Avoid the scams, find out which Business Opportunities actually work
20th July 2016
Filed under: General Opportunities — Ben @ 8:17 pm

Remember in the 90s when you would go online to ‘surf the web’?

When you’d begin by searching for one topic and half an hour later you’d be reading about something completely different – simply because you’d followed links from page to page?

The way websites were put together back then was different to how it happens now. Webmasters would provide links to similar sites so you could read more about a topic on someone else’s site.

That doesn’t happen as much today. Perhaps you are different but I don’t tend to surf the web from site-to-site. Instead it’s more a case of:

– do a web-search

– read a page from the results page

– press the back button to return to the search results to seek more info from another site.

Over the last few days I have been searching old topics because I am planning on doing the 2006 version of my 2005 writeup (http://bizoppsuk.com/10_years_2005.php).

So my search has taken me to lots of different biz opp websites, forums, blogs and so on.

By the way, have you seen the Warrior Forum recently? Oh dear…

Anyway, I stumbled upon someone doing something I considered several years ago but discounted for a number of reasons.

Back in 2007 I was at a seminar in Coventry listening to a Canadian marketer called Scott Paton do a presentation about the positives of podcasts for marketing. It was very interesting and I made plenty of notes. I even considered doing a ‘Biz Opps Podcast’.

It never happened, I didn’t pull the trigger but during my recent web-surfing I followed a link and came across one well-known biz opp marketer who has started to podcast.

The show is called “The Laight Show” and as you might have guessed, it’s Nick Laight who is featured on the show along with a friend/business partner/employee (?) called Rob (apologies to Rob because I don’t know his last name).

I’ve just listened to the first 3 podcasts on Soundcloud but unfortunately there aren’t anymore to be had at present. The last one was on 29th June so hopefully we will see another soon. I’ve pressed the follow button on the Soundcloud app so I expect it’ll tell me when another is published.

In the spirit of surfing the web 90s-style, you can find out more by using this link to go to Nick’s site:

http://www.digitalupstart.co.uk/the-laight-show/listen-to-first-podcast-nothing-planned/

 

23rd November 2012
Filed under: Direct Mail,Financial Trading,General Opportunities — Ben @ 4:01 pm

Over the past few weeks I’ve received two different sales letters claiming to come from “Jim Hunt”.

The first letter came from Streetwise Publications Limited and was selling a £27 per month course called “The Five Secrets“. In this letter Jim Hunt is given the title of “Course Director”.

The second letter came from Lifetime Enterprises Limited and was also selling a £27 per month course. This one was called “Corporate Raider” and was described as a “compendium of secret banking loopholes”. Jim Hunt also signed this letter.

As you can imagine the sales copy from both was extremely compelling and tempting.

In the case of the Five Secrets course I was severely tempted but this one sentence put me off:

“No-one ever got anywhere by being sceptical”

The copy goes on to ask whether the reader has ever met a wealthy sceptic.

Perhaps the copywriter has never watched TV but there’s a programme called “Dragons’ Den” that is broadcast on BBC1. It features a collection of multi-millionaires who listen to pitches by members of the public and then decide whether to invest in their ideas or not.

The whole gimmick of the show is that the Dragons have to be won around – they are sceptical about all ideas until the pitcher puts forward a good reason for them to invest.

These Dragons are multi-millionaires and their wealth dwarfs that of any of the “information publishers” who send out these types of biz opp sales letters. Knowing this it is difficult to understand how a copywriter can claim that there are no wealthy sceptics.

It’s just a silly sentence that has been added to try and make the reader think that being sceptical prevents you from making money in the hope that they’ll sign up to the standing order.

Shortly after discounting the sales letter I eventually found a full second-hand course of the Five Secrets for sale and snapped it up.

The seller was kind enough to include the original sales letter they received – the one that persuaded them to sign up.

Surprise, surprise, it is exactly the same as the one Streetwise is currently mailing out.

And the course has a copyright date on it “Copyright CMS 2000”.

This original sales letter comes from James Edwards of CMS, Reading. According to thisismoney.co.uk James Edwards is an alias of James Sheridan.

Very interesting.

As for the Corporate Raider system the sales letter speaks of special “bank passwords” that you enter into your computer. Apparently when you do this you will receive money within 5 minutes.

It comes from Lifetime Enterprises Limited and certain websites suggest that James Sheridan is a director of this company.

Strange coincidence!

The Corporate Raider sales letter is very compelling and also quite baffling in that it doesn’t actually tell you what this particular opportunity is about.

It says that it’s not a pyramid scheme, not a home business, not currency or commodity trading, not gambling, not property etc

Very interesting that it specifically mentions it’s not currency or commodity trading but doesn’t say that it won’t involve financial trading of some variety.

Therefore, it’s specifically stating what kind of trading that it ISN’T so maybe, just maybe, it does involve some kind of trading.

So what kind of trading would have someone typing in a “password” and then receiving money minutes later?

You would obviously be taking money from somebody else in some kind of trade, that would explain why you receive money almost instantly.

So you would possibly be selling something to another trader. That trader would be paying you for some kind of service or insurance or maybe even to shoulder some risk for him.

Could it be that you would be selling options?

That would explain why someone would pay you money immediately, without you appearing to actually “do” anything.

Perhaps it’s something to do with writing options on shares?

If it were, the “money” you receive would actually come from premiums that other investors pay you to buy these options.

The “passwords” in this case would likely relate to the shares that you are selling options on – whether calls or puts.

Correct me if I’m wrong but when you BUY options you have a limited downside but a potentially unlimited upside.

On the other hand if you SELL options you have an unlimited downside but a limited upside.

Selling options, therefore, can result in massive financial losses if you make the wrong decision.

The pieces appear to fit – passwords, money appearing within minutes, “instant cash, anytime, anywhere”, start with a thousand pounds etc

Maybe I’ll send off and get the first month of “Corporate Raider” free just to see if I’m right.

However, if the “Corporate Raider” Jim Hunt is the same person as the “Five Secrets” Jim Hunt then it may well be that the first lesson doesn’t tell you very much – as is the case with part one of the Five Secrets course.

And to be fair maybe the Corporate Raider course has nothing to do with options trading at all and there is a valid method of receiving hundreds of pounds just by typing in some letters to a website…

In any case it’ll all be revealed soon enough once people receive their first months’ newsletter. The review sites will no doubt spill the beans…

Update 19th February 2013:

If you want the 5 Secrets course but don’t want to wait for 10 months to get it I’ve put my own personal (100% official) copy of the course up for sale here:

Business Opportunity Manuals, DVDs and Videos For Sale

10th September 2012
Filed under: General Opportunities,Internet Marketing — Ben @ 8:57 am

Everybody loves a bargain, especially if it can be resold for a profit. That’s why I have often bought collections or “bulk lots” of items and then split the contents to sell on separately.

Years ago it was quite profitable to buy private collections of DVDs and then sell them one by one.

Typically people would list their entire collections on eBay when they were having a clear-out or needed some extra cash. And typically they would lump the gems in with the ordinary without realising.

Certain DVDs were quite valuable as they were “out of print”. Threads, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Blade Runner were three that spring to mind. Each would sell for £30 or more without difficulty.

Therefore if you could find one of those DVDs in a private collection and win the auction for a reasonable amount, it was possible to make your money back by selling 50% to 75% of the lot but then perhaps double your outlay with the remaining DVDs.

Easy money back then. Now, of course, DVDs of feature films are practically worthless when you can buy them for £3 brand new in Asda.

Other bulk lots can still be split. You just need to find a motivated seller.

Here’s what I found and it cost me just over £100, delivered from the US:

Picture of bulk lot of internet marketing products

The seller was a US marketer who quit the whole “internet marketing” scene about 3 years ago following a partnership that went wrong. He’d recently found a load of stuff in a box when cleaning out his office and wanted rid of it all.

Definitely a motivated seller.

It’s not surprising that some of these products were still wrapped up in their cellophane. The person who sold these to me was, for a time, quite successful and so he most likely received products for free before they were released as the product creator would want him to help promote the launch i.e. be a joint venture partner.

Had he actually chosen to buy the products, he would probably have at least opened them. As it turned out he put most of them into a box and simply forgot about them.

The contents were as follows:

Product Creation Workshop – 2 DVDs

This is a workshop that took place at one of Bob Puddy’s Focus 4 the Future seminars in the US. There’s a notice at the beginning that states it was in Seattle, WA on the 7th July 2006.

Mike Filsaime, Gary Ambrose and Keith Wellman share their thoughts about product creation with the seminar audience.

The production values are low – this is basically just a single camera on a tripod trying to catch all of the ‘action’. The sound is a bit poor, it doesn’t help that the three speakers share 2 microphones.

Still, not a bad DVD set, worth watching if just to pick up a few tips about creating simple products. And by products here they just mean internet marketing products – ebooks, interviews, CDs, DVDs and so on. Cheap to make with large markups (or at least the markups were large in 2006 when it was filmed!).

Teleseminar Trade Secrets

This is a DVD by Tracy Repchuck. I don’t have much info about Tracy but from what I can gather she started becoming more ‘famous’ in internet marketing around 2007. I did see her speak at Bob Puddy’s excellent Coventry seminar in October of that year.

Tracy went on to speak at the World Internet Summit and now appears to be a regular on the seminar circuit. She is also, according to her blog, “The World’s No.1 Woman Speaker for Internet Marketing”.

2 DVDs by Shawn Casey – $10k Club

From some quick Google research this appears to be a monthly subscription and costs $99 per month. The package I bought contained 2 DVDs that were unopened. It would be reasonable to assume that these were sent to the seller as ‘samples’ with the hope that he would view them and then promote them for Shawn.

Same List More Profit DVD

Gary Ambrose and Keith Wellman are the two speakers on this DVD and again it appears to be a presentation taken from an internet marketing event.

Better production values here that the Product Creation Workshop. Content is OK. It’s another 2006 production and from a bit of research it seems Gary and Keith held a little workshop at the same venue as a Michael Penland “Internet Marketing Super Conference” in December 2006.

The deal was that if you bought tickets for Penland’s seminar through Gary and Keith’s affiliate link you got free entry to their workshop whilst you were at the main seminar.

The product’s sales page is still online: http://www.samelistmoreprofit.com/

Yanik Silver’s Web Copy Secrets Presentation at Dan Kennedy’s “Last Ever Copywriting Seminar” CD

Don’t know anything about this except that it’s a CD so I imagine it’s audio only.

Focus Marketing Seminars Live, Dallas, March 16 – 18, 2007 – 12 DVD set

Interesting fact about this seminar – it was one of the very first, maybe even the very first seminar to be broadcast live over the internet.

Robert Puddy sold tickets to the live webcast for $99 which included the DVDs in the post afterwards. I bought a ticket and watched it live from the UK. A prime example of a great event. Even though the speakers sold from the stage they still shared excellent information before taking 10 minutes to sell.

Presenters were Robert Puddy, Tellman Knudson, Donna Fox, Nathan Anderson, Keith Wellman, Harris Fellman, Gary Ambrose, Marc Harty, Craig Perrine, Scott Paton and Ken McArthur.

Expert Positioner Software

This appears to be a CD containing software from Glenn Dietzel. On his website it says the price is $997.

And that, apart from seeing Dietzel speak once in London, is all I know about this one.

The Secret DVD

This is the DVD that was made based on the book. There are plenty of fans and there are plenty of cynics. It is probably worth a watch I guess on a rainy afternoon, or if I have trouble sleeping.

The Freedom Class by Tim Brocklehurst

This is the DVD set of a $10k per ticket seminar held in 2008. This one item is the reason I bought the whole lot seen in the photo above. I had wanted to see these DVDs at the time of release but not enough to pay the $1,000 that Brocklehurst charged when he released them in August 2008.

Here’s the blurb from the back:

“In 3 days, Tim Brocklehurst assisted 15 people to set up their own automated Internet business from scratch.

Each person left The Freedom Class with a live working web business selling a product on the back-end through a viral front-end which helps it grow automatically.

Using this structured, easy-to-navigate DVD of The Freedom Class, combined with the MVS software, you can do the same…”

“MVS” here stands for MyViralSpiral which was the software that Tim sold from the stage when he was a speaker for the World Internet Summit. For some reason he took down all the hosted MVS sites and the customer forums at the beginning of 2010.

It will be very, very interesting to see what a $10,000 seminar involves. It’ll also be interesting to see what happened to the attendees afterwards. It’s been 4 years now so their sites should have made them plenty of money having grown “automatically”.

And after viewing all of the above, it may be worth giving it a go making some money from the lot.

Surely there’s a little bit of profit in selling them on individually? Or are they just too “old”?

17th August 2012
Filed under: General Opportunities,Internet Marketing — Ben @ 12:29 pm

Here’s an interesting video from UK marketer Andrew Stark where he’s throwing away five thousand dollars worth of information products that he bought over the years:

AndrewStark.com

In this pile of DVDs, CDs and manuals are the following courses:

(1) Traffic Secrets 2.0 by John Reese

I bought this course and I’ve still got it in a box in the garage somewhere. It’s doubtful that I even went past the first CD but it looked pretty on the bookshelf for a while…

What I do remember is that I bought it on 15th July 2008 (thank you archived email stored in Google Apps!) and I paid $476.95 in total. The course was $399, the remainder was for postage.

There were issues with delivery – John Reese made several excuses about the packaging, something to do with the CDs rattling about.

There were lots of doubting posts on various forums and lingering suspicions that he’d launched without getting the product ready properly. Reese even admitted that he’d only written the sales page the night before.

Not that it mattered though, most bought because they remembered the first course, the original Traffic Secrets which was pretty good.

Shipping ended up being delayed and my course was only shipped 3 weeks after purchase.

John eventually chucked 2 DVDs from his good buddy Frank Kern in for everyone as a kind of apology.

The problem with this was that some of us ordered on launch day specifically because the DVDs were only for those who bought in the first 24 hours. That ended up being a waste of time when he gave them away to everybody.

He also chucked in digital access to the original Traffic Secrets course and a short-lived buyers’ community at income.com but both have long since disappeared as far as I can gather.

Not sure I would throw this away – I’m sure you could get up to £100 on eBay for it.

Here’s the original sales page:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080716045144/http://www.trafficsecrets.com/

(2) Million Dollar March by Keith Wellman and Marc Horne

I didn’t buy this myself but I have seen the contents because the download page for the digital version wasn’t protected by Keith Wellman.

Probably says something about his attention to detail.

The main USP was that Keith would take 4 newbies in to his fold (his office in Atlanta) and teach them how to be millionaires like him.

The DVD footage showed Keith, Marc and the four students who allegedly paid $25k each describing their perfect launches and speculating on how much they would make. It was rather strange.

On the DVDs there was nothing about the products they were selling, only theoretical ideas about how much they’d make on the first day, what prizes they’d offer to affiliates and how they’d attract the big fish of the internet marketing world to promote for them.

Highlights included Keith spending 10 minutes searching GoDaddy for domain names for his students.

It was expert tuition as you can probably imagine.

Andrew’s description “… it… was… RUBBISH!

Launched on the 4th March 2008 it cost $997.

One of the four students, Hollis Carter, was soon to be seen sharing the stage with Keith and Marc at their seminars so it remains a mystery whether he was actually a student who paid $25k or an employee who was asked to fill a chair for the cameras.

Having seen all the footage, and considering that Keith doesn’t appear to be making money online any more, the tip (garbage dump for those in the US) is likely the best place for this course.

Complete and utter waste of about a thousand dollars” is how Andrew summed it up.

http://web.archive.org/web/20080306024200/http://www.themilliondollarmarch.com/?

(3) Product Creation Workshop by Keith Wellman, Gary Ambrose and Mike Filsaime (and other non-visible DVDs)

I think I’ve seen this workshop but not on DVD, only online.

It was possibly a bonus I received for buying something else, perhaps the 7 Figure Code.

That led to the ridiculous happenings with Keith Wellman – more about that later…

The workshop wasn’t very memorable. If I remember correctly it was filmed from the back of the room and you had to strain to hear what Keith, Gary or Mike was saying. Probably from around 2006 and filmed at some event in the US.

(4) Affiliate Millionaire by Andrew Fox

I never saw this one but apparently it was released on 23rd February 2010.

From one review site I discovered that it contained 7 DVD training Modules plus manuals, blueprints, mindmaps, resources, case studies, insider audio interviews and video footage.

Andrew summed it up as “reasonable but, again, completely and utterly over-priced…

The price was $997 or 3 x $397

The sales page appears to have been only a video, there’s more written info on the order page:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100406060637/http://affiliatemillionaire.com/order.html

(5) The 7 Figure Code by Mike Filsaime and Tom Beal

This is another that I bought myself and I remember that it was released on the 7th July 2007 – get it, 777?

I bought it on the 8th of July through Keith Wellman’s affiliate link and the cost was $524.50 (probably $497 + shipping).

At the time Mike Filsaime ran a Warrior Special Offer where he offered full digital access to his Butterfly Marketing course to anyone who bought the 7 Figure Code through an affiliate link.

He got a lot of respect for that as he was basically offering extra if you chose an affiliate to buy the course through therefore helping his affiliates to earn more money.

Keith Wellman was the lucky recipient of the affiliate commission on my purchase of the 7 Figure Code because he offered what appeared to be a great set of bonuses.

Unfortunately Keith banked the money but neglected to supply the bonuses and you can read all of that sorry saga on the other website – Keith Wellman of FX Marketing Inc and Everyday Wealth LLC

The course was quite good – plenty of meat in the DVDs and the folders contained transcripts of all of the presentations and the slides.

Again, I reckon Andrew could’ve got the best part of £100 for this on eBay as it’s a solid course and he had it in pristine condition (the folders were still in cellophane).

Here’s the sales page around 10 days after launch:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070717183806/http://the7figurecode.com/

(6) Butterfly Marketing by Mike Filsaime

This was released on 31st January 2006 and cost $997 or so. Later on the price rose to $1497 and then $1997.

It sold very well and propelled Mike Filsaime onto the list of top internet marketing experts.

On March 24th 2009 Mike released Butterfly Marketing 2 which an updated version of the script as well as the “Manuscript” for the price for a token payment towards postage. It was somewhere around $20. Tacked on to it was a subscription for a newsletter.

By April 2010 Mike was giving away the whole source code for free.

Butterfly Marketing was a superb example of how to get it right back in the good ‘ole days.

Create a good product, market it well (Mike started the “pre-launch” over 2 months before releasing the product) and offer your affiliates a great deal.

Back then, as Andrew states in his video, people would drop $1,000 on a product and just slap it on a credit card. More people had disposable credit and so there were more customers willing to pay big money for the latest internet marketing must-have course.

Those days are long gone.

If Mike hadn’t given away the source code for free then this course probably still would have attracted a few bids on eBay but as Andrew wasn’t using it then he’s probably best to throw it on the tip.

Unfortunately the Butterfly Marketing sales page wasn’t captured on archive.org but the sales page is still live – selling the original package for $1997.

Any why not? With a little luck Mike may just get some sales from it even after all these years so he might as well leave it online forever.

What to take away from this blog post

Not all expensive courses are valueless after a few years and if it were me I wouldn’t throw anything on the tip unless absolutely necessary as I don’t like adding to landfill.

What I would do is list each course on eBay with a reasonable starting price and let others bid for it. Sometimes this can lead to you getting a nice chunk of change if two people start battling to win the auction.

In this case I do feel Andrew was right to get rid of the courses. I’ve no doubt it made him feel better (as long as he didn’t dwell too much on how much he spent to get them!).

Just remember what happened here the next time you’re drawn in by a sales page for an expensive product on launch day.

Five years down the road you too could be loading it into the boot of your car to drive it to the tip.

15th August 2012
Filed under: Direct Mail,General Opportunities,Internet Marketing — Ben @ 12:46 pm

There are hundreds of companies who have made money by selling information products that teach the purchaser how to make money from selling information products.

It has been a “business” for years.

It’s the reason there are so many people attracted to forums like the Warrior Forum – because they have all been told that in order to make money online you need to sell information products.

The people that flock to that forum have also been told that it’s easy to sell information products and that they don’t even need to create the product themselves.

Yes, everything can be outsourced for pennies.

Didn’t you know that?

Thousands of willing workers in third-world countries are lining up to create your product for next to nothing.

And what’s more, they’ll be positively thankful for the few shiny pennies you chuck their way for doing it!

Once your product’s been created, extreme riches are just around the corner.

All that’s left to do is create a sales letter that tells potential customers about the benefit of your product and publish it to the web.

Job done, money’s on the way… or maybe not…

From one of the big UK information publishers, who in the last couple of months have heavily promoted a copywriting seminar, comes this gem in their sales letter:

“…if I’m honest, an element of creative talent you’re simply born with is what’s needed to write a really BIG-money sales letter…”

What they’re saying is that providing you’ve already been born with the creative talent required to write a sales letter, you too can make money.

Funnily enough they didn’t mention this when promoting the copywriting seminar a couple of months ago.

Surely anyone who wants to train as a copywriter should be assessed before attending the seminar to make sure they have this creative talent, shouldn’t they? Otherwise it’d be a complete waste of time and money for them.

Moving on for a moment, let’s assume that like the vast majority of the world you can’t write a sales letter. What do you do then?

Easy – the answer comes in the same sales letter as the above gem of a quote, you simply pay for it:

“…£10,000 plus handsome royalties for a single letter…”

Of course, what the sales letter doesn’t mention is that for this price tag to apply you would still need to have a superb product and not some rubbish created by a non-English speaker.

Good copywriters (the ones who were born with the creative talent for writing sales letters) know when to pass on a sub-standard product. If they are going to get royalties then they want to write a sales letter for a good product.

Put some ghost-written rubbish in front of them and they’ll laugh you out of the building and ignore any further advances you make.

Here’s the truth: you’re not going to make money as an information publisher despite what you’re told in the silly sales letters that you get through the mail.

You might make a few quid selling hype and rubbish to idiots in the WSO forum but real information publishing is for the big boys with the deep pockets.

Their job is to sell you the dream.

In order to sell you the dream they need to create superb sales letters – by spending big money to hire one of the talented copywriters.

To make more money they need to create more and more products to sell to you because as every aspiring information publishers knows, when the customer is hot on a niche they get into a “buying mode”.

As if to prove the point you’ll regularly receive new sales letters, often contradicting the one that came before. Just like this:

Month 1 – make your fortune by attending this copywriting seminar for only £1000 – become rich as a copywriting legend

Month 2 – become rich using our ready-made sales letters because you can’t be a copywriting legend unless you’ve been born with the talent, it can’t be acquired – only £1000

With each product you buy you come away with a little bit more information but less in the bank.

And in the background the information publishers work on their next offering using top-notch writers – before hiring highly talented copywriters to sell the product.

Despite what they tell you in the sales letters, information publishing costs you a great deal if you want to make money.

If you weren’t born with copywriting talent it’ll cost you cold, hard cash.

And if you’re one of the minute percentage who were born with the talent, it’ll cost you

“…years of practice, intuition, and deep concentration…”

time, in other words.

Chances are if you’re receiving these sales letters then you’re both time poor and cash poor so you’re not going to be able to commit.

That’s why you’ll never make money from information publishing.

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