Business (Entrepreneurship)

7 Online Businesses You Should Avoid Like The Plague

7 Online Businesses You Should Avoid Like The Plague.We’ve all heard it. The claims that starting an online business can make you lots and lots of money. This is certainly true. However, the reality of starting an online business is often muddied with half truths and hype. Realistically, should you really be starting an online business? 

Online Businesses You Should Avoid

For people who have an entrepreneurial mindset, there is incredible potential to use the Internet to create a successful business. Online businesses offer unique benefits, such as:

  • the ability to start the company with low or no overheads;
  • a faster timeline than most brick and mortar businesses; and
  • the chance to expand its reach beyond one location.

I’ve come across many people who think online business is a hoax — all because they’ve tried out one or more online money-making ventures, but didn’t make any money. But on probing further into their experiences, I discovered that they didn’t venture into online business in the first place.

Most decriers of online business don’t understand what an online business really means. They think everything that fetches money over the Internet passes for a real online business. So, they plunge into any online activity that promise to fetch them money. But in the end, they failed because they missed it right from the start.

Get this clearly: A real online business is one that you have absolute control over, and that has the potential to fetch you a full-time income for as long as you wish. Blogging, affiliate marketing, information marketing, and freelancing are all in line with this definition.

But then, there are some other online activities that fetch people money, but are usually timewasters and risky ventures. And you must avoid them at all cost because, in reality, they are not businesses — in that you have little or control over them and income they bring, if any.

See Also: Top 20 Best Work From Home Business Ideas In Nigeria

7 Online Businesses You Should Avoid Like Plague

1. Forex trading

This was seen as the hottest business opportunity in Nigeria a couple of years back. Many people, including myself, quickly jumped on the bandwagon of Forex trading with the aim of making quick bucks from the foreign exchange market. But we soon got burnt due to the high-risk nature of forex trading.

While I admit that some people are making good money from forex trading, I still cannot stomach the fact that losing money as a forex trader is inevitable, no matter how experienced you are. That, to me, makes it more of a gamble thing.

In addition, most forex trading experts will tell you to separate emotion from your buying and selling decisions. But that’s almost impossible. We’re humans, and we can’t totally suppress our emotions. So, I think forex trading is only requesting the impossible.

Although forex trading is done over the Internet, and it involves investing and fetching profits, just as with any other business, it still doesn’t pass for a real business. And I’d advise you to stay clear of it because you’ll lose nit just your money, but also lose your sanity.

Imagine losing a whopping $500 within 10 minutes due to a miscalculated buying or selling decision. Some people won’t survive it, you know?

2. Online surveys

Online survey websites offer to reward you in cash or coupons for completing surveys online. While most of these websites are legitimate, they usually aren’t targeted at Nigerians, since most of the companies sponsoring the surveys aren’t serving a Nigerian audience. So you won’t find enough surveys to complete because Nigerians aren’t eligible for most surveys.

Redeeming your earnings is another issue. Most survey websites pay cash earnings via PayPal or Wire Transfer, which means you’ll have problems getting your money. And most coupons and gift certificates offered in place of cash cannot be redeemed within or from Nigeria.

Don’t get me wrong. Many people make a decent monthly income by completing surveys, but they’re definitely not Nigerians. And if you insist on making money by completing surveys online, just bear in mind that you’ll only get crumbs.

3. Click referrals

Many novices plunge into this notorious time-waster. Click referral programs tell you that all you have to do to make money is to slap up some ugly-looking links in blogs comments, social media discussions, and forum posts, and you’ll get paid each time someone clicks on those links. And once your earnings reach a specified threshold, you can request your payment.

That’s why you see those stupid links flying around everywhere people are having discussions online. Everyone wants to make money through the easiest means possible!

Interestingly, each time someone clicks your link, you’ll see your earnings rise. And you’ll be glad. (Why won’t you? After all, you’re “making money online” from the comfort of your home, and you’re on the way to start making five to six figures online every month.)

But the bitter truth is, your earnings will never leave your screen. So, if your goal is to earn hundreds to thousands of on-the-screen dollars so you can have some mouth-watering screenshots to show your friends, this option is what you’re looking for!

4. Get-paid-to schemes

Some websites promise to pay you for reading emails, surfing the web, or completing other tasks. Though some of these websites are legitimate, most of them are scams. Unfortunately, many Nigerians novices fall victim of these scams due to the huge payouts promised.

Back in 2005, I registered with a website that promises to pay between $10 and $25 for each email I read. I didn’t really have to read each email; all I needed to do was to just click a link embedded within the email — and my account would be credited. But the caveat was that I cannot request to withdraw my earnings until they reach $5,000. That was cool with me, since that website sent at least 20 emails per day.

I swung into action, going for overnight browsing for several days in a row. Some of my friends thought I’ve joined the “Yahoo-yahoo” league, but I dismissed that. I told them I’m into another form of “online business” — a legal one. And I assured them that I would soon “hammer”. Back then, I never stopped fantasizing about how I’ll spend my $5,000 after withdrawing it.

At last, I was able to reach the $5,000 threshold. And just as the company promised, the “Withdraw” button has appeared on my account dashboard. The sight of that fine blue button alone made me feel that I’ve finally arrived. I clicked the button and requested my payment. It’s going to ten years now, and I’m still awaiting my $5,000.

After realizing that I’d been scammed, I shortly registered with another website that I learnt was really paying people back then. But that website paid between $0.05 to $0.10 per email. And you can’t withdraw until your earnings reach $10. That was fine with me, since all I had to do was just read emails. And because the website has been proven to be credible, I was ready to go ahead.

I soon realized that the company sends me just two emails per week, each paying $0.05. I did my calculation, and I figured I’d need to read 200 emails to earn up to $10. That would take 100 weeks! I needed nobody to tell me to quit.

5. High-yield investment programs (HYIPs)

These are online investment programs that pay you a fixed percentage profit on your investments at specified intervals. As with other online schemes, there are legitimate HYIPs and there are tons of scams.

In 2006, a friend introduced a credible HYIP website to me. This website required a $10 minimum investment, and you’ll earn a profit of 20 percent every three days. I was able to withdraw my base investment and profits anytime I wished, but e-gold was the only payment option supported.

My spell with the website was fine. I started with $10 and they credited my account with 20 percent profit every three days. I would withdraw my total funds (to be sure all was well) and then reinvest everything again. Steadily, my funds increased.

But some weeks later, I stumbled on another HYIP opportunity. This newly discovered website promised to pay a whopping 200 percent profits. On learning about the huge returns, my common sense flew out of the window. And I didn’t think twice before transferring my funds from the credible website I’d been fine with to the “money-spinner” I juts discovered.

Just as the new website promised, my investment multiplied, but I was never able to withdraw anything. I’ve been punished for being foolish!

HYIPs websites are no longer popular as before. But even if there are still some legitimate ones, they won’t be worth your time.

6. Multi-level marketing (MLM)/ network marketing

You’ve probably heard of GNLD, Tianshi, and other similar bullshit schemes. There are many online “wealth creation opportunities” that operate in a similar fashion, the only difference being the use of the Internet.

These schemes are only interested in recruiting as much as possible people into their fold with the aim of enriching the few people at the top of the pyramid. To make some cash, you’ll be required to recruit certain number of individuals, who will in turn be required to do the same. And you’ll be rewarded for your growing downline. But you will reach a certain point where you get stuck — your earnings will stop because your downline isn’t growing.

I laugh whenever I see overzealous newbies running around and trying to recruit other people, so they can start growing their own downline. To achieve their aim, they resort to various tactics, such as advertising fake job vacancies and “millionaire mentoring” schemes.

No matter how rosy they might seem, multi-level marketing and network marketing schemes are closed-end tunnels that will lead you nowhere. You can ask those who have been into the “business” for years, and you’ll get answers that will drive home my point.

7. Social media “blogging”

This is more like blogging, but it’s done on social media. I mean, when you decide to use a Facebook page or Twitter profile as your own blog, posting updates at regular intervals, and trying to generate traffic to it, just as you would to a blog.

While the whole concept seems brilliant, the way social media works will most likely sabotage your efforts and jeopardize your chances of making money.

Each time you publish a post on a Facebook page, for instance, very few people will get to read it because your followers will see the post sandwiched among other topics and pictures posted by their friends and groups. And for those who have many active friends and groups, they’ll miss most of your posts because those posts get pushed down their feed very quickly. However, that doesn’t happen with a blog.

In addition, people get on social media to catch fun, so they’re not likely to take your piece of information that seriously, especially if it’s one you’re trying to use to gain their loyalty. That’s why many people ignore some good posts on social media.

Moreover, without a blog, nobody considers you as someone who is serious about making money online. That’s why all those make-money-on-Facebook type of strategies don’t work.

Wraping Up

If you’ve been wasting your time on any of these online ventures, I advise you to stop because you’re in for great disappointment.

I’ve been into many of these things, and I can tell you emphatically that they don’t work. So, don’t waste your precious time and money!

Your turn

Have you ever tried out any of these businesses, or are you presently involved in any? Do you know other online ventures that are nothing but time and money wasters? Or do you have other questions? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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