Recently I was trying to find a way to explain to someone how I conduct myself in the business world. It’s sometime difficult for me to explain why I do things the way I do. My “business model” often makes no sense to others, simply because I make decisions that are often surprising to people who don’t know where I’m coming from. One example is the lack of paid advertising links on my website. I have a high-traffic website, free of any external paid advertisements, and sometimes website owners get in touch wanting to pay me for ads they wish to place on my site.
I always say no, and they are amazed. “You don’t want to earn thousands per month in ad revenue?” Well, no, I don’t want your debt-related service ads on my website, because that would make it a junk website like every other one out there. My website is different from others, on purpose. How would it make any sense for me to strongly criticize third-party debt settlement companies or debt elimination scam promoters, only to turn around and get paid for running their ads on my website? Sure, it makes business sense, but it would not meet my standard of ethics.
Here’s another example. I often hear from debt settlement company representatives or owners who want to license my do-it-yourself debt settlement training materials. Their idea is to offer it side-by-side with their front-loaded 15% fee traditional settlement program. “Hey, we’re paying all this money for debt leads, and some people don’t have enough debt to qualify for our $15,000 minimum. We can sell those people your program instead.” No, thank you. People with less than $15,000 of debt are not good candidates for debt settlement in the first place. In fact, most of my clients have a LOT more debt than that. But my attitude doesn’t make much sense to the person who is only focused on the bottom line.
The best way I can explain my approach to business conduct is by using an analogy from “Star Trek.” In the original TV series produced in the 1960s, the creator of the show (Gene Roddenberry) came up with the idea of the *prime directive*. Star Fleet officers were sworn to respect alien cultures that were less advanced, and not to interfere in the natural development of other civilizations. (Yeah, I know. Captain Kirk violated the Prime Directive just about every other episode, but the idea is still a good one.) 🙂
So what does this have to do with ZipDebt? Well, the ZipDebt “Prime Directive” is based on a very simple principle – the consumer’s best interests ALWAYS take first priority over my bottom line. My prime directive is to HELP consumers with their debt issues, even if that means *leaving money on the table*. From my perspective, if you enroll someone in a 48-month debt settlement program that you know is doomed to fail, just so you can make a buck, that means you are a dishonest crook, period. When I do a consultation with someone, I tell the truth. It’s really that simple.
If I don’t think settlement will work in your situation, I will tell you that, straight up, even if it costs me a sale or a refund later on. If I think you need to go see a bankruptcy attorney, I will tell you that. On the other hand, if I think you should use debt roll-up instead, where you pay back your balances in full, I will tell you that as well. People are frequently astonished that I never push to “make the sale” or “close” them on my service.
So the ZipDebt Prime Directive is really nothing more than simple honesty and personal integrity. Yet by conducting business in this fashion, it sets me apart from more than 99% of the people operating in this industry. And that, my friends, is a sad comment on the times we live in.