The Uncomfortable Road to Success

The world is full of books, DVDs, and seminars that tout the “easy” road to success.

The shortcuts.

The backdoors, secret paths, and arcane formulas that will allow us (or so the purveyors of these products propose) to bypass the hard work it takes to achieve success.

It is seductive.

And, unfortunately, most of the time it is untrue.

If you've known me very long at all, you know I am a fan of information products. You know that I have spent lots of money on learning materials, seminars, and the like. And you've heard me say that I have enjoyed improved results because of those products.

So how do I reconcile the fact that success requires work, with the fact that I've enjoyed a shorter route to success thanks to the intelligent use of continuing education products? The answer is surprisingly simple.

Despite what most buyers believe, it has been my experience that sellers of information products usually go out of their way to point out that none of the results from their product will happen without work. Most info product sellers go overboard in stressing the fact that work will be required. Yet… these same individuals are often labeled as purveyors of “get rich quick” material. It boggles my mind. And yet…

People will believe what they want to believe. People buying info products are often looking for a “get rich quick” solution. So even though the products are considering buying is not a “get-rich-quick” product, even though the sales copy on the website clearly states that work will be required to get the illustrated results, even though the copy further states that the results being cited are not typical, that they are in fact outstanding results… the buyer will believe what the buyer wants to believe.

I created and sell a product called The Seminar Profit System. It is a simple audio product that teaches people how to profit by attending seminars. The product itself is all about what actions one needs to take before, during, and after a seminar that will increase one's chances of profiting from having attended the seminar. In other words, the product teaches you how to work. Yet…

Would you be surprised to learn that some buyers of the product are dismayed that they haven't made money by attending a seminar, even though they did little (if any) of the work described in the product? No… I wasn't surprised either.

What does surprise me is people who buy a product like this, steadfastly refuse to take any of the recommended actions in the product, and then self righteously demand some form of refund or apology because their dream of “instant riches” didn't happen. Never mind  that “instant riches without effort” was not what was offered for sale.

Ask them if they took the actions recommended within the product, and you'll get an answer that starts with something like this: “No, but…”

Makes me  think about one of my earliest business mentors, Earl Nightingale, who said “successful people consistently do the things that failures don't like to do”.

These days, that is not a popular point of view. But it is true, nonetheless.

The road to success is rewarding-but it is also frequently uncomfortable.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ray, I agree completely! It’s also frustrating as a copywriter to write great copy and then watch the client bury the copy under overwhelming graphics, change the copy (one client even got his assistant to change the copy!) or simply toss the copy in a drawer…and then wonder why nothing has changed.

    On the other hand, you have to be fair. Another well-known marketer points out that because so many people don’t do anything, a bad product can keep generating sales for a long time. That’s been my experience with both products and coaches.

    • Good points Cathy – I appreciate you sharing these thoughts.

  • Clarke

    They think that they are “doing something”, and that relieves their mind of the necessity of putting in the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to accomplish.

    They're “green grassers”, thinking that some magic goo-roo pill will make them rich, just like the guy I had a seriouis dispute with several years ago who supposed because he's getting a lot of hits on his website, he should also be making a lot of bucks but he isn't.

    They look at the neighbor's greener grass, but fail to understand the neighbor has a much larger fertilizer bill.

    Successful people do the things failures refuse to do. They don't want to, don't like to, but know that they must.

    It's all related to the command to Adam thousands of years ago:

    “By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread all the days of thy life.”

    There's no “retirement clause” in that one …


  • Antone Roundy

    How true it is! I recently got an email from a customer who said they installed one of my products on a parked domain, and it still wasn’t making any money — what gives? I didn’t know how to respond. My product isn’t promoted as an “install it and the money will roll in” tool. To be sure, the ultimate goal of using it is to make more money, but the product itself is a single component of a content and traffic building strategy, and not even an end-all-be-all for that. Yet the customer expected me to be able to tell them why they weren’t making money yet.