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2 ways instagram gurus really make their money

Marbella, Spain - October 13, 2016: Front view of a red super sport car (Lamborghini) parked alongside luxury yachts moored in the marina of Puerto Jose Banus on the Costa del Sol in Marbella, Spain.
I assumed that anyone dedicated enough with a few years of hard work could have that Lamborghini or fly first-class around the world. (Source: Getty)

As a fresh 19-year-old booming with ambition I dropped out of University to pursue my business endeavours and seek that teenager multi-millionaire lifestyle I saw all over my Instagram feed.

Naively, I assumed that anyone dedicated enough with a few years of hard work could have that Lamborghini or fly first-class around the world.

Now at the bright age of 22, I've achieved some success in my field and built a handful of great companies such as Reilly Talent. I now have to pull back the curtain on these gurus and give 19-year-old me, and many others the advice I wish I had.

Here are two unfortunate realities of Instagram gurus and how to win without them.

1. The success fallacy

All over social media, I get flooded with ads promoting me to ‘quit my 9-5’, ‘become my own boss’ or ‘be like Johnathon who made $10,000 in his first month’. It’s very frustrating.

These ads are structured ever so delicately to prey on people’s financial insecurity and usher them to waste more money on learning how to be successful.

The achievable testimonials they provide are unrealistic and should never be taken as something anyone can do. I know this because I was one of those examples.

In April 2020, I built a drop-shipping store with a friend and generated $70,000 in 28 days by selling puzzles to people in lockdown. It was amazing, larger than life, even today I still don’t believe it happened.

But here’s the reality of it.

It was difficult, I worked harder than I ever had before to achieve it, and most importantly it was pure luck; right place, right time.

2. Where the money is really made

After this achievement, there was national media attention on my exploits.

Every second social media comment or conversation was ‘when are you dropping a course?'

A question I had always pondered was if you were so successful why do you need to teach others and charge for it? Courses were where the real money was being made.

These people were taking their own, one in a million bursts of luck and then packaging them up with camouflage into a guaranteeable step-by-step formula for repeating what they did.

That’s when it all made sense. The Lamborghini’s and the first-class flights weren’t funded by their one-time pot of luck, they were funded by their highly profitable courses.

Luxury lifestyles and riches aren’t paid for by one-time shot in the dark business ventures. They’re built from repetition, learning from failure and persistence.

How to build 'real' success

We’re in 2022 and free information has never been more accessible. Starting out, I didn’t buy courses because thankfully, I was broke. However, a lot of my friends and peers ended up spending thousands of dollars.

Through the help of YouTube and online resources, I developed a 70/30 rule. When people are teaching or explaining a topic to you, e.g building a website, learning how to run advertisements or how to grow on social media, you’ll end up finding that 70 per cent of the stuff they all say is identical.

This applies to every area of your life, whether you’re in university, high school or even trying to grow your business.

If multiple sources without connection to each other are all in agreeance on a topic, then it is okay to accept that it is more than likely to be accurate.

But, that last 30 per cent is where everyone has their own unique opinions and hot takes.

I like to accept that this is where you have to block out the white noise and only through your own experiences form an opinion.

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