Seth Godin’s blog is a frequent place on the web that I visit. Whatever commentary he’s providing is always insightful, and always right. He wrote an article recently about the state of personal finance, and where we must fit as marketers and what our own actions should be. Brilliant!
In my very first foray into the internet marketing world, I put down over $30k Australian dollars (which is like a bigillion US dollars) and bought the rights to a piece of software that let me write my own software. Plus have a back catalog of software I had resale rights to. It mostly tanked. What did work for me though was the first bit of software I wrote myself. It was a budget planner that I’d carefully designed so it was incredibly simple to use.
It sold like gangbusters and I thought that this internet marketing game was pretty damn good. After about a year or so, sales really started to go south, so I surveyed my list. I asked a few simple questions, things like how they found the software, had it worked for them, blah blah blah.
Now here’s the thing that blew me away, most of them had never actually used it. They knew they had a problem, bought a stop gap measure to fix it (my software), but changed none of their habits and got further into debt.
I was eventually squeezed out of the market by the big lenders who often gave out free budget planners on their sites, while enticing you to get yet another credit card. Now, that was over 3 years ago and things have gotten so much worse. I won’t give you boring figures, but please just look at the graph below from Seth’s site.
So please, the next time you get an email from a number of marketers, all telling you about some great exclusive offer, make sure you can actually afford it. Don’t look ahead at the dollars you might make from it, look at the dollars you have now.
You might think, “who’s he to talk, he spent 30 grand on something that tanked”. Well that might be true, but the difference is that I invested in a business. It was something that could be made into an asset, and as we know assets rule. Plus, if I’d never taken that first plunge I wouldn’t be where I am today. So there.