I’m So Excited, I’m Gonna Make a Fortune, I Hope

Honestly, it’s a real gift horse!

The guy on the video said it’s so easy, anyone can do it! He said I deserve it and I owe it to my family! But I had to act quickly to take advantage of the opportunity. I mean, they’re giving a 90% discount and a whole list of special promotions and bonuses. All very limited and only available because of the pandemic!

Just think of it — 90% discount! Unbelievable, or what!

Actually, it is unbelievable, isn’t it?

Maybe I should have looked the gift horse in the mouth?

Cynical selling of easy fortunes is not a new past-time, sales tricksters have been amongst us for centuries.

The idiom, a pig in a poke, a warning not to buy something without seeing it first, dates as far back as 1275. So it seems we’ve been susceptible to ‘dodgy deals’ for at least seven centuries!

More recently, before the internet, the traps were laid in newspaper adverts. Here you could achieve quick and easy fortunes by following some magic plan or strategy, yours for just a few pounds. Of course, this led on to the deluxe version for a few pounds more, and so on and so forth.

One that stuck in my mind had the heading, “Make £1000 a month part-time, addressing envelopes at home, simple and easy, anyone can apply!”. Instead of the expected job, responders were offered a training course, claiming to teach you how to find companies that will employ you. Yeah, right!

Unfortunately, there were plenty of gullible people ready to throw their meager cash into the black hole of dreams. Things haven’t changed much since then, except maybe the quantity of the gullible?

Free advice is nearly always the most expensive.

The reach of the internet has created a greater supply of naive and foolish, even desperate, people, eager to believe ‘free’ advice and information on how to be successful.

A supply, no doubt expanded by the pandemic!

Of course, the free advice is actually a ‘motivational’ sales copy. The modern-day equivalent of, “make a £1000, addressing envelopes at home”, is the “instant, six figure business”.

Pretend gurus assure us we can become marketing experts, copywriters, coaches, and sales affiliates and make fortunes whilst working from home and living a perfect, stress-free, balanced life.

“Sleep late, drive a Porsche, and enjoy exotic holidays. Hey, with the internet, you can even work from the back of a boat, your whole life can be a holiday!”

“It’s easy”, they noisily profess, from their expertly crafted, ‘long copy’ sales pages, webinars, and YouTube videos.

“You deserve it, your family deserves it, everyone deserves it!”

“But, you have to be brave,” they say. Take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t take too long to decide. Buy now and get our special promotion and bonuses. Limited offer, not many left. Time is of the essence. When the countdown clock reaches zero, it’s too late. We are creating special opportunities due to the pandemic”

If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice.

Norman Ralph Augustine


Let’s be honest, shall we? If it looks too good to be true — it probably is!

Unfortunately, these marketing tricksters know how to take advantage of human nature, emotion, and unusual circumstances. They study the words and phrases to make us want to believe. Even the most intelligent of us can be caught out.

That isn’t to say real ‘gurus’, offering genuine advice and valuable information don’t exist. After all, we’ve learned everything we know from other people, (An obvious statement, I know, since none of us were born with a ready programmed brain).

The challenge, however, is to differentiate between the tricksters and the genuine, and this relies on developing a healthy skepticism, using some more old idioms:

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck — it’s most certainly a duck.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Consequently, I always, always look a gift horse in the mouth, probably more than once.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we become ultra cynical, second-guessing every opportunity and looking for every excuse we can find to stay in our comfort zone (indeed, the pretend gurus will use exactly that argument to convince you to, “be brave and buy now”).

What I am saying though, is there is never a strong enough reason to not weigh up all the evidence and practice a bit of healthy skepticism.

Think about that for a moment. How many times in your life have you bought some wonder program, the answer to all your prayers, only to find it was complete rubbish?

So often, the wonder of hindsight kicks in and we think, “if only I had followed my instincts”, or “I knew there was something wrong”!

How can we be so gullible?

Well, we shouldn't really blame ourselves. We hear what we want to hear. If we are sold the idea we can have what we want with no risk and little effort, we want to believe, and it takes a strong will to say no, especially in the face of the usual “special deals and exclusivity ”.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Time for strong self-talk.

Here’s the thing. When you see this dialogue and ‘offers’ and ‘reasons to buy’ out of context like it is here, it’s obvious how devious and untrustworthy such marketing is, isn’t it?

Does it make you think?

Of course, knowing what’s happening is a step in the right direction, but conscious thought is needed to avoid being sucked in!

So, let’s practice some ‘good ole’ self-talk and kick in some logical arguments:

  1. Too good to be true? If the results are difficult to believe, why believe them?
  2. Will Shakespeare hit a big nail on the head with his, “methinks thou dost protest too much” line. Used to indicate that the more fervently someone denies something the more likely the opposite is actually true, the same can be said for the more someone tries to prove how amazing something is, the more likely it is not. Can you really believe those extraordinary claims and promises?
  3. Bonuses and extras? Come on? If the thing is that good, why does it need a load of bolt-ons to convince you to buy it?
  4. Limited offer, special price? If they only have a few left, why the urgency to sell at a reduced price?
  5. Limited time left to buy? If there is such a rush of people buying, what difference does it make who buys it?
  6. This is so good, we don’t want you to miss out? Really, like they care who’s money they take!
  7. This is a special, one-time-only offer! (stocktake clearance, production overrun, pandemic, before we are forced to close the site, etc.) I remember a British retailer that had a “last ever sale” every month for years!
  8. Buy before it’s too late, you owe it to yourself, your family. And presumably your cat and dog!
  9. This will help, I promise. Stay at home mums (and dads) have been making 4 figures with the blah, blah System.
  10. ​​​​No recruiting, No learning, No selling, No emailing, and no experience needed. So, no structure, no strategy, and no business!

You get the point, I’m sure!


Here’s the takeaway.

In spite of the negative use of this phrase, above; you do actually owe it to yourself.

What you owe to yourself though, is to use logical self discussion whenever you make a decision, look at the obvious catches and tricks, and take time to recognize the disingenuous shysters and the tricks they use.

Always remember, there is never a strong enough reason not to weigh up all the evidence and practice a healthy skepticism, and, with no apologies for repeating these idioms:

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck — it’s most certainly a duck.
Always look a gift horse in the mouth.
If you buy a pig in a poke, don’t expect to get a pig!


Leave a request here for my free download: ‘The Power of Interactional Leadership’, Strategies for building solid businesses that last.



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