I see a lot of people making this mistake -- buying into expensive business/marketing training / big group coaching programs.
In these programs, they're with a large group of hundreds of other students, with high hopes that the energy of the program will somehow propel them toward success...
As someone who has sold such programs myself, and have partnered with dozens of others to sell these, I can tell you this:
These programs are highly profitable for the seller, but a bad investment for the buyer.
What the buyers never learn (until they have already lost money) is that the great majority of buyers (upwards of 95%) do not achieve the type of results that the programs highlight in their marketing materials.
What about the 5% of students who achieve great results? Most of them likely would have achieved that success even without the program.
The buyers would've fared much better by spending that same money with a 1-1 business/marketing coach who actually cares about them. The coach could customize their expert advice to fit the client's specific needs.
The journey of creating your own authentic business is not a formulaic one, as sold by those high-priced programs. The real and sustainable journey is highly individualized, and no big program can give you that kind of customized guidance and specific support.
I have spent more than $30,000 on such programs, and regretted it. I've also tried dozens of 1-1 coaches to help me grow my business. I can tell you that I wish I had only spent the money on the 1-1 coaches, and not on the expensive programs.
I've noticed that the overall steps to effective business learning might be this:
Step 1. Learn a little bit of new knowledge.
Step 2. Take the time to apply that bit of knowledge to your business.
Step 3. Get individualized support and guidance to troubleshoot any problems and blocks that come up.
...then go back to step 1 with the next bite-sized piece of knowledge. Repeat these 3 steps again and again until your business is thriving.
This is why I decided to stop selling my $2,000 business courses, and even my low-price 2-hour workshops, and instead I will be using a learn-and-do workshop model.
So, don't believe the marketing hype you see on the websites, videos, and email campaigns of expensive business training/coaching programs.
Why do those big programs continue to sell so well?
The sellers of those programs are masterful copywriters and know how to persuade and influence us into buying. They highlight the 1-5% of buyers who got extraordinary results, and pretend that it's typical.
And those of us who love to learn, are under an illusion, a mass hypnosis. Because we enjoy someone's teaching style, and love getting new information, we feel like "learning" is the same as making progress... when what we are really doing is getting our heads crammed with more information that, ironically, makes it less simple / more overwhelming to move forward.
Learning is not the same as doing.
By taking that expensive business course, your business hardly moves forward. You simply consumed multiple modules of information, and that's easy to do, compared to building your business. What really happened was that (1) you enriched the sellers of that program, and (2) maybe even gave them a testimonial because you enjoyed their style, and (3) you "felt" you like you gained valuable knowledge... but that's not real business learning. (Refer to the 3 steps above!)
Maybe you tried to get support in the program by joining a Q&A call with lots of other people... and then you felt too shy to expose your personal challenges, or they didn't have time to get to you. Maybe you tried to get support in their online group, but you're shy about it, or it's tough to explain your situation in writing.
You think: "I'm glad I got a deal on this program... I can always go back to it later!" Hmm... how many programs have you bought with this rationale? (I'm speaking to myself too!)
Instead of buying more learning/training programs, your money would likely be better spent in one of the following ways:
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: One-to-One Business Coaching. I use 1-1 coaching services myself and it's truly changed my life and business for the better.
If you would like a 1-1 coach on any issue, contact me, as I have a diverse network of providers I can refer you to.
Another good alternative is a small Group Coaching or Mastermind Program: a group of under 50 clients, or smaller if possible. I would recommend two things -- (a) that you don't spend more than $500 per month for such a group, and (b) make sure your coach really understands your offering (or your initial ideas) early on, so that he / she can really help you, even in the group situation. Group programs are helpful if you enjoy interacting in an ongoing supportive community of people who get to know you, and offer some loving accountability, encouragement, and resources.
The intentions of those Big Program creators/sellers are not evil... they are experts at rationalizing what they're doing.
They might justify to themselves: "People need to make money, before they can even think about making an impact... so let's market to their desire for money." I disagree.
The core human need, and I believe central to our life's purpose, is to be useful to others... to engage in Service, and thereby, experience genuine personal growth.
You can make enough money, a sustainable income, as a by-product of focusing on sustainable service... not "making money" as the primary objective.
That's another reason I think such marketing programs are dangerous. They're polluting humanity's thought environment with the unhealthy focus of MAKE MONEY or GET FAMOUS.
It's like the companies that market junk food, pornography, or violent video games.
"Don't blame us... We're just giving the people what they want!"
Yes, but people want many things!
The same person who wants junk food, also has a higher impulse for healthy food.
A person may crave pornography, but at the same time, feels a higher desire for true love.
And all of us may want to "make more money", but at the same time, our higher impulse calls us:
"Learn to serve meaningfully, and the money will come."
Money can be earned as the natural reciprocity of your generosity to others.
Conscious marketers have a responsibility and a purpose to not only -- "give people what they want" -- but to market to people's higher impulses, so that we can lift all of humanity up... not bring us down to our baser instincts so that marketers can make a profit.
Let's stop supporting the selling of greed & fame.
Ignore the marketers who are primarily motivating you from your lower self.
It's through learning genuine & meaningful service that we find the support we need for life... including money... and where we receive the loving and loyal attention of others.
Beware of "I'll do this first, then I'll be good.... I'll focus on making lots of money first, then I'll go with my higher impulses later." The problem is you are just pulling yourself into a downward spiral, and you'll find it much harder to get back up.
There's nothing wrong with making money... except when that becomes the primary focus.
There's nothing wrong with getting more attention... unless that dominates your thinking.
A wonderful quote from holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning" --
“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”
Miraculously, the purpose of life -- and the way that authentic businesses are built -- are the same:
Learn to serve others meaningfully, and money/success/happiness will arrive as well.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for Counselors, Coaches, Speakers, and Authors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
For my most recent writings, check out my Medium.com profile.
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Here's why I made that decision.