The Truth About Getting Rich Quick

The Truth About Getting Rich Quick

Reader Comments (106)

  1. Sonia,

    I really liked the honesty.

    Building a business and making money online certainly can be done, but there is not “easy mode” or “cheat code” to get you there.

    Brutal honesty may be brutal, but it is also honest.

    Thanks for telling it like it is.

  2. Sonia!

    Thank you so much for writing this article. This is my mantra – step up.
    Although operating an online business is different from running a brick
    and mortar business in many respects, it still takes TIME, BRAINS,

    Thank you for the reminder.
    Thank you for the reality check.
    Thank you for the encouragement.

  3. You know what? I prefer the “you can be a millionaire overnight” myth. It’s why I buy lottery tickets.

    But seriously, you’re unarguably right here. Too many people fall for the mirage of big payoffs for little to no work. Of course it’s a fairy tale. That’s why it’s so damn attractive.

    Like most things, the thing you need to ask yourself before starting on this magic 15m per day stroll to riches is this:

    “Does this sound too good to be true?”

    If the answer is “yes”, you’re doing it wrong.

    • The other thing to ask is this. What happens if I were to have it all (i.e. invent the next pet rock, win the lottery, discover a historical art piece worth millions in a junk show, have a rich, unknown relative die, etc.). How would you live your life?

      A while back, I watched some shows about lottery winners. Many can’t handle the money. Some went broke! Others brought goofy stuff. Hey! Even boxer Mike Tyson went broke before, because he overspent what he was taking in.

      Then there’s folks like Warren Buffet and Sam Walton. Warren still lives in a house he brought decades ago, for a few thousand. Sam used to stand in line at his own store. He also drove a pick up truck and wore bluejeans. This is when they were billionaires.

      We talk about attitude in getting the millions and steps to get there. What about keeping it, if and when we are there?


  4. Great post, I have been self employed just about my whole working life. It is something that brings great reward and sometimes huge hardship.

    I would not change it for anything. It comes down to having the self discipline to keep your eye on the prize and doing the work necessary to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

    Thanks for sharing these are some great tips.

  5. It takes hard work is an understatement…people just don’t know how mentally draining it is to run an business online. You have to stay consistent and motivated to make things work.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  6. We talk about our business, onConference, as a get rich slow plan. It has been 8 years and nothing every seems to happen ‘quickly’. Thanks for your encouraging article. It will be my tweet for the week.

  7. You know, there can never be enough articles like this. It seems like for every raw, honest article there is about getting what you want out of life (and out of your business), there are 19 others about how to get rich quick. I like to tell my clients “You can have it good, fast or cheap – pick two.”

  8. That’s how I view my blog. I’m in no rush to monetize. But eventually it will happen. Just have to put in the legwork. Although I have to say, overall my writing career has come along much faster than I thought. I’m nowhere near rich, but it strted providing a decent side-income fairly quickly.

  9. I like today’s post. Sometimes it’s just plain luck. Sometimes it’s attitude (i.e. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill). Perhaps it’s brains, money or just plain luck. Thanks for showing us some other options.

  10. What makes the process incredibly daunting is that it’s not an IF/THEN proposition. Ever.

    It would be much more attractive to say, “If I put 5,000 hours into this, then I’ll have an established and profitable business.” The reality is that 5,000 hours later, you might not have anything. (And in many cases, after two years, having nothing would be an upgrade!)

    I agree with Sonia, though — the overnight success story is incredibly rare. Hard work might not buy success, but it’s a heck of a down payment.

    • Great point. There aren’t any simple “if/then” prospects where you put the money/time/whatever in and you can perfectly predict what you get out. Staying flexible about your approach is so important.

      I’ve seen lots of overnight successes — from those who have put the time, work, and brain power into creating them. 🙂 You’ve got to grow those roots, and then a nice harvest really is possible.

  11. Another great “everyone-knows-it-but-not-everyone’s-saying-it” post, Simone. My favorite quote: “The good news is, you have brains. You may not have confidence, but that’s ok, because you can develop that. But there’s no good cure for stupid.”

    That’s exactly it. And I have to remind myself of this every time one of those well-crafted schemes runs across my inbox. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve fallen for a few in my shady past, so I’m still on a few mailing lists I wish I wasn’t. (They really don’t care when you unsubscribe. Has anyone else noticed that? 🙂 )

    Thanks again for “thought” into “thought leader”.

    • Thanks!

      And you know, I still get tempted by those. I think that’s totally natural. The better ones may overpromise in the marketing, but they still have valuable techniques to teach. It’s just not going to deliver that castle in Fiji overnight. 🙂

  12. Ah-ha, time, work and brains that’s all it takes.

    Seriously good advice here, thank you Sonia.

    Time was the element that I used to fight hard against (foolish). I wanted my bank account to swell 10-fold as soon as I hit the publish button. Strangely enough as soon as I got over the fact that that wasn’t going to happen my bank account started to swell not 10 fold, but by little trickles flowing revenue.

    Great stuff

    • Dwayne, I’ve noticed that too. When you start to focus on creating value, even if it takes longer, you actually start to see those results you were chasing.

      Sometimes the “somewhat slower but steady” route is the quick way after all. 🙂

  13. Sonia, great post as always.

    I love this blog and its regulars, because it’s all about Internet Marketing for people who care about people first, money second. That’s a real rarity in business, online or off.

    This post is another great example of that, giving people the truth, not what they want to hear. How refreshing!

  14. Your grandfather certainly developed calluses doing that type of work. Once healed, these stronger areas allowed his to prosper. Time, and trial and error are calluses to bloggers. Can’t rush them. But, shouldn’t run from them either.

  15. I totally agree great insights. Some times we need the hard brutal truth, the difference between the haves and the have nots is working hard, but also smartly and consistently.

  16. If EVERY client I’ve worked with over the last 6 years could have read this article BEFORE getting involved in starting an online business, not only would my life have been a lot easier, but their expectations would have been a lot more sound too.

    Time, work, brains, effort, creativity, connections, more hard work, testing, testing, testing, and a bit of luck – these are the things successful online businesses are made of. And, sadly, these are also the things the “gurus” DON’T tell you.

    I’m so sick of working with clients who have been told they can make thousands of dollars overnight by simply setting up a blogger blog and then let it “auto blog”. I’m tired of the “turn key” solutions that are pitched.

    What I’ve found is the people who have been successful in other things – school, their “day job”, family life, pursuit of talents – these are generally the people that succeed in online business too. They have realistic expectations, they know they’re going to need to BUST THEIR BUTTS, and they know it will take time!

    Thanks, Sonia, for the great and straight forward reminder about “getting rich quick”.

    • Funny thing is, many of those gurus don’t like their clients much. Why? Because their clients are lazy, insecure, and don’t take action.

      Well gee, I wonder how they attracted that?

      That’s why we don’t go for that “any lazy bum can do it” message. We don’t like working with lazy bums! But we love working with the clients we do attract — the ones who want to put the work in, who aren’t afraid to take action, and who just need some instruction and inspiration to put it all together.

      So actually, these posts and message are incredibly selfish on our part. 🙂

  17. Definitely a timely reminder for me right now. When I first got into online business I was entranced by all the glitz and glamor of making quick money online. To be honest that’s WHY I got into online business initially. I wanted to let the machine run while I played golf and cashed paychecks.

    It took over a year to realize that it wasn’t automatic. That I was going to have to work for it. Now I work my ass off but I’ve stayed in the online arena because I love how dynamic it is and how much it changes on a day to day basis.

    I remember Scott Stratten saying (paraphrasing) “The internet is an amplifier. If what you’re doing sucks, it’s going to make it suck harder and faster. If what you’re doing is awesome, it’s going to become awesome more quickly.”

  18. Man, I tell you. So many people come to me wanting to have a whole business model invented for them. Like, “I want my website that’s just like Amazon, but better.”

    I start talking about testing and they say, “Oh, you can’t do it, fine.”

    They come wanting no-work customers just begging to do business with them. Pre-sold people that read their mind.

    They ask “How long will I have blog before I get money?” (How little work can I get away with doing).

    And then it’s my fault when a site that offers MLM, real estate, diet pills all like it was written by a crack addled 13 year old doesn’t work.

    Getting rich quick.

    Screw that noise. Help people now. All the time. Find ways of meeting helpable people.

    • Chris, you’re my model of the perfect customer. 🙂 You’ve always had such a smart attitude about this.

      The funny thing is (my mom was always tryign to get this into my head), the lazy way is actually the difficult, slow way. Just put the damned work in and you’ll have fun + get results.

  19. These are wise words for people who are being logical and reasonable. But so often we are illogical and unreasonable and just want to find the easy way to do whatever is facing us. There is some part of our brain that screams “there has to be an easier way!” and I think that is why we get suckered time and time again by the get-rich-quick schemes even when we are usually logical, smart folks.

    Time, work, and brains. It’s simple yet so difficult. Thanks for the reminder Sonia. It helps keep me on the right path.

  20. Hi Sonia, I really appreciate how CopyBlogger keeps it real and doesn’t feed people a get rich quick scheme. To be honest, I wouldn’t still be hanging around if this was about getting rich quickly. You and Brian have a good feel for what it really takes to start a business.

    Thanks for keeping it real!

    • Yep, it stands out. This is why people have continued to use the site for years. Plus they’ve put light bulbs in so many of our minds – I’ll never forget the first time Brian was talking about blogs as a direct marketing system and something in my mind went just clicked.

      Pretty great site really – definitely deserves both the $$ they make and the credit they get.

  21. Great post 🙂

    I run my business on the basis that, I’ll work as hard as I reasonable can without being silly, explore all the avenues I can think off, research and try avenues I haven’t thought off, try new things to see if they work, try to do things better if they don’t.

    I’d rather work hard all the time and fail, than work half hearted and look back when I’m 50/60 and have regrets that I didn’t work harder enough :o)

  22. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Sonia. It bears repeating, so don’t be afraid to have another go at it.

    Too many people think they can get rich quick…but is that good business? Technology improves how information is processed, but strong businesses know about the brains behind it all.

    The hard work, too.

    And how to treat their customers. (The most important element.)

    Thanks for the great article — keep it coming!

  23. Hi Sonia, how very true. I have just finished an internet marketing course and now realise the amount of work need to build my business. There is no easy button and that’s a fact that many of us have learnt the hard way.

    We’ve all had the emails telling us how easy it is to hit the button for over night success and i have learned from these people, but not what they’re trying to teach, or should i say sell. I’m learning what not to do, just before hitting unsubscribe.

    Thanks Sonia,

  24. Sonia, great points!

    Hey, I had great-grandfather who was a logger in UP Michigan!

    I always tell people that running a service-based or online business is hard work, “but not Swamp Loggers or Alaskan salmon fishing hard.”

    Anything worth, well, anything requires effort. Money making, health promoting, relationship developing. Maybe it’s the word “work” that gets in our way. It has such a negative connotation.

    That’s it. From now on I’m telling my son that those papers he brings home are not “homework,” they are for “learning at home.” 🙂

  25. The people that make it are the people that quit “day job” working for 8 hours for someone else to go and do working for themselves for 12 hours a day in something they love. I have no desire to quit working for quitting work’s sake….I just want to feel excited to get up and go do what I need to do.

    I also think people miss that when they read books like “4 Hour Workweek”, that Tim Ferris had to work a whole heck of a lot to get his business to the point where it takes 4 hours a week….way more than 40 hours per week I’m sure. The ease and freedom that comes from working for oneself only comes after a whole lot more work than you expected.

    • There’s a point in 4HWW where he lists out his office hours. Guess what, they’re quite a lot more than four hours a week. 🙂

      And yet, he also makes great points in that book about not working for work’s sake. I don’t find any virtue in that either.

  26. Hi Sonia,
    I have to say that you are right. People always try to find a quick-overnight-get-rich-fix. It’s true that you can have solid business without working for 60 hours, but at the beginning you migh have to.

  27. Love your point about the natural tendency to find the fast, easy way, Sonia. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re willing and able to learn and work fast…

    Thanks so much for reminding that every biz has its weird secrets, which often don’t make sense I’m finding. I believe that is what separates the successful biz owners from the non, b/c that’s hard, hard work–not unlike navigating yourself out of the maze.

    At least your grandfather didn’t have to make excuses for not going to the gym…;)

  28. Sometimes, I like provoke flurries of comments by dissenting objectively to a blog post. But in this instance, I have none.

    Truth hurts. This post is such, brutal honesty from someone I respect and from a blog I try to read almost everyday.

    I love this post because this is exactly my realization over a year ago. I’m no longer a get-rich-quick maniac or junkie. I’m following one teacher and one model only.

    There is no kidding around. I’m a copyblogger addict and a Brian Clark devotee. The last one is an official designation from my girlfriend who enjoys my total devotion to everything CopyBlogger does.

    Thanks Simone, Brian and Jon.

  29. Fantastic! Really loved this article, definitely rang true with me today — must have been just what I needed to hear. I think I could read about this topic anytime you want to post about it… being told that anything worth having is worth working for is a great motivator to me. Sometimes it is a bit discouraging how much effort and time it takes with little or no results, but we all know that a lot of great businesses begin with very slow and humble beginnings… words of encouragement along the way, and friendly reminders that it does take time so don’t give up, are always welcome. Thanks for writing it!

  30. Hi Sonia,

    You touched a certain mindset that differentiates business employees from business owners.

    I have noticed this profound difference when my point-of-contact for a writing job is an employee rather that an owner. Many employees operate under the assumption that, no matter how well or badly things go, quitting time is 5:00, and payday is Friday, whereas the typical business owner will march through hell wearing gasoline under-drawers, if that’s what it takes for the business.

    Personally, I prefer owners. Their style may alternate between in-your-face and impossible-to-reach, but they make decisions and live up to their commitments. And they relate best to people who work as hard as they do.


  31. This is why it is so important to enjoy what you do for a living. Life is short and business can be challenging if the focus is on the rewards and not the joy of doing the work or providing the service – the giving of your talents to those who need them.

  32. G’Day Sonia,
    Agree with everything you say. After two years on the web I automatically trash anything that contains the faintest whiff of “get rich quick.” Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way.

    May I suggest another ‘take” It takes money too. That’s the reality.

    Make sure you have fun,



  33. Hi Sonia, great post… as usual!! I really love your insight and humor!

    Just one comment: You opened with a quote from Roy H. Williams – The Wizard of Ads… who is definitely that! Seems like you should link to his site: (I’m not affiliated with him in any way… just a huge fan!) I think CopyBlogger readers (like me) would find Roy’s stuff to be very insightful and practical as well.

    Last week, I went to the “Magical Worlds Communications Workshop” at Wizard Academy (the non-profit, non-traditional business school in Austin, TX, which Roy and his wife Pennie founded in 2000, I believe). This workshop is the school’s 3-day core class, and Roy teaches it himself. Truly awesome for anyone interested in standing out from the pack by creating messages that break through the noise AND compel the action you’re looking for. He’s all about hard work, but the class gives you the knowledge to accomplish so much more with it. It’s seriously mind-blowing and truly eye-opening.

    I actually suspect you’ve been there yourself with how smart you are… and because “mouth breathing morons” is one of Roy’s favorite disses. 🙂

    For CB readers, check out Roy’s weekly email, the MondayMorningMemo (

    Thanks again for the great post, and hopefully you’ll add a link to the Wizard of Ads reference!


    • Ha ha! I have been enjoying reading his books, great idea to link to his site.

      I don’t think I got “mouth-breathing moron” from one of his books, but the quote I opened this post with made me laugh out loud. I immediately knew I’d write something about it.

  34. I have to chuckle sometimes because I really want to gather every post I find about how working online in any fashion is typically hard work and then make an album to pass out to friends and family. Due to all of the myths out there about making money online and how people can get rich quick, some people believe that those who work online do not work very much. In reality, many of us are working all day and night; putting in that hard work to achieve what we want to achieve. I always say, I do not work 9-5, I work 8 to whenever I drop and that’s pretty much it. It is very true that if you want something, you have to work for it. It is not going to just be handed to you.

  35. Interesting… I just posted an article on getting rich quick a couple of weeks ago. Looks like you put more work into yours but I think we came up with the same conclusions. You really have to work at it to be successful, it doesn’t come overnight.

  36. He Sonia, you can’t be afraid of time and work, that’s for sure 🙂

    Being smart is also part of the equation but you can’t be lazy either and I know a lot of smart people that are lazy, and not in a good way.

    There are many descriptives that we could apply to getting rich but I think it all boils down to doing what you love and realizing pure satisfaction from doing it.

    • Carol Dweck has some *really* interesting insights into why so many people who identify themselves as smart are also lazy. Her book Mindset was mind-blowing for me.

  37. Sonia,You hit the nail right on the head. We all want to grow rich but are not willing to invest the time, energy and brainwork to make our projects really succeed. Your post is a firm reminder for the need for focus and committment, not only in work or business, but in all the things that make life worthwhile.

  38. Mouth Breathing Morons everywhere should unite and protest!

    Aside from that, a great post that makes me think all this time, effort, and brain be might actually be worth it.


    PS – Anyone else think it must be strangely rewarding to swing an axe all day? Every man, deep down inside, wants to be a lumberjack. Even the job title is cool.

    • I didn’t come up with it. Interestingly, the frequent and entertaining use of the term is one of the few things my ex husband and my current husband have in common. Not, I hasten to add, directed at me. (Neither of them is a brute.)

  39. This post mainly made me want to become a lumberjack. Is that possible?

    Great read… It really got me thinking right up to the point where it started to take effort and I bailed. I think I’m doing it wrong. 🙂

  40. Everyone has a different definition of what they feel as being rich. People have to start to understand that being rich is not everything. Living a happy prosperous life is what people should try to achieve.

  41. you should of also used “honestly, the honesty is why the game love us,” because the game is hard to play if you’re not honest. If all you want to do is win matches (win/gain money), then the fun wont last long, which is a bad motivator. If you want the action (the just-do-it mentality), then the fun will always last, because intellectual motivators and influencing moments and many more positive things are always there for you.

    People think there is an easy way, but actually it’s just no easy way at all. Time will find that moment some day.

  42. Hi Sonia,
    Wonderful post! I have just started establishing myself as Personal Development Coach and am glad about getting such honest and Real advice from people like you. I can relate to everything you said. I have learnt that the only way you can get something is by creating value for your customers, clients (in my case students) and creating value requires time, brains and hardwork.
    Thank you so much for this post.

  43. I really liked the theme of this post: to step up. You’re right that many of us get caught up in a get rich quick mentality and don’t realize that it takes hard work and patience to get there.

  44. Sonia,

    I agree, there are so many “get rich quick” schemes, where only people are getting rich are those people who are selling these so called a magic pill.

    My grandfather has always said ” there are no short cuts to success”, but I admit, sometimes it is easier to believe in these hypes. I am glad to read this now as I needed to read this. Thanks for the message.

  45. Darn. You mean I can’t just stuff envelops or build widgets while watching daytime TV? Sigh.

    Seriously, “rich quick” isn’t where the fun is. The fun is in the process. I’ve had three books published, and though selling them was fun and promoting them was challenging, the process of creating them was the most satisfying part of it all.

    I hadn’t thought about that and extrapolated from it to apply it to my online business. I’ve been so focused on traffic (which is like selling and promoting a book) that I haven’t been savoring the creating process as much as I could be. Thank you for the reminder, Sonia!!

  46. “no good cure for stupid” – hmm should I give up now?? only joking 😉

    time, work and brains – but which of the three is the most important…. can we have another copyblogger vote and could there be a t-shirt in it?

    Have a great weekend Sonia,


  47. YES!!! This is what everyone needs to hear – and I find myself telling my clients some version of this advice day in and day out. Truth is inescapable and it is refreshing to see it articulated so simply and so well. Keep up the great work, Sonia, and may we all take this truth to heart, especially the last part: “It feels good to do something that takes time, work, and brains”

  48. It’s so true. I spent more than a year working full time on IM, learning about marketing, seo, copywriting, outsourcing, technical knowledge, and yes, it probably take less if you are already a professional in some of those fields (like brian is at copywriting) but still

    It takes time. And usually the people just starting a blog are NOT professionals in any of those fields. They tend to overlook the time & work factor.

  49. I had the longest day after a 6 hour training session for a client.
    My brain told me NOT to workout at the gym this evening.
    But that would be letting my commitment down…
    So I stepped up and forced myself there. And guess what…?
    Today was the BEST workout I’d ever had in weeks!
    I guess stepping up to build an internet business is the same as my experience at the gym today.
    Thanks for this honest post Sonia!

  50. Another great post Sonia!

    The reason we have millions of homes, with those ab machines tucked away in closets, is that people wanted to believe the beautiful people on the infomercials. They wanted the flat abs, with 3 minutes of exercise a day, 3 days a week.

    The reason there are people getting fleeced from their money online, is that the get-rich-quick guys know there are people out there, in significant numbers, who WANT to believe the promises on their yellow-highlighted pinch-pages.

    Hopefully, through education and awareness, we can help more people see sense.


  51. Sonia,

    “The lives of great men
    Reached and kept
    Were not attained by sudden flight
    But they, while their companions slept,
    Were toiling upwards into the night.

    The lives of great men
    All remind us
    That we too can make
    Our lives sublime
    And thus departing
    Leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time.”

    These immortal lines from one of America’s finest poets, namely, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sums up your post for me. There are a lot of get rich schemes out there. What the schemers don’t know, however, is the amound of hard work you have to put in to achieve anything worthwhile in life. Whether you are a professional athlete or lumberjack, you have to be able to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Unless you are a diva and have an inherited fortune, there is no substitue for hard work. If you want to bring home the bacon, be prepared to roll in the hay and sweat for a living.

  52. I completely agree that business is hard work, but isn’t copywriting part of the problem? Good copy sucks people in and offers “secrets” “solutions” and ‘how to’s” to getting what you want with little effort.

    Many big bloggers have found that the best way to make money is to teach others how to make money blogging. They all make it sound easier or simpler than it really is. That is how they sell more of their ebooks and training programs.

    Of course, they all say that they hate the pushy sales tactics, hype and bullshit but then go ahead and employ similar emotional calls to action and fake scarcity tactics as the slime balls.

  53. Great post.

    I particularly like and agree with the piece about the ability to improvise and change as you learn. This is commonplace, and essential, in an office business.

    It should be no surprise that changing and adapting is essential in online business.


  54. I often hear for get-rich-quick gurus that what we need is to work smart, not hard. I think they missed the point. Working hard is working smart.

    I like the quote on Roy Williams. And thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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