I Am Lying to You

by on January 16, 2012 · 31 comments

And that’s the truth.

That’s the truth if the failure to fully disclose equals lying . . . lying by omission.

When I tell you that you, too, can achieve the level of success that I have just by following my methods, I am lying to you.

Because knowing how to do something is a long way from actually doing it.

I don’t tell you the insane amount of hours you must spend to bring that app, ebook, software, course, product, etc., etc. to market. However much time you *think* you need to do XYZ, double it. Because it will take at least that long if not longer.

I don’t tell you that friends and family obligations will suck the entrepreneurial drive out of you if you let it. Have a spouse? He/she better be EXTREMELY understanding. Have young children? You better have an EXTREMELY supportive spouse. Otherwise, something’s gotta give.

I don’t tell you that personal relationships might suffer because you need laser-sharp focus and can’t be bothered with being “considerate” all the time. Or that most people crack under the pressure to produce. Or that YOU might not be cut out to be an entrepreneur.

I don’t tell you the extreme juggling you will perform with your relationship and finances.

I don’t tell you there’ll be days when you’re so stressed out that you’ll be walking around like a zombie.

But lying can be good.

Because if I tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you would be paralyzed with fear and never begin.

If I told you the truth, you would use it as an excuse to give up on your dreams.

If I knew then what I know now, I would . . . Fuck that! I don’t want to know. Because if I knew exactly how much work, emotional, physical and financial toll it would take, I would not have gone down this path and be where I am today. Ignorance is bliss. I’m glad I didn’t know.

I’m glad there are other people out there who didn’t know either. People who were able to create amazing things that they might’ve never attempted to create if they knew.

. . . because someone was kind enough to lie to them.

These are the lies that marketers tell. These are the lies I tell.

But once you’re on top of your Mount Everest, these lies all seem to fade away. You’ll brag about all the sacrifices you made to get there. People will look at you in awe for the accomplishments you’ve achieved. You will be a living legend.

So, please forgive me for lying to you.

You are free to ignore the lies. But you can’t stop it.

Sometimes lying is okay. Honesty is not always the best policy. Don’t confuse honesty with morality.

When I gave in to the lies, I became free from the constraints, free from the expectations, and free from the naysayers.

You’ve been warned.

(P.S. I want to thank Peter Sandeen for inspiring this post.)


1 Peter Sandeen

Hi Jeanne,

This is the most common lie. And as you noticed I wrote about the same idea recently (http://affectselling.com/2012/danny-iny-is-a-liar/ Thanks for the credit).

I guess the lie of almost all bloggers is the same: “Just do this and you’ll be ready.” I hope to attract people who understand that work is involved, and because of that I wrote the previously mentioned post. Nice to see, you have the same idea 😉

2 Jason Fonceca

Hahah… Peter, your Danny Iny Liar post is inspiring lots of people. You and I had a great discussion on it on your blog, and now Jeanne posted this 😉

I’m loving the inspiration and influence!

3 Jeanne

It just goes to show you how powerful words can be. I have to admit that I didn’t read that post the first time I came across it. But somehow, that headline was powerful enough to plant that seed of an idea in my head and germinated into this post. Kudos to you!

4 Peter Sandeen

The idea isn’t unique. I got it from Seth Godin. And it’s now the core of what I see as marketing. I even based my marketing guide on the idea of storytelling…

5 Jason Anthony

It’s kind of a double-edged sword, isn’t it? You’d love to give someone the details and advise them on just how much goes into creating and running your own business. Would that, the truth, stop them though?

I think this kind of omission can help, but anyone telling you you can hit it big, with no effort, no capital (human capital), is just flat out lying to your face. Great write up, Jeanne!

6 Jeanne

I think we just have to find the right balance between too much and too little information.

With too much information, you run the risk of scaring and paralyzing customers/readers. With too little information, you are doing them a disservice

Instead of omitting information, maybe we should concentrate on its delivery.

A perfect example for me right now is the Teaching Sells course that I’m a part of. The whole program consists of 14 modules. But they don’t dump the whole 14 modules on you all at once. If they did, the students would probably be very frustrated and say things like: “It’s too much work!” “There’s just so much information to digest!”

Instead, they space out the release of each module. Giving us just enough to take on without feeling overwhelmed.

It’s a reminder to us all that business building is a marathon, not a sprint.

7 Chris Nadeau

Great post Jeanne!

I think the “truth” you shared above are the answers/excuses people give when the enter into their “own thing” for one reason. And that one reason is to make money.

Yes we need money to live, however, if that is the number one reason you start your own thing, then the truth you share above is most often what you hear from them.

If you are doing something that you love and what you are doing helps the lives of others, then like Morgan Freeman said last night at the Golden Globe Awards.

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” As Mr. Freeman said, “if that’s the case, the past 45 years he has never worked a day in his life” 🙂

You’ll never work a day in your life.

Figure out what you love to do and then research your market on what they want and need and solve their problem with what you love to do.

8 Rana Shahbaz

Totally agreed with you Chris. It is so hard for anyone to do well in this massive competition to do well if they are working their day’s in life.

I believe “If you do what you love” is the key to do well in any field for a longer period.

9 Jeanne


Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more!

When I finally started making some real money online last year, I actually felt guilty. Why? Because I was getting paid to do something that didn’t feel like work at all!

Yes, I spent unbelievable amount of hours on my business, but the time just flew by (unlike the days when I was sitting in a law office where minutes felt like an eternity).

My formula (similar to yours): my passion + market need + family support = success

10 Chris Nadeau

It’s funny! I don’t even own a watch now and my alarm clock has been blinking off and on ever since we had a power outage months ago. Crazy how you look at time differently when doing your “own thing”.

11 Jeanne

OMG, so true! The time of day doesn’t really mean much to me now. No time clock to punch. I get up, shower, get on my computer and work until I need to eat or s**t. Lather, rinse, repeat. 🙂

12 Paul Jun

Yep, I fell into this trap.

When I first began blogging I read so many large articles on how to blog, how to make money blogging, etc.

I tried to emulate too many bloggers and what they were doing, when in fact, I was supposed to create my own path, learn from my own mistakes, and take the tips that I read into consideration, not this-is-how-you-do-it methods.

I always state in many of my posts that this method may not work you for, or to experiment and learn.

13 Jeanne

Hah, I love the disclaimer idea. I like this one I found (especially the last sentence):

“As with any business, your results may vary, and will be based on your individual capacity, business experience, expertise, and level of desire. There are no guarantees concerning the level of success you may experience. The testimonials and examples used are exceptional results, which do not apply to the average purchaser, and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. Each individual’s success depends on his or her background, dedication, desire and motivation.

That’s the key. I can give you all the information you need, but without the dedication, desire and motivation, all the knowledge in the world won’t help you.

14 Jack Price

Hi Jeanne,

It’s a fine line, isn’t it? You want to give people a sense that they can do it without being deceptive. You want to be realistic without being discouraging.

Personally, I tend to give people realistic expectations, even if it scares a few people away. I prefer people who understand that it’s not a free ride. There’s some work to be done.

But truthfully, I can’t really claim that I tell the whole truth. Yeah, definitely a balancing act.

Thought-provoking post.

15 Jeanne

I agree we should err on the side of giving them a more realistic view. The ones that stick around are the ones that will more likely succeed.

16 Alan Smith

It is always harder than expected and takes longer than estimated. If we believed everything that the online marketing “gurus” say, we’d all be rich, sitting on the beach, drinking Mai Tai’s and working 4 hours a week.

17 Jeanne

Yup, like what Penelope Trunk said about Tim Ferris: “The week that Tim actually works a four-hour work week will be a cold week in hell. Tim got to where he is by being an insanely hard worker.”

What would qualify as “work” for the rest of us, he just didn’t call it “work”. Sure, if I categorized most of what I do as non-work, then I’d have a 4-hour work week as well. That’s disingenuous.

18 Dick Foster

Hi Jeanne,

Maybe not. If your goals are BIG, you should expect to work hard and be stressed out often.

I agree that most first-time projects take longer than expected. Could be caused by someone’s lies or my inexperience or my desire for perfection or some of each.

As Seth Godin said in his book — All Marketers are Liars — “I was lying to you when I named this book. Marketers are not liars. They are just storytellers. It’s the consumers who are liars. As consumers, we lie to ourselves every day… Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe. A good story is where genuine customer satisfaction comes from.”

Interesting topic for discussion!

19 Jeanne

“Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe.”

Yes, but don’t we have a responsibility in the stories we tell? Some consumers are just more gullible than others. Or are there no ethics in marketing anymore?

20 Dick Foster

Certainly some consumers are more gullible than others. That’s human nature. I’m not suggesting that we play to that gullibility. We need to be ethical and honest in our marketing. Our goal should be to earn customers for life. Our stories should tell them how we can ease their pains, solve their problems, increase their pleasure, do more with less, etc.

No need to lie. Don’t be a fraud.

Most marketing is about getting people to change. Most people resist change. Our storytelling should be motivating, exciting, enthusiastic, and honest.

Tell the whole story, not just the “sizzle.”

If you are selling software that requires training to be successful, don’t sell just the software. Build your story about bundling your software with training.

Anyway, the headline and post are certainly thought provoking.

21 Denise Butchko

There are lots of aspects of my work that I love – and aspects that need to be done that I don’t love. At the moment I’m in the midst of trying to change my Paypal pricing buttons. For the techno junkie – you can probably achieve that with the alarm clock blinking on and off, the kids screaming and your wife burning dinner all while in the midst of also writing a blog post.

The challenge for me is finding my “truth” of knowing what I am and am not good at – then finding resources – people and money – to get me going on the parts I don’t love. It feels like a tough process as an entrepreneur. And then crazy days show up on the calendar like Martin Luther Kind day when employees get paid holidays and I think (only for a moment) what the hell am I doing????

22 Jeanne

Yes, it’s very important to concentrate on tasks that you’re good at and outsource the rest.

As challenging as it has been, being an entrepreneur, I would never trade that for a paycheck. Instead of looking forward to a paid holiday, I get to build my business around my vacations. Now that’s what it’s all about!

23 Priya

I’m going to beg to differ on this point. I get your point that if people knew the difficulties then they might not start the journey but is that a good reason for not telling them?
If they’re the sort of people who are going to quit if ‘told’ about a difficulty, aren’t they the sort of people who are definitely going to quit when that difficulty actually manifests itself? Shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to make an informed decision (well to a point) about whether they can hack it as an entrepreneur or self-employed person before they venture on a dream that could quite quickly become a nightmare?

24 Jeanne

If they’re the sort of people who are going to quit if ‘told’ about a difficulty, aren’t they the sort of people who are definitely going to quit when that difficulty actually manifests itself?

No. And I’m speaking from personal experience and from my understanding of the human capacity.

All of us have the capacity to handle more than we think we can handle. We rise to the occasion . . . if it’s worthwhile.

We hear about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Not because they set out to do something extraordinary, but because the situation dictated their extraordinary actions. But if you had told them in advance what would be required of them, their egos and fears would just get in the way.

Of course people should be given the opportunity to make an informed decision. But an informed decision does not require someone to know ALL the information. To attempt at making an informed decision only after being given ALL the information only leads to paralysis by analysis.

Now, I’m not advocating someone blindly going into entrepreneurship. On the contrary. You need to at least know the basics. And once you do, a lot of things will naturally fall into place without you having to over-analyze and worry about it. Successful entrepreneurs take calculated risk based on limited information, but not unnecessary risks based on no information. That’s my point.

25 kitty Kilian

Hey Jeanne,

Great post. Well written. And a truth that is not often read: it IS a lot of work. Ugh, the amount of computer programs and apps that I have had to master over the last few years… I love people who tell the truth, and I am getting very fed up with all the posts I see that contain no vision at all, let alone a contrary one. So I am going to promote the hell out of this one, yay!

By the way, I went over to read Sandeens blog, and yours is about something completely different.

26 Jeanne

I love people who tell the truth

But wait, I just finished telling you I’m lying to you! 😉

Yes, Peter’s post is different, but it did help inspire my post.

Anyway, thank you Kitty. You know how much I value your opinion.

27 Ryan | Strategies in Content Creation


The scene from Matrix “Blue Pill or Red Pill” is one that has stayed with me since the first time I saw the movie. It’s the concept of putting your faith into an idea and taking the plunge.

I was talking to a friend of mine that blogs a lot and is reasonably successful. I was telling him about my plan to release 100 Insurance Videos in 100 Days and how I was going to track everything and write about it. I asked him if he thought that was a good idea because then all my competitors would know what I was doing and if it was successful.

He said… “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Damn the Matrix was good.

Great post!

Ryan H.

28 Jeanne

Thanks Ryan.

I just want to say you’re crazy for doing the 100 videos in 100 days! And I love it!!! Now that’s what I call initiative and chutzpah.

Either put up or shut up, that’s what I say. I’m definitely going to be following the progress of your video project very closely. Cheers!

29 Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM

When people tell me it is going to be hard or near impossible I don’t believe them and try anyway. I have to do something to actually know something. Maybe I don’t trust or maybe I am just hands on, or both.


30 Jeanne

Funny you should mention the word “impossible”. I just came across Joel Runyon’s Impossible HG site and loved his slide presentation titled “Do The Impossible: 50 Quotes To Inspire You To Do The Impossible”! So much so that I’ve embedded it on my sidebar. Check it out. I promise you’ll like it.

31 Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM


I am glad you pointed that out to me, I really like it. I am a quote junkie, lol. i really like the one that says “There is nothing Impossible to him will try”. As long as you are trying (your best or to move forward) then there is a way. I try to live this way to the best of my ability.

Thanks for that share!


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