Don’t fall for this

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Spotted this display ad for “The Official Medallic Commemoration of the History of Mankind”.

Below in bold type was the following subheading: Hallmarked First Edition Proof Sets in solid Welsh Silver available ONLY by advanced covented subscription or, of course, cash. To preserve value, the number of sets minted must be strictly limited to the number we can actually sell. No more will be minted after this number is reached, in order to guarantee rarity”.

This advertisement from The National Institute of Historical Research was actually a make-believe or spoof advert from “The Brand New Monty-Papperbok”.

It’s interesting how the Monty Python team raises the curtain on the truth behind exaggerated claims in display ads when they mention “strictly limited to the number we can actually sell”.

Open your email box and you’ll see this type of shameless exaggeration from so-called serious marketers peddling the concept of “multiple income streams”. One of the emails that landed in my inbox the other day announced a four-part DVD set on how to generate huge profits from multiple income streams. If this wasn’t enough, the advertiser claimed that the information could help you set up your own business model with virtually no cost and very little time.

Although the term multiple income streams has been around for a number of years and is extremely alluring, I’ve yet to see it work in the real world. The only thing that I’ve seen that comes close to multiple income streams is a home builder I know who designed and built about six bed-and-breakfast units. He runs this business on the side which generates additional income.

You could say that a small shopping centre has multiple streams of income through its various tenants. But you’ve got to have a sizeable stash of cash or borrowings to produce as many revenue streams as this.

The same kind of claims that catch the gullible are often found on the covers of business magazines that arrest your attention with cover lines like “3 steps to starting your business today for free”. Who ever heard of starting a business for free?

To lift meagre newsstand sales other business magazines tantalise with articles that will show you how to come up with ideas that will virtually guarantee you a set monthly income.

This is wishful thinking at its lowest point. Turn to the article and see if you can generate the promised income on content that is as believable as the message inside a fortune cookie.

Reminds me about the The Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, who ran a “pump and dump” penny-stock boiler room that in the 1990s employed more than 1,000 brokers at its peak before it was shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI arrested Belfort. He was convicted of money laundering and securities fraud and received a four-year prison sentence. His cell mate Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong, says Belfort was able to make a lot of money because he would inspire salespeople to basically go rob people.

There is nothing wrong with selling: it’s what you use selling for that makes the difference. No one can succeed in business without the highest ethical standards.

Coming up with ideas for new business opportunities and developing them can be learnt in a weekend but if anyone tells you that you can grow a business overnight with virtually no cost, then avoid them like the plague.

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