pile of cash

It's usually a waste of money to attend an expensive seminar on how to make money online.

In the world of Internet marketing, the live seminar is considered by many to be the “holy grail” of learning about how to make money online. These seminars, which often cost in the thousands of dollars round up hundreds of people in a hotel banquet hall for a weekend of learning where they hear lectures from what are ostensibly some of the top people in the industry. But are they a waste of money and time? Let’s take a look…

You Don’t Need to Pay for It

The truth is that there is very little out there which you can’t find on your own and for free, without having to pay for it. While some seminars may make it a little easier to follow and some pieces of software do cost money, as a general rule, I don’t feel like there is enough value offered by most of these courses to make them worth your while.

My Take on the Whole Thing

So I have serious doubts about such seminars. Now let me be perfectly blunt here. The last time I attended a seminar was to hear about potential mortgage loans in New York. That was 10 years ago and it was a waste of time.
The last time I went to anything resembling a seminar on making money online was when I attended the STAR (Shareware Trade Association and Resources) conference, which was organized as alternative to the ASP (Association of Shareware Professionals). I was at the time trying to publish software as a way to make money and was just a teenager then (this was pre World Wide Web when Prodigy and CompuServe were the big deals online).
However, what I felt after attending these seminars, as well as after having invested money and time in webinars and courses, is that by and large, they were a waste of money.
I may be unusual since I tend to pick things up and figure them out quickly (those were my last boss’ words, before I went freelance full time, not my own), but I like to think that the average Joe could just as easily pick things up from the same free resources I’ve looked at. Heck, that’s why I assume you read this blog.
Now, that’s not the end of the story by any stretch of the imagination. I want to deal with two other issues and then I’ll get to the rare occasion when these $5,000 seminars may actually hold some value. However, let’s start with two questions.

Why “Gurus” Do Them

This is an issue that I used to ponder quite a little bit – why the heck would anyone agree to present their best ideas at a seminar anyway? I mean, aren’t they happier to simply keep it to themselves so that they won’t have to share their materials and their customers with others?
And if it really is as easy as they make out it to be, won’t they find that the market is quickly saturated, making it unprofitable for them to do what ostensibly made them rich to begin with?

Why People Go

At the same time, I’ve always asked myself why people go to these things. I mean, I’ve been around the world of Internet marketing and making money online for a great many years now. I don’t profess to make a pile of cash and to be uber wealthy because of it, but I do earn my entire living online and I’ve been around the block and know something about the techniques involved in making money online.

The Answer

The answer to why the so called Gurus are willing to share their secrets is simple, but it’s not the one that they always claim. Ask a guru (and by the way, few of those who truly are “gurus” call themselves that) why they’re telling everyone their best secrets and they’ll claim that they’re just altruistic and that they just want to “give back to the community.”
I always laugh when I hear this comment. If they truly wanted to be altruistic and “give back to the community,” they’d invest a bit of their time and fortunes to create a course which actually teaches everything you need to know and then give it away to all comers for free. The truth is that they’re doing this for money, plain and simple. They know they can capitalize on people’s greed and desperation and make a killing while doing it.

But They Give Away Secrets, Don’t They?

Yes and no. First, it’s rare that what they share at a seminar like this is actually a “secret” for how to make money online. More often than not, it’s simply rehashed ideas that they found elsewhere. Plus, even if they are sharing something truly original, the information won’t stay secret for long as seminar participants talk and tell others and before long, someone will be rehashing it as part of their “spiel.”

Beyond That…

However, beyond that obvious fact we need to also consider something else: these are by and large not stupid people. They made their fortunes because they understand human psychology only too well.
Most people are in fact extremely lazy and are always looking for the push button technique that will earn them millions of dollars overnight and no matter how many times they are told that such a thing doesn’t exist, they always insist that the next seminar, the next course will provide it.
This leads to a perpetual cycle where the hucksters who run these courses are able to take advantage and sell these people a dream. They may even be selling information which is truly valuable and useful, however they also know that 90% of the people who go to these expensive seminars will glaze over and pay attention only to the part about making millions of dollars while ignoring the hard work involved in getting there.
Of the remaining 10% who truly do understand and who truly do take the time to try to build a real business, 90% of those will fail because they’ll lose interest and eventually move on to the next big idea, the next big dream.
So in essence, when these people train 500 people at $5,000 a pop for these seminars on how to make money online, they are in essence worried only about the 5 people who may actually make a real business out of it. Meanwhile, they have now pocketed (conservatively) $2,000 for each attendee. Not too shabby – walking away with a million bucks for their trouble and having to worry about perhaps 5 competitors who may eventually pose a threat.

As for the Attendees

I think this is pretty clear, but in case it’s not, let me make this clear by relating a story I saw from someone else:
This person said that his brother in law had gotten really interested in Internet Marketing and had been buying courses and going to seminars by the bucket load. The guy had a new idea for making money online every single week and always seems excited about it. The thing is, the guy wasn’t making a penny. He just kept chasing all kinds of shiny new courses and ideas rather than actually putting them into action.
Again, this is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s human nature – we all find it much easier to buy something new than to do the hard work of making the things we bought already work. Heck, we throw things in the garbage all the time because we feel as if they’re “last years’ fashion,” or “broken” even though they’re perfectly serviceable.
As an aside, I recently got myself a brand new bedroom mirror with a solid wood frame because some idiot threw it away since it was stained on the frame. A can of paint and half an hour of work later I had myself a mirror that looked like it came from a fancy showroom and cost $200, but I digress.
Bottom line, people go to seminars on how to make money because they feel as if this will finally be the big thing, the idea that will let them make money by the boatload and they always have hope when their hope is dashed by the previous idea not being push button easy.

But Are they Ever Useful?

Now that I’ve talked your ear off and pontificated at great length as to why I think that $5,000 seminars on how to make money online are a complete and utter waste of time and money, let me share the one case where I think there may be justification for going.

It’s about Laziness

In essence, the one reason that some people may benefit from such a seminar is the same reason that so very few people benefit from such a seminar. I know that sounds confusing, but bear with me. Most people, as I said earlier, want to do as little work as possible. That’s just human nature and that’s also why so many people are attracted to the make money online niche, because it’s still perceived as a get rich quick scheme.
In essence however, I can see a seminar on how to make money online being useful for someone who has decided that they really are going to put these ideas to work for themselves but who simply needs that final push to go out and do what needs to be done. In essence, for a small handful of attendees, going to a seminar may be the thing that finally motivates them to go out there and actually start their online business.
However, it requires the right mindset and the right attitude. Otherwise, you may well learn how to make money online, but that won’t actually allow you to do so.