Memo from a Pink Kool-aid Drinker

PerryMarketing Blog, Not on Homepqage126 Comments

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A very frustrated woman wrote to me on my blog and I’m going to show you her note in a minute.

Me drinking pink koolaid
Me Drinking
Pink Koolaid

But before I do, a quick bullet:

  • If I were to do what a lot of guys do – and teach newbies that the way to make a lot of money on the Internet is by being my affiliate and selling my products – I would be committing some kind of crime.

(A lot of people teach this, and since there’s an endless supply of newbies, a lot of people going through the revolving door get taken advantage of.)

Yes I have a good affiliate program, and yes my products sell well, but:

If you don’t have an established market presence already, it may make you lunch money but it’s not going to be megabucks. Might be good target practice, but it ain’t going to make you rich.

Same is true of ANY other program or product you might promote. You have to 1) know how to play the game, and 2) enter a niche you can actually compete in.

Today I’m going to give you some straight talk about:

1) How ordinary real people get scammed out of their money online, and

2) How ordinary real people actually make money online, or in any new business for that matter.

I don’t endorse very many other peoples’ products, especially “beginner” products. Much of what I deliver is designed for marketers who already ‘get it.’

Onward to Gia’s cry for help.

I got this very frustrated blog comment from Gia, a woman who has attempted all the usual stuff ‘they’ teach you about how to make money on the Internet:

I’m tired of trying, I really am. What’s left to do? I’m wondering. You are very good with what you do, and I know you’ve made a bundle, but little entrepreneurs like me, nothing, absolutely nothing! No matter what the product or ebook cost, I’ve never seen the profits. And it took me this long to read this email, because I’m loaded with emails, about 5000 of them actually, so I read them slowly to make sure I get some type of benefits, and so far nothing! No matter how very well I follow the instructions. I’m starting to believe they are all over sold out and outdated products.

Gia Lactchman, Brooklyn, NY

Here’s what I wrote back to her:


I looked at your website, and if the general gist of what I see there is indicative of what you’re doing, I can tell you exactly what the problem is.

The problem is you’re selling “how to make money on the Internet” information, and that’s how you’re attempting to succeed online.

There is a whole host of problems with that:

1) If you do this the way you’ve probably been taught, it’s nothing but a glorified chain letter.

2) You haven’t succeeded yourself, so you have no business teaching others how to succeed.

3) This general ‘get rich on the Internet’ topic is one of the most competitive categories in e-commerce, period. Telling a regular guy off the street he can get rich on the Internet by showing other people how to get rich on the Internet is like telling your grandmother that she can go down to the local martial arts dojang, take on 3 black belts at one time and kick their ass.

Fat chance. The marketing and make-money niche is a game for razor sharp, A-level marketers. Not for entry level people.

All that happens to entry level people is, one way or another their money ends up in the hands of razor sharp, A-level marketers and you have nothing to show for it. All kinds of razor sharp, A-level marketers take advantage of this fact without the slightest twinge of guilt.

(Their rationalization for exploiting peoples’ ignorance is: “Well if I don’t take their money they’ll just waste it on some other equally stupid thing.” Well hey, it’s not like they’re exactly wrong about that…even piranhas have their rightful place in the food chain, right? Hey pal, I’m just saying, if you’re not a piranha, don’t swim with them. Find a pond that just has regular frogs and dragonflies and hang out there.)

4) Carbon copying other peoples’ product is a doomed strategy, no matter what niche you’re in. Sure you might try to be the guy who makes El Cheapo knockoff products in China and sure, some people make a lot of money doing that, but the bottom line is: If you don’t have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) then sooner or later you’re dead.

My advice to you:

Abandon this niche entirely. Stop selling “get rich” stuff.

Stop selling “how to market stuff on the Internet” stuff.

Do a thorough inventory of yourself and your knowledge and your skills.

Relax. Stop striving to “Get Rich” and just make ONE DOLLAR first. A modest goal. One dollar of honest profit that you can be proud of.

Find some OTHER niche (hey, there are only a MILLION other things you could sell on the Internet – yes, literally a million). Find some other product to sell. Find something that has NOTHING to do with making money on the Internet.

Maybe there’s some odd thing you collect, like pink flamingos or wrought iron furniture. Maybe you’re familiar with specialized motor parts or some sort of industrial equipment. Or you grow orchids or collect 16th century romance novels or movies from the 1930’s.

Or maybe you go to a trade show and find manufacturers in some market where most people are clueless about marketing, and build them an online presence. Work out some kind of profit sharing deal, or get them to put you on retainer. Sell that product.

(That’s a real useful tip I just gave you there.)

Or sell some kind of information about that topic. Like I said, do a thorough inventory of what you know and where you’ve been and go into a niche you’re intimately familiar with.

What is "80" and what is "20" for your business right now? Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the highest compound interest on your time and money!

My nephew Josh asked me for broad advice about starting a home business and here’s what I told him:


1. Don’t get into a pre-packaged business. There are LOTS of them out there. Network Marketing deals, Internet deals, etc. You should capitalize on your individuality.

2. Doing something online…. boy I deal with that ALL THE TIME. Is is VERY competitive. An at-home online business is the white picket fence of the 21st century. Super great – if you can pull it off. Most common things are things like selling ebooks or selling things on ebay. If you do something like that you have to specialize in some particular niche.

The people who do best at that 1) know their subject and their customers EXTREMELY well; and/or are 2) very in-tune and comfortable with the whole online scene and culture and websites and everything.

The more nichy your topic, the more you can rely on #1 instead of #2.

3. Offline: Anything you know how to do – like plumbing or handyman stuff or swimming pools or repair hang-gliders… or knowing how to cook or take care of kids or organize a house… as soon as you have a way of advertising and getting customers, you have a business. Might not necessarily be an “at home” business, but it’s a business.

Oh, and by the way if you do a business like handyman stuff or repair or remodeling, all you have to do is show up on time, answer the phone, tell people the truth, finish projects on-time and on-budget, and you’ll kick everybody else’s ass in town. In a business like that, half the secret to success is literally “showing up.” You’ll get lots of referrals, customers will love you, and you’ll make a good living. Even in an economy that sucks.

4. If you know what you want to do, then I can advise you about promoting it. Let’s take plumbing for example… to advertise yourself as a plumber you need all the certifications and everything. Doesn’t
keep you from doing it when people need it and getting paid for it, if you’re a ‘handyman’ instead of a plumber.

5. Any business that is going to work for you is based on the gifts and skills that you mostly already have. So it’s actually kind of sitting under your nose all along. You just need to start taking inventory. Asking other people what they see you being good at. Listing your skills and looking at all the things you’ve done etc.

Here’s something I sent to a personal friend of mine, Anita, last summer when she asked me pretty much the same question:


OK, here’s some things I’d like you to do… Good stuff to do over your morning coffee or whatever.

BTW what we’re ultimately looking for here is intimate knowledge of various microcosms in the world, where you may have sell-able skills.

BUT….. right now I don’t want you to think in terms of selling or jobs or all that while you’re doing this. That would be a limiting way to think of it right now.That can fall out of it later. For now, just
crank out the list o’ stuff.

-List every magazine you’ve ever subscribed to for any length of time

-Same for newsletters & various publications that you consistently enjoyed reading

-Every job or industry you worked in long enough to become really familiar – even if you’ve been out of it for a long time

-Every “group” that you’ve been a member of. Examples could be – golf, Presbyterian church, girl scouts, cancer survivors support group, bowling league, pottery making class, David Hasselhoff Fan
Club, horsemanship, stamp collecting, backgammon, owning rental property, investing, chess club, etc.

-Every major schooling / training / educational experience you’ve had (like travel to Africa or airplane mechanic school or nursing degree)

-Every hobby or fascination you’ve had

-5 topics you know a lot about, that most people don’t know you know a lot about

-Specific products, services or experiences that you have great familiarity with (like a washing machine that broke down so much, pretty soon you knew how to fix it better than the repairman)

-Topics you own more than 5 books on

-A story of 2 major personal victories from each of the following: childhood; teen years; early adult; recent adult. Tell what happened and what made you feel GOOD about it.

Why don’t you chunk on that for awhile and let me know what you come up with. I bet somewhere buried in that list is a marketplace that would pay money for your skills.

From that you can form a USP, determine something unique to sell, have a ready-made understanding of the customers who buy that sort of thing, and have a MUCH easier go of it.

Finally: Take the Marketing DNA Test and pay very close attention to your results.

If you in fact do have a solid grasp of basic direct marketing principles, then I DARE you to do this homework assignment – and I mean, do *everything* I just said to do right here – I dare you to do that and not have some kind of successful business that you are really proud of, 1 year from today.

Perry Marshall

P.S.: If some endeavor you’re pursuing has failed and failed and failed and is making you feel utterly sick on the inside, then STOP. Cut the ball and chain. It’s like that sad Stevie Nicks song “Stop dragging my heart around.” Don’t waste another minute on it, until you’ve found a completely and totally different way to approach it. Or just drop it entirely and find something else. No more Pink Koolaid.

P.P.S.: All the advice I gave to Josh and Anita and Gia applies to any marketing project. Before you spend another dollar on education, promise yourself you’re going to take the inventory I just gave you above. Your success depends on you finding a NICHE that matches your passions and your expertise to a hungry crowd.

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

126 Comments on “Memo from a Pink Kool-aid Drinker”

  1. I took this test three times before the blindingly obvious appeared to me: The person for whom I could write a “page from their diary” was someone just like me, because their diary was just like mine: namely, someone who was a solopreneur whose marketing wasn’t working in spite of how much they knew about how to do their work and even how well they knew their industry, because their industry wasn’t marketing of course.

    Don’t be afraid to look for the obvious when you do this test, and be open to Blinding Flashes of the Obvious (BFO’s)! I thought for the longest time the test wasn’t working for me, LOL. Good luck out there.

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