How Much Does FREE Cost?

MoonIsAHarshMistressAbout 5 decades ago, Robert A. Heinlein popularized the term TANSTAAFL in his book, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which I read back when I was in high school (and the book had been recently published). It is my 2nd favorite Heinlein book, just behind Stranger in a Strange Land, which also became a SciFi cult classic.

I had thought Heinlein originated the term TANSTAAFL, but when I went to look, I found that the actual origin of the term is lost in antiquity.

It’s still true, though. If you want to be in any business, including online marketing, you are going to have to pay something — money, time, or both.

Since I’m in the IM space, I see a lot of FREE this and FREE that, and the first question I always ask myself when I see the word FREE (yes, usually in all caps) is, “How much is FREE gonna cost?”

The answer is usually, “Quite a bit,” especially if you fall for the “done for you” upsell. Maybe I’ve just become a bit jaded after subscribing to and reading several dozen “guru” newsletters, but the whole field seems to have gotten hypey. Even the ones that I have come to know and trust. In fact, there are only a small handful of IM’ers I can think of who don’t overhype. One of the more outstanding examples in that field is Martin Avis.

Well, although I make more money doing other things, I actually make some money selling information on (GASP!) how to make money online. I don’t think that will ever make me rich, though. I do it mainly just to bring some sanity into that market. Maybe someday I will make a comfortable passive income at it, like Martin does.

Ok, that’s out of the way. Now I would like to sell you something. It’s not going to be FREE, and probably not even what you would consider cheap. I’ll tell you the price right up front: $67.00, so if that’s out of reach for your budget, you can click away now.

What do I want to sell for $67? It’s a course on the nuts and bolts of Internet Marketing. So if you already know how to install a WordPress site, and you are comfortable with buzzwords like “backlinking” and “SEO,” then this might not be something that would interest you. OTOH, it might have some information you would find useful. It’s going to be a 6-week course including some videos and homework assignments, delivered in 12 installments, and if you complete it and do the homework, you will have a working, money-making website at the end of the 6 weeks. You will know procedures and strategies that will continue to work no matter what Google (or anybody else) does in the future.

How much money? Probably not a lot, but you will have the intellectual tools that you need to be successful at selling stuff on the Internet, from building a website to crafting a squeeze page, along with some other techniques that don’t require either of those. In addition, you will learn how to do a lot of what you need done for FREE.

Well, not exactly FREE. You see, you do need a few things that you will almost certainly have to pay for, like a computer and an ISP connection to the Internet. I suppose it’s possible to even get that for FREE, provided your time isn’t worth anything at all… And bear in mind that TANSTAAFL. You will pay with money, time, or both, for your success. You will have to work both hard and smart.

The interesting thing is that there are some truly FREE services and techniques that I will tell you about that are actually superior to the paid versions, but I will cover that in the course.

Here’s the deal: I’m only going to do the course if I get 200 people to sign up. I’m figuring that the amount of time I will have to put into this would be paid for (barely) with 200 signups. I’m not doing this out of the goodness of my heart. In addition, you will have to put in a substantial amount of time and effort. Each installment is going to take you a minimum of 3 hours to complete and implement.

There is no up-sell, down-sell, or done-for-you cross-sell. That last one is something I simply will not offer, ever. Why not? Because I don’t want idiots for customers (that’s one reason I quit the insurance business, but that’s another –long– story).

Consider this — Suppose I sold you a $2500 done-for-you program that made $3000 for you, or a net profit of $500. Would you consider that a good deal?

I wouldn’t, and here’s why:

  1. You might make $500 profit, but if you didn’t really know what was going on, you probably would not do the follow-up needed to make any profit at all, and would actually lose money. And blame me.
  2. Even if you did make some profit, what would you have learned? Nothing. You probably would not be able to figure out how to replicate that. At least not until you actually put in some time and effort (and some money, too).
  3. If I had a guaranteed DIY program that would make you money, why would I bother to sell it to you? I’d be an idiot! What I would do instead (hint, I’m already doing this) is hire some really cheap VPAs to implement and tend ever how many instances I felt like managing, and make a LOT of money. Think about that one next time you see a swarmy sales pitch for a DIY program.

What I am offering is a program that is fairly difficult, but if you follow through, you will have the knowledge to do all of this for yourself (or outsource when you want to scale up).

One reason I have not ventured into this sort of product before is that the IM “niche” is one of the most crowded — and dirtiest. This is an experiment, and it might fail. So, I’m going to make you self-select. Here’s the drill…

  1. If you would like the complete course, use the contact form to let me know. Don’t send any money (yet).
  2. If I get at least 300 emails from folks who are interested, I will send all of you a link to sign up and pay $67.
  3. If I get more than 200 people to actually submit payment of $67 before January 1st, 2016, I will do the course. Otherwise, I will simply refund all of the money, and continue doing what works for me, no hard feelings.

Of course, there is a money-back guarantee. Up to lesson #4, you can quit for a full refund. You might decide that you don’t like my teaching style. You might decide that this course doesn’t suit you. No reason needed, I just process the refund. Might take me a day or two, but it will be processed.

Now for the scarcity tactic. Well, sort of. Obviously, there is no point in pretending that you can never get this information anywhere else, or if you don’t sign up on time, you are going to lose something. That’s all nonsense anyway. What the earlybirds (prior to the end of this year) will get, assuming this project is a success, is at least a 50% discount from my public price on any product I produce in the future, until I decide to retire from this business. Things like the way I recruit and retain intelligent and effective full-time PVA workers for less than $3/hour each. Or other things that I have learned to do profitably (like Amazon FBA).

Plus, you will have the opportunity to tell me what sorts of changes I need to make to these courses to make them more valuable to you, and you will get all updates to any courses you buy for no extra charge, until I retire (or die).

The course will be recorded and transcribed. They will *not* be hosted on YouTube. You will be permitted to download and keep the lessons. Even if you request a refund, you get to keep the lessons up until you quit.

How long before I retire? Good question. I figure I have about 10 more good, productive years left, but I’m not immortal, and I’m not bulletproof or immune to disaster. I do wear my seatbelt, and I try to stay away from stupid things that might hurt me, like early “Black Friday” sales at Walmart. (Yup, that’s a link to one of my successful sites.)

If that suits you, go to the contact page right now, and send that request to be one of my first IM students.

BTW, if you are reading this after January 1st, 2016, it means that this experiment failed, because if it succeeds, this post will be removed.

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