Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Get Rich Quick Schemes, Instant Fame, and Other Lies from the Internet

Recently, I was speaking at a conference in Canada and the event planner said she was surprised nobody had ever heard of me. I wasn’t. Most people have no idea who I am, and that’s okay.

Get Rich Quick Schemes, Instant Fame, and Other Lies from the Internet

The Internet has ruined us for humility. Because of social media metrics, we assume that people have heard of us. We believe we are bigger deal than we really are. Internet fame is a funny thing.

I didn’t always understand this. After first starting a blog, I wanted people to notice me in public. I thought because I had a Twitter handle, that somehow made me an important person.

Bonus: Get access to a free video training series on how to build a blog, get published, and find your 1000 true fans. I’ll send you a free book just for registering.

The safest assumption to make

Just as I was about to give one of the biggest speeches of my life, my friend Jon Acuff said:

Don’t forget, most people have never heard of you. Always assume the audience doesn’t know who you are.

That’s a wonderful thought, isn’t it? What if instead of introducing ourselves with “If you haven’t heard of me…” we said, “You probably have no idea who I am…”?

This is just one of a few fights I want to pick with the world of Internet marketing and other lies you and I have been fed recently.

Tired of the lies? Me too…

Marketers ruin everything.
—Gary Vaynerchuk

If your Facebook feed and email inbox look anything like mine, you are constantly inundated with promises that seem too good to be true.

So let me just tell you: they are.

The promise that you can build a website in 48 hours and start earning a passive income without having to lift a finger? Too good to be true.

The guarantee that if you buy this product you’ll lose 100 pounds in 8 minutes? It’s too good to be true.

The commitment to teach you everything you need to know to become a millionaire in a month? You guessed it.

This week, I’m going to do a free video class un-teaching you all those things you may have heard from marketers who don’t always have your best interest at heart. If you’re tired of hearing empty promises and inflated success stories, you’re not going to want to miss this.

You and I have been sold a pack of lies that is doing us more harm than good. The Internet is an amazing tool, something that has literally changed my life. But too many marketers are using it to manipulate people and leave them high and dry.

Frankly, it’s time someone told the truth.

The truth nobody wants to tell you

You can think of this series as an anti-marketing message. I’m distilling everything I’ve learned in the past decade as a marketer, even the slimy stuff nobody wants to tell you, and sharing what I’ve been teaching Tribe Writers for three years.

In a nutshell, here’s the truth:

  • Success isn’t easy. It takes hard work, but is worth it in the end.
  • Nobody cares about you. Of course, your mom and Aunt Phyllis care about you. But the random person on the Internet doesn’t know you or care about you — until you give them a reason to. Influence isn’t a given; it’s something you earn.
  • The world doesn’t owe you anything. You aren’t guaranteed success. But you are given a chance. And those who add the most value get their reward.

So how’s that for under promising? If those sound attractive to you, then I encourage you to sign up for this free class.

What you’ll learn

In this three-part video series, I will share with you what I know. I’ll tell you what I’ve done to build a million dollar business, create a powerful tribe of millions of followers, and become a best selling author of four books.

But I’m not going to promise you the moon. This will only be as valuable as what you point into it. Here’s what we will cover:

  1. How to get your 1000 true fans
  2. How to make your first $1000 online
  3. What it takes to build an online platform worth noticing

Why am I doing this?

A few times per year, I teach an online course called Tribe Writers, and we’re about to open registration again. But before we do that, I am compressing everything from that eight-week course into a short series of lessons you can start applying immediately.

The point is to help you implement the process I teach in these videos, and begin getting the results you want. You’ll get a taste of Tribe Writers to see if it’s something you want to sign up for. Regardless, I hope you get a ton of value out of the free training series.

Enter your email here to reserve your spot for free and I’ll email you as soon as the first video is available. Don’t miss it, as this series is only available for a limited time. Sign up at no cost right now.

What marketing lies are you tired of hearing? Are you ready to discover the hard, but rewarding truth of building a tribe? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • I think I have thought that all I have had to do is start and blog and push it on social media and soon I would have a book deal and making my fortune. Yeah, well…..

  • Arlen Miller

    Success isn’t easy. Nobody cares about you. The world doesn’t owe you anything.
    Love it. That’s ‘Classic Goins’ going on. Thanks for shooting straight.

  • I’ve heard so many empty promises that it is so hard to find the true professionals amongst the wannabes. I personally am looking forward to this series. I’ve never been afraid of work, just hate to waste time.

  • Love this! Looking forward to hearing more…

  • As always, Jeff, you hit the mark 🙂 As an author, I can absolutely attest to this! LOL. Success still comes the old-fashioned way–with a lot of hard work, time, and persistence. And for a novelist, that often means gaining readers, one at a time. But worth it! Nothing is more gratifying than to have someone say, “I just loved your book.”

  • So true, Jeff! So very true.

  • Michelle Cochran

    Jeff, thank you for being authentic, and an honest leader in this crazy space of the on-line world. This message needs to be shouted from the roof-tops. I once bought the hype and it caused frustration, disappointment, and frankly anger at how people are being mislead and therefore, kept from fully living and enjoying their own path and contribution. I’m looking forward to your video series, thank you again for doing it.

  • Swati Hegde

    Can’t wait for the series to begin, Jeff. Building a tribe is something I’ve been struggling with ever since I started my blog, and now that I’m considering monetizing it, I’m definitely going to need all the help I can get. 🙂

  • Michelle Andres

    I understand what you’re saying, Jeff, and marketers DO ruin everything and spoon-feed us lies. I offer this instead – social media has made me a better person (and I’ve written as much). Although I feel relatively anonymous, I’m now forced to walk the talk, remain positive and be authentic and congruent with a public face. Other people may not know who I am, but I know myself better than ever before.

  • THANK YOU for speaking truth Jeff. I think of what Ken Davis said to his grand daughter when she was thinking about water skiing. Yes it will be hard. Yes you will fall. Yes it will hurt. But it will be worth it. The same is true for us building something that matters. It doesn’t happen in a day, or even a year, most of the time. It takes love for the work, not just love for the outcome. Thank you for speaking up and saying this out loud. Not a popular message, but a true one. It’s not about us. It’s about them.

  • Hi Jeff–

    I really appreciate who you are and what you offer.

    But could you do me a huge favor, please?

    I’d love it if you learned how to make “I” statements instead of telling me what is truth. I notice that you do this heavily in the introduction part of this post.

    As a writer and person who values relationships and communication, I am sure that you will understand this distinction and hopefully will consider my proposal.


    • Hi Don. Thanks for the comment. But I’m confused. What are you referring to exactly? I just reread the first couple paragraphs and I see lots of I’s. Sorry, but I just don’t understand.

  • Joe Neff

    Well said. I started my new ministry/business four months ago. Your number two stands out. Nobody cares. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great people and may even know me. But they are all busy and I am certainly not the center (fringe?) of their world. Working hard. Trying to build relationships one at a time. And showing how I can help them. It is slow and hard. But so far, I love it. You nailed the truth.

  • Hannah Moyer

    Something that definitely needs to be said! Interestingly enough, I often get stuck in the rut of Imposter Syndrome, and don’t believe my skills are any good. There’s a balance between realizing that you’re one in a sea of millions on social media, but then also that you do have skills and something going for you. (Whatever that might be for the individual.)

  • Nancy Lawshae

    Ahhh, finally a truth teller! Thanks much Jeff, I needed the fresh air!

  • So true, Jeff. There is no substitute for hard work and real relationships – on or off the internet.

  • Eric Ward

    Thank you, Jeff, for “Get Rich Quick Schemes, Instant Fame, and Other Lies from the Internet”, confirming some ancient truths that are rooted along the ‘humble path’. It is not for one to boast and promote ideas stemming from a life thus far lived. Our steps tread with noise and imprint upon the path. What are these impacts doing for those who’d follow us? Your insights serve to remind, if we keep looking to see who’s following, we eventually trip ourselves on our own path. There are lessons in the missteps if we don’t get hung up and entangled within the obstacles for ‘fear’ of how we may appear. I’m following your “Guide to Building an Audience” as well, so I can better understand how to focus my passions for writing, sculpting, and illustrating. These are the ‘children’ I work to nurture and the resulting enthusiasm they ignite within. Hope this message finds you on your continual path of striving towards thriving…that joy-of-process you touch upon!

  • mishypic

    Agreed. Being a Personal Trainer I find that I can spot the “get rich quick” schemes even faster than some due to the fact that the diet industry is full of these scams. Luckily, I think there are many of us that, with your help, are becoming savvy enough to spot them. Looking forward to hearing more in the series!

  • Tom Watts

    Very good points Jeff. Admittedly I only found your blog recently, but so far I’ve found it very insightful and I have signed up to this offer.

    I’ve been thinking more and more about this recently. How to appear more trustworthy and official to new visitors. It’s a tough battle and undoubtedly a long one too!

    It’s hard to find a balance between over promising and under selling yourself and unfortunately you only really get one shot at it online.

    I think the more you write, the more you give for free, the more you show that you know, the more people will value your work. Add value to someone’s life and they’ll reward you for doing so.

    I’m workin hard on making that more of a reality for my blog. I have a plan, but I’m interested to see the suggestions in your course.


  • Charles S Areson

    Now, now Jeff. You can lose 100 pounds in 8 minutes, it just most people prefer to keep all their arms and legs.
    Which is a good thing, now that I think about it.

    This article is very interesting since I just wrote a small blog on Titles which promise to give us the “key” to everything we want and it’s not a simple key. It’s a lifestyle and continuing work, not something you do once, like turning a key, and forget it.

    Great stuff here Gions keep it up. Maybe someone will finally recognize you. 😉 Lol.

  • Jon Lokhorst

    I wouldn’t put it in the category of “lies,” but the online learning space seems to be getting more crowded, and more difficult to discern what is truly worth investing in. There are so many players and they are often intertwined via affiliate agreements. A common theme is having an impact (and making money, of course) through some form of online business.

    It reminds me of the era when more people were making money by teaching people how to make money in real estate than there were people making money in real estate. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff?

    That being said, I’ve come to trust Jeff Goins over the past six months of getting to know him (in the virtual world, anyway). I’m partway through both the Tribe Writers and Intentional Blogging courses. I highly recommend them as worthwhile for anyone pursuing a writing career or something else for which writing will be a significant component.

    • Thanks, Jon. I agree. It’s starting to get noisy. Thanks for your trust. I don’t take it lightly.

  • Carol Tice

    LOVE this post. I love it when people want to know how many hours I work on my blog. I always say, “You don’t want to hear the answer to that!” Because for 2.5 years the answer was pretty much EVERY WAKING HOUR. I didn’t watch a TV show, go to a movie, go out to eat. I built my blog.

    If folks wonder why EVERYBODY isn’t a super-successful blogger, it’s because everybody isn’t willing to put in the work — to learn what your audience needs and then deliver it, to design and redesign your blog for better usability, and on and on.

    • Well said, Carol. I love your work ethic.

  • Jeremy

    It seems like everyone has the answer and that they are trying the same things. Everything is predictable.

  • Pure honesty Jeff, love it! When people ask me about the work to be done here they are taken aback by the hours I put in…at least the hours I put in when I started. and I WANT IN TO TRIBE WRITERS! =)

  • Evelyn

    Another lie… Suicide is not against God’s law. It’s against
    man’s law because dead people can’t pay taxes.

  • Caroline Starr Rose

    Children’s author Marion Dane Bauer wrote a blog post a few months ago that has been gold to me. One of the many things that has stuck with me is this:

    “I never forgot serendipity or assumed special deserving. A fellow author traveling the speaking circuit once said to me, ‘If you begin to think these awards / invitations are important, just ask your hosts who they invited / awarded last year, and watch them struggle to remember.”

    A good reminder it’s the work that brings the satisfaction, not the adulation.

  • Man Jeff, I think I just realized that you’re kind of a crazy guy – like me. Coming up with the opposite side to still implement truth. Clever! Sometimes I find myself wanting to do the opposite or something crazy to throw the system off for a loop – but always wonder if it’ll work or if it would be a disaster. Well, thanks for posting – great article! Looking forward to the videos.

  • Maria Healey

    I think we all need this reality check reminder every once in a while. I like to keep in mind that I don’t have to have all of my success right now and that the things most worth doing are not easy. They take time.

  • If you can be real Jeff – and you are – you’ll do just fine. You are genuine. I am self deprecating, knowing I’ve fooled enough folks to blog from paradise. Now I share how I got here, how I effed up in the past and how I still screw up now, even as I live in the tropics. Sure I have a cool life but my message is always, if I can do this, anybody who can relax, chill, create value, make connections and detach from outcomes, just a bit, can live a fab life. Love your message Jeff. Here’s to spreading transparency, honesty and humility among the blogging world.


  • Spot on, Jeff. Just today I was having a conversation with another blogger. The other blogger was warning me that using negative (but truthful) statements in posts will result in not being able to monetize. You know, “This isn’t true, that doesn’t exist.” I disagree… and I personally appreciate and applaud straight talk. Great post. And if anyone reading this is on the fence about joining Tribe Writers… get off the fence. It’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your online career. Smart, smart stuff.

  • Caroline DePalatis

    Excellent approach, Jeff! Sometimes we only see the shiny product and we think, “Why can’t I have that, do that, etc.?” What we don’t often see is the days, weeks, months, YEARS of hard work that go into honing your craft and developing content that adds value to people’s lives. It’s a process, much like raising a kid. Sometimes you have no idea how you did (especially through the teen years) until they get older and let you know how much they appreciate the home and family you nurtured. I’ve got two in college now and though I’m still paying out (much!), the rewards in terms of affirmation are starting to come! I suspect there’s a powerful parallel here. 🙂

  • Mel Spinella

    Very good insight, Jeff. With marketing, they intentionally neglect to mention the work required to obtain the promise they are selling. And unfortunately, they know they will appeal to the masses that want instant gratification. If they told the truth, they would have to sale the pain with the pleasure and well, that would never work. So, they appeal to the seeds of greatness inside anyone willing to fall prey to their deception. Thus, the deceived go season after season pursuing empty promises without producing any fruit. It’s a very profitable hamster wheel of failure. Thank you for addressing this and promoting honesty and integrity in the marketplace and showing others there is a better path!

  • Danie Botha

    Once again, a refreshing and transparent post, Jeff!
    Have to agree with Ryan Biddulph–it’s time the marketing/online world learn from bloggers, writers & authors–it’s actually greatly appreciated if you’re honest with us. Give it to your audience (reader) straight. Don’t underestimate their intelligence. Sugar coating and half-truths last but so long.
    If you want long-term loyal following and support; be transparent, be honest, be clear. Don’t BS/misrepresent in order to make a quick buck or ten. You won’t scare us by telling it’s going to be hard, hard, hard work, or, no, its not really free.
    That’s okay. We’re here for the long run; to learn, to help, to give and to support one another.
    Thanks. Great post, Jeff!

  • Donna Freedman

    No single marketing lie, but rather the collective one: That anyone can get rich online, and if you don’t there must be something wrong with you. But wait! It’ll all be OK, because there’s yet *another* marketing class/e-book/”secret formula” that will show you the road to riches.

    I don’t doubt that some people are making money online. But the fact that it’s presented as so simple leads those who don’t instantly strike it rich to think that it’s ALL a lie. It isn’t. People can and do succeed in following their dreams, but it takes work.

    That’s one reason people appreciate your work, Jeff: You’re up-front about the work it takes to succeed. The other reason people appreciate your work? You’re also up-front about the great personal rewards to be had when doing your best work, and generous with what you’ve learned about that journey.

  • Mushambi John Mutuma

    Thanks for the hard truths Jeff! Needed to be said and read!

    Following you has been a priceless investment, keep it up!

  • Ouch, but so true! Tribe Writers is the best course of its kind on the internet. You can quote me on that. You should be proud.

  • Josh Margulies

    LOVE your message Jeff. Connecting people falling for insane promises to their lack of humility…simply brilliant! Their irrational amygdala tells them the world owes them fame and fortune. Your message is grounded, rational, and screams the truth. My prefrontal cortex is overdosing on wisdom right now 🙂

  • Katie Tully Curtis

    I totally agree with this. I think worrying about social media is the biggest fear generator, and zaps creativity. Also, everyone is copying each other. Also, so much is illusion. Good writing is about truth, social media is not.

  • Thanks for the truth Jeff. Cant wait for the series to start as well. When my dad and I talked as a kid the one thing he always told me was…” No one owes you a living” If you want something bad enough you must work for it. Of all the advice he ever gave I have always remembered that.

  • Emily Tjaden

    So glad to finally see someone telling the truth about these things. Thank you, Jeff! This was a great post, and I will definitely be sharing it with all of my blogging friends. It’s easy to get so focused on your social media numbers and statistics, when really, they are much less significant than we make them.

    I was listening to a podcast the other day about the entitlement mindset we have, and the truth is that nobody is entitled to any outcome. The only thing you are entitled to is the ability to try. So thank you for this.

  • Jonathan Lenahan

    The point “Nobody cares about you” is well-worth sharing. It’s the internet. They might care about the article you’ve posted, but the person behind the posting? Less so. It’s only after you’ve done that innumerable times that readers start caring about the person behind the words and advice.

    In the end, it’s hard work combined with smart work. Always has been, always will be.

    Good post.

    • I agree with this comment as a committed contributor to this thread. I would say that it does really say some useful points that could be considered when reading pages online. It tells a few interesting things.

  • Susan

    I keep staying with your emails and articles cause I think you’re an honest person. I’ve gotten involved with a few others that, by now, are boring me to death cause of their quick this and quick that. I’m glad for their success, but I’m not built like that and am tired of all the “if you’ll join my course” and “buy this and you’ll make…” and so on and so forth. I’ve got so much to read right now, I don’t know how I’m going to read it all, but I’m trying. But you’re different. I like that. You have integrity which I don’t hear in many of the others. You’ll keep going…where I believe, they’ll eventually fade away. Thanks for the honesty.

  • YES!!! Love it when you’re debunking myths, Jeff. I call people like you creative rebels and it is my pleasure to be a part of your tribe and a huge fan. Can’t wait for the series!!!

    P.S. “The Internet has spoiled us.” Too. True. I act like a spoiled brat every day and have to stop, slap myself in the face, and learn how to be humble. The struggle is real.

  • Thanks Jeff, appreciate you holding a light to see through this tunnel

  • Some of those marketing promotions you might hear about or get letters sent to you that are written to explain things that are worth learning and they might propose claims such as this “This is the place to get a make or break opportunity that nobody should miss that could be the one single step that can be taken to change your life” or “You won’t find this deal anywhere else”. These things are bound to get anybody who reads them to arouse their suspicions on the matters that have been given to them because they don’t trust what they’re hearing. If you make claims that you want people to aspire to or take reference from perhaps they should be totally upfront and categorically correct so that people will follow them for what it means.

  • Chris McDonald

    I hate the lies too! What a breathe of fresh air. Thank you!

  • Cathe Swanson

    The lie that bothers me most is the promise that one can become rich and
    powerful even if they don’t have anything meaningful to share, teach or
    sell. We are told to start applying the marketing principles and then
    “throw together” some sort of freebie to give away as an email signup
    incentive – without having anything of value with which to follow it
    up. There are hundreds of marketing gurus and leadership/writing coaches
    out there, and they tell people to write a book. So now there are
    thousands of people writing books on marketing, social media,
    self-publishing, leadership… all rehashing the same material. Even the
    book covers look the same. It is a lie that you can be successful
    long-term if you aren’t creating an original, quality product
    (idea/teaching) of some kind. Consumers aren’t stupid

  • Kevin Obermeyer

    People are more willing to give up their money than their time, and I’m amazed at how much more. People will pay for convenience. If you can help them in some way, even make mundane tasks easier and more convenient, people will pay you big money for it. You’re never told that. Instead it always feels like you have to reinvent the wheel in some new and spectacular way.

  • Great video. You are right – success is not easy. In fact, usually it’s freaking hard. I like your point about the value of work – work can make us stronger, resilient, better at solving problems, and resourceful.

    Many people would rather just throw money at some useless program, biz opp or guru thinking somehow the mere act of transferring the money from their pocket to someone else’s, will miraculously transform their life. It may, but only if they ‘man up’ and put in the grunt work, which is always a prerequisite for success.

    Add me to your tribe

  • Jo Higgins Michael

    You are singing the song of my heart!

  • Goodness gracious Jeff, you always say the things everyone else is afraid to write about – or even talk about. THANK YOU for being so real. I agree about how Internet Fame can lie to people about how not so famous they are. I loved Jon Acuffs talk at WDS and really wanted to meet him – but as you know – I need to stop myself sometimes not to make a complete fool out of myself. I just get too excited. Anyway, as I was standing to the side observing Jon and his wife and how people run up to him to meet him. Well, he reached out his hand to shake hands with a fan and said “My name is Jon, so good to meet you” I was floored. Doesn’t EVERYONE already know who he is?! Especially after his talk?! That just said SO much about him. I totally respect that. I’m looking forward to the video series! Blessings to you and your family!

  • I would rather accept a hard truth than a cold lie.

  • Building a reputation on the internet takes time…it took me 10 years to build one in music journalism…i started publishing books in 2012…i am working on my author reputation. I keep working on it every day and i keep writing and promoting…I will make it:)

  • Brian Talbot

    Hey Jeff,
    I am a Canadian and I have heard of you. Not only that, I am one of your Tribe Writers working through the course. It really helps!
    Thanks, Brian

  • Sometimes I think it takes both sides to manage expectations. Sometimes consumers see the next shiny new thing and their expectations are unrealistic. They may not understand the work and energy that goes into something before they are knee deep. Then businesses try to draw in consumers without managing expectations. They only demonstrate one side of the coin. We glamorize and make things seem easy. It is the job of the consumer to look at advertising and marketing skeptically and the job of the business to deliver value and transparency.

  • Totally heard of you. And actually, I’m glad success doesn’t come overnight. Otherwise, none of us would ever make it. Thank you getting us to focus back on the work (The Art of Work).

  • Amen! Amen! Amen! The lies are exactly why so many people start and then quit in a matter of days, weeks, or months. Approaching anything online needs to be done so with caution and a huge amount of patience. Looking forward to the videos, Jeff, and thank you as always for what you share.

  • Though it’s a mainstay of marketing in today’s world, fatigue of the bait ‘n switch is setting in for me. Every offer of help or value from the experts and gurus seems to come with an ask. Not everyone, not always, but so, so often. It’s hard to fully trust someone who says their intention is to serve when they’re just waiting to pitch their course. There is nothing wrong with selling a product. I’ve done and do. But if our intention is to sell, I think we should be honest about it, proud of what we have to offer, and resist the temptation to promise free! free! free! when we actually hope they’ll buy! buy! buy!

  • Hi Jeff,
    You are sooo right about this. So many people, including myself in the past, have been led down the garden path believing that Internet Marketing is the easiest thing in the world to do to make money.

    It’s not! It requires the same kind of mental and emotional grit that starting and succeeding at any business requires.

    Thanks for this piece and all the best. Have a super week everyone.

  • Jeff, I am Canadian. I know you and am a raving fan!

  • Tyerone Johnson

    Spot on post Jeff. Everyone is so quick to look for some sort of shortcut to success, but the truth is it takes a ton of hard work, talent, skill, determination, and luck to succeed.

  • Trudy

    I’ve been self employed since 1980 BEFORE the Internet. I’ve owned both bricks and mortar businesses and been a consultant/ coach. Now that use of the Internet is ubiquitous, one can find whatever course you “want” to buy.

    I’ve always applied my 35 years of knowledge and experience doing “live” business to doing “online” business ….. AND so I don’t believe everything I read. If an offer seems too good to be true then of course it is!!!

    • Trudy, with 35 years of business experience, we should all be learning from you. great one, nice meeting you

  • “After years of failing with get rich quick schemes I just know I’m going to get rich with this scheme, and quick!” -Homer Simpson

    I just felt like I had to post that quote after reading this excellent article.

  • How do you decide or when do you decide to post on medium? I just noticed that some of the articles I read, I’ve read on your blog before. Just curious.