Over the years, I have seen a lot of people making this mistake -- buying into expensive business/marketing training/coaching programs.
In these programs, they're with a 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, there's no doubt.
But they are also a very poor investment for the buyer...
What the buyers never learn (until they have lost money) is that the great majority of buyers (upwards of 95%) do not achieve the type of results that the programs demonstrate in their testimonials and case studies.
What about the 5% of students who do achieve great results?
Some of them would have achieved that success even without the program.
Others were handpicked by the leader of the program for special attention that most of the students will never get.
95% of the buyers would've fared better by spending that same money with a 1-1 business/marketing coach who cares about them as a person, not as a number. The coach could then customize their expert advice to fit the client's specific needs.
The journey of creating an authentic business is not a formulaic one, as sold by those high-priced programs. As you may have already started to see for yourself, a sustainable and fulfilling business journey is highly individualized, and no big program can give you that kind of customized guidance and support.
I have personally spent more than $30,000 on such programs, and I've regretted it.
On the other hand, I have also tried dozens of 1-1 coaches to help me grow my business. I can now tell you that I wish I had only spent the money on the 1-1 coaches, and not on those large group programs.
The overall steps to effective business learning goes like this:
Step 1. Learn a bit of new knowledge.
Step 2. Take the time to apply that bit of knowledge to your business.
Step 3. Get individualized support to troubleshoot any problems 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 in 2013 I decided to stop selling my $2,000 business courses that were over-full with knowledge and overwhelmed the student and made it very difficult for them to implement.
Instead, I began to sell the knowledge in bite-sized chunks via lower-price courses.
So, I urge you to beware of the marketing hype you see on the websites, videos, and email campaigns of those big 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 students who get extraordinary results, and suggest 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 and more overwhelming to move forward.
Learning is not the same as doing.
Compared to actually building a business, learning business is easy. By joining a big business program, what really happens is that (1) you enrich 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 back to the 3 steps above!)
Maybe you tried to get support in the program by joining a Q&A call with dozens 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 with hundreds of other people you don't know, you're naturally 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 that you actually went back to later? (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:
BEST ALTERNATIVE: One-to-One Business Coaching. You get customized knowledge and support for your individual business journey. You also get personalized accountability and encouragement. Nothing can replace one-to-one support.
If you would like a 1-1 coach on any issue, contact me. I have a diverse network of providers I can refer you to.
A good alternative is a small Group Coaching or Mastermind Program: a community of under 50 participants, even 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 you speak up early on, so that the coach starts to really understand your offering, so that he / she can help you throughout the length of the program, and (c) it is with a coach who is committed to building community and not just delivering information and coaching.
Group programs are helpful if you enjoy an ongoing supportive community of people who will get to know you, and offer some loving accountability, encouragement, and resources.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
All content on this website is Creative Commons CC0 license -- No Rights Reserved. Feel free to use or repurpose it however you like!
Here's why :)