There I said it. And I don’t trust them. There’s only a few legitimate guys who “spit” truth. But their image is smeared with the rest of the hall of shamers that make up the majority of Information product marketers.
Like seriously…check out these headlines:
“Dumb Kid Earns $301,866.50 in One Weekend”
“How To Use Twitter to Get 50,000 followers”
“How I Made Over 4 Million In 24 Hours Using Nothing But E-Mail”
Ok, it’s marketing and if that gets people to listen to you, it’s fine. But I guess my trouble is that customers buy the story as it is, without questioning its reality.
What if I told you,
“11-Year Old Fasts From Food and Water for 30 Days Straight and Survives.”
Would you believe me?
You should. Because this story is true. In fact, it’s a page torn right out of my own childhood. But at the same time, there is an element of untruthfulness to it. And I knew this when I wrote that headline.
After all, I suppose it got your attention because you incorrectly assumed certain things from my phrasing that made the story seem extraordinary. Because the truth certainly is NOT exciting.
Bear with me, I’ll tell you my creepy story from the start…
I was a “fraidy cat”.
Night was my most dreaded time of day. I am not even gonna try to deny that. When I was five-years-old I had so many nightmares that I once ran myself into an honest-to-goodness fever.
My dreams were full of the demons and ghosts my neighbor’s older sister put in my head with her frightening stories. Often, I’d wake up in a cold sweat and rouse my mother claiming I was thirsty–just to feel the safety of her company. She’d bring me water and stay up with me holding my hand across my baby sister’s sleeping body.
On this one night, I wake up to discover that both my parents gone.
I’m alarmed. Where are they? It’s pitch-black and I can’t see a thing. I feel around nervously for them. Did they leave me home alone with my sisters?
I don’t know. I lie in bed breathing heavy as I consider the scary possibilities. My heart pounds fast in my throat.
Suddenly, I hear noises in the distance.
Who is it? Intruders? Murderers? Thieves?
Or could it be just my parents?
I strain my ears to hear if the voices are friendly ones. But I can’t make out a THING.
I remain motionless under the covers afraid that the voices may discover me. Time passes and my mind keeps racing with horrible possibilities.
Had my parents been kidnapped…or worse…murdered?
I debate with myself to get out of bed and check or just stay in bed and hope for the best.
Finally, I can’t take the suspense any more. I muster up my courage and get out of bed, creeping in the dark to the doorway. My sister’s light snores are behind me. I take comfort in her nearness as I peek out into the hallway.
The kitchen light is on.
I strain my ears again. Is that mum’s voice?
A few seconds pass before I make my way slowly down the corridor toward the lit kitchen. I keep both my ears perked for danger.
As I approach the kitchen, the voices become clearer. It sounds like mum and dad speaking quietly. All of a sudden, I become aware of how far i am from my sisters now. I feel an unsettling chill in the dark hallway and wrecklessly run the last few steps into the kitchen.
I halt at the entrance.
The light hits my eyes and hurts my dialated pupils. The voices stop. I rub my eyes and my heart jumps to my throat. I swallow it back down.
There, on the kitchen floor, sit mum and dad with concerned faces staring up at me.
To be honest, I think it’s a look of guilt they’re giving me. I feel like I caught them in the act of doing something behind my back.
Because the kitchen floor is where we normally have our meals. And in front of them is the pink disposable nylon we usually eat on.
Atop the nylon is a spread of saucers filled with goat cheese and olive oil, thickened yoghurt, strawberry jam, a plate of tasty scrambled eggs, a bowl of honey and half-empty cups of tea and coffee.
My heartbeat settles slowly.
I’m hurt. “A secret midnight meal!?” I think to myself. “Why didn’t they tell me?”
Mum calls out to me, with mouth slightly full, “Hi habeebi (my dear). Do you want me to make you an egg?”
I nod silently. I know my voice is still hoarse with sleep. Dad asks me to come sit with him.
I sidle over slowly and sit confused and groggy. My nostrils flare as I soak in the mouth-watering smell of hot olive oil and frying egg from the stove.
My mind is racing. What’s going on? How long has this been going on for?
“Dad,” I say hoarsly. “What are you guys doing?”
My mother looks over from the stove and laughs. “We’re having sohoor. Today’s the first of Ramadan.”
I ask curiously. My voice working a little better now.
“In Ramadan we aren’t meant to eat the whole day. We need to eat now so we don’t get too hungry,” she responds.
As I later learned, my parents would be fasting the entire month. No food or water from sun-rise to sun-set. They’d been doing it forever around the same time each year.
Now it DID sound difficult at first, didn’t it? Until I just revealed to you that fasting was only for part of the day. Actually, there are two main meals that my parents would have each day. One, is called Sohoor–which is what I caught them having–the morning meal before sunrise. The other one is named Fotoor (break-fast) which they would have later, at sunset.
And only between those two meals was there no eating or drinking.
So as you can imagine, fasting Ramadan isn’t so hard. And while my story’s headline earlier would lead you to believe that the “kid” was starved and thirsty for an entire month,
it’s simply not true.
That’s why, when I read a sales letter headline, I always implicate the essence of the incredible statement. But I never take it literally. And neither should you.
As you’ll discover, in time, most of these raw dollar numbers are in fact revenue, not profit. Meaning, the sales letter is quoting you a number of dollars they collected in sales. Which does not factor in the cost of advertising and the months–and more often years–of failure it takes to acquire the skills that eventually result in those ridiculous numbers.
For example, if you hear of someone who made 4 million dollars in 24-hours, it’s very likely they spent 2 million dollars in affiliate commissions, and a few grand for copywriters, designers, and programmers. Which is still incredible, no denying that.
But is it really something a “dumb kid” can replicate without a large marketing budget?
And can a “dumb kid” really pull off such a stunt? Doubful. Mate.
There is no “dumb” person who makes 300,000 in a single weekend or 4 million in 24 hours. Unless it’s dumb luck, like in a lottery or something…
Which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly teachable.
No. In most cases, the person behind the headline is a savvy business person who either built (over time) a bigass list or has access to a network of BIG BOYS with lists.
It could have taken them 5 years to build up an email list that would buy 4 million dollars worth of product in a single weekend.
I’ve been in the game long enough to know the part you’re not told is what makes all the difference. I’ve seen some of the worst marketing campaigns with poor sales letters written in second-language-English…still making a fortune in sales…only because the marketer tapped into mailing lists of millions of subscribers.
Last year, I attended a seminar where a guy claimed to earn over
$100,000 dollars per day in affiliate sales.
He told me personally that he spent between $50,000-$100,000 per day on Google to make that money.
And yet, even when he launched his own “guru” product, he partnered with some of the biggest marketers to make 2 million in sales. Of that 2 million, he gave at least 1 million in commissions to his affiliate partners and spent a further few hundred thousand in prizes.
The lesson here is that no big result comes without an equally large investment of time, networking with the right people, and financial spend.
Before that, it’s all baby steps.
After all, that’s how every amazing feat is achieved in real life. An olympic swimer wins a gold medal in days. But no body wins that gold medal without having spent his or her life dreaming about it, working at it, practicing, failing, and trying again and again.
In fact, that’s how I was able to start fasting with my parents at such a young age.
As I eat my egg beside dad,
I listen to his conversation with mum, and I feel more left out. I want in on this secret “club”.
The next morning, I ask my mother if I can fast Ramadan with them. But she didn’t think it was a good idea.
“Honey, you’re too young right now. You need to eat or you’ll be tired all day and won’t be able to study.”
For a while they didn’t let me.
But I drove them crazy. I begged my mother all day and night to let me take part with them in this “fasting” business. She finally yielded and allowed me to do it until the afternoon.
“Ok, mum. But if I find it easy, can I do the whole day?” I asked with wide-eyed enthusiasm.
“Sure, why not.”
For the next few days, I fasted until after school. It was difficult missing lunch when all the other kids around me were eating. And saudia arabia, where we lived at the time did not have the mildest of weather. By the time I got home, my lips were parched with thirst.
All the same, I was proud of myself. I showed off to my friend from upstairs while we played on the staircase.
Soon, he too started fasting with his parents permission. And we competed at who could last longest.
These are the baby steps that made my above headline possible.
That’s the part most marketing neglects to tell you.
If they were to tell you the real work it takes you might not buy whatever they’re selling.
Before I learned to fast Ramadan, I wasn’t QUALIFIED to be a part of the “club”. No matter how badly I wanted to be included. In the same way as many students of marketing are not yet qualified to take part in the marketing game at the same level as the big boys.
Few of the marketers who teach lead generation actually use those methods in their own business. Because it takes too long that way. But that’s the part of the game they don’t tell you.
I was talking recently with a colleague who told me he knows that only about three of the most well-known information marketers actually generate their own leads.
The rest commit “incest”…
with each other’s lists, bastardising the crap out of them with multiple-launches.
The truth is, they belong to a club of “big boys” who few people are qualified to talk to…let alone run with.
If you want to know who those guys are, just watch your emails when a major product launches. How many emails do you receive from all your most respected gurus?
Last week, I unsubscribed from all of their lists. Because I simply got tired of the tens of emails I received every few days about the same product. I don’t trust their recommendations any more. I know they don’t even bother to check out what they’re promoting before they decide it’s really worth staking their reputation on it. I may as well make my own decisions about what to buy or not buy.
You’ll notice I rarely ever send you a promotion for anyone else’s product. Unless that product is one I actually own, benefit from, and I genuinely believe you should own.
And all the same, I don’t expect you to take my word for it. Because a product or tool I find useful may be a waste of your money and time.
I Finally Did it When I was 11.
As for my fasting experience, you probably have figured by now that I eventually managed to fast from food and water for the whole month of Ramadan. It took me all the way until I was 11 years old before I was finally a proper part of the “club” though.
In fact, many young children around the world are pulling this off every Ramadan. And their parents teach them to fast with the same baby steps.