The Internet Marketing TRAP (And How I Fell Into It) The Internet Marketing TRAP (And How I Fell Into It) | Justin Goff

The Internet Marketing TRAP (And How I Fell Into It)

by Justin Goff on April 29, 2012

When I first started making money online, I ended up falling into the “trap” that I see a lot of young internet marketers fall for…

It’s the trap that proves to everyone that you’ve made it.   It’s the trap that shows everyone you’re just like Frank Kern or Eben Pagan.

This trap is the downfall of a lot of young marketers – and I see it a lot in the emails I get, the people I meet at conferences and the posts I see from marketers on Facebook.

I like to call it the “see I made it” trap…

When you first start messing around with online marketing, you’re going to have a lot of people in your life who are going to doubt you.  Most of your family and friends will think you’re nuts, and they will probably tell you that you’re wasting your time on something like this.

But then if you keep plugging along and you happen to be successful, you’re going to have the urge to show everyone that you “made it”.  You’re gonna feel like you need to prove that you did it, and that they were wrong about you.

This can come in a lot of different forms, but the most common I see (and the one that I fell into) is people buying a lot of things & having people in their life that make them look like a “successful marketer”…

Whether it’s a pimped out car, a massive house, $500 bar tabs or a stunning girlfriend – I see so many younger marketers using all of these things to “prove” to everyone that they made it.

A few years ago, I was guilty of falling into this trap as well.

I had the pimped out SUV, the huge bar tabs, and the gorgeous girlfriend.  Part of me felt like these things made up “who I was” as a person.  Part of me felt the need to live up to the material expectations that I saw other marketers have…

I can tell you first hand that the person I was trying to project was not really who I am.  Sure it’s fun to have nice things in your life and there’s nothing wrong at all with having nice stuff –  but if you’re letting those things define who you are and you’re deriving your happiness from those things… then you’re going to be in for a world of hurt when they’re gone.

When my old girlfriend and I split up a few years ago, I truly felt like I was losing part of “who I was”.  I even felt a little “unsuccessful” the day I traded in my $60,000 SUV for a used Jeep Cherokee.

I think a lot of this boils down to knowing what you want out of this business.  A few years ago, I would have said I wanted to make a ton of money and part of me really wanted recognition from other internet marketers.

Today, I have a different idea of what I want.  I have no problem being under the radar, making a great living every year and using internet marketing to live life on my own terms.

One of my long term goals for all of this is to retire by the age of 35, and use my free time to start a non-profit dog rescue.   This is my “end game”.  This is what keeps me motivated to hit my goals each and every week.

I really don’t pay a whole lot of attention anymore to what other marketers are doing.  If they have something that can help my business, then I’ll listen.  But if there’s nothing in it to help my business and it’s more about ego stroking then I’m really not interested.

If you’re just starting out, or you’re just starting to see some success, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of trying to live the “internet marketing dream”.  Figure out what YOU want out of this.  Whether that’s more money, more freedom or to just get away from your current job.

Just make sure you figure out what you actually want, and don’t fall into the trap..

– Justin


Brandon Zundel April 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Dead on, Justin!

If you’re moving towards a life that truly fulfills your inner-most desires, then you’re on the right track.

I–for example–value my time way more than money. Internet marketing provides a freedom that a nine-to-fiver would never be able to live up to. (even making 10 times the money)

I don’t know that there’s a level of income a person could reach that doesn’t still lack somewhere. Money can be earned, time can only be spent.

Fortunately for us, we’re spending *some* time earning money–though doing something we love to do–but we also have the freedom to choose when and where we’ll spend that time, and THAT is freedom.

Great post!

Jock April 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Top post mate !!

I think if this is your goal then you are set up for failure. It really isn’t a good enough ‘why’ to get you over the like.

Interesting seeing your transformation. I picked up an article a couple of years back on bootcamp marketing, that is how I came across here.

Congrats on the success with 30 days.

Interesting how many pivots it sometimes takes to finally hit a winner. I can see the same type of journey looking back with me.

James at IM Lifeline April 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Great post Justin.
A great piece of advice on success was that it’s about being able to buy all of those things and choosing not to.
Nothing wrong with flying under the radar and doing well, in fact it probably makes for an easier life.


King April 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

Maybe you just jumped in too fast, got in over your head. If you can only afford one car, it probably shouldn’t be a luxury one in all honesty.

Besides, I don’t know anyone that spends thousands at the club to show off, they do it to have fun and celebrate. If that’s not who you are then spend your $ on something else.

P.S when we met in 2006 at a conference, you pulled some booth babe right out of her work to the bar for a drink. I for one, thought that was pretty damn cool :)

King April 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

After thinking about this, I do know people like this. And I guess it is just something you grow out of in your 20’s

Rusty April 30, 2012 at 11:44 am


Great post. Me and my girlfriend just de-cluttered our house…and got rid of anything that we weren’t actively using. We must have unloaded 4-5 car loads full of stuff to the Goodwill.

It is an amazing feeling. Also…like you, I would have no problem paying the monthly lease on a fancy sports car. Instead I have a car that I like, but isn’t super showy. It is a 4 years old, black Audi A3 that I named “Blade” (after the movie). I have way too many road trip memories with blade to trade up to a different car.

One last thing. Have you heard of the Belgium marketer named Peter Spaepen? He is an Internet Marketer who puts in a lot of profits towards a dog shelter that he runs. One of the sharpest marketing minds I’ve run across and a really cool guy.


justin April 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm

@Brandon – thanks man, appreciate your insight…

@Jock – glad to have you reading for all this time!

@ James – you got it man!

@ King – I think you got that right. Maybe I grew out of it because of age, maybe I finally realized what I really wanted.

@ Rusty – I can totally relate man. And no I havent heard of Peter. I am gonna have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up on him

Aaron June 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hey man, I think you’re right, you definately are right…

But… Everyone will probably go through the ‘show-off’ stage, after all, it took so much effort to get there, why not…?

Eventually once on other side of being a successful ‘newbie’ you get savvier, and start going for bigger, greater goals.

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