I often get asked how I could possibly recommend someone pay money to learn how to make money online. A lot of people tend to think that if it costs money, it’s definitely a scam. While I applaud you for not diving in head first at every offer that comes your way, there are legitimate programs out there that do cost money. Not all of them are scams.

The most asked question I received when I did the “Ask Steve Anything” posts went something like this…

How could you tell us to never pay for a job and then you recommend we join Wealthy Affiliate? That COSTS money!

There’s a difference between paying for a JOB and paying for TRAINING to learn how to start an online business.

When I say “never pay for a job” I mean, avoid websites that are guaranteeing you’ll make a set wage doing things like data entry, typing, filling in forms, surveys, etc. If they make it sound like you’re going to be an employee of a company and you’ll make x amount of dollars per hour, but want you to pay some fee up front, it’s most likely a scam.

On the other hand, we have “paying to learn how to make money online.” The distinction here is that you’re paying to learn how to do something that you didn’t already know how to do. You want to learn how to make money online? A good place to start would be to seek out a mentor or a training program. Find someone who can teach you the things you don’t know. This costs money because you’re paying for someone’s expert knowledge. You’re not paying for a job; you’re paying to learn. It’s no different than attending classes at a school.

Make sense?

There’s another popular sentiment floating around that goes something like…

If this actually worked, they’d let me join, start making money, and THEN pay them. I’m not joining if I have to pay first!

While I completely understand where you’re coming from, I have to disagree with you and here’s why.

If Wealthy Affiliate (or any other online program for that matter) wasn’t an online based course, I don’t think you’d have these same sentiments. In fact, I’d say you wouldn’t think twice about paying money.

Look at it from this angle: say you wanted to become a chef. You’d take some cooking classes right? Would you be upset that you had to pay for those classes? Would you tell the instructor “Thanks, but I’ll pay you AFTER I open up a restaurant and become world renowned and insanely successful?” No, of course not. It sounds ridiculous, right? Another example, you wouldn’t tell a University you’ll pay for your degree only after you got a job. It just doesn’t work like that!

Both of these examples would take you YEARS and TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars before you started making money. I doubt you have any qualms about that, but here we we are debating the few months it takes to get started online at $47 each month.

To reiterate, paying for a job, probably a scam. Paying to learn how to make money online, probably not a scam.

Does this post make sense to anyone? I’d love some feedback here.

READ NEXT: May Income Report: $8,871.03. See how we did it.

Join the Discussion

  • Tracy

    Great post, Steve. I’m in the research and decision stage (which is something discussed on many forums and blogs and that the internet is slowing the sales cycle way down). I probably could do a lot of this stuff myself, but to have clear, step by step guidance is a big plus. And the community is important to me too. Honestly, I’m embarassed about telling even my husband that I’m looking into internet marketing! I think I’d be more apt to jump into WA for a flat fee as opposed to something monthly.

  • Steve Marshall
    Steve Marshall

    Right on again, Steve. You Penn State grads are pretty sharp, I don’t care WHAT the Pitt Panthers say – LOL!! But seriously, I’m intrigued (as you already know) by Ryan’s video “Can you BUY an income?”. I’d happily pay for a functioning, cash generating website and then gladly pay AGAIN to join WA to help me learn how to tweak that website for even greater returns. There are plenty of scams out there, but your recommendations are “the real thing” (with apologies to Coca-Cola…)…this is a matter of investing in education that will reap generous rewards if coupled with hard work and perseverance. Keep the information coming!!

  • Louise

    Steve – I appreciate your candor and your honesty!

    It is hard sometimes to see the difference between a scam and something legit! But, you are right – training is paying someone to show you how to do something – and you are right on the money.

    Thanks for always having insight and for being willing to share your knowledge with us!

  • Dustin

    Right on the money, Steve, I loved the post. It’s funny, anyone that’s in your profession gets this question, Eddy’s gotten it a ton of times and I’ve seen him give the same answer over and over lol, yet people will always ask. I have to say, when I get my blog up and running and this question starts coming in I think I’ll just tell em to come here lol.

    “If this actually worked, they’d let me join, start making money, and THEN pay them. I’m not joining if I have to pay first!”

    Love the example. Makes more sense than anything that would have came out of my mouth lol. Thanks a bunch for the post, Steve!


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