How to tell if this is a get rich quick scam

"Get rich quick" vs. "make money online"

Disclosure: Just so you know, we may sometimes earn a small commission from affiliate links on this site.

I think it's time to dispel the "get rich quick" myth once and for all, and highlight the difference in intent between wanting to make money online through innovation and hard work, and wanting money for nothing.

How many of you have fallen for a get rich quick scheme simply because you were looking for a good way to make some extra cash? Go on, be honest...

Get rich quick schemes have a way of appearing legit - especially to the people who want them to be legit. But there is always one really easy test you can use to see if a business opportunity is genuine or a scam - we'll look at it in a moment.

First, let's take a quick look at why a sustainable get rich quick scheme (that's open to the public) can never exist.

Why get rich quick scams don't work

Creative ideas that generate profits for their pioneers lead to a massive influx of competitors in that market. The easier something is to do, the more people there are doing it, and the pie gets divided up into smaller and smaller pieces.

In this way the market retains it's balance. Harder businesses have less competitors, but are costly to setup. Easy businesses have more competitors (because they are cheap to set up), but are hard to market amongst thousands of competitors.

Why scams are popular online

When looking for ideas and opportunities to make money, Google will often show you a mix of quality and con artistry. It's really not a good idea to trust a Google search with the direction your life and career are going to take in the short to medium term.

It's up to you to decide whether a site that looks legitimate offers real opportunity, or whether they are selling snake oil. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • There is no get rich quick secret: There are only good and bad strategies for making money. Good ones attract more people, which leads to more competition, which means it is just as hard to make money.
  • You don't get something for nothing: Politicians are the only people who reliably flaunt this rule. So unless you are going to move within the organs of state, expect to offer something of value before generating revenue.

So Google mixes scams and genuine businesses seamlessly, making it easy for con artists to blend into search results. But what makes scams really thrive is the people who allow themselves to fall for the promise of high returns for little to no effort and investment.

How to quickly spot a get rich quick scam

There is only one thing you need to ask yourself when considering any potential business opportunity:

Does this idea offer value to its customers?

No idea, no matter how smart it may appear, can generate sustained profits if it doesn't offer customers value. If you are making money off something that doesn't provide value, then you are a scammer. People don't pay money to get nothing. If they do, it's because they've been misled.

So, when assessing whether an idea is worth pursuing, make sure you understand what people will get from it. Here's an example...

Let's say Amazon occasionally offers unbeatable special prices on certain items that are being sold on other platforms. You decide to offer those items for sale on other platforms at the standard price, and pocket the difference.

Is this a good business model? Not really. What value are you offering? Absolutely nothing. If anything, you are removing value because those customers should have gotten those products at lower prices.

Does that mean that you should not be an online retailer unless you can match or beat Amazon's prices? Absolutely not. There are many ways to offer value that aren't linked to price. Customer support, service, reliability, convenience, and so on.

In this instance, a far better business opportunity would be to highlight Amazon's incredible special deals on your own platform using an affiliate link. Yes, you might lose a sale on your own item, but you will make something in affiliate commission. Plus you have provided value, which means you earn trust.

It is far more sustainable to grow a loyal base of customers who trust you - even though it takes a lot of work.

What it takes to make money online

Assuming that you're not scared to roll up your sleeves and work hard, there's absolutely no reason you can't earn decent cash online. Check out the following articles that will help you with everything from ideas, to creating a blog/website/eCommerce store, to marketing, and finally success:

Top 10 best home based business ideas to make money online
Ideas to make money online
Home based businesses and startups are far easier to establish now than just a few years ago. And now more than ever, entrepreneurial spirit and small business startups (from the home, garage, dorm room, etc) are needed to help boost the economy.

How to start a business
5 steps to starting a business
Regardless of whether you are working on an eCommerce store, a mom and pop business, or just being entrepreneurial about an opportunity that has arisen, this step-by-step guide will provide everything you need in order to get a new enterprise up and running.

How to make money
A guide to making money for beginners
Do you want to know how to make money online, or from home? Wouldn't it be nice to have a secondary income that eventually grows into something worth quitting your job over?

5 eCommerce home business ideas
Ideas for low cost eCommerce businesses
"Are you looking for some great home business ideas that you can do online?" Starting an eCommerce site (online store) is easier than you think, and can be designed and managed from your home office.

So that's my take on the difference between trying to get rich quick, and trying to make money online. Have you tried one or the other, or both before? Did you enjoy any success?

Share your tips and experiences in the comments.

Tools and tips on how to source products online

Small retail businesses and eCommerce sites need to consistently choose the best products to sell in order to maximize their profits.

But trying to find this information is not always easy, and there are plenty of "silver bullet" sites (and con men) that will try to make a profit by advising you to stock products that give them commission.

It's far better to be able to do your own research into which products offer the best value for money for your own customers and clients. After all, you know your business best.

Tips on how to use technology to improve your business

Having access to a great tool like Google Trends means that it is easy to keep an eye on how important brands and

Here are some great ideas that incorporate free stuff (products and services) in order to generate trust, and improve revenue.

Most consumers like getting free stuff (especially online consumers), so giving away a valuable free offering can help to drive traffic, generate buzz, earn trust, and make money.

This article will give you five great ideas for free product and service offerings that you can integrate into an existing organization or use to help grow a startup.

Top startups that have used crowdfunding succesfully

Crowdfunding is a relatively novel way for startups and entrepreneurs to raise money to support their fledgling companies - and sometimes it actually works.

Working from home to make money online

Selling online is getting easier and easier every day, from a technical point of view, because the technology to handle online transactions (like online

A look at the latest trends in business technology

Starting and running a successful small, home or online business these days means that you are going to have to rely on technology to handle most things - if not everything.

There isn't a single aspect of the modern business that doesn't have software, online software, cloud solutions, or innovative hardware and gadgets to save time, streamline processes, maximize efficiency, and save on costs.

The problem, especially for first time business owners, is knowing which technology is the right one for your company, and how to use it effectively to ensure that it provides value and/or good returns.

Design business cards. Pic by Shubham

Did you know that business card design can directly impact the success of your organisation?

A cash flow statement usually includes money flowing in and out of a company, but this article is full of ideas and tips to get more money flowing in.

Because cash is king for all entrepreneurs, SME/SMBs, and home based ventures, it is crucial that you can generate as much revenue as possible, as early as possible.

This article will look at a very simple sales forecast and provide plenty of great sales strategies, ideas and advice for you to incorporate into your own plans.

creating opportunities in life and business

Isn't it frustrating that some people just seem to have that entrepreneurial knack - business opportunities just seem to go their way again and again?

Grumpy cat Internet sensation

In case you haven't already heard, there's a little kitty out there with feline dwarfism that earns more than you do.

Grumpy cat, according to Wikipedia, seems to be raking in millions of dollars, and this might strike you as odd given how difficult it is to start a successful enterprise these days.

Think of the Internet economy as a farmer’s field full of little green plants. Each plant represents a business, and the stuff that makes them grow is traffic (just like rain makes real plants grow).

Now, imagine that in between the rain clouds and our fledgling plants, there is a huge funnel that collects the rain and pours it over the field. Let’s call this funnel Google.

Google’s job is to make sure that all the sprouts get a fair share of water (provided they are of good quality), and that any weeds that are harmful to the ecosystem aren’t watered. All day long Google funnels rain onto various different plants in order to help them grow.

Home office furniture. Pic by Joey Parsons

The humble home office desk and chair have come along way.