In the past two years, I’ve picked up two, new disciplines; grant writing and voice overs.
In each of them, the road to self-education and Internet research wasn’t smooth at first.
In the beginning, my Google searches first three choices led me to ads disguised as objective results. When looking closely, the word “Ad” could be seen written in a tiny font, sometimes surrounded by a small, yellow bubble. Then there were websites by professionals claiming to be “experts” in both fields, claiming they could help me make “six-figures” “easily” or “quickly”.
And that was just the beginning…
Ever do some Google search and it winds up like this?
1. Once you’re on the site browsing, it doesn’t let you leave! When you attempt to click away, it says “Wait! Are you SURE you want to leave before you learn the big secret?” or “Wait! You’re about to throw away the deal of a lifetime!”
2. A tiny, video image of a scantily clad beauty “walks into” the bottom of your screen and says everything listed above and more to get you not to click away.
3. Flashing, outlandishly colored fonts, crazy looking arrows pointing to “If you click before midnight tonight, you’ll get a discount of….. blah, blah, blah”.
Isn’t it hard to believe there are people who fall for this stuff? “But wait!” There are also some beautifully designed sites, sophisticated in their navigation and graphics, that contain very persuasive text on why you should pay attention to their “one of a kind” brand of wisdom.
I remember watching a “Message from the CEO” video on one of those sites. For a split second, the human instinct to trust a smiling, sincere looking face in a video nearly had me.
Then I remembered to ask myself the following questions, and so should you:
1. How do other sites compare in their information to this one and do the promises they’re making sound too good to be true?
2. What exactly am I getting for my monetary investment?
3. Do the things they propose sound do-able, learnable and realistic?
4. The most important question I asked myself was “If I can make ‘six-figures’ in voice overs or grant writing so ‘easily’, then why aren’t these people doing the same thing for themselves? Why do they need or want to take the time to teach ME how to do it?”
After navigating through these crazy search results, I finally got the information I needed for both my interests. Here’s how.
How To Do Smart Internet Research?
First, I asked friends and business associates if they knew anyone in those fields or had experiences with some of the sites I’d found.
If the answer was “yes” then I would contact those people and revisit those sites I’d found with a lot less skepticism.
If I didn’t know anyone who knew someone, the next best thing was joining a Linkedin Discussion Group. Just observing the dialogues and responses without even initiating a discussion of my own was enlightening.
If you’re not a Linkedin member then many thousands of other discussion groups and message boards on the Internet are available on any given subject.
In any Internet research you do, use common sense, corroborate your sources and don’t rush into anything.
This can save you hours of time, tons of money and much regret later on.