Your Earnings Mean Nothing To Me

Last week when I made the infographic with the real make money online system, I poked fun at a number of current practices in the Internet Marketing world. One of them is to show exact earnings numbers on sales pages.

These numbers are meaningless to me, and they are meaningless to you.

Here's why.

I'm working on a niche site strategy course that will be going live pretty soon. Before actually deciding to do this course – which will be directed coaching rather than a traditional information product – I asked a few of my peeps a question – did I need to state exactly how much I'm making from my niche sites.

I got a few interesting answers that boil down to a few key points.

Your Niche Is Not My Niche

How many factors go into having a successful niche site? 10, 100, 1000? A ton. Success also heavily depends on the person behind it, even moreso than anything else. And here's the thing – what happens if I pick a really awesome niche – one with desperate buyers looking for the cure to what ails them – and you pick a dud, one where people won't buy anything? Does that make my system a failure? I got awesome results.

I won't use psychology on you in order to sell you on my stuff. The real deal is that some niches turn out better than others, despite the keyword research. That's why I recommend using paid strategies to quickly validate the niche. Some money spent now can save you months of time and money later.


I consider myself very lucky – I'm a geek. And being a geek I quickly figure out how a technology works and use it to my advantage. But not everyone is a geek.

If you aren't a geek you have two options:

  1. Take the time to learn and implement the technologies that can help you move faster; or
  2. Outsource it to someone else

Depends on how much time and money you have on your hands.

So let's say you consider yourself a technology dunce, and need everything explained to you in detail. That's isn't good or bad, it's just the way some people are.

My Dad is a fantastic attorney (now retired) and can recite historical facts all day; but, he can barely use a computer and just started sending email. If my Dad, for some reason, were to get into online marketing, he would need some serious hand-holding. So unless he had the time to wait for the money to come in, he would have to pay to outsource the work, if he wanted to quickly.

The Ultimate Test: Are You Afraid To Fail?

Some people run into setbacks and it paralyzes them. Others take the lessons as they come, and apply it to their next endeavor.

Which are you?

The answer to that is the biggest determinant of your success in building niche sites. I mean, what happens if a niche turns out to be total garbage?

Will you consider the system and failure and never try again, or will you apply what you know and have learned with another niche?

Will you crawl into the corner and give up, or will you talk with some folks, alter your strategy, and get back at it?

Do you have a positive mindset, or a negative one?

It makes all the difference.

Things don't always work out. But the great news is that there are ways to find out sooner rather than later, and you can hedge your bets. If you have more than one site, if one turns out to be a dud, you have the others.

Regardless, mindset counts for much more than most of us are willing to admit to.

So Will I Show You The Money?

One person put it best when he said, “I don't need an exact figure, but I need to know it made someone money.” A very valid point in the world of business.

How many products have you seen where they make up some numbers that look really great, something like this scenario:

  • Your product sells for $9.95
  • 1 per day = $9.95
  • 5 per day = $49.75
  • 10 per day = $99.50
  • If you sell 10 per day at $9.95 each then you'll be making $2,985 per month!

OMGWTFBBQ! I want to make $3k a month – I'm going to buy this like right now right now!

Yeah not so much. How many factors contribute to the success of something? Right. Oh, and you want traffic with that? Oh sorry, that's extra, quite a bit extra.

But Rob, Aren't You Going To Be Selling Me A Product?

As I type this post it makes me reconsider whether or not I should sell a product, or if I should continue building out my network of sites, helping clients make money with these strategies, and talking with my circle of cohorts. I mean, do I really have to use all these techniques to make a sale? Do I have to promise some exact dollar figure to sell you on a strategy that I know works on many levels?

Currently in Internet Marketing land it seems so. But is it as effective for me to tell you plainly that I can help you determine if a niche will be profitable, and it will cost you a little to do so? Or, is it more effective for me to just sell you on the results I've gotten under my very specific set of circumstances, a set of circumstances that you won't apply to your situation?

What Do You Think?

I've gone on for long enough – I'm looking to know what you think of all this?

Are you fed up with the current state of things out there? Are you ready for a dose of reality? Do you think others are? Or do you think the selling of false promises will continue to be standard issue?

Let's discuss it below in the comments.

I'll see you there.

Discover a proven system you can use in any niche


  1. Robert,
    I subscribe to the Harvard Business Review because my philosophy says that intelligent business principles are applicable in all areas of my life (relationships, health, achievement you name it) and that’s why I read your blog. Obviously you are an expert in your field and what you share with your readers is also extremely valuable in other areas of life. “The Ultimate Test: Are You Afraid To Fail” is right on and puts failure into proper perspective. As Churchill said “If you want to double your rate of success double your rate of failure”. If you are not failing you aren’t doing anything new with your life. Another area that you blogs help me to remember is the importance of measuring and quantifying results sometimes I get a little lax on that one and pay the price.

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      HBR has a lot of great articles to be sure, and I agree that many business principles are very applicable to life in general – in both cases we’re involved with other people in one fashion or another.

      As for failure I think it’s about having the right attitude towards it. If you’re afraid to miss the mark you don’t try, and therefore you don’t learn, thus moving backwards – there are only two directions to move. However if you go into something with the attitude that no matter what you’ll learn something, you put goals into place, metrics on those goals, measure as you go, and adjust as necessary as you move ahead, the chance of success is much greater.

      Thanks for another great comment Riley, you really add to the conversation and I appreciate it.

  2. Hi Robert,

    The time to “buy” the information we need is NOW! While we’re trying to figure it out for ourselves our competition is DOING IT! They’re making the sales that should be OURS, while we’re still at square one. Unless we change this misguided thinking we will not last.

    My business model is 2 parts consultant, focused on strategy, and 1 part coach, the kick your butt type, I can tell you that regardless of the niche, resources, guidance, and everything else, some people are just bound to fail. If you know your products and services are good, and they are, then sell them!

    And with the success I’ve reached through your products and services, I’m buying everything you sell! Thanks for being a geek so I can concentrate on my business…

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      I really appreciate the recommendation Lauri, many thanks. You have helped me quite a bit too and can highly recommend you to those I know, that can handle the truth of things.

      A positive mental attitude certainly counts for a heck of a lot in business and as a contributor to success. Without that, you lose.

  3. Hey Robert, awesome post as always. This post really speak my mind as these ‘internet marketeers’ usually focuses on the $$ side of things – using dolar signs to cover up the actual work / preparation / skills / knowledge underneath. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Very good point. I find that there is always a ton of work to be done but they *never* tell you that. Very lame and shady in my opinion. Again it’s a numbers game – fail for the customers.

  4. I dont know if you’ve always been a rock star or this started when I began paying attention to you but last couple of months your posts have been really really amazing and compelling.

    Great points made…loved the way you presented them….rock on 🙂

    • Dino, you stole the words right out of my mouth.

      Rob, have you decided on how many people to limit this to? Anyway, last set of posts has been quite entertaining and amazing. Where the heck are you on Skype today?

      • Robert Dempsey says:

        Hi Moon thank you as well for the kind words. You guys are awesome and inspire me with your drive and asskickery! That’s what it’s all about!

        As for the program thing, I’m thinking 5 tops as I want to really help people through it all.

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Thanks Dino I really appreciate your kind words. Now if you would do me a favor and tear apart some more commercials all will be right with the world again.

      • So here is the thing about commercials…Im having a hard time finding the ones that are done well. I keep coming across these TV spots that are doing everything wrong…and I can rip them apart, but that doesnt have a generative quality of any sort…it makes me look mean and it makes them look like shit.

        But I promise you, Im looking…and if you come across one, lemme know brother 🙂

        • Robert Dempsey says:

          Haha touche. If I find one in English I’ll be sure to send it your way. Some of the commercials here in Thailand are short music video-esque things. Totally off the hook.

  5. Hi Rob:

    I really like your post. And yep, I’m ready for a dose of reality. As a writer/marketer who dived into social media for my employer just a few months ago, I’ve come across SO many people (or bots) who only have snake oil to sell or lots of well-worded hype with nothing to back it up.

    Succeeding in social media or marketing — and especially both — takes hard work and serious time for all but a very lucky few. You’re absolutely right that a positive mindset and persistence makes a huge difference.

    I admire and appreciate your honesty, and I will be following you and your writing!

    Thanks so much, @kamkansas

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Thanks for your comment Kathy I will follow you on Twitter as soon a I reply to your comment.

      Chris Brogan, one of the people I really look up to, had a great series on his site called the overnight success series. When I got a chance to interview him we discussed that, and how people thought he came out of nowhere to be popular, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He hit critical mass after 10 years of massive action. 10 years! Now I don’t think it takes 10 years nowadays as we have an unparalleled ability to connect with people (social media, blogging, in person, Skype, phone, etc.), but there is no doubt it takes a lot of work.

      Don’t be fooled by the people that make it seem easy – they’ve hit their stride, found out what works the best for them, and have systems in place to scale. That and/or they have a team behind them as well handling some of the work.

  6. Hi Robert,

    I am actually a newbie when it comes to niche marketing. I have never tried it, but I have been thinking of it for a while. So, I am glad that you are teaching this, because I am going to follow you closely.

    I agree with Mark, that it doesn’t pay to be a douchebag. But, on the other hand, I receive a lot of email every single day from well-known marketers that are sending short messages about buying their stuff. It’s hard to understand how they are earning money by marketing this way, but apparently they are… it’s probably because of their huge lists.

    I don’t like to look at figures. I am never impressed, until I actually know the person and understand that I can trust him or her. There are too easy to fake a clickbank check 🙂

    – Jens

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Today I unsubscribed from about 15 email lists. As you say it’s pitch after pitch after pitch – frankly really f*ing annoying. I removed my email list from this site because frankly it doesn’t give me the flexibility I want and I wasn’t able to offer the value to the subscribers. So it’s gone. I agree that most likely it is a big numbers game with these people – very sad as that’s extremely ineffective and impersonal.

      And oh yes, you can fake those earnings numbers. What is that saying about statistics, they can be skewed to fit what you want to say? Right…

  7. Hi Robert — thanks for stopping by my blog today and sharing a piece of your mind there.

    I didn’t read your blog before I commented back and I had told Gini Dietrich you must be a techy who sleeps at their computer to put in 20 hour days… pretty close eh???

    I’m looking forward to learning from you along the journey, thanks for reaching out.

    My short reply to your message in this post is — it doesn’t pay to be a douchebag. You can’t build long term value or a sustainable business this way. Your reputation is on the line here. A few bucks isn’t worth trashing your online reputation.

    I think as the social web continues to grow and mature, it will be much harder for idiots to profit online, at least I would like to believe it will be that way.

    The other side of the same coin is there will always be lazy people looking for the easy buck and buying false promises and fairy-tale dreams. (head shake)

    Again, thanks for the connect Robert, it’s much appreciated : )

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Thanks for coming Mark and for the discussions on your blog. You are very perceptive – I’m a techie turned business person + marketer; I’m a big jumble.

      I remember going to marketing meetings where people were wondering what the “rules of social media” were. I told them it’s like in people-space, only if you’re an ass everyone will know. That’s bearing out. And I too hope that it will help Darwin out the fast money people that don’t care about the folks they serve. I’m thinking it’s all a matter of time before a form of social natural selection takes root.

  8. I’ve never been a fan of ‘buy my ebook – earn your dream’ stuff its bull in can. The method might work, the ebook may be worth its weight in gold if printed, though information I feel should be feely given, unless of course expert advice, (consultants and the such). Therefore I like ‘training schemes’ the info is there but help with the implementation…..learn by doing….that is what will make you hit gold. Practice, that is invaluable, that is what should be paid for and if the ‘guru’ is as good as he says he’d have no problem saying.

    I will help you pick / fine tune a niche, your method and show you how I do it so you get a profit on the site, or I’ll buy that site you make off you for your initial entrance fee. That is a course I would gladly jump on.

    On two side notes; you mention your fathers an retired attorney where did he practice?
    and secondly yours in one of odd 3/4 blogs I read the post of when I see it pop up on my phone. Issue being my blackberry is not playing nice with your JS menus for I recommend/consulting/products, think it points to or similar. I’m not to technically inclined to suggest how it can be fixed (or should be) just thought I’d point it out.

    Cheers Don

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Hi Don many great points on the products. You are asking for a very strong guarantee that frankly goes beyond what is under someone’s control. For instance, I coached a number of software teams in the past, and despite my best efforts to help them improve, they didn’t get as far as they could have because typically a manager was playing politics and the team was stymied. I don’t think it’s possible to 100% guarantee results unless you are doing all of the work – you never know the work ethic or actual financial capability of someone going into something like this, or their stubborn refusal to take your advice, even if they paid for it. And yes, I’m a consultant now.

      Having said that, the program that I’m launching next week will be for a small group, and will be showing/doing/helping etc. I have some videos coming on that though so no need to get into it here.

      As for my father, he worked for the US Justice Department in the employment litigation section. I’m very proud of him as he used to sue states on behalf of the federal government for discriminating against women and minorities (and I’m not talking affirmative action here).

      As for your BlackBerry, I use a plugin so that the site shows up on iPhones correctly, but based on what you said it must not like your BlackBerry very much. I’ll see if there’s a way to fix that – I’d be curious to know.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation on this one.

  9. Hey Rob,

    I don’t have much time so I will make this brief.

    Hmm, well that sounds dire – everything is fine…just busy…

    Anyway, this is something that I have been thinking about. Gurus and promises of tons of cash have always seemed odd to me, so I have not been suckered in. But, to be fair, it would not be hard to be.

    The gurus have gotten quite good with Photoshop, and they do use very convincing words (at least, they say what someone who is desperate for money wants to hear). People who sell used cars can make a living, so it makes sense that these guys can, do, and will.

    The truth is that, no two businesses are ever going to be the same. No single process will handle more than one situation perfectly. Sure, there are commonalities. Those things that all niche sites have in common and what works for all of them are well documented. The individual differences though; that is where the money (your product’s differentiation) seems to be.

    Learning to be creative enough to find a solution is the key to success in my opinion. Unless what you are doing is similar to a making the same product over and over (factory style), there is always a need to learn what works.

    Your plan sounds like it will be much more benefitial to your users than a single ebook could be. Good luck!

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      I’m glad to hear you’re busy and not dying Mark. When things settle down let’s catch up on Skype.

      I agree that you start with the commonalities and then customize what you have to suit you. I think it’s imperative that people learn as many strategies as possible so they know how best to mix and match. The one caveat in that statement is that you continue to learn and always take action, rather than learn learn learn and do nothing. Without action all the learning in the world is a waste of time.

  10. Anyone involved in internet marketing knows those sales tactics are full of crap and don’t fall for it. It is meant to prey on the ignorant and it obviously works or else those marketers wouldn’t use these tactics anymore. Once anyone becomes a little more savvy they come to realize the BS behind those sales figures.

    Honesty is always the best policy.

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      How long does it take for someone to become “a little more savvy” I wonder? I have met people that have gotten nabbed by these tactics many times over. I think that perhaps they are overly hopeful and get caught up depending on their situation.

      Either way it’s amazing to me that so many do still use them even when they have a more savvy crowd. I’ve also seen “what if” type earnings scenarios as well and rank those among tactics like these. It’s selling a dream without telling people what it will actually take. Sad state of affairs really Lonnie.

      • I’m honestly surprised to hear that there are “savvy” people out there who fall for these pie-in-the-sky tactics. It really shouldn’t take anyone long at all to figure out what is BS tactics and what isn’t because there is so much information available. But there is a segment of the population that WANT to believe all it takes to hit it big is to cough up a few (hundred) bucks (like someone who plays the lotto every day) and there will be marketers out there who will cater to that.

        So, instead of trying to convert the masses Robert, you keep being the honest, awesome blogger/internet marketer that you are and the right audience will find you.

        Will things change eventually? Possibly. But you or I can’t control that. We do our thing, they do theirs, you sleep easy at night knowing that you are truly helping people who want it .

        • Robert Dempsey says:

          Let me qualify that then as people can be super smart at one thing and horrible at the next. I’m horrible with directions – never ask me for them. So people might be savvy in non-marketing areas, and still be lulled into these. I think unless you’ve been in business for a time and have studied marketing, or been around Internet Marketing for a bit, these tactics can work. Sales still work, “50% Off” still works, though generally its ceasing to work as the population in general has been inundated with it for years, having their buttons pushed.

          As for me, I sleep very well at night, when I do sleep 😛

  11. Thanks for the honesty Robert. I am very interested in hearing more and unfortunately, I am just starting out with social media marketing, have so much to learn. I have a voice and a message, not a product. i really want to help others and make a difference, but I also need to monetize. Look forward to hearing more form you. Love the tweets and blogs. Oh yeah, and thanks for my first reply on Twitter ! Yeah, Baby !! Keep up the great work.


    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Hi Al I wouldn’t say “unfortunately” in terms of you being new. What are you interested to know? Perhaps I can line up some posts for you.

  12. There’s my buddy Robert, telling it like it REALLY is once again. That’s why I enjoy your blog so much Robert. No fluff, no crap, no lies… Just the plain truth from someone who does this for a living. Which is why I KNOW you can really help a lot of people who struggle with exactly what you are saying. The people who are motivated, who REALLY want to learn how to do this properly, who want to take the time and learn the right way so they can build a business that will last. You can help them because you won’t blow smoke up their rear ends (trying to be nice here). There really are people online today that are tired of the lies and really just want honest answers. You are exactly the right person to give it to them.

    So thank you for this post Robert and thanks for your honesty! You are one in a million…


  13. Hi Rob

    I like the way you approach things. Telling it like it is, NOT necessarily just what people want to hear! I am not impressed with being shown figures. Lots of the so-called “gurus” do that and how do we know it’s for real anyway! And I reckon lots of people are getting fed up with the empty promises too!

    Good point you make about a niche may make you money but using the exact same system, if I picked a dud niche then I definitely won’t make that sort of money that you make.

    When I did a blogging course, one of the reasons I signed up was because the coach was honest enough to say not to join if we thought it was going to be instant success, as there is no silver bullet. He told us it would be hard work and take time. How right he was LOL Such a different approach to all the scammers I had bumped into previously.

    So, with your plans I believe people will go for it as you are not giving empty promises and if they bother to visit your blog and read your posts they will realise that you know what you are talking about.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Robert Dempsey says:

      Wow thanks a ton Patricia. I’m really glad to hear you are making those sales! Fantastico. I’m glad to hear you didn’t get scammed on the blogging course – it is indeed quite a bit of work but it can also be a lot of fun. I can only imagine all of the relationships you are forming with your massive action networking and commenting you do. Keep focus and keep going.

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