“I’m a great believer in luck. And the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Stephen Leacock, writer and humorist
Ponzi schemes don’t just exist in multi-level marketing and the financial investment world. The internet world is full of them. You’ve all seen the red flags:
get a fancy car, house, vacation if you only go this seminar or join this membership group
pictures of paypal, checkbooks, etc showing big bank balances and numbers of orders
a sales page filled with testimonies of others of how great this program is
Most of the internet sites like this are Ponzi schemers. They make their money, by taking the hard-earned money of those who are itching to get rich quick without having to work at it. These people then turn around and try to sell the same scheme to you.
I’ve read a lot of these sales pitches. Their websites are enticing. Their guarantees sound fool-proof . And you’re sure that you, just like them, can have that fancy car, long vacations, and realize your dreams by following their advice — without a whole lot of work.
But I’ve realized that I don’t really need a fancy car or exotic vacation (or the bills that go with it). What I wanted was much simpler. I wanted to have time for myself and my family. Set my own hours where I could work in the middle of the night or take my dog, Delilah, for a walk on a bright sunny day. I wanted to make enough money to feel secure and buy a few extras like this laptop. I wanted the challenge of building a business from the ground up and growing it into one that I could be proud of. And I wanted to be able to share what I learned with others–without charging them more than their wallets could bear.
Hard work didn’t scare me. But I didn’t want to work every hour of every day. And I wanted time to just sit and do nothing but read, or enjoy a cup of tea.
So I did it my way. I started an internet business selling gift baskets at Creative Gifts To Go. I grew it gradually, working hard as I taught myself FrontPage, html, and search engine optimization. I didn’t make a lot of money that first year but with every passing year, the simple dream gained momentum. I added a teddy bear gift website followed by a website for those who had memories of Route 66. They required hard work and time spent learning skills but the results have been worth it.
Five years or so ago, I added another website to use my learned skills to help others in my industry attract traffic to their websites. This was in the form of Gift Basket Network which now has over 100 members throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia.
I’m doing fine now with lots of time for walks with Delilah and my husband, fun with grandkids, visits with my daughters, and oh, yes, there’s even time for reading that mystery novel and drinking that cup of tea. Although I haven’t bought that fancy car, big mansion or taken an exotic vacation, the money isn’t too bad either. For me, life is perfect. A simple life for a simple person.
And I still get emails from those get-rich-quick merchants. Reading them used to make me mad until I realized that they serve a purpose. They were attracting those who were interested in taking the short cut and believed that even though they couldn’t learn to play the guitar with one easy lesson, they could learn to be a millionaire in a week or less. They were weeding out those who thought they could buy success but became impatient when they tried something for a half hour and it didn’t work. They weeded out those who thought that work was a dirty four-letter word.
But there are those out there who think as I do. They have their dreams but know that hard work is required. They learn from others who have gone before them and offer their experiences and advice without requiring a lot in return. And, they too, will succeed because they know the secret to success as I learned it years ago.
When I work, I work hard. When I don’t work, I don’t. And I drink my tea in peace because I know that those internet pozi schemers are helping to sort out the impatient dreamers from the working ones.