So I’m one to lurk around business message boards in my spare time. What can I say? I love the gossip! But I’ve seen way too many people brag about income as if it’s the be all and end all of digital marketing. And, if you’re looking to buy those digital marketing services, it’s horribly confusing! So, let me break it down for you: Does it matter how much a digital marketing expert makes?
NO! The best way to check out a digital marketing expert is to look at their results and to fact check their evidence! If you’re looking to hire a freelancer, the last thing you need to cloud your mind is thinking about their income. It’s the most falsifiable social proof out there!

Let’s talk Social Proof

Social proof is how much evidence someone has to show for what they’re offering you. For example, let’s say a well dressed man shows up in a crowd of casually dressed people. Even though there’s no proof that he makes more money or that he’s more attractive than the rest of the crowd, it sure feels like it! That’s because your brain is subjective, and of course the man in the nice suit is going to turn your head!
Do you see what he did? He has used a good aesthetic as social proof even though there’s no tried and tested evidence!

You’ll see this everywhere, including Ryan Robinson’s website

Let’s compare it to a potential freelancer. They seem pretty standard, with a good looking website and social media. But WAIT! There’s an area on their site called “Income Reports”? Wow! They’re making so much money! Well they clearly must know what they’re doing. After all, they stand out from amongst the pack because of this gigantic salary!

One of Melyssa Griffin’s earlier income reports. By the way, Pinfinite Growth is pretty awesome!

Let’s look a little deeper, shall we.
First of all, there’s no actual document here, so straight away you have to take their numbers at face value. Let me remind you how easy it is to lie in written text.
“Hi! I’m Miss Penny Press and I make Eleven Billion Dollars an hour.”
How suspect is that? If I can pluck numbers out of thin air I can guarantee someone else can. I’m not saying these people I’ve linked to do, I’m just saying you can’t trust any income report blindly.

They can make negative evidence look good

Hell, it gets worse. Look at this image of one business guru’s earnings!
Wow! Right at the top he makes just shy of $1m. Amazing! The dude must know his stuff if he’s making all this!

Nathan Latka’s actual tax return, which he uses to advertise his book.

But wait, what’s that other number at the bottom? He LOST $150k! Wow, that’s horrendous! But, if you just cut the bottom half of this image off, it would seem wonderful!

It’s just too easy. If you weren’t paying attention, these outlandish figures would be easy to fall for! If only there was an even better way to prove they’re accurate, then folks couldn’t get away with this.

Unsustainable success

Let me tell you right now how to make yourself look far more successful than you are: Advertise so much that it would be impossible not to achieve a great sum.
Here’s an example! Let’s talk about internet marketing sweetheart Tai Lopez.

In 2015, he flooded the Youtube Pre-Roll ads with videos showing off his sports car and bookcases. That’s one quick way to show off money and intelligence, isn’t it?
He used the advert to funnel to his website, where he sold the 67 steps online course.
Let me tell you, if you want some quick statistics to gain social proof, running an ad campaign like this is going to be a valuable use of your money!
But, at the end of the day, what do you get? They’ll convince you to buy their best selling course with their huge social media followings. After that, Tai can keep selling you more and more products. Soon enough, you might become one of those huge fans!
He’s moved on from this these days, but many people haven’t. Almost all internet marketing advertisements work on this principle.
The same goes for email lists. Go look at any large blog. They will tell you outright that an outlandish amount of people subscribe! It’s a way to snowball online growth quickly, and it’s yours for the low low cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Don’t get sold on these methods- all you’re going to get is a huge short tern boost when you could grow sustainably for far cheaper!

Do you really want to work with an ego?

For real here. Why would you pick someone who is using money like it’s a public leaderboard? This isn’t Candy Crush, people! Let me reiterate, you need to look at the results of their strategies, not their personality!
For example, the whole reason anything I do works is because I optimised it for my own lifestyle. I’m not the type to spend every second locked away in my office like my peers, I just want to sit back and relax and have it work!
Always watch for how an expert treats their own brand. The more optimised the brand, the more optimised experience. That means if you aren’t sure what you want, that’s more and more money you’ll have to spend at their agency until you figure it out!
At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to shop around. Your budget is your budget, and it’s about choosing someone who has the specific skillset you need. Remember that someone who stays a little rough around the edges might suit you!

What don’t they brag about?

Now this is a fun game! Go find a digital marketer bragging about income. Most likely they’re in the blogging scene and focused on bringing people in with great content. So, you see their income report, maybe their testimonials. What aren’t you seeing?
The first thing that many folks don’t publish is their analytics. There’s a big reason behind this, and it’s not to make a sale from you without proof! It’s because giving away that information to you means giving it to their competitors too.
If you ask a freelancer directly, many will share the proof of the success they’re having. Definitely do this if you’re working with someone on your social media or SEO. For most design tasks, it might not be necessary for them to have that data.
I don’t see many folks provide case studies either. You’ve gone through all the hassle of producing this website over a year, and yet you haven’t talked about the ins and outs of developing it? I’m not confident unless I see some clear content about a project you’ve worked on besides the testimonial.
It’s worthwhile to note that no freelancing project is an endless joy rainbow from beginning to end, so if it seems flawless it’s likely doctored. Proof goes both ways, and when I hire other freelancers I am certain to make sure they’ve improved over time!

Final Thoughts

I’ve given you a lot to think about in this blog post, so here’s the biggest takeaways:

  • Don’t trust anything to do with income online. It’s easy to lie about!
  • Make sure that their social proof is valid for your needs.
  • Watch out for people thinking and selling you on the short term. Digital marketing is like building a castle- using sand just means it’ll wash away!

I don’t blame you if this whole article has scared you off from hiring someone. Don’t worry- there are so many reputable freelancers out there who won’t brag about cash for clout. If you want more tips for finding the right freelancer for you, why not try this article: What type of marketing freelancer do I actually need?
I’m all for helping you out too. You can message me instantly using my group on the free app Discord. You can also click here to send me an email!
Feel free to spill the tea about any marketers too big for their boots in the comments below!