Wealthy Affiliate—legitimate, non-scam moneymaker
By Paul F. Murray
Which picture would you rather be? Frustrated or fulfilled? I spent nearly two years after being involuntarily retired from my newspaper job searching for an online job opportunity. I didn’t want to take a job at a fast food place, and in addition at age 62, I didn’t want to start a brand new career. Plus, I wanted to be on my own schedule, not on a schedule that somebody else set for me. At first, I thought it would be easy—there were, and are, so many online so-called opportunities out there for work-at-home types that I thought I had struck the big money and struck it lucky by having to retire early.
Not so fast my friend, as ESPN commentator Lee Corso might say! Discouragement set in quickly, and my sentiments matched those of the picture above.
Several months into my search for online gigs, I began to realize that there are a lot of flat-out scams out there, and even more commonly, there are a lot—a LOT—of well-meaning folks out there with “can’t miss” online money-making systems that promise to (somehow or other) make you a millionaire in no time at all, all for a small registration fee, which could range anywhere from $10 to $1,000, with ongoing monthly fees in addition.
After two years of searching, and making less than $100 in that time from freelance work, a friend of mine at church recommended Wealthy Affiliate to me, with the link: https:www.wealthyaffiliate.com?a_aid=76c56d4e. I finally had found a genuine, honest, reliable way to make money online, thanks to Wealthy Affiliate. How did I determine that Wealthy Affiliate was legitimate in contrast to so many other online systems? Several key markers:
- And this is critical: Wealthy Affiliate has owners (Kyle and Carson) whom you can actually contact. They don’t take your registration fee and then disappear. There are several different ways to contact them, particularly Kyle, by email—and actually get an answer.
- (2) There is an online “community” of Wealthy Affiliate members who can also lend their expertise to you as a member. You can learn from other members’ successes, gain their “knowledge capital”, if you will.
- (3) Wealthy Affiliate contains thorough training about how to make money, good money, through affiliate marketing. Kyle guides new members through the lessons involved in setting up a functioning, successful online business. If you get stuck somewhere in the training, you can GET HELP from Kyle and the community to understand what’s being said in the training and get moving forward again.
- (4) You can make good money through Wealthy Affiliate, but you have to work at it—go through the training, get your online business up and running, follow the steps that Kyle suggests, and you can make good money. There are no promises of “Make $100,000 your first week with our system!!!” “Buy a Mercedes after just one month using our techniques!!!” You’ve probably seen those ads for other online people and groups. Maybe you’ve tried some yourself. I haven’t made a dime off the “big promise” guys. Wealthy Affiliate, is worth your time to go to their website and give them a look-see. You can try them out for free if you like as a starter.
- There is typically a $19 first month fee for premium members, $49 a month thereafter. But that is an all-inclusive fee. Go to their website through the link on this page and see for yourself.
Other “bonuses” from Wealthy Affiliate premium membership include access to private messaging with Kyle and other WA members; access to additional training videos such as how to maximize your SEO and get Google rankings more quickly, professional assistance from WA, Kyle and the community, regarding how to build a website as part of your Premium membership, and–get this good–the ability to determine your own affiliate niche, not some sales niche or product that somebody else determines for you. No pyramid schemes here. No hassling your relatives, neighbors and friends to buy products from you.
The banner with information about Wealthy Affiliate membership options is at the end of this post, and from here you can simply scroll down to the membership information at the bottom. If you want to keep reading, I can tell you about some of the false promises I’ve seen out there, and hopefully save you some time and money after reading about my experiences. Watch out for these red flags:
No way to contact anyone and get help
I sent money to at least a couple of different organizations, and then never heard anything from them. The worst was an outfit that promised to make me big money just for mailing items from my home. I sent them a money order for $198—which they cashed—and that was the last I ever heard from them. I sent them emails, which were never answered, and I wrote to their address in Beverly Hills, California—again, no answer. I contacted the California Department of Justice, and they couldn’t make contact with them, either. They had no phone number to call, so I couldn’t reach them by phone.
Then there was another organization that initially appealed to me as a freelance writer. Their ad said something like: “Make $2,000-$10,000 your first week!” through freelance writing.” Here’s the problem with that: all that money is only, merely potential money, no guarantees, and even if it were possible to make that much in the first week, it would be several months before publishers would issue payment. But the problem is: they won’t give you a dime. That potential money is only earned by (1) writing articles, (2) sending dozens of query letters to different magazines in print and/or online, (3) waiting several weeks or even months just to find out if even one of your articles was accepted (there is, literally, a better than 99% chance that your article won’t be), and then (4) waiting several more weeks, months or even years before getting paid. Make $2,000-$10,000 your first week? Let me tell you: that is not going to happen. There was a phone number to call for help with this organization, but when I called the number several times, all I got was some private party’s voice mail (not a business voice mail). I left messages with my phone number, and I never got a call back.
The moral of the story: Don’t—whatever you do—don’t give money to an organization that you cannot contact if you have questions or need assistance. They will take your money and abandon you.
Beware the bid boards
These are legitimate sites for people interested in doing freelance work, which in my case, was online writing/journalism. There are several problems here, but the biggest is the competition you’ll face on these sites. In Wealthy Affiliate, with each member having his or her own favorite niche and enough niches out there for a hundred lifetimes, WA members are not in competition with each other. With job bid boards, you could be in competition with dozens or even hundreds of other bidders for one job. I thought I had blue-ribbon qualifications for writing gigs after having been a newspaper reporter for many years. One of the better job bid boards I found, which limited the number of bidders, did land me a couple of low-paying gigs ($25-$30), but never with any consistency. The other job bid board resulted in $0.00, because the owners of the bid board made no effort to limit the number of bidders for each available job. I faced, quite literally, dozens or even over a hundred other bidders, all competing for the same job. My credentials got lost in the massive shuffle. Or, somebody always undercut my bid. With that much competition in bidding, employers can’t even review all of the bids no matter how much the bids may be qualified, and they don’t have to much more than peanuts.
The moral of the story: Online bid boards, in my experience, may produce an occasional job which will bring in some “extra” minimal cash, but if you are looking to build an actual online business and quit your day job, forget about it with this option. It’s not steady money, or any money.
Mining the miners
These are folks who think they are legitimately helping others who want to make money online. In reality, they are little more than a variation on the old theme of “mining the miners”, an expression coined during the 1849 California gold rush. In 1849 California, the people who made the most money weren’t the gold prospectors, they were the people who sold goods to the prospectors, needed supplies such as pickaxes, shovels, axes, blankets, sourdough bread, etc. Such individuals made their money by exploiting those who either already had money or who were among the lucky ones who actually found gold. Today, in the 21st century, the “mining the miners” types are comprised of people who want to sell you a guidebook or a video for making money online or through work-at-home schemes. They don’t have a job to offer you themselves, but they claim to have information (much of which is free online) which will potentially lead you to a job.
Moral of the story: I’m not saying these can’t help you make money, but I’ve never made a dime as a result of buying a work-at-home guide.
The outright scammers if you’re tired of online sytems that don’t work and want a true system
This is the most dangerous situation for people looking for online work. You could not only lose money—not just a registration fee, but thousands of dollars potentially—and, much worse, land yourself in serious legal trouble with banks and the police. Here is what nearly happened to me: I applied for a job listed on a legitimate bid board that I thought sounded good—training to be a copyeditor for a financial services company. The contact person at first was friendly and even gave me what sounded like a legitimate online interview.
But then he started making angry demands—e.g. “how quickly can you get this lesson done?” “why weren’t you online earlier than this afternoon?” but here was the real kicker: He sent me a check for $3,850 which he wanted me to deposit in an ATM machine, then withdraw $3,800 and send that money to an address for “equipment supplies” such as a laptop computer, software, etc. I did not feel comfortable depositing that large of a check in an ATM machine, so I went to my bank, and they immediately determined that the check was fraudulent. The check was not sent with a company letterhead letter, just a letter from a “Controller” on plain white paper; the check was not drawn on the financial services company but rather from a construction company over a thousand miles away from where the financial services company was located (what the police told me was likely a “dummy company”) and when my bank called the bank that the check was drawn on, they were told that the account that the check was drawn on had been closed because it had been compromised.
The moral of the story: If a prospective “employer” wants you to cash a check for them, especially if they want you to cash it quickly at an ATM machine, DON’T deposit that check until you talked with an actual human banker who can determine if the check is fraudulent. Had I cashed that check and withdrawn $3,850 from my checking account—and sent a money order for that amount to the address I was told to—here is what the police later told would have happened: the addressees would have taken the $3,800 and disappeared, and I would have owed my bank $3,800 (which I could never have paid), or else potentially face some serious legal problems. You want to make some real money on your own time, but you don’t want to face charges in court of law for doing so.
Even assuming the very best, that you find a freelance work on occasion, it has one inherent drawback: it’s not steady. Let’s assume that you find a freelance writing job that pays $50 (about average; if you want to make serious money writing, you’d better be an expert in a particular field). Or, maybe you find a temporary consulting job that pays a little more. Here’s the thing: once you get paid your $50, or whatever. should you even spend it? How do you know that there will be another writing job paying at least $50 or whatever coming in next week or next month? What if you are counting on getting that extra $50 a week from freelance writing to help pay utility bills but suddenly the freelance job opportunities dry up or you aren’t hired for one of the available freelance jobs? If you have already spent that $50 from your previous gig, it won’t be available to help you, now, with paying for e.g. a higher-than-expected utility bill, a prescription drug that costs more than you expected, an unexpected car repair, a night out at your favorite restaurant, whatever. With Wealthy Affiliate, you will be building a regular, ongoing income stream that you can count on from one week, one month, to the next, with no interruptions.
The only way to find a steady income from freelance work is if you are hired by a company or an individual to write, consult, etc. on a regular, ongoing basis. In which case, you have defeated the purpose of your online job search. You will merely have traded one boss for another, one “day job” for another, and you will not be your own boss or have control over your time like you were seeking.