Internet Marketing ≠ Family

12 Comments Written on August 25th, 2008 by
Categories: The World Around Me

I have acquired enough knowledge in Internet marketing to help bring food (mostly desert) to the table and finance my good habits. Earlier this year, I was confident enough to introduce Internet marketing to my family. I told them that it’s a great medium to compliment their income provided that they go after sustainability and offer value to Web. My dad asked how I’m different from Carleton Sheets and those “Make Money Online” commercials on TV. I was dissapointed because I thought he knew better.

I showed them what it is I do and they appeared to be paying attention. My proposal was:

  1. finance initial marketing costs
  2. finance all the start-up costs (web design, premium domain, host)
  3. they will get full support about anything Internet marketing from me and Aaron – Anytime
  4. I’ll throw in a fast, brand new laptop
  5. they get to keep 100% of the profits

After an hour of me selling the idea and how this is really good for them, they finally agreed to learn this Internet marketing. They were given a very simple homework assignment of figuring out what they’re interested in or passionate about that was due the following week.

I came to visit them the following weekend and brought with me their new laptop. They were excited with the computer but admitted that they weren’t able  to figure out what the site will be about. To me, that was the first blow and despite my disappointment, I went ahead and taught them the ultra beginner’s guide to the Web. The tutorial lasted a good 3 hours and they were clearly bored with every second of lecture.

It came to full realization that it’s tough to teach uninterested folks about Internet marketing even if they are piqued with the idea of making money. It’s even worse if family is involved because they tend to expect more from you and contribute less. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but getting them to leech off our experience for their financial gain was a pain in the neck.

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12 comments “Internet Marketing ≠ Family”

I feel your pain on this one! I wonder how many other online marketers have several close relatives and inlaws who don’t even know how to check e-mail or browse.

I have had some limited success showing them StumbleUpon. They see it as great one-click entertainment without having to learn much.

I know how you feel. I don’t think I would even start to try to get my mom into any of this.

Everytime she asks me what it is I do, I know she will have stopped listening after the first sentence and I’ll have to explain it all again next time.

So I think in future I’ll tell her I’m a dentist or something like that as she will understand that.

“A prophet is not without honor save in his own country.”

This can also be true for friends. It’s also a good warning not to get too friendly with good customers. As much as I enjoy many of them, I have to remind myself to maintain some distance. It takes a very special and unusual friendship to separate business from personal life.

I gave up trying to explain to my family a long time ago, and many of them have programming backgrounds. For whatever reason, this medium doesn’t click for some.

My friends are similar. I’ve been asked about what I do, and then what I earn and suddenly lots of folks want to do search marketing. Partly it’s their normal interest in making money and my enthusiasm and encouragement of anyone to join the domain.

In your case, it sounds like you set up high expectations on yourself and very little for them. You’re giving them the startup dough, pc, domain, support etc. Wait, why aren’t you writing the content too? I’m not saying this to insult you or your fam (I’ve experienced the same thing, as I mentioned above) but the drive has to be there.

My soccer coach in high school told me how he picked players for the team. “Are they willing to work hard? You can teach someone skills, Gab, so natural talent isn’t so important [ed: although in a short season the importance is magnified]. But you can’t teach a positive attitude [or a willingness to do repetitive passing drills, positioning, ball control; in SEO keyword research, content writing, linkbuilding etc.]. “

Clients and potential clients are just the same.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to educate a client on the importance of a unique .com domain name (rather than a .net domain with a name shared with at least 5 different organisations) but did it go in? That’s just one example. If the hunger isn’t there, you’re wasting your time.

Same with prospective clients – they arrive with a clear idea of what they want, which is to be exactly the same as everyone else.

There’s a lot of justified cynicism, though. People have been burnt in other areas of life and simply don’t believe there are opportunities.

I offered to build a website for a close friend’s business. Showed them the mockup and they were very enthused. But it ended up being me pushing, pushing, pushing. Lesson learnt. Let them approach you first, and put up some little barriers for them to jump over – don’t look too keen – and see how they react.

By the way, never, ever work (for money) for family, friends or neighbours. Done that a couple of times and boy, do you see a side of people you never wish to see when money’s involved. Either that, or you end up busting a gut over-delivering or you cock-up and want to crawl away and die with embarassment.

I think that’s great that you offered to do that for your family, I’d do the same thing and I don’t think there’s a lot of people out there with that sort of compassion and all-around desire to see anyone succeed other than themselves. Very cool.

It’s always the most difficult to teach people who are uninterested. That’s why a classroom of 10 interested students beats out a classroom of 100 uninterested students anyday. Quality > Quantity FTW

I guess we who see the value think it’s natural for others but unfortunately they don’t. Hard to understand when virtually every news and most talk tv shows you see today refers to a web site. Some just “don’t get it” unfortunately. But the good thing is that means more traffic for us 😉

I totally feel your pain.

I hurts me so much to see my dad work his whole life so hard, remembering him working two jobs just for us to barely scrape by for years… and him never having a chance to retire…

This about sums it up:

“it’s tough to teach uninterested folks about Internet marketing even if they are piqued with the idea of making money. It’s even worse if family is involved because they tend to expect more from you and contribute less.”


Your article is very informative and useful. Glad I found it. Cheers.

One of my friends’ wife has blog on cooking – very neat with a lot of hits a day. I’ve been bugging her to monetize it but she just doesn’t get it!

But at least she has a blog. My wife started blogging and gave up after 3 posts saying it was too difficult.

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