What you decide to do after reading this article will spell either the success or failure of your businesses.
It’s a bold statement- but it’s true.
For far too long, the “rules” of Internet Marketing were pretty lax.
- You can start your business without filing any paperwork.
- Need an email address? Get one for free.
- Need a website? Grab a Domain for $12, hosting for a few bucks a month, and install WordPress for next to nothing.
- No need to get insurance, or pay sales tax- because, hey, you’re selling electronic products, right?
- Don’t want to give out your home or cell number, no problem-o- grab a free number with Google Voice.
- No need for fancy business meetings, you can “chat” with people in your PJs over “Skype”.
As a result of the “informal” nature of Internet Marketing, everyone from beginning internet marketers to the “Goo-Roos” have developed some REALLY bad habits
- Thinking that they don’t need an attorney until they start making “the big money”.
- Thinking that they can’t be sued…or that no one wants to sue them until they start making “the big money”.
- Thinking that formal contracts are for brick and mortar business owners only.
- Taking the whole “Faking-it-til-you-make it” to a whole new level, by Photoshop-ing results.
- “Ripping off” someone else’s content- because, “Hey- the Internet is HUGE, they’ll never catch me.”
- “Ripping off” images from other websites- because. “Hey- the Internet is HUGE, they’ll never catch me.”
- Using other people’s “Terms and Conditions” or disclaimers- because surely they know what they’re talking about.
- Not using Terms and Conditions because they think no one will sue them.
- Getting a result like generating 10,000 leads(for the low price of $100,000)- then Launching a product boasting: “I’ve Generated 10,000 Leads in 10 Days! See How!” (while leaving out the actual cost- because “Hey- that’s ‘marketing’, right?”)
- Advertising Results like “How You Can Make $987 next week using this simple trick” or “Earn a Full-Time Income on Auto-Pilot with this System”.
- Creating seemingly unbiased “Product Reviews” that include an affiliate link without disclosing the fact that they are an affiliat
- Thinking that the major advertising platforms like Google, Facebook, etc. won’t “ban” them because they spend a lot of money each month in pay-per-click advertising,
These are just SOME of the major mistakes I’ve seen online, and if you’ve done or are thinking of doing any of these things- you better think twice!
Well, the time has come where you are no longer “safe” behind your computer …
The Government Is “Protecting Consumers” From You
In an effort to “protect consumers,” agencies like the Federal Trade Commission in the United States are starting to crack down on internet marketers.
In fact, the FTC recently filed suit against 10 Internet Marketers (go here) for various violations
(I’ll be launching a training video in the next few weeks discussing this case).
One internet marketer’s business was recently shut down completely. (go here)
Advertising Platforms Can Ban You Tomorrow
Many advertising platforms are sick of the reckless nature of internet marketers promising easy money.
So, they’re disallowing ads that promote work-from-home opportunities.
Others just outright banned advertisers that promoted work-from-home opportunities or perceived “Get Rich Quick” sites at any time.
Lawyers Are On the Prowl
Lawyers are now trolling the internet to find people who have “ripped off” other people’s copyrighted information, then going to the copyright owner and offering to take their case for a share of the proceeds.
Then the attorney makes a demand for compensation from the violator (YOU), who, not wanting to spend a fortune on legal battles, is pretty much just forced to pay up.
Your Informational Products May Be Subject to Sales Tax
Many states have decided that e-books and other electronic media are now subject to “Sales Tax.”
So if you aren’t collecting Sales Tax, an auditor may be knocking on your door.
Oh, and on top of the money you failed to collect, you’ll get slapped with penalties and interest on the sums you failed to collect too.
The US is notorious for being litigious.
Add in high unemployment, and you can guess that many people see lawsuits as an alternative to lottery tickets or a job…
If someone takes your advice about a particular health juice, and then gets sick- you could be sued. Same thing goes for people who are advertising monetary results.
Companies Can Sue You For Trademark Violations
Using the name of a company or product in your advertisements to sell something other than that company’s product?
You can be sued for violating trademark law- even if the trademark isn’t registered.
Companies aren’t afraid to make an example out of a “little guy” like you…. ask the 16 year-old that got sued by a record label for downloading copyrighted music.
Your “JV Buddy” Will Rip You Off
Decided to do a JV with someone you met at a live event, but don’t want to “ruin” the opportunity by requiring a formal written agreement?
You’re a fool. (Sorry.)
People will take advantage of you. People will not pay you what they promised.
Don’t have a written agreement?
Good luck in Court with that “oral contract”…
Your Network Marketing Company Doesn’t Care About You.
Remember when you joined your Network Marketing company, and checked that box that said you agree to abide by the Company’s Policies and Procedures and the terms of the Distributor Agreement….
Yea, those things are legally binding contracts.
If you break one of their rules- they more likely than not can kick you out of the company, not pay you AND take your downline.
If you’re selling other products to your downline…
If you’re using your company’s name or their product name in your advertising or on your blog without their written permission…
If you’re involved with more than one direct sales or network marketing company…
You may be breaching your contract with your network marketing or direct sales company.
Planning To Beg for Forgiveness Later?
Ahhh yes…the “Beg For Forgiveness Later instead of Ask for Permission Now” plan.
Yea- that plan TOTALLY stinks.
Especially when you’ve got a process server at your door handing you a Summons and Complaint that just cost some person or company $1500 or more to write.
Or better yet…
The government comes knocking at your door…..
You break the law, you’re gonna pay. And your “Begging for Forgiveness” isn’t the kind of payment they’ve got in mind.
Why Should You Care About Any of This Stuff?
Well, my point in writing this is very simple.It’s a major wake up call!
You need to treat your business LIKE A BUSINESS. Even if your daily commute is from your bedroom to the kitchen.
Otherwise, you’re building your business on a foundation of quicksand.
That’s not smart.
If you’re building a business just to see how fast you can be forced to file bankruptcy- ignore my warnings.
If you’re building a business because you are DYING to see the inside of a Courtroom and see just how big legal bills can really be… close this article now.
But If you’re building a business because…
You actually want to make money…
You are retired and want some extra money…
You were laid off from your job and need some extra money…
You want to have the freedom to enjoy time with your family…
You might want to start considering the “legal and business-side” of internet marketing in addition to learning marketing strategies.
That means educating yourself a little bit about the various “legal or business” issues that come with owning your own online business. Things like…
- Business entity formation
- Basics on taxes
- Various rules and regulations governing advertising online (Privacy, Intellectual Property including Trademarks, Copyrights, etc.)
- Contracts: When You Need One and How to Read One
Now, I’m not saying that you need to become a lawyer, or a CPA, or anything like that.
What I am saying is that it is important that you start acting like a real business owner, who RECOGNIZES potential issues and KNOWS when to get an “expert” involved so that all of their hard work is protected.
In other words, stop acting like a kid when it comes to your business, it’s time to Grow Up!
Help is On the Way
There aren’t many people out there who are able to speak on this topic, so at the urging of several leaders in our industry (and despite my determination NOT to mix my legal background with my internet marketing), I’ve been convinced to focus my efforts over the next 6 months on helping YOU learn more about some of the issues I just discussed.
Trust me…..It’s not because I love talking about business basics. (Just ask my husband, Rich Hazlett or my friend Jim Yaghi- they know how much I DON’T want to have to discuss this stuff)
BUT I feel like I really have no choice…. because I see a lot of well-meaning entrepreneurs in the path of a coming Legal Tsunami. I can’t just sit by and watch the impending disaster… if I can just save one person from having all of their hard work destroyed, it’ll all be worth it!
So, that’s why I’m doing this :)
That being said, my new website isn’t even up yet….but if you want to learn more about these topics so that you aren’t one of the poor marketers who are blind-sided by what’s coming over the next couple of years- and you want to learn the RIGHT WAY to advertise when using Pay-Per-Click, so that you’re the one who’s left standing when others get “Slapped” then GO HERE.
Like this Article? Think this topic is a Snoozer? Let me hear from you!
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