Is Honesty the Best Policy | Building an Online Business?

by Jayne Kopp on July 14, 2011

Occasional heavy fog ...

Is honesty the best policy when sharing your online business?

While marketing an online business, I often wonder if honesty is the best policy, or if we wouldn’t all be better off to merely ‘not mention’ that success takes some effort and work to achieve??

I know it sounds … well dishonest… but I gotta tell you, if I had a nickel for the number of people who are “dying” to get on board, yet decided against joining me because what they really wanted to earn easy money doing no work I’d be laughing all the way to the bank.

As I have shared with you before, I receive many calls from people looking to work online and many who are interested in joining me in my primary venture.

Naturally, I love to share all the positives and the fact that getting involved in my industry came at the right time and was just what I needed (personally).

With that said, I never ever claim that my business (or any business for that matter) is right for everyone, or that you’ll be tapped on the head with a magic want and that you will “instantly” change your life once involved!

What I am saying is that is resonated with me, renewed my focus and lit my fire to travel in the right direction to discover many exciting opportunities, rewards and results that I would not have experienced otherwise.

I also share on no uncertain terms the fact that I have worked at these results. I didn’t just sign up and expect cheques to come rolling in. I had to get out there to make myself known to a certain degree and worked hard at building my online brand. I had to approach everything with an open mind and the willingness to make it work.

I had learn to set up marketing campaigns, I had to put the pen to paper and start getting content on the web, and at times I have had to step outside my comfort zone.

Now of course I didn’t do this all in the same day. I chose to TAKE ACTION & start where I was with what I had and absorbed and learned along the way with consistency.

Yes… there is a bit to learn when you first introduce yourself to this wonderful world of online marketing and start building your business… but is it difficult??

In my opinion … no!

Again, as I mentioned on my last post, it’s a matter of just doing things and not over thinking.

To be honest, I have enjoyed every single moment that I have spent learning to build my business and cannot think of a better and more exciting way to earn an income from home.

There are so many rewards over and above the monetary aspect… just being able to spend time with my kids, work around my own schedule are perks you can’t put a price on.

Another of my favourite parts of this adventure has been meeting dozens of wonderful like minded people who have helped me grow and improve along the way as well.

I will admit that at times it’s felt a little overwhelming particularly when faced with learning curves… and sometimes it still can be because, like anything in life, learning is an ongoing process. (but so what?)

I will admit that it is a little different that working a JOB where you have someone right there in the flesh to show you and walk you through every single step… but that’s not to say help isn’t available and there are not ways to learn to get around these occasional bumps in order move forward.

Yes… we sometimes feel a little impatient and yes, there is can be the odd disappointment, but I think that just goes with the territory of life in general, never mind starting an online business.

I guess the reason I am thinking out loud… (or maybe typing out loud if you want to get technical) is because I continuously see some people who make out that online marketing is a “never ending bowl of cherries” yet never mention that you might encounter the odd ‘pit’

With that said, working for an employer is pretty ‘pitty’ too in my opinion. There’s almost always office politics, often a boss keeping an eye on you and ‘rating’ your performance and at the end of the day, there really is no job security even if you work your bottom off.

When working for an employer, you have no control over your own destiny and if the doors shut… its hard lines for you.

At least when you work online, for yourself … there is only YOU to worry about. Your results are at least ‘yours’… and even if at first they are not “gobsmackingly” immense, you do have the freedom to tweak and adjust where necessary.

I know from personal experience that by being a ‘sticker’ and staying with it with the right mindset and attitude, sooner or later the Law of Compensation will kick in just as you can eventually whack a hole in a piñata!

So…Back to the Question: Is Honesty the Best Policy when Promoting an Online Business??

I’ve been told by some people in this industry to “NOT mention the fact that any effort is required”.

I’ve been told “they’ll figure it out once they’re with you… let them worry about it then”. I’ve also been told, “it’s not your responsibility… it’s their decision”…and my all time favourite “keep your mouth shut, tell them only what they want to hear and don’t talk yourself out of a sale”….

To me, this approach lacks integrity… and even though I’ve wondered on the very odd occasion if maybe they’re right…. I have come to my senses within a few minutes as I also know there are many downsides to this way of being… over and above a heavy conscience.

You see, in some of my endeavours, I’ve seen others join with new partners almost every day…BUT at the end of the day I’ve also had heard feedback from people who feel angry, slighted and disappointed because… as crazy as it sounds… they truly had no idea what might be required and that they might actually have to take action and ‘work’ at it. :-|

Now I’m not saying people who decide to join us “are not” solely responsible for the decision to do so…they are!

I also recognize that we as marketers cannot take on the responsibility of someone else if they feel to have made the wrong decision or the fact they are not willing to work towards success.

After all, at the end of the day everyone has to pull on their big boy or girlie panties and decide for themselves the best direction to take.

Common sense should come into play and people ‘should’ recognize that anything worth but having (i.e.: your own business) is going to take effort.

Yet… and even though, sadly…many people just don’t ‘get’ this… to me this fact alone does not convince me that putting your cards on the table and preparing them to roll up their sleeves is a bad thing.

I truly believe that I should arm others to know exactly what will be entailed to get an online business off the ground.

I mean… who the heck wants to recruit someone who thinks that lightening might strike and money will fall from the sky like a jackpot from a one armed bandit merely based on the fact that they’ve signed up?

My view on this is that you want to join with those who are ready to dig in …and are excited to make an honest go of it…and thankfully these people are out there, we just have to attract the ones with the right attitude!

I have had people join me who have done very well, and after they’ve learned from me for a while, they have gone on to better themselves… to the point that I’ve occasionally gone on to learn a few things from them as well!!

With this said, it’s important to know that this would not have happened if they had not invested the time and effort to make it happen.

This is a wonderful industry and there so many awesome roads to take.

Furthermore, by working online we are in essence able to put ourselves in front of the world’s largest audience and even though admittedly we may have to kiss a few “toads” before we meet our princes or princesses… I think that being honest and sharing the good… along with the ‘heads-up’ is the best way to be.

Building my online has been one of the best moves I made. Not only did I get the mental cleanse and mindset tweak that I lacked for a period of time; it renewed my focus and lit my fire to get ahead once more.

I’m even grateful for a few hiccups I’ve encountered along the way as they have proven to be blessings to strengthen and better equipped me to help the ones who place their trust in me.

Its one thing to have a slow but stead stream of happy partnerships than a bucketful of people who will always remember your name for the wrong reasons! (at least that’s my take on it!)

What do you think? Do you think that honesty is the best policy when building your business, or do you think that we should “accidentally on purpose” not mention there might be times of heavy fog on the occasional day?

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

SEO Company Los Angeles August 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm

*agree … oops!!


SEO Company Los Angeles August 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I agre with Melody up there, honesty just weeds out the people who are in it for superficial reasons and the ones who are really serious about learning something and making a change! :)



Melody | Deliberate Receiving July 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Hi Jayne,

You’re not here for everyone. When you’re honest (and following your intuition), you’re simply narrowing the field of students from “everyone who wants to make money” to “people who will truly benefit from what you have to teach.” It’s a way to qualify your students. Those who think that you should keep your mouth shut are just coming from a place of fear. They think they have to take on anyone they can get their hands on, because there’s a limited number of students and money to go around. You know that’s not true.
You’re absolutely doing the right thing by not only being honest, but by being authentic. Stay true to yourself and you will never have a shortage of amazing, awesome, motivated, ready to kick ass students. :)



Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:24 am

Hi Melody, sorry for being so tardy getting back to my wonderful commentators! (that means you too! :-) )

yes, I agree Melody that being honest is definitely the way to go… and as you say it qualifies the ones who truly want to DO something and in the end you get the right people to spend time with.

Thanks for your encouragement.



Lou Barba July 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

Hi Jayne,

Since I just left a network marketing company that retroactively changed some of deals they made because I didn’t feel I could represent myself as someone who would sell for this company, I guess you’d say I’m all for “honesty is the best policy.” You might make a few dollars in the short run, but in the long run, YOU’D be on the run.



Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:25 am

Hi Lou!! ha well said “you’d be on the run” I like that.

It’s so true. What goes around does come around. Best to treat everyone properly then there is no need to run!



Oliver Tausend July 15, 2011 at 7:09 am

Hi Jayne,

just like Elmar said, honesty should be the guideline of everything we do. In fact, when we sign up a person who wants to make a quick – are we doing ourselves a favour with it ? I don’t think, a few dollars are never worth the stress and energy loss due to arguments with this person.

Building a business comes with a price, and not building one too. The simple question is: What price do you want to pay ?

I run into people who think that they might make money faster in my business than in theirs. In most cases, those people think that the cause for their success is outside of them..and I return: “There’s nothing my business can do for you to make money faster when you’re not ready and not willing to work for it on a daily consistently basis. When in doubt, you have to fix you !”

Thanks for a brilliantly written and thought provoking post !

Take care



Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:27 am

Hi Oliver, you are so right when you say ‘we’ need to be fixed first. There really is nothing that any business can do… unless we get involved!

Thanks for stopping by as usual, and sorry for taking so long to respond.



Elmar Sandyck July 15, 2011 at 6:55 am

Hi Jayne!

I’ve always believed in honesty in everything that I do. I think this should be everybody’s policy in all aspects of his or her life, business and otherwise.

In my business approach, honesty is more than just a policy, it’s a guiding principle, a virtue. We shouldn’t sugarcoat things when it’s really bitter or sour because in the end, people will eventually know and will end up getting disappointed in you and how you led them to believe that into thinking otherwise.

I say, tell it to them like it is. Eventually they’ll just have to deal with it like we did. :)


Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:30 am

Hi Elmar, well said. We all have to put in our time. No magic wand and if we promise one, it will always come back to bite us!

Lovely to see you.



Dr. Bob Clarke July 15, 2011 at 6:20 am

Hi Jayne!

Well, you certainly hit on an area that I feel strongly about.

I personally feel that it is our OBLIGATION to be honest with prospects and let them know about what is required to achieve that dream that drives them. I’m not saying that you should ever discourage them or be a “gloomy gus”, but just let them know that it will take time, work on their part, there will be obstacles and they will need to push through them.

You can also let them know that they will not be alone in this process, but they are responsible for their own success or failure.

I recently did a post about why so many people fail in NM, and I do believe that we as marketers are somewhat at fault. Simply by not mentioning the work it will take or that time will be required, we are accomplices in misguiding or even misleading our prospects.

Be honest! You’ll attract far better team members in the process!

Thanks, Jayne for starting this great discussion.


Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:31 am

Hi Bob, I agree it is our obligation to be honest. We all have to put in our time and should not mislead people by telling them otherwise. There are enough positives associated with this industry that one does not have to fib about anything.

Everything, even the work is rewarding!

Lovely to see you Bob. Keep up the awesome work!



Leanne Chesser July 15, 2011 at 5:58 am

I agree with you, Jayne. Honesty is absolutely the best policy. Yes, people are responsible for their own decisions and their own success (or lack of it), but I believe it’s my job to help people make an informed decision based on all the information. And, yes, I want people to join me because it’s a good fit for them, not just to increase my numbers. That means I want people who really want to do the work, not people who are looking for a get rich quick situation.


Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:33 am

Hi Leanne, exactly! Who wants to attract someone who is just in it for the ‘easy’… particularly when the ‘easy’ doesn’t exist. It would be a very fruitless situation to simply partner with ‘anyone’ who had no interest in putting in the effort.

Thanks for your comment and sorry for taking so long to get back to this post to respond.



Rachael Slorach July 15, 2011 at 4:45 am

Hi Jayne, Ha! you crack me up!

“who the heck wants to recruit someone who thinks that lightening might strike and money will fall from the sky like a jackpot from a one armed bandit” – EXACTLY! You want hard-workers on your team – with integrity thrown in.

I think by being honest during the recruitment phase will soften any disappointment when results don’t arrive immediately, and they discover they must put in the consistent work to achieve their goals.

I also think by sharing your own story about the obstacles you have overcome to reach this point will enlighten new members to want to see where their journey takes them.



Golda Smith July 15, 2011 at 11:52 am

I loved your response Rachael! I agree with you Jayne, it’s gotta be honesty all the way. I’ve had people “gloss over” a few facts that would have definitely affected my decision. What you put out there is what you will attract. If you’re dishonest, you’ll attract dishonest people.


Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:42 am

Hi Golda. Lovely to see you after a little break! You are right so many people do gloss over the facts and that is not fair for those who are truly wanting to make the best decision for themselves.

You do get what you put out there as you say.



Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:34 am

Hi Rachael, Thanks for stopping by… and I am pleased I caused a chuckle.

I too feel that by being honest better prepares people for ‘what it really takes’… and the thing is ‘what it really takes’ is awesome anyway. I think learning and putting in effort is so rewarding in the end! Don’t you?

lovely to see you



Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:41 am

Hi Rachael, Thanks for stopping by… and I am pleased I caused a chuckle.

I too feel that by being honest better prepares people for ‘what it really takes’… and the thing is ‘what it really takes’ is awesome anyway. I think learning and putting in effort is so rewarding in the end! Don’t you?

lovely to see you


Jym July 15, 2011 at 4:18 am

It’s got to be honesty for me Jayne!

If you ‘omit’ key bits of information like how much effort is actually involved, you’ll simply end up with the wrong people.

Whilst an opportunity seeker certainly can have the potential to become a strategic entrepreneur, why spend time with those who are looking for a quick financial ‘fix’ when there are those out there who’ll work and learn and enjoy the process (like yourself?)

Then of course there’s the moral issue – how would you feel if lots of hidden factors appeared once you’d handed over your cash?

It’s a good question though, there’s plenty of somewhat suspicious presentation of home and online business opportunities going on, and it doesn’t do anything for the credibility of these industries.

Or anyone for that matter!

OK. Off soapbox now.


Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:37 am

Jym, I agree with everything you have said. I am not in this for disappointing people.

To be honest, as you also said, I DO enjoy the process and working for my own results as most of us who are already involved do. There are plenty of work-ready people in the sea… we just have to catch the right ones.

makes for a much better working relationship and is morally correct too!

Thanks for stopping by.


Steve Nicholas July 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Great post, Jayne! I think that you are right that it is better to be honest. There are a lot of people in this industry who I think are very dishonest. However, I’m reminded of something Jim Rohn said, “You want to help people in your business, but you can’t carry them. You might be able to carry one, or even two if you’re really big and powerful, but there’s no way that you’ll be able to carry three.”

It just seems unethical to me to take people’s money knowing that they will never try to build the business, and all you’re doing is drawing a check in the hopes that they won’t go through with canceling their membership. If someone’s not right, it’s better to let them know right away. They might be open at another time, so I always let people know that they can call back if their situation changes, but if they aren’t ready, I will let them know.


Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:39 am

Hi Steve. yes there are so many people who are dishonest. I love what Jim Rohn said… so true. We cannot carry them… we can only help them… but if we are dishonest, that’s not helping anyone.

I do always let people know and while it may not increase sales… in fact as I have said, I often lost partnerships…. at least I in the end have the right people with me.

lovely to see you



Jeanine Byers Hoag July 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Absolutely, honesty is the best policy! Not only should you arm them with what to expect, but prospects are much more likely to trust you if you are honest.

They are expecting to be promised nothing but roses. If you are realistic, they will respect that and be more likely to choose you, especially if you share that yes, it is hard, but you know how to do it.


Jayne Kopp July 29, 2011 at 7:40 am

Hi Jeanine. As you say, this industry is about ‘trust’… and if you arm your prospects well, there are never disappointments in the end.

Heavens if I can do it, anybody can!



NIKKI August 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I agree with Jeanine. The word TRUST is so very important. Once broken, its gone. It will be hard to get it back again.


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