you think this is super evil and that only stupid people would buy such bullshit and not use it, look at it this way:
A customer buys a meal at MacDonalds. He doesn’t finish it. The burger is only half-eaten and the Coke is near-full.
It doesn’t sound so bad now does it? It’s not the entrepreneur’s fault for sure, but you can bet he’s going to exploit the shit out of this fact.
“If you know your product will help them, it’s your duty to do EVERYTHING it takes to get it to them dude”-
The end justifies the means in this case, hence all the shady work and tactics I described above being used.
The shady entrepreneur would gladly lie to piss off 100 people and then call it making a world a better place as long as they make one sale.
5) The best kind of business is teaching people how to do the same, exact shit you’re doing to be rich and successful
Why do you think there’re so many businesses that simply teach people how to create a business themselves?
Why do you think so many entrepreneurs make money by teaching people how to make money?
Because it’s super easy. You just have to prey on people’s insecurities in life and their desire for a better future.
And what do most people think they need in life to be happy?
I know a friend who has friends in this field by giving seminars. He told me it’s mostly bullshit. The speakers lie outright.
It’s a crazy, fucking paradoxical concept that borders on being a pyramid scheme in which mere systems are only sold, but this business is rampant out there.
I’ve seen so many bloggers who claim they have some special talent, passion or message and then somehow have a product that teaches people how to make money online and “live like they do.”
It’s an easy guess to know that that’s their actual bread and butter, not their special thingy.
6) Money kind of makes everything alright
And hence, the business is successful. They call themselves successful too.
Add in a bit of influence, backed up by social media numbers, they’d also be called famous. No one would dare challenge their “authenticity” and special, passionate message though, because people are attracted and look up to money and fame.
Again, the end justifies the means here. The onus is on you apparently.
In defense of entrepreneurs and their secrets
But you know what… I ain’t trying to be a total asshole here.
I’d admit, in trying really hard to make money, I’ve been guilty of some of the above.
I’d have to say too, that if your business isn’t non-profit, then you gotta make money. Money makes all the difference in the world.
I’ve been writing myself for a long time, and inspiration does not pay the bills.
And there’re GOOD business folks out there. They may cross the line a little here and there, but they’re good people who deserve what they have today because they put in the work. They do what it takes you know? There’s nothing wrong with that and I respect that.
Indeed too, the onus is on us, the consumer.
You can’t really blame anyone else but yourself if you spend needlessly on some bullshit, especially if you don’t do your research.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who’s struggling, the onus is on you too to make sure you don’t fall into the trap and become like these assholes.
So… here are my best kept secrets. The good ones:
1) You can’t model after successful people forever
Not even the ones you really, really look up to.
It’s easy to think you can learn to create a business for yourself simply by following the footsteps of others. But you can’t do it forever.
Their path is not your path. Sooner or later, you have to go at it on your own. You’ve to do shit on your own. Otherwise, you’re forever stuck in a shadow.
Sounds scary? It is scary. And that’s fine.
2) Fear is actually telling you’re going in the right direction
I used to be scared of being myself in my writing and in my own products. I felt I wasn’t good enough to be remarkable my own way. I’d always search for other websites who are doing the same thing thing to feel safe or get a virtual green light.
Don’t play safe man.
Be absolutely remarkable by giving your best; your all! Share your special message and have the balls to do it.
Read Purple Cow by Seth Godin. That was what inspired me to be myself today.
3) Take up and learn from just ONE source how to create a business
Seminars. Courses. Coaches. Mentors. Whatever.
You have to learn the ropes for sure. You need your basics.
It’s okay to shorten the learning curve by paying for it, but ONE IS ENOUGH.
Everything else… is the SAME SHIT.
You’d only think it’s different because of shiny object syndrome and yeah, them promising you bullshit and preying on your insecurities.
I mean come on man, think about it: If it works so well, why the hell would they waste their time teaching it instead of doing it?
So don’t keep buying in hopes of getting an easy way out in your business.
4) Success is entirely up to you
You can’t rely on anyone else for success.
A coach, mentor or some magical program isn’t going to be the golden ticket to solve all your business woes.
Believe in yourself. Have confidence. Do it your own way.
5) The work is the goal
This is probably one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten. Ryan Holiday himself told it to me:
“The work is the goal.”
That’s it. Your daily work and tasks are the goal. Get up, and get them done daily and consistently.
Stop working and hoping for a big milestone, breakthrough or that you’ll be discovered. All of that will come one day, but only if you do the work every, single, fucking day.
Do the work and be open to opportunities. You never know what kind of awesomeness may be bestowed upon you. But yeah, opportunities only come when you do the work. They won’t come if you’re just sitting around on your ass all day.
Life is not a feel-good movie.
6) And success is individual
So don’t compare.
Your journey is your own.
Stop feeling so scared or afraid just because you feel broke while others seem to be making it rich.
You’ve your own special challenges and it’s your job to overcome them. Let the others deal with their own problems.
All the secrets, good and bad that I know of.
There’re so many grey areas and fine lines in the business world. It can be pretty scary and tricky, especially when money gets thrown in the mix.
You wanna be in business? Do the work, be yourself and watch out for yourself.
I hope this helps.
If you enjoyed this article, please click on the little green heart below. I’d love you for that and in return you get to cuddle with me.
For more articles on business by me:
- Annoying shit entrepreneurs say
- Should you quit your boring job to do what you love?
- I’ve fucking had it with entrepreneurs and their cliched bullshit
My name is Alden Tan and I’m sick of bullshit in the personal development space thanks to the pretentious people out there. I love writing and I’m also a Bboy.
Get my free book here if you want to stay in touch with me: 12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a Fuck About! c