There is a personal development boom happening, and many entrepreneurs are capitalizing on it by selling programs and courses that promise to help people achieve their goals. However, not all of these entrepreneurs are truly dedicated to helping others. Some are more focused on making money, and may not be as concerned with the results they claim to deliver. This can be frustrating for people who are seeking help and guidance, and may not know how to differentiate between honest and dishonest educators. Social media marketing and advertising campaigns can also contribute to this problem. They often portray the life of an entrepreneur as glamorous and easy, with promises of financial freedom and fulfillment. This can be tempting for people who are unhappy with their current jobs and want to pursue their passions, but it’s important to be aware that these campaigns often exaggerate the realities of entrepreneurship.
One way to protect yourself from these types of “scams” is to be aware of the dog-eat-dog mentality that exists in any marketplace. While it’s not always easy to identify these individuals, learning how to recognize and avoid them can help you make more informed decisions about your education and career path.
This is especially the case with “trusted” goods where the quality of the goods can not be ascertained by the common consumer. We have to trust the vendor to keep their word.
Research the company and its products or services before making a purchase.
In the end, it’s important to remember that there will always be opportunistic behavior in the (business) world. However, by being aware of these potential pitfalls and making informed decisions, you can increase your chances of finding the right mentor or coach to help you achieve your goals.
If you haven’t seen the comprehensive Guide on how to find the perfect mentor or coach, you can find it here.
Clever businesses often use tactics to appeal to people’s deep-seated desires on one hand and manipulate the pain and suffering that lets them act irrationally. This is nothing new but after five years in this industry, I’ve come to the conclusion that some offers can entirely be seen like “smoke and mirrors” whereas others influence consumers by consciously addressing pain points and the natural desire to get rid of said pain. Whether or not the sold services deliver the promised results is an entirely different question.
I had a meeting with a company that wanted to assist me with my lead acquisition and online marketing. The call went really smoothly and the most curious thing happened. Before the call, I was convinced, and still am, that the internet is so overloaded with advertisements and sponsored content, that will use other means to be recognized for my work. I was specifically looking for someone to help me with content marketing and bringing value and benefits to my content.
Yet during the call, the pitch unfolded in a way that by investing in this company and by using ads and a particular CMS (Client Management System) I could easily find the leads as well as make the money I intended to make.
To be honest, I was lucky that I almost got hooked. It had been a peculiar situation after the call because the conversation kept repeating in my head and I was continually thinking about maybe throwing my no-ad mentality overboard. If I could have all the leads I wanted and earn the money I intended to make, what was I struggling with? At that point, the carrot dangling in front of me seemed real enough for me to let go of my aspiration to find a content marketing strategist. That this was completely opposite to what I had started from was not really crossing my mind. It was a quiet voice somewhere way in the background.
It took quite some time and the help of my friend to realize that some kind of mindf*ck was going on, that I felt abused in a very subtle way, and that I was slowly becoming aware of.
Because of the way the conversation went, it was important for me to seek out a resolution with the seller. In my correspondence with him afterward, it seemed like the person’s intentions had been “genuine” and he was mostly unaware of having used these manipulative techniques to get me to buy.
I am saying this for two reasons.
Reason one is people who show a kind of ruthless sales behavior are not evil per se. They sell their products and that often well. Their focus and incentive are to make money and they make use of methods that have shown again and again that they work. It is only when we find ourselves in the wake of a person with these skills that we realize how well they work and how awake and present we need to be to stay true to our course.
Reason number two is that it might be hard to detect but if we feel abused or somewhat straying from your principles, it is high time to distance ourselves physically and emotionally to get our heads straight.
Be wary of overly positive or unrealistic claims made by the company. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It can be difficult to determine how much one’s time or services are worth, as it depends on the context and environment. There is a debate about whether the amount of money a person has reflects their self-worth and deservingness. Some people believe that money is a form of energy and that we must become conduits or containers for it to flow or be manifested. However, others, like Napoleon Hill, believe that there are twelve categories of wealth, and economic security is the least important. My personal experiences with money, both having and lacking it, have influenced my understanding of money. While I see the value of money in my life, I believe that the true value lies in the connections and encounters where I can give and share. As old as the Robin Hood comparison might be, to me money is an enabler. It enables me personally to build my sanctuary and it allows me an opportunity to give in countless situations. Even if it is the simple scenario of giving someone a ride. If I didn’t have money to drive a car, I couldn’t invite a hitchhiker along for the ride.
On this entrepreneurial journey, I have always asked myself if I am willing to compromise my values in order to achieve my dreams, and I have decided that I would rather let go of my dreams than lose my values. While facilitating the creation of conscious businesses can be fulfilling, I also want to find alternative strategies that align with my values. The concept of conscious business is so crucial to me because it forces us to reevaluate the entire value chain and how we do business and treat others.
On this journey, I spent incredible amounts of money on retreats and coaching programs as well as having received it for free or very low amounts of money. My advice to you is to let go of the price tag in the evaluation process. Is it something that feels good and right? Is it a kind of work or program that elevates you after having tried it or is it something you regret almost instantly after the purchase?
Sometimes we don’t get to try the service in a way that enables us to evaluate the quality, in those cases it is important to detach ourselves from the pitch or the sales event and go within. Get out of the “glamour zone” and see how we feel about it in a different context.
It’s understandable that you have reservations about using certain business and advertising tactics in order to achieve your goals. It’s important to stay true to your values and not compromise them in pursuit of success. However, it’s also important to find a balance and not let your personal beliefs prevent you from achieving your goals. It may be helpful to consider alternative strategies that align with your values, rather than completely dismissing certain tactics. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and what you feel comfortable with.
Be alert when you experience high-pressure sales tactics or limited time offers. Take the time to think about whether the service is really right for you before making a decision.
I mentioned at the beginning of the article that there are certain traits and markers we can use to determine the authenticity of a service. Make no mistake in believing they are foolproof because, in the end, it is a complex situation in which we have to evaluate the whole. The tips in this article might seem insignificant because they seem so simple. Yet when we learn to listen to our inner voice while being in a sales pitch it is a great help. Great Salesmen are incredibly empathic. Whether or not they are also following a certain set of ethics is often found out after the purchase.
Consider alternative options. Shop around and compare prices and features to make sure you are getting the best value for your money.
Another important note is that as entrepreneurs, making mistakes and erroneous investments is part of the journey. We often find ourselves in the position of having to navigate unfamiliar territories. We are learning the hard way by spending our money/energy and finding out that in hindsight it was a mistake. So one important trait in us is to be willing and able to make mistakes. To choose as wisely as we can but allow these decisions to help us along the way.
To me, these negative experiences are the backbone of my business practices because my goal is for people to feel good. Earning money as Napoleon Hill stated, is the last and least important part of wealth.
While it’s not always easy to identify opportunistic or manipulative behavior in the business world, by being aware of these potential pitfalls and making informed decisions, you can increase your chances of finding the right mentor or coach to help you achieve your goals. Remember, it’s important to research a company and its products or services before making a purchase and to be aware of any manipulative tactics that may be used to appeal to your desires or pain points. By being aware and mindful, you can protect yourself from scams and find the support you need to reach your goals.
In the end, I would like to add that there is nothing inherently wrong with high fee structures and positioning one’s self in a certain segment of the market, as long as the following key elements are given:
1) The product or service fulfills what it is intended to do.
2) The offer gives the buyer a chance to evaluate the price and performance beforehand and whether or not they are willing to invest in themselves to receive the help they need to achieve their goals.
3) It is clear to all parties involved that the service can only be a catalyst and that the time, energy, and motivation to change has to come from the client or buyer. NO coaching product, no matter how expensive, can do the job for the buyers or clients.
4) Similar to any other service, if the client or buyer feels the service is lacking something or unsatisfactory, it is important to state it and to do it in a specific way.
When I am in a restaurant and my meal is dissatisfying it is important to let the employees know what it is and how I would like it to be different.
In Tony Robbins Date with Destiny program, he is asking the whole crowd around two-thirds of the retreat if anyone is missing the kind of transformation they had intended and gives them a chance to stand up and state their discontent.
This is a collaborative effort. The receiver of the service states what is amiss and the provider is open and willing and open to adapt and re-arrange the service as well as possible.
When I eat in an Italian restaurant and “complain” that my pasta is no good and that I want it to be made in a Vietnamese style, I clearly chose the wrong dish or restaurant.
So translated into our personal development world this means having done all the exercises, followed the program to the T, and still not making any progress and giving the coach or mentor the chance to adjust the curriculum.
I understand that I am repeating myself but this is so important that I am saying it again at the end of this article.
Don’t buy into the idea that more expensive is better per se. Follow your intuition and feeling about what you need rather than what others say you need. When we are open to finding support on our journey the universe will come up with someone who is right for the task and within our financial capabilities. If money is sparse, work with what you have, and don’t succumb to the illusion that you have to max out your credit card or lend money from friends and relatives.
I know that there are stories of people who found great success with this method but this all-in-mentality has often made my situation more difficult. In the Medicine Wheel, this behavior is likened to a young child that is covering its eyes and pretending that things will come to pass in the way it imagines them to be. It is a tightrope walk between building castles in the sky and consciously creating reality.
Keep on keeping on!