Integrity - the unspoken secret of success.
Integrity is a word you don't often hear mentioned these days.
Young men and women are told to study Machiavelli instead of the
Bible, Dale Carnegie instead of Gandhi, they are told to
consider Donald Trump a better example of success than Arlo
Fraud building upon fraud within a culture of fraud leads to
results that are detectably fraudulent. Soon, more energy and
effort is spent concealing the truth than it would take to
market an honest product made by Honourable people at a fair
It is true that if your only concern is wealth or power than it
is much simpler - at least initially - to seek those goals
without the silly constraints of morality.
But aside from morality, aside from ethics, consider this
truism: "Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate." When you
define success in terms of "one winner takes many losers," you
create endless amounts of resentment that will follow you
forever. If you invest rather in building legitimate
relationships built on trust, your immediate results may be less
spectacular, but in the end your personal edifice will be
unshakable. Every friend you make brings you two more potential
friends - at least.
The underlying rules of true business success are the same as in
any other realm of life, for life IS work, in both the worst and
best senses. Who we are is entangled with what we do; what we
get is entangled with both.
So the first rule is this; your word is your bond.
If you cannot be trusted in simple matters, do not expect to be
trusted in any matter requiring a lawyer to draft a "click to
If you can be trusted, you won't NEED a lawyer. You can use
plain english if you don't feel the need to create loopholes and
exceptions. That is not to say that you shouldn't have a lawyer
check your words to ensure they have the legal effect you wish;
I'm not counselling moon-eyed idealism.
The second rule is simpler still; do not presume. Do not presume
that you are entitled to things you are not entitled to. You are
not entitled to an email address as a "fee" for reading
your content. You are not entitled to an extra browser window
for a traffic-exchange scheme. You are not entitled to plant
cookies or otherwise compromise the privacy and function of a
visitor's computer for your advantage. You may not spam people.
Hype, overpromising and other low-rent tactics are no different
and no more respectable online as off, and the lessons taught in
"Music Man" about that sort of "salesmanship" are as true online
as they were in the era of steam locomotives.
Yes, you can make a living that way - by skipping town with the
loot ahead of the posse.
Yes, you can cycle identities. You can buy a new domain name
every week. You can move from "irresistible opportunity" to
"surefire results method."
But the effort required to do that effectively requires another
thing - repeated, conscious evasion of countermeasures - which
means that you will be eroding your own Integrity as you go
about this. Whether or not your believe that matters, and
whether or not anyone can trace this to you personally, it will,
nonetheless mark and change you.
So don't do that. Because no matter how good you become at
fleecing the sheep - no matter how well you deceive them - you
won't be fooling yourself.
The root of being respectable is self-respect. The root of
Integrity is never having to lie to yourself to get through the
Besides, there's a far better and far easier way. This is an
example of that way.
Create something. Do something nice for people. Be open handed.
The internet is a place of largess; it is an environment where
it's not just possible to be generous with your time and effort,
it's part of the "social contract."
It's possible to do that because it costs little or nothing to
provide free things of value - and I don't mean "Ten Easy Steps
to make the Author of This Ezine Wealthy."
The fundamental unit of value on the internet is the link. A
content relevant link, where someone sends you traffic
because it's worth sending traffic to you is the key.
Of all the ways to do this, the best way is to simply be a
resource of expertise, amusement or information.
Why is this best? Simply put, it's this; you are building
If you become a bookmark, a first place to go to find out about
this or that, people are more likely to buy from you on the
strength of that relationship.
If you "deliver the goods" in one way, with a proven track
record, well, they'll trust you with their money.
But if you try and "sell" them - you will be scrabbling for the
same 2 percent that every other online marketer is targeting.
The other day I was looking into steel buildings. I have a large
property with decaying structures; I need options and
The first several sites were full of hype; the first one popped
consoles and required that I give them my name, address, email
address and phone number so that "a consultant might contact me."
I was not looking to be "sold," I was looking to find out what
would be good for me to buy.
So the people that got my bookmark were those that told me all
about steel buildings, what sorts of wind loads they can
tolerate, how they can be assembled, what the rough cost per
square foot would be, and who provided a one-stop solution for
every ancillary part I might need.
It wasn't a "sales brochure." It didn't try to "sell" me. It
respected my choices while making it utterly simple for me to
buy anything from a steel building to a screen door if I had a
mind to. They were looking to establish a permanent
My wife sells Mary
Kay cosmetics. The link goes to "her" website.
By itself, it's not a great sales tool, it's decidedly
impersonal - but as a convenience for her clients, it's
Most of her clients are her friends. That's the whole Mary Kay
business model and it works very well indeed.
You see, you don't lie to your friends, and you don't cheat
them, so they come back - and they bring two of their friends.
There's nothing magical about this secret to success. If you
have something people want, and they like you, they will buy
from you as part of their relationship with you.
Here's one of her best-selling products: Blemish Control Toner* Formula 3 (Acne
Why? Well, she has acne, and she's a slow healer. Suddenly,
she's not covered in oozing spots covered in concealer, and
she's willing to share that secret. There's no amount of hype
that can equal such obvious results.
And yes, were I to hype it, it would be worth hyping. Whatever
secret botanical formula or secret ingredient is in it to
promote healing is very effective.
That's the other half of the secret to success. Never lend your
good name to unworthy things. There are ten thousand products
and services you could sell. Market something you'd buy
yourself. Market something you honestly are unwilling to do
without. Market something you are passionate about.
Life is just too short to spend 80 hours spinning gold from
straw, folks, and it's also too short to fill it up with people
who resent having done business with you once.
Profit is not measured just in dollars; it's measured in a
network of relationships, by how much of a difference you made.
My personal inspiration is Dave Thomas, particularly now that
You don't see pictures of Roy Kroc in a place of honor at McDonald's.
The difference is this: A good burger at a fair price, rather
than an acceptable product with the highest possible profit
largess. Generosity. Open-handedness and passion. They make the
difference between the road to "success" and a life that is
successful. Which do you prefer?