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Is Pat Flynn a Scam? A Critique of his Passive Income Claims

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Is Pat Flynn a Scam? A Critique of his Passive Income Claims

Postby Winston » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:53 am

"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches."
- Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists", George Bernard Shaw.

Image

Hi all,
I've been looking over the blog of a popular internet marketing guru, Pat Flynn, at http://www.smartpassiveincome.com. It is very helpful and generous with all its free advice and instructions for generating online passive income and creating websites to do that with. He is definitely very knowledgeable.

However, I can't help but be a bit skeptical of his personal success claims. First, he tells us in his intro 101 page that making money online is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and time to build up. That's true. See here:

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/passive-income-101/

But then he claims in his interviews and story that he made $8,000 in his first month off of selling one ebook about how to pass an architect license exam. Then he says he made over $200,000 in his first year, and that he now makes over $30,000 monthly. That seems to contradict his teaching that it takes a lot of time and effort to make money online, doesn't it, since he claimed to get rich quickly.

Here are his monthly income reports where it shows his monthly build up of $8k a month to $30k:

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/my-income-reports/

Here are his interviews where he makes these claims:

http://www.incomediary.com/pat-flynn
http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/1860/pat-flynn/
http://www.blogtrepreneur.com/2010/12/25/pat-flynn-interview-7905-55-from-one-ebook-in-the-first-month/

Now, I've been making money online for years, and I know many others who are doing it too. So I have some good knowledge and experience in this area, and I know that making $8,000 during your first month, especially selling one ebook, is an extraordinary claim. After a few years, I managed to pull in a few thousand a month, which was no easy feat and only due to my novel original ideas that were the first of its kind. But that's after a slow steady traffic build up that involved hard work and production of good original content, with no secret formulas. So based on my experience, his claims of success and quick high profits are extraordinary.

He doesn't seem to have any proof of these claims. Yet all his fans seem to believe everything he says, based on their comments in his blog and on other third party blogs as well. To them, all his claims are true. If he says it, then it's true. Amazingly, on the internet, there are no critical reviews of him. There are dozens of blogs that praise him, with many positive comments under them, but no critical ones (could the bloggers have edited out all negative comments?). Everyone says he is the real deal. But how do they know? Where is the evidence or proof? Online, anyone can say anything.

His sample passive income business sites do look great though, and are ranked very high. So he definitely must have a lot of traffic coming in, which would give him good income. But there are many sites out there that look great with web 2.0 graphics and nifty Wordpress themes, but they ain't making shit. Here are his online businesses so you can see them for yourself.

This one was created as part of an online contest with another internet marketing guru to see who could create a better new passive income site, and ended up generating $2000 a month for him:

http://www.securityguardtraininghq.com

Here is his original online business that he allegedly became successful and rich off of:

http://www.greenexamacademy.com

On his blog teaching people how to make passive income, he gives a lot of free advice and information, which his fans say is very generous and altruistic of him. However, within his free advice blog are embedded various affiliate links to a number of website optimization products that claim to help get traffic to your site, which you have to pay for of course. So I wonder if that's why he's giving out so much free advice, to get commissions on these SEO products? It's hard to believe that he would do it for nothing or do it out of altruism.

Could it be that he is making more money off his "making passive income blog" than off of his online businesses themselves?

But what evidence is there to back his $30k a month income claims? Why hasn't he posted screen shots of his Adsense report earnings, or monthly PayPal transactions? But even those are easy to fake. Anyone can download or save a webpage offline, and then manipulate the HTML in it to produce any numbers they want. On the internet, anyone can claim anything. Even in Amway and other MLM's, lots of people making nothing are claiming to be doing well and pulling in thousands of dollars per month. It doesn't mean it's all true.

Furthermore, if Pat Flynn really made $30k a month, why is he always wearing cheap looking worn out T-shirts in his video interviews? See this one for example:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tRfvjDz3EE[/youtube]

In his self intro on his home page, same thing.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJIJ_6G9Z84[/youtube]

In my experience, people who really are pulling in a lot of income do not like to draw public attention to it, unless they are celebrities. There are negative consequences to doing that. Especially if you are making a lot of money online, it is not in one's best interest to publicize it, for it will draw bad people, and incite others to follow your business model and create copycat versions of your site, which could potentially jeopardize your income. No rational person would want to do that.

In addition, there is an old adage that says: "You cannot make a lot of money by telling people the truth". I wonder if that applies here. Another witty quote says:

"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." - H. L. Mencken

So it makes sense to be skeptical here, doesn't it?

What do you all think?
Last edited by Winston on Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:57 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Postby Repatriate » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:36 pm

Guys selling books or claiming to have some secret system to getting rich are almost invariably full of shit. Basically YOU are the plan that they have on getting rich through selling their snake oil and get rich quick schemes.

Remember that infomercial faggot? Don Lapre? He got immensely rich marketing scams from newspaper classifieds and built up his operation all the way up to internet and tv marketing. His big house of cards finally fell down and he decided to commit suicide after 40 something counts of wire fraud were levied against him. He was facing a life sentence since wire fraud is serious business.

I even think more mainstream guys like Robert Kiyosaki are full of it too. However one thing about Kiyosaki is that his advice is actually sensible because it's the most obvious home economics 101 type stuff that he creatively turned into a book to sell to people who are amazed at common sense advice.

I wouldn't believe a single thing this shyster is marketing. He even looks untrustworthy..like a date rapist or something. :lol:

Although, if you are curious you could always try and "procure" his "products" from alternate sources just to analyze what exactly he's offering without spending a single cent.

I did similar things with all the PUA manuals and other nonsense of the sort. I'm certainly glad I didn't pay shit to some douchebag guru.
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Postby Winston » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:51 pm

LOL. I love your rants.

Well if you look at Pat's blog though, he isn't selling anything. He gives away all his advice for free. He does have affiliate links in his blogs. But there is no sales pressure from him. Check them out.

He seems nice. I just don't buy that he suddenly decided one day to monetize his site by selling an ebook, and then suddenly got $8,000 from it in his first month, and then every month after that, it multiplied. That's totally unrealistic. Even if his ebook was the greatest in the world, still. I have a fairly large following and if I came out with a new ebook tomorrow, I might get a few hundred dollars if I'm lucky. But not $8,000 in a month. No way. That's crazy. It's just too unrealistic. But everyone seems to believe him for some reason. He seems nice yeah, but his claims are extraordinary.

He admits that it takes a lot of work and patience to make money online. That's true. But in real life, you have to spend many months working hard making nothing before income starts rolling in. You don't work hard one month and start making $8,000 and then more and more each subsequent month. Working hard means you go without a net profit for months first, before you start making some money, and when you do, it trickles in. It doesn't start at $8,000. $8,000 a month is not the starting salary of someone "working very hard on the internet". No way. Get real.

So his claims don't make sense. But he somehow does have a ton of traffic now.

Check out his monthly income reports:

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/my-income-reports/

November 2011 – $44,473.31
October 2011 – $38,612.90
September 2011 – $36.592.27
August 2011 – $34,034.40
July 2011 – $32,851.84
June 2011 – $30,393.49
May 2011 – $26,609.13
April 2011 – $41,634.24
March 2011 – $29,429.93
February 2011 – $24,616.83
January 2011 – $35,607.11
December 2010 – $23,646.83
November 2010 – $21,641.75
October 2010 – $17,905.88
September 2010 – $17,229.52
August 2010 – $20,683.09
July 2010 – $12,978.14
June 2010 – $12,990.71
May 2010 – $16,336.50
April 2010 – $11,461.09
March 2010 – $9,425.38
February 2010 – $10,114.38
January 2010 – $10,266.63
December 2009 – $9,999.75
November 2009 – $8,547.54
October 2009 – $8,661.78
September 2009 – $9,174.19
August 2009 – $9234.96
July 2009 – $8980.79
June 2009 – $26,558.38
May 2009 – $21,359.69
April 2009 – $18,999.36
March 2009 – $30,328.48
February 2009 – $23,106.16
January 2009 – $19,400.37
December 2008 – $12,193.59
November 2008 – $9782.89
October 2008 – $7906.55


Wow. No way huh?

I don't understand why all his thousands of fans believe everything he says without question. Where are the critics and skeptics?

I noticed that none of his fans claim to be getting rich by learning from him. They all say that they are not earning anywhere near what he does, but that he inspires them to keep trying. lol

Also, why is there a photo of him with his baby in the top right corner of his blog?

Image

Does holding a baby makes you look more credible and legit as a good family man? lol Oh I see, I think he's doing that so that the stay at home moms in America who are trying to make an online income can relate to him. lol

Maybe I ought to have a picture of me holding my baby, to look more credible too. lol
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Postby xiongmao » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:47 pm

I've been making money online since 1999. It's damned hard work!

I started by selling some computer software I wrote. It took 3 months to get version 1.0 out, and I made some good money selling it at $49.95 a go. And even though I started the software thing in 2002, sales didn't peak until 2008. However, that ship sank after Lehman's collapsed. I made good money, but it wasn't enough to live on. Even if it was, the erratic nature of the sales meant I made $750 one week, $50 the next. If you tried to base your life on that, you'd go mad.

I wrote an ebook in Feb 2010. So far I've sold around 2 copies a month. Meh. I'm going to jazz up my website a bit, but I'm still not going to make zillions.

I have a few sites that make money off of AdSense and Amazon, but like Winston says, it's hard work. On top of that you're really at the mercy of the Google God.

By the way, Pat seemed nice and when I first found his site I did go out of my way to use his affiliate link for one of the products he mentions in his articles. This is how he makes much of his $40K a month. But based on his web traffic and mine, I do believe his income reports.
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Postby Winston » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:52 pm

I got an email from Pat Flynn to my skeptical questions about him. Here is what he wrote:

Hey Winston,

Thanks for the email. I was about to go to bed but I felt like I needed to respond to you. Like I said in the response to your comment on my post, I appreciate and welcome skepticism. I do because I know I have nothing to worry about because I don't hide anything. My answers to your questions are below each of your comments...

On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 3:12 AM, Winston Wu <wwu777us> wrote:

Dear Pat,
I like your blog. There is a lot of good useful advice and information for free in it. However, I am a critical thinker and can't help but be skeptical about a few things:

- First, you seem to contradict yourself. In your 101 intro, you tell everyone that making passive income online is not easy, and that it requires a lot of hard work and time to build up, which is true. But then in your story, you say you made $8000 off one ebook during your first month attempt at this, and that in your first year, you made over $200,000, and now you make $30,000 a month. Isn't that a direct contradiction? By your claims, you got rich quick easily, but you tell everyone that it takes a lot of time and hard work and is not easy.


Indeed, making a passive income online is NOT easy. Not at all. October of 2008, when I made about $8k online, that was NOT my first month online. Not even close - in fact, my blog that I made all that money off of, which was previously at intheleed.com and is now greenexamacademy.com, was already up for almost 2 years. October of 2008 was the first month I monetized that site with an eBook. To get to $30k a month now has not been easy either - it's taken a lot of hard work, dedication, and going through times of wanting to give up.


- I've been making money online for 3 years now, and I know many others who are doing it too. $8,000 in your first month is an extraordinary claim, not a realistic one, even if you are a super genius. It took me 3 years to build up enough traffic and reputation to make a little over $900 a month. And that was through hard work and content generation, not with any secret formula. Your sites do look great, and do have top rankings I see, but there are many sites out there that look great with web 2.0 graphics and nifty wordpress themes too, and they ain't making shit. I still think your claims are extraordinary. But your fans seem to believe everything you say, like a Gospel preacher in a church, with no skepticism. Why is that?


I don't think the income from a site depends on how it looks. Okay, maybe a little bit, but it's about the person behind the site, and the relationships that are built between that person and their audience. I know I do a lot of things that other blogs don't do - even blogs that have a better design than my own. I'm 100% honest and transparent about not only my earnings, but how I run my businesses, and not only when I do things right, but when I fail too. A lot of other bloggers in this industry hide this.

See my niche site duel here: http://www.nichesiteduel.com - it shows, for free, how I took a site from scratch (i reveal the keyword and website and everything - you can find it at http://www.securityguardtraininghq.com) and got to #1 in Google in 73 days, and now a year later that site is now making 2k a per month. Again, not easy - I put a lot of hard work into it, but it's paying off, passively now.

You see - not everyone does this, and this is proof that the concepts I talk about work. A lot of people out there talk the talk, but this is talking and walking the walk, which I always try to do. I go out of my way to provide the BEST content possible, some of the best content on the web, for free. The more I give away, the more I get back in return.

I think people care about what I say because I care about them. I truly do. My business model is this: give away as much information as possible, and it will always come back to me bigger.

With greenexamacademy.com, that site was up for almost 2 years, just pure content, not selling anything, and I worked with people to help them pass the LEED exam (which is what that site is about). When I finally wrote an eBook (which was actually done after several requests from my own audience), I already had the audience there, and some people even bought the book from me even though they had already passed the exam, just to thank me for giving away all the free information I did on that site.

It's all about relationships, and I can tell you I take great pride in how I relate to people from my blog - with those who support me, with those who don't, and those who are skeptical about what I do and the numbers I report, like yourself.

- What evidence is there to back your income claims? Why haven't you posted screen shots of your Adsense report earnings, or of your monthly PayPal transactions? But even those are easy to fake. Anyone can download or save a webpage offline, and then manipulate the HTML in it to produce any numbers they want. On the internet, anyone can claim anything. Even in Amway and other MLM's, lots of people making nothing are claiming to be doing well and pulling in thousands of dollars per month. It doesn't mean it's all true. Furthermore, if you really are making $30k a month, why are you always wearing cheap looking worn out t-shirts in every video interview you give?


There's no way to understand if anybody is totally being honest online - but I can tell you that I wouldn't take a chance doing that because with the FTC involved now - anyone could get into major trouble providing false claims like that.

I could do a screenshare with you on Skype and walk you through my accounts and show you the affiliate earnings I make - but I don't think that's necessary. I shouldn't have to do that, but if you ask I have nothing to hide.

And your comment about cheap shirts, I think that's a little uncalled for. Why does the fact that I make good money mean I have to look a certain way, or wear certain clothes, or live a certain lifestyle. If I was homeless but had a nice tuxedo on, would that make you automatically think I was a millionaire?

Plus, I'm comfortable in those shirts. What I wear has nothing to do with how much I make.

- In my experience, people who really are pulling in a lot of income do not like to draw public attention to it, unless they are celebrities. There are negative consequences to doing that. Especially if you are making a lot of money online, it is not in one's best interest to publicize it, for it will draw bad people, and incite others to follow your business model and create copycat versions of your site, which could potentially jeopardize your income. No rational person would want to do that.


I'm me, and this is what I do. So in your experience, people don't like to bring attention to it. Well, I do - because it shows that making money online is possible. It inspires people, and it pushes me to do more by holding myself accountable. In light of my audience and what would help them, it's in the best interest for them because it's authentic, it's real, and I think that if anyone is teaching anybody how to do anything online, they have to show proof first - and this is my proof.

- In addition, there is an old adage that says: "You cannot make a lot of money by telling people the truth". I wonder if that applies here. Another witty quote says:

"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." - H. L. Mencken

So it makes sense to be skeptical here, doesn't it?


Totally makes sense to be skeptical, and again, I appreciate that you are because it's really easy for me to send you an email and just tell you the truth.

With the quotes - I think times are changing now - especially with social media and everyone being connected. Sure, it's an old adage, but it's a new age, and authenticity and truth is what people want, it's what people appreciate now, and in this world of blogging and building trust and earning fans - success starts with the truth.

Do I expect that after reading this you'll change your mind about me - I have no idea, that's up to you. But, if you have any more questions or even want to chat over Skype - I'm here to show you I'm a genuine, nice guy who is doing well online and trying to give others good advice on how to do the same.

Sincerely,

Pat

p.s. A couple of my other blogger friends have been telling me you posted this exact same email in their comment section. Why did you do that without even giving me a chance to answer you? I find that to be pretty unethical. Looking forward to your response, and would appreciate it if you found answers from me first before spamming all of my friends' blogs.


What do you think? Does he sound honest and genuine?

Is he bluffing about showing me his earnings through Skype? What would happen if I did that? Wouldn't he just show me the affiliate earnings he gets from his money making blog?

In any case, here is my response I wrote back to him:

"Hi Pat,
Thanks for replying to my questions. But there are still a number of problems with your explanations that don't add up.

Even if you had a following on your architecture exam site for 2 years, that still would not make it possible to suddenly sell an ebook and make $8,000 in the first month. I've had a following since 2003, and it's gotten fairly large, but if I came out with a new ebook tomorrow, I might make a few hundred dollars in a month. But definitely not $8,000. Real online income doesn't work that way. As you said, it takes a lot of hard work and patience. True. But what you forgot to mention is that most or all people doing this, spend several months earning peanuts or nothing at first, and then after that, the money starts TRICKLING in. But it doesn't start at $8,000 and then multiply every month thereafter, as you've claimed on your blog. No way. Eight grand is NOT the starting salary or income of an online entrepreneur who has just begun to monetize his/her website. Income comes slowly, then snowballs over time. But I've never seen a beginning trickle of $8,000 just falling into one's lap. It just doesn't work that way. You said it happened right after you monetized your site. But still, even if you had monetized it for years, one ebook isn't going to sell that much to earn $8,000 even if you had a large following beforehand.

A skeptic in one of my forums had this to say regarding your claim:

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=2064
"Scepcop, of course he's bullshitting. How many people do you think are taking an architecture licensing exam each month? And there's not just one exam, different countries, states, etc. are going to have different ways of regulating it, there are probably thousands of such exams around. Of those people, how many are going to buy some ebook on how to pass it rather than study the course material they have."


I hope you understand my point. But anyway, you claim on your blog that now you get around $30k a month. Can you tell me then, where the biggest chunk of that $30k comes from? Which website does the largest portion of that income come from? I'd like to see it and assess it. And have my experts assess it as well.

Also, here's another key question. Does most of your income come from the "how to make money" blog itself, or from your real online businesses? In other words, does most of your income come from teaching others how to make online income? That's a crucial question.

If I went on Skype with you, what would you show me? Affiliate earnings for the smart passive income site and products? I know you are getting a ton of traffic on that site. The rankings show it. I'm just not sure if your income claims are realistic or not.

If I were to get on Skype, would you be able to show me the $8,000 sales you made from that one ebook? Could you take me to your PayPal screen and show me the $8,000 payments you received in that one month when you first started, just for that ebook?

About the cheap t-shirts, well I didn't mean to be shallow or superficial. But it's common sense. A person with a 30k a month income wouldn't dress like that. They'd be wearing designer clothing. They'd wear what Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt wear when they go out or do interviews. I certainly would. Also, no one does an interview about a serious business dressed in a worn t-shirt. You gotta look professional to appear credible if you want to be taken seriously. That may be shallow, but that's the way the world works. Image is everything. People just don't take a guy in a plain worn out t-shirt seriously. He doesn't look serious or credible. That's common sense. You know, there is a reason why CNN news anchors and guests on Oprah don't wear t-shirts when they're being televised. Can you guess what it is?

You said:
"With the quotes - I think times are changing now - especially with social media and everyone being connected. Sure, it's an old adage, but it's a new age, and authenticity and truth is what people want, it's what people appreciate now, and in this world of blogging and building trust and earning fans - success starts with the truth."


I don't agree with that at all, and neither would any intellectuals or freethinkers that I know of. People have always been gullible and prefer fakeness over truth. Truth isn't popular and doesn't sell. That's the way it's always been throughout history. It hasn't changed today. To have a lot of friends among the mainstream, or fit into most types of groups, you have to develop superficial personalities and lose your identity. That's the nature of groups and group think. The most authentic people tend to be hermits, for they do not have to lose their identity to fit in with others. They can just be themselves. Any time one is in a group, one loses their identity. Every great philosopher and thinker, from Arthur Schopenhauer to Mark Twain to Ayn Rand has commented on that. Popular people tend to be the fakest and have to BS more. Authentic people are less popular and do not like to BS, so they have fewer friends, but the friends they do have will be higher quality friends. That hasn't changed today. But that's another subject.

As to me posting my questions on your friends' blogs, well I was just trying to stir up some discussion. I saw that all your friends' blogs had only positive comments about you, so I knew that all the negative ones must have been edited out. Thus, I figured that my comments would be edited out as well, so I just went ahead and posted them anyway, since it only took seconds. I figured if I was lucky, the comments wouldn't be moderated and might stir up some discussion on a few blogs. That was my tactic. But I'm sure all your friends removed my comments or did not approve them anyway.

However, I did post a skeptical review of you on several of forums, including two of my own, and also my blog, which you already left a comment on. In the review, I included key links to your sites, so forum members could see your blog and claims, and make up their own mind. If you like, I can post your email response in those forums, so people can read your answers to my questions and get your side of things. Would that be ok?

Thanks for your response and time, and I apologize for antagonizing you.

Regards,
Winston

PS - Here are some discussion forums and blogs I posted my review of you in. You are welcome to participate in them.

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/ ... =26&t=2064
http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/view ... hp?t=12176
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread786603/pg1
http://forum.davidicke.com/showthread.php?t=194029
http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=2353943
http://intellectualexpat.blogspot.com/2 ... ncome.html "
Last edited by Winston on Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Winston » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:31 pm

xiongmao wrote:I've been making money online since 1999. It's damned hard work!

I started by selling some computer software I wrote. It took 3 months to get version 1.0 out, and I made some good money selling it at $49.95 a go. And even though I started the software thing in 2002, sales didn't peak until 2008. However, that ship sank after Lehman's collapsed. I made good money, but it wasn't enough to live on. Even if it was, the erratic nature of the sales meant I made $750 one week, $50 the next. If you tried to base your life on that, you'd go mad.

I wrote an ebook in Feb 2010. So far I've sold around 2 copies a month. Meh. I'm going to jazz up my website a bit, but I'm still not going to make zillions.

I have a few sites that make money off of AdSense and Amazon, but like Winston says, it's hard work. On top of that you're really at the mercy of the Google God.

By the way, Pat seemed nice and when I first found his site I did go out of my way to use his affiliate link for one of the products he mentions in his articles. This is how he makes much of his $40K a month. But based on his web traffic and mine, I do believe his income reports.


You've been doing it that long? Wow. You must be a guru by now.

The thing about Pat is that yes, he does have huge traffic by now. But what appears to be deceptive are:

- His claim that he made $8,000 the first month after publishing his first ebook. No ebook sells that well. And it doesn't work that way. The income trickles in at first and gradually snowballs. No one starts at $8,000 and then goes on way up from there. That is not a starting salary for an online entrepreneur. And even an established entrepreneur couldn't make that much off of just one ebook.

- He appears to be making most of his money from his "how to make money" blog, which means he's making his real money by teaching people how to make money, not by his regular online businesses. There is no proof that his security guard training site makes $2000 a month, or that his green exam site made $8,000 the first month. His saying so, is not proof or evidence. That is a little fraudulent, because it means that his fans are not going to make anywhere near what he makes, unless they also become internet marketing gurus. That would make it more of an MLM type of business, you see, in which the product is the dream of making passive income itself. MLM's work on the same principle.

I don't know. The probability seems to be that way, unless he comes up with evidence to the contrary. But most skeptics I asked came to the same conclusion.
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Postby Winston » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:18 am

Repatriate, Momopi,

Ok let me get this straight. This guy makes money by teaching others how to make money right? If so, then the key question is:

Does he have successful profitable businesses OUTSIDE of his "teaching people how to make money" business?

Of course he claims to. Here are his other online businesses that he claims are profitable. Have a look at them. Do you think they are really that profitable?

http://www.greenexamacademy.com
http://www.securityguardtraininghq.com

What do you think?

However, if he's not really successful outside of his "how to make money" blog, then isn't that a little shady or unethical? I mean, he is basically projecting to his money making fans, that he is a successful online entrepreneur OUTSIDE of his "teaching people how to make money" business, right? If that is not true, then that would make his claims unethical and deceptive. Right? Don't MLM's work the same way?

As I know, there are several primary ways one can make money online:

1. Provide a product or service that people are willing to pay for.
2. Serve as an online middle man and outsource work to others, and earn a cut from it.
3. Provide good web content that draws significant regular traffic. Then earn advertising revenue and affiliate commissions from that web traffic, and product/service sales as well. (that's what I do)
4. Do freelance work for others, such as freelance writing, editing, video editing, etc. on a contractual basis.
5. Provide some kind of personal service, such as consulting, teaching English to foreign students via Skype, etc.

Do you think making money by teaching people how to make money, falls into any of those categories?

I've never heard of monetizing one ebook and then getting $8,000 in the first month from it. I don't think even a super genius could pull that off, and even if he could, it would be a one in a million shot. The money usually trickles in slowly and builds up gradually. It doesn't start at $8,000 and go uphill from there. That sounds more like the promise of a get rich quick scheme (even if they don't call it that, but then again, who does these days?).

But anyway, what do you make of his $30,000 a month income claim? I'm sure he must make some decent money with all the high web traffic he gets. But is $30k a month an exaggeration?

Also, if he is so good, then how come none of his fans claim to be making what he makes? They all say they are only making a little, but that they derive "inspiration" from listening to him everyday. lol. What do you make of that?

On another note:

By the way, the owner of the free dating site, www.plentyoffish.com, Markus Frind, claims to make $10,000 A DAY just from paid Google links. Would Google really pay him that much, $10k a day, even if he had millions of people coming to his site everyday? Is that farfetched or realistic? That seems like an awful lot, even if you did have millions of hits everyday. Here is the story about him and his $10k a day income on YouTube:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3kZlXq2xYE[/youtube]

An article about him in the NY times about making $10 million a year from his website.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/busin ... wanted=all

What do you think?
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Postby Winston » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:13 pm

You know, I just re-read Pat Flynn's response to me above. And I get the impression that what he is saying is: "It's ok and natural to be skeptical, as long as you believe me when I reassure you that I'm telling the truth about everything."

Hmmm. ::: scratching head ::: I don't know about you, but that sounds a bit circular doesn't it? I mean, think about it. EVERYONE in the world will tell you that they are not a con artist or liar. Everyone. So then who is a con artist then? lol. I mean, if you believe what you hear, then there is no such thing as a con artist or a liar in the world right? They don't exist right? lol. Everyone claims not to be one, after all. This is a lesson in gullibility and critical thinking.

Likewise, every MLM, including Amway, will say, "We are not a pyramid scheme. We are a legitimate business opportunity." ALL of them will say that. They all acknowledge that there are pyramid schemes out there, but each one of them is not one of them. lol. So, if we are to believe whatever they say, then pyramid schemes don't exist right? lol You see what happens when you believe whatever people tell you?

One time, I went to a timeshare presentation in Sedona, Arizona. At the beginning of the presentation, the speaker told everyone, "Don't you hate those high pressure timeshare sales presentations?" and everyone nodded. Then he said, "Well we aren't like that here. We are different." But what do you think happened right after that? Yep, you guessed it! They proceeded to be exactly that - a high pressure timeshare sales presentation! They badgered me, wouldn't take no for an answer, and then ended up insulting me! What fricking hypocrites! Playing cheap tricks to make us think they were different. That was so deceptive and low.

The lesson is: DON'T BELIEVE WHATEVER YOU HEAR! QUESTION EVERYTHING! LEST YOU BE TAKEN IN!

Btw, I asked a friend of mine who is a retired mental health counselor about Pat Flynn's response above, and here was his response:

--I believe he's sincere in his insincerity. This making of passive income via the Internet is not a subject I know a lot about but I read this guy's letter to you and my gut feeling from it was that he is, at heart, a con artist who knows all the right things to say. If he is making this much money, which I also find hard to believe, then he is probably making it by conning others into thinking they, too, can make this large sum of money. You might ask him to provide you with copies of his income tax returns---they do not lie (or should not, lol). I believe this man is VERY skilled at duping and inveigling others into believing he is a sincere person. At heart, I don't believe he gives two shits about anyone other than himself. Keep in mind this is just my intuition and not based on any real knowledge of him or his business affairs--it is based on my estimation of his writing.
Last edited by Winston on Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:20 pm

I have been making money online for ages. Since I have a UK limited company, anyone who wants to check my online income can pay £3 or so to download my company accounts. I don't know if you can check Pat's income.

I guess you might be disappointed by my earnings though - they're not that big. Making money online (or offline) is hard work. For every Pat Flynn there are 100,000 others with blogs that just get tumbleweed blowing past.

Where Pat Flynn does well is convincing people to go out of their way to give him money. I bought some themes for my websites and I used his affiliate link, so he ended up with something like $15 from my order. Given how many facebook subscribers he has, it's easy to see how his income stacks up.

Some of these make money online gurus are practically seen in the same light as faith healers. They have a fanatical following. At least Pat doesn't charge them all $100+ a month or $3000 for a course. I'm surprised his supporters haven't come on here and raged at Winston's sceptism.

Here's a review of a great documentary that was on UK TV recently...

More on making money as a religion
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Postby Winston » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:48 pm

Of course it's hard work to make money online. That's a no brainer, and nowadays, EVERY internet marketing guru admits to that.

The catch is that they are NOT admitting that the rate of growth in making money online is very slow, often nonexistent for the first few months. What this means is that the first few months, you can expect to make little or nothing. And even when you do start earning, it comes as a slow trickle at first, then gradually grows from there. That's what they aren't telling you.

I think it's obvious why they are not telling you that. They don't want to discourage people by telling them about the slow rate of growth involved, because they have a vested interest in teaching people how to make money online. So it would not be in their interest to discourage people about it, even if that means hiding the truth from them.

You don't just decide one day to start monetizing your site by selling an ebook and then $8,000 falls into your lap. By claiming that, Pat Flynn is giving everyone the false impression that while making money online is hard work, it happens at a fast exponential rate, starting at $8,000 a month and then going uphill from there. That's where the deceptive part comes in.

You gotta use your head, critical thinking and logic skills here.

There are also some logical reasons why I don't think he is really making $30k every month now, which I will get into later.
Last edited by Winston on Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Winston » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:09 pm

Logical Reasons why I don't think Pat Flynn really makes $30k a month

I got to thinking and realized some logical reasons why Pat Flynn probably doesn't make $30k a month in online passive income as he claims on his blog. It's all very simple when you apply basic logic and common sense. Let me explain.

First, think about this. Suppose you were making $30,000 a month from online passive income. Would you do anything to jeopardize such a big cash cow? Of course not. But if you were to publicize it on a web page, as Pat Flynn did, you'd be doing just that. When you publicize how much money you are making, there are undoubtedly going to be a lot of envious people out there who will either try to emulate you, or sabotage your enterprise. Since you don't know who is out there, why would you take such a risk and expose yourself like that? Furthermore, if you were making it that big in online income, you'd have it made and have NOTHING TO GAIN in publicizing it or drawing too much attention to it.

In other words, if you were really making $30k a month, you'd have NOTHING to gain by publicizing it and A LOT TO LOSE!

But on the other hand, suppose you were making a lot less than $30k a month. In that case, you would have something to gain by exaggerating your income (which anyone can do) and claiming that you make $30k a month. By doing so, you attract attention to your site, which increases traffic hits, thus increasing your online revenue and affiliate commissions. And you also get a large group of followers and fans willing to do anything you say (which means they will buy any product or service you suggest). And whoila! Bingo!

So in that case, you would have A LOT TO GAIN and NOTHING to lose! See how that works? It's simple logic.

Second, I've noticed that whenever I email Pat Flynn, he usually replies within an HOUR! This happens whether I email him late at night or in the afternoon. What this seems to indicate, is that he is online all day and evening, trying to make money and answering emails. If that's so, then he is WORKING HARD - which means he is earning Active Income, rather than Passive Income. LOL

Now, if his income were truly passive, why would he need to be online all the time? That doesn't make sense. If he had a passive income of $30k a month, he would be in the Florida Keys or Cancun sipping a margarita by the poolside or beachside, and not be online much. Come on now. Get real. This appears to be a logical contradiction.

What do you think? Isn't that suspicious? Do these logical reasons make sense?
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Postby Winston » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:25 pm

Martianmay,
That's all true. I never said that no one makes good money online. I have a close friend who makes $400 a day from his website (he used to make $800 a day), but he has a medical site and pharmaceutical advertisers pay big bucks. He is a computer programming genius though, and put a lot into it. I don't think he started out making a lot in the first month. He inspired me to start this site in fact. You can see his highly profitable successful site here:

http://www.diagnose-me.com

Yeah, it's all about consistent traffic, content and backlinks.

Yeah Pat Flynn does sound honest, but then again, that's one of the new strategies in internet marketing, to sound as genuine as possible so people will believe you. If you have less to sell and put no pressure on people, then people will be less suspicious and trust you more. Lots of new gurus are going that route, since people who are full of shit are no longer trusted.

But I gave some logical reasons to be skeptical of him. Did you read them? Don't they make sense?

Obviously, every internet marketing guru is going to have to exaggerate to some extent, or else he won't have many followers. Remember that adage: "You are not going to make much money by telling people the truth."

I heard that Steve Pavlina got divorced and went down into a life of debauchery and strippers. That's the rumor.

It still remains to be seen whether Pat Flynn makes most of his money off of his "how to make money" blog or off of his real online businesses. The two logical reasons I gave above cast some suspicion into it all. I'm sure he makes good money nevertheless, due to his traffic alone, but that doesn't mean he is brutally honest about everything and never exaggerates anything.

I have spent countless hours on this site. It came from my passion and vision though. Not from any "creative genius or talent or strategy". I have written some articles on other sites with back links to this site. You only need to write a few, not that many. I used these free article platforms on high ranking sites:

http://www.articlesbase.com/authors/winston-wu/124699
http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Winston_Wu

You don't have to keep creating content. That's the hard way. That's why I started this forum, so others can help create the content. A team multiplies your efforts. Plus the sharing of information, encouragement and help benefits the group, so it's a win-win situation for all.

There are also SEO companies that offer to help raise your site ranking by building backlinks for you. But I'm not sure how much I trust those. They send me offers and proposals all the time though.

I thought about developing other streams, but like you said, it's hard, and I am also tired and exhausted from doing all this. I do little things here and there to help increase SEO. But I wouldn't start a whole new site in a whole new field unless I had some competitive edge. Otherwise it's pointless.

My other site is also very unique, but smaller and doesn't make as much as this one. http://www.debunkingskeptics.com

In spite of all this, to succeed at anything hard, you have to live and breathe it. It has to become your obsession. That's how you will do well at it.

Thanks for your genuine insights and practical points on this topic. We need more truth around here, not BS. Truth is not always rosy and does not always lead to happiness, but it enlightens the mind and protects you from BS.
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:02 pm

I think Pat was making more like $3000 a month until he started his smartpassiveincome blog. Even then he had some good fortune (and no doubt hard work) to make a name for himself in a totally saturated niche.

Make Money Online people will buy anything in the hope that it helps them live their own make money online dream.

I have a lot of websites, but the one that does best is one that sells business software I wrote way back in 2002. Yesterday I sold a $200 site license - this is the way to make reasonable money online. Like Pat with his LEED courses I'm in a good niche with my software - the barriers to entry in my niche are huge because you need to be a software developer, know how to market software and (this is the big one) have an idea for a product that people will buy.

Having said that a lot of people have made far more money than I have by just having a good idea for a crappy little iPad app.

I think the Rich Jerk inspired me, I wonder if he's still around now or whether he blown it all on hookers and fast cars?
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:42 pm

Actually, I've just had another thought about Pat Flynn. I reckon a lot of his income comes from recurring commissions. Take web hosting. If he's getting 25% commission on people's monthly webhosting, then that soon adds up to a lot of cash. So he might be making $30,000 a month, but he could be making that from only around 1000 subscriptions of various things. That way he doesn't actually have to sell many items a month to arrive at that income level.

I don't know all the things he promotes, but some of these money making things cost $50+ a month, and they'll give their affiliates up to 75% of this in commission.
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Postby Winston » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:24 pm

xiongmao wrote:Actually, I've just had another thought about Pat Flynn. I reckon a lot of his income comes from recurring commissions. Take web hosting. If he's getting 25% commission on people's monthly webhosting, then that soon adds up to a lot of cash. So he might be making $30,000 a month, but he could be making that from only around 1000 subscriptions of various things. That way he doesn't actually have to sell many items a month to arrive at that income level.

I don't know all the things he promotes, but some of these money making things cost $50+ a month, and they'll give their affiliates up to 75% of this in commission.


Again, anything is simple in concept but not in practice. Most affiliate programs do not pay recurring commissions, only a one time commission. Why don't you check by looking up the affiliate programs of the products and tools he's selling. The terms of the program should all be online. Just go to the website of whatever he gets a commission on, and look for an "affiliate" link. Then read the terms and details and see if they offer recurring commissions or not.

But even if that were what he was doing, then he would be making most of his income from his "how to make money" blog, rather than from his legitimate normal online businesses.
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