Let’s Talk About Gurus…
There’s a lot of so called ‘gurus’ out there in the internet marketing space. Some of these people are legitimate and are sharing good quality information, whilst many others are referred to as ‘gurus’ in a condescending and disapproving tone.
The word ‘guru’ suggests that a person is an expert in their particular field. More recently though, the term has become associated with scammers, con artists, and people who are simply after your money.
In the internet marketing world, there have existed many a con-artist. Luckily, most of these people can be spotted a mile away, especially with the help of old mate Google.
Unfortunately, a lot of people like to tarnish many with the same brush. I’ve seen a lot of genuine people be slandered by those who simply assume the worst about them. Their unfounded claims are often the result of Chinese-Whispers, and comments are usually made before they even encounter these people in person.
In the online world of digital marketers, I’ve seen this occur more and more frequently – and right now, this issue seems to be hitting boiling point.
Drama In The DN Community
Lately in the Digital Nomad community (community of people who work online whilst travelling) there has been a lot of negative talk about these gurus on the scene. This mostly came about after the true identities of two brothers living in Chiang Mai Thailand were exposed.
These twin brothers are actual con-artists, and people like this are the absolute root of the problem.
These two brothers from Indiana were running regular meetups whilst in Chiang Mai, asking people to speak at them about their businesses. In fact, just last month I spoke at one of these events (for free) in front of about 60 entrepreneurs, answering their questions about self-publishing books. It was a great chance to share, meet other people, and offer them my advice.
Everyone seemed to enjoy these meetups and gained a lot of knowledge on a variety of topics.
So far, so good.
Where the two brothers crossed the line though was when they decided to run what they called the ‘Digital Nomad ‘Campus’.
This is a one-month program where they ‘teach’ you how to start making money online, and ‘become a digital nomad’, all for the low cost of only $1500.
For some background, these twin brothers are in their mid-thirties, broke, and are making zero money online. They came to Thailand with barely any money, and survived by teaching English – without a work visa mind you.
Their website was a joke and a lot of people were confused as to whether their sales video was satirical or not. I’d post a link to the video, but their website has since been shut down…
For the first month they decided to charge just $300 per person instead of the usual $1500, and somehow convinced 5 people to sign up. After around a week of this program running, some more established people working online in the community started to speak up against the obvious scam that was going on. Many others quickly got involved and within the next few days, their true identities were revealed.
It turns out that the brothers were using fake last names, and had been suspects in several rape cases back in the States. After that came out, people started to speak up about their own experiences with the pair in Chiang Mai, including a lot of mentions of sexual assault.
The pair have since skipped town, and have shut down all of their websites.
This, is the example of a BAD guru. People like this are why the word ‘guru’ has such a negative association attached to it. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any genuine people left out there…
Not All Gurus Are Out To Get You
What frustrates me the most though, is when people suddenly assume that all gurus or experts are scammers. They assume that these people are only financially successful because they rip off others. They assume that they make all of their money selling lies to the gullible in the form of information products, internships, and partnership programs.
Personally, I’ve been described as a guru in the area of self-publishing, though I definitely don’t like to refer to myself as one. My audience isn’t as big as some of these other guys out there, and thankfully, I’ve managed to avoid any serious personal attacks or haters thus far.
I am however, friends with several of the people who frequent Chiang Mai and that are well known for sharing their stories, advice, and recommendations for beginners. What I can say is that a lot of these people have genuine intentions, and are simply expressing their personal opinions and experiences. They have truly helped me (and thousands of others) successfully transition into a location independent lifestyle.
Unfortunately, I see these same people get gossiped about daily on Facebook, YouTube, and in private. Some people just can’t seem to accept that there are successful people out there who simply want to help others, and are making a living from it at the same time.
People get angry when a person makes a 5-figure a month income from affiliate commissions, because they assume the person is promoting products for the sole purpose of earning money, rather than because they genuinely believe in a product.
If a person has 100,000+ website visitors a month, and they add affiliate links to their posts that direct readers to products that they earnestly recommend, of course they are going to make a good income from it.
That doesn’t make these people bad, or scammers, or con-artists.
It makes them successful, and intelligent.
If you could get paid for sharing your opinions, what’s worked for you, and what your recommendations are – wouldn’t you do it too?
Their passion for helping others, sharing their experiences, and putting out content (often for years without financial reward) has hit a point where they can finally make a living from it! That doesn’t make them bad, or evil, or anything that they weren’t when their audience was smaller.
By all means, be sceptical of what people say or claim online – but don’t judge too harshly until you have all of the facts. Without these people sharing their stories and advice, I know that there would be way less people making a living online.
There would also be way fewer people living a location-independent lifestyle, and the entrepreneurial communities in places like Chiang Mai would be practically non-existent. As many would agree, these people are necessary.
Common Sense Isn’t So Common
A lot of the problems surrounding this ‘guru issue’ seem to stem from people being incredibly ignorant. Being an entrepreneur is full-time job, not a hobby. You can’t ‘play’ business. This is the real world.
At the end of the day, if you spend $1500 to go to a ‘campus’ run by people who have no clue what they’re doing – I have absolutely zero sympathy for you.
If you can’t do your due diligence, use a bit of common sense, and take 5-minutes to Google the people you’re about to hand money to, you seriously don’t deserve to be successful.
In addition to that, an information product or a course is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Just because it might cost more than what you personally think it’s worth, doesn’t mean the person selling it is a con-artist. It means that they know their value, and are smart. Where you don’t see value, a lot of others will.
At the same time, an expensive product that doesn’t offer refunds should come across as a bit suspicious to say the least.
My point is, you are the only one responsible for your actions, and the level of success that you achieve.
If you’re not comfortable with what someone’s telling you – nobody is making you believe it.
If you’re not comfortable paying for an information product because you think it could be a scam – don’t buy it.
If you don’t know if you trust the person giving you their opinions and advice – take it with a grain of salt.
Turn your brain on, use some common sense, and stop complaining about how everyone in the world is out to get you. If you want to succeed, you have to take control of your own life and not rely on anyone else to do it for you.
This post may sound a bit harsh, but it seems to me that the only ones blindly accusing others of being con-artists, are those who are yet to experience success of any kind themselves. People like the brothers I mentioned at the start of this post make up the few, not the many.
If you want to have the tallest tower in the city, do it by working hard and building the biggest one – don’t do it by tearing everyone else’s down.
Get to work, focus on your own lane, and make 2017 your best year yet.
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