January 30, 2019
Marketing companies that deliver poor value to the consumer are a disservice to the entire financial education industry and give legitimate coaching companies a bad name.
This guide is my attempt to clean up this industry by revealing the red flags that can alert smart consumers to a potential bad apple.
We’re not alarmists here at Financial Mentor. A great marketing company can still provide great coaching services. The two activities are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They can co-exist… in theory.
Unfortunately, they usually don’t in practice – and that’s important for the consumer to understand and beware of.
For that reason, none of the following 12 symptoms qualify a coaching program as a rip-off on their own. It’s the weight of the evidence that you want to pay attention to and use as motivation for greater due diligence.
Below is a checklist of characteristics that should serve as warning signs that you may be dealing with a dream merchant instead of a legitimate money coach.
1. Checkered History
You usually don’t have to dig real deep to find relevant dirt on some big name gurus playing the dream merchant game. Top internet search engines provide an excellent due diligence tool. For example, according to John T. Reed:
- Charles Givens, author of “Wealth Without Risk,” was successfully sued by a former customer for faulty financial advice and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1995.
- Robert Allen, the author of “Nothing Down” and “Creating Wealth,” declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May 1996 after publishing several bestselling books.
- Ed Beckley, author of “Million Dollar Secrets,” declared bankruptcy in 1987 and was sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud.
- Dave Del Dotto, author of “Cash Flow System,” was charged by the FTC with misrepresenting products in 1993 and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1995.
- Wade Cook, author of a long list of financial best sellers, declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy twice – both in 1987 and 2003.
This list is by no means complete. It’s just a tiny excerpt of the research compiled by Reed showing the sordid financial history of a surprisingly large number of supposed money experts. All this information is free for the asking with a simple online search.
Just imagine… if these dream merchants’ personal financial practices land them in bankruptcy, what does that indicate about the credibility of their financial advice? It’s certainly not encouraging.
Keep in mind these guys were all big names in their day and received tremendous media exposure which created the appearance of legitimacy.
The unexpected realization is how the implied endorsement built into massive media exposure created through marketing campaigns means little in terms of actual credibility and safety to the consumer.
You must still research the legal history of your prospective guru and pay attention to factual evidence indicating potential problems – even if he’s famous.
2. Conventional Information Repackaged At A High Price
Many “boot camp” and coaching programs charge thousands of dollars for information you could buy at a bookstore for less than $100.
This is particularly true for the big name gurus because their marketing prowess and media exposure creates an implied endorsement and high perceived value for their services. This lowers the natural skepticism of buyers, which can be very dangerous.
A simple step to prevent being taken in is to always check the bookstores and internet to see if you can find a more affordable way to learn the same information – regardless of how famous the person is standing behind the product.
Make sure that what they’re teaching you is sufficiently unique and valuable to justify the price.
3. High-Pressure Sales Tactics
It’s relatively simple to distinguish legitimate coaches from marketing organizations by their sales practices. Legitimate coaches offer free sample sessions with the actual coach you’ll work with so you can test-drive their services first-hand and determine if the fit is right.
Marketing organizations show their true colors by employing professional sales people that use high-pressure marketing tactics in an effort to close a sale for a “coaching package”.
If anyone from a coaching company ever pressures you into buying, they’ve clearly demonstrated their focus is marketing and sales – not coaching.
It’s antithetical to the trust required for a positive coaching relationship to allow high-pressure sales tactics to ever enter the picture.
4. Target Market Is Beginners
Nature demonstrates that predators hunt the sick, injured, and inexperienced because that’s the easy kill. Marketers follow the same natural instinct when they promote expensive coaching and mentoring services to beginners.
Beginners lack the experience to separate charlatans from legitimate financial experts. If the marketing emphasizes that “anyone can do it and no starting capital or experience is required,” then you’re likely dealing with a predator.
If the coaching is mass marketed rather than targeted to the narrow audience that can truly benefit, then you’re likely dealing with a sales organization and not a true coaching company.
5. Contractual Obligation
If a coaching company requires you to pay a large, up-front fee for a service delivered over many months, then be wary. It’s likely a marketing gimmick.
After all, if the coaching truly delivers value, then you would gladly continue consuming, so there would be no need to lock you in with an up-front fee. They’re clearly telling you they’re worried you won’t like their service and want to stop paying.
That’s why they want your money up front and need to lock you into a contract. Smart consumers should view this practice as a red flag indicating “proceed with caution.”
6. Secrets of the Rich
Anybody who claims to teach the supposed “secrets of the rich” is likely a dream merchant. The secret is there are no secrets.
Unfortunately, aggressive marketers seek to exploit the human frailty of wanting to believe there are secrets only the rich understand that explain why they have no money, but the rich do.
The fact is most everything you need to know to build wealth can be learned for little or no money and is already well-documented and proven. The exception to this rule is specialized niche knowledge explaining new developments and strategies within an industry.
Otherwise, anyone claiming they have secret knowledge to riches is probably a dream merchant employing a marketing gimmick that legitimate money coaches normally avoid.
7. Emphasis on Luxurious Lifestyle
Building wealth is hard work, takes time, and requires financial prudence. Dream merchants want you to believe it’s quick and easy and requires little or no effort.
Beware of marketers touting private jets and lavish yachts to show the more/better/different lifestyle you can enjoy when you learn their “insider secrets”. This isn’t selling educational information, it’s promoting a dream.
The goal of the marketer is to make your greed glands salivate enough to overcome your usual sense of prudence and caution. Legitimate money coaches don’t use these marketing practices
The self-made rich I know don’t wear fancy jewelry or drive in flashy limousines; they lead comfortable, but relatively normal lifestyles, while building portfolios of wealth by consuming less than they can afford.
They work hard to build businesses and invest their savings prudently. The luxury appeal is a marketer’s gimmick designed to prey on your feeling of lack and your desire to have more.
The get-rich-quick appeal is designed to activate your sense of entitlement and laziness. Don’t get suckered in by these dream merchant tactics.
8. Bogus Testimonials
Legitimate testimonials should be written by the actual person and provide their full name and city location. Beware of testimonials that sound like they were written by one (the same) person, or provide outlandish claims of superhuman success.
This includes video and audio testimonials that appear legitimate on the surface, but could easily be faked by professional actors (don’t laugh – it has been done). Dishonest testimonials are another marketer’s gimmick designed to convince you to part with your money.
When you purchase a seminar or coaching program, you should receive a complete package of the guru’s best stuff that’s completely actionable as a stand-alone product.
Unfortunately, marketing companies don’t play fair and use a strategy of “progressive commitment” to separate you from your money. Here’s how it works:
- You’re sold on a free or low-cost seminar that’s never disclosed as a preview event, but instead is promoted as a complete package of information.
- You attend the free event and are up-sold to an affordable event portrayed as the “whole enchilada,” but it only teaches the basics.
- At the “basics” event, you are up-sold to the big event for big bucks.
Each step in this process is a progressively larger financial commitment designed to extract the most money from the most people.
Aggressive marketers know full well customers are more likely to spend thousands of dollars on a high-priced seminar after several smaller sales have already established a relationship than they would if they asked for the money up front.
Legitimate educational companies (like Universities) show you their entire product line (course curriculum) and don’t hide high-ticket items that are only sold as a bait-and-switch from lower cost products.
Also, beware of pitch-a-thons where a variety of speakers parade across the stage selling you their big-ticket courses.
When you purchase a seminar, you should receive the full education you paid for, not an interim appetizer designed to motivate your hunger for the main meal. The entire educational curriculum should be disclosed up-front and not hidden as a back-end sales marketing gimmick.
10. Best-Seller Status
Beware when buying a coaching or mentoring program from a high profile guru who developed large media exposure and reached the New York Times bestseller list.
Ask yourself, “Who will I be working with?” High profile media personalities achieve their stardom by focusing on their media and marketing – not their coaching.
In fact, you would be wise to look behind-the-scenes because many times, the coaching company isn’t even run by the guru. The coaching is just a “private label” service that’s sold and packaged to a variety of gurus.
The coaching company produces generic coaching services as a back-end product for their guru clients, and the guru provides the marketing and brand-name recognition that sells the coaching services. It’s a match made in heaven for everyone… except the client.
Most people succeed at building wealth by overcoming their personal obstacles to success and applying timeless, proven strategies with sufficient discipline and persistence to actually produce results.
There’s nothing trendy, sexy, or cutting edge about this formula. It’s a well-known and fully proven process for achieving financial success.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sell well because it lacks sex appeal. That’s why marketing driven companies hop on the latest hot trend (no money down, wraps, Forex, day trading, etc.) with whiz-bang coaching programs designed to capitalize on what’s hot and in the news – it sells well.
If you buy the latest, trendy investment seminar instead of focusing on applying timeless wisdom, realize you’re likely dealing with a marketing-driven organization rather than a company focused on your long-term education and success.
January 23, 2019
Jim Paar provides simple tips to increase revenue, reduce marketing cost, and create an endless flow of customers.
Knowing your audience is a must to succeeding in any business. I owned three restaurants and many other successful businesses, if I did not know my audience I would not succeed.
If you are looking for high level marketing reach out to Paar Media Group at https://paarmediagroup.com or if you want to become an authority in your market, Jim has an incredible coaching program. Contact him today at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 16, 2019
This interview with Forbes Riley goes deep into the mindset that is holding us back from success.
Meet Forbes Riley
Keynote Speaker, Author & Transformation Expert
Inspirational Icon Forbes Riley has grossed $2.5 Billion dollars and has been featured on TV, Radio and in numerous publications. She speaks internationally empowering diverse audiences with powerful & inspirational Keynotes, Seminars, and Workshops.
Join her at Forbes Factor LIVE for a life changing experience: https://www.forbesfactorlive.com
What You Will Learn…
How To Take YOUR Pitch, Product, Service To The Next Level
How To Develop a Powerful Marketing Strategy that will 10X Your Sales!
How To Position and Develop Your Brand
How To Develop Your Message for The Masses
How To Outline and Structure Your Pitch
How to Deliver Effective Calls to Action
How to BreakThrough Limiting Beliefs & Blockages
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Building a brand because “YOU are the Sum of the Obstacles YOU overcome… Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It!
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January 9, 2019
How To Start An Amazon Affiliate Business in 2019
Reviews are everything on Amazon.
Reviews are what sell products!
I have never bought a single product on Amazon that didn’t have a review, and I am sure I am not alone. Most people use Amazon reviews as one of their main tools for considering whether to buy a product or not.
So it’s easy to see why reviews can make or break an Amazon seller’s business. And that is why companies give away their products for free or with deep discounts to shoppers in exchange for their reviews.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on what site you are on), things are changing.
Due to Amazon’s latest policy change regarding product reviews, many of these sites have been forced to change direction. Some still continue to operate but under different rules, and some are completely halting their program. I will do my best to keep up and update this page. Please let us know in the comments if you do find changes on any of these sites.
How Amazon review sites work and How To Get Free Stuff On Amazon
Let’s say I am an Amazon seller and I want to get some reviews on my product(s) in order to drive up the sales. Finding buyers individually and contacting them would be time-consuming and tedious. Not to mention, you can’t be sure if the people who you send your product to for free will even leave a review.
Now, let’s assume am an Amazon shopper and I want to get free products. But I don’t know which sellers out of the thousands of sellers on Amazon will give me their product for free in exchange for my review. I could contact them directly, but this would be time-consuming and again, who know who many will actually give me their product.
That’s where these Amazon review sites come in.
They create a site where sellers looking for reviews and shoppers looking for free stuff can find each other quickly and easily.
You sign up for the site, then you get notified when there is a new review opportunity, or on some sites, you can login and see available products you can apply for to review.
1. AMZ Review Trader (now known as Vipon)
Update: AMZ is now Vipon. Thanks to MaryKs for the heads up.
The types and variety of products here would blow you mind away!
I like this site a lot because you can request to review as much as 20 items at one go. Granted, it is unlikely you get to review all you asked for; this is surely to be expected.
I would often allow myself 2-3 days if I hit jackpot with my request. When I don’t hear from them, I simply replace my earlier requests with a new batch of products.
2. Product Elf
The products on display at Product Elf is impressive (perhaps only second to AMZ) and they do an amazing job to keep their website updated almost on daily basis (so the freshness is always there – in term of product variation and look and feel of the web page).
But I especially like the fact that items displayed here are not restricted to those that tend to be fashionable or the fad of the days.
I have managed to review and get some of the “not so mainstream” products here. This practice is a departure of other review web sites that so incline to push the usual types of merchandise before you. And they are big on supplements as well.
One downside here is that they tend to mix it up here! Sometimes you find fabulous deals that save you a lot but there are also lots of what I call cheap deals. I mean, 50% off is great but then it is not great saving when you apply them to those that cost little (like 5 bucks) in the first place.
As you are about to get on to the world of reviewers, you probably going to hear a lot about Snagshout. It enjoys a massive followings among the reviewers.
The thing I don’t like about Snagshout is their one product policy.
This means that at any one time, there is only one product for you to order, test, and review. You can’t do two or more together and you can’t start your next review before the Snagshout team verified your review.
On the whole, it is not bad in term of product choice.
This is among my favorites. There are tons of products to choose from and my observation is that this Giveaway Service often features products that are in the range of $60 or even higher (retail value).
Another amazing feature here is that you often come across promotion codes that offer 100% discount. That means the products are offered at no cost.
They send emails almost daily, so there are a lot of products you can review.
in my experience, the majority of the products are small crappy stuff that I wouldn’t normally need/buy. But it could be different for you. You may indeed need/use those products.
After the first signing up, you will be rewarded with a DealCoin, which can be used to exchange for the product of corresponding value. As you embark on your review job, you’ll continue to be rewarded with a DealCoin with every completed assignment, i.e. those individual assignments have to be verified by the Amazing Deals Group. And then you go for another review.
From what I see, they are not interested to recruit more reviewers right now.
This site offers free registration and immediately after you can go to their website and check out what available products you can participate straight away (look for that DEALS button).
They will notify members on what appropriate projects available for review.
This site makes it easier for members by not requiring them to fill a discount code. But when such requirement is mandatory, click on the product of interest and ask for that discount code. There is an “agree” button to click after you are done.
Upon registration, the website will award you with 200 deal tickets that can be useful for immediate redemption or discount codes. Your deal tickets will accumulate after you put in more and more reviews!
12. Elite Deal Club
The amazing variety of products here means that I can afford to pick and choose on what makes great reviews on my end. The selection process is almost immediate, which is good as it means no waiting. Naturally, the products being featured here are expected to move fast and you need to regularly scrutinize your e-mail so as not to miss out on a nice product.
One more way to get free/discounted Amazon products: Ask sellers directly
You don’t necessarily have to join those review sites in order to get free or discounted products.
You can go direct to sellers.
you can only do so with a credible Amazon Rank (under #200,000).
Inevitably, you would be required to have more than just a handful of reviews before you go pitching the sellers.
Once you have enough of those reviews, you can contact the sellers directly and offer them a review in exchange for a free product. And since you already have a good history and track record of being a top reviewer, seller will gladly give you their product for free.
To contact a seller directly, click on their name (right under the product title on the product listing page) and you will be taken to their official “seller’s page” where you can find out how to contact them (normally there is a “contact this seller” button.
Tips: Doing Amazon product reviews successfully
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your experience.
– Sign up for as many review sites as you can
If you want to increase your chance of getting more free stuff, then sign up with as many of these sites as you can.
They are all free to join, so you really have nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time.
– Get a dedicated email address
If you do decide to sign up for more than just one or two sites, then I’d suggest you register a new email address just Amazon review sites. That way you can keep everything in one place and make it easier and faster for you to check for new opportunities, instead of having to weed through tons of other personal emails to find emails from review sites.
-Write detailed reviews
If you look at reviews on Amazon, you’ll notice usually the ones on the top (that say something like “X number of people found this review helpful”) are the ones that are detailed and long.
Sellers also like detailed reviews, so you are likely to get more products if your reviews are detailed and long.
Sure, every seller wants to get positive feedback, but selling your soul for the sake of a few free products isn’t the right way to go.
Give the product a try, then give it your honest opinion.
Although this may seem contradictory to what you are doing here, and you may think you will end up with less products, in the long run it actually work out better.
Because when shoppers read your reviews, they will up vote it if they feel like you’re being honest and detailed.
And once you have enough top reviews under your belt, that’s when you hit the jackpot. That is when product owners will actually directly contact you and give you free stuff in exchange for your review.
Plus, it will be easier for you to get into the Vine program.
-Become a Prime Member if you can
Notice that Prime is not a pre-requisite.
However, this could be a nice and necessary option if you figure your review work is for long haul (imagine all the shipping fees that got saved).
The other reason for Prime membership is that the bulk of review work entitles you to free Prime shipping.
Think about it, it is going to be $4-$10 on shipment every time you review an item without Prime.
If you are not sure, I say go ahead and sign up. Since Amazon offers Free 30-day Prime trial, you can always cancel it if you think this does not work for you.
Just do it inside the 30 days or the billing cycle will kick in (again the full annual charge is $99).
Use the product and give it your honest review.
Don’t give 5 stars so you can make the seller happy and hope you get more free stuff.
That’s just not right!
January 8, 2019
Are you frustrated trying to use WordPress 5? Here is a solution that is quick and easy
WordPress 5 was released only a few days ago. Many blogs and websites have successfully upgraded to the new version. WordPress 5 brings a lot of changes, including a new Gutenberg editor that replaces the good old Classic Editor that we have been using for years.
What you need to know about Gutenberg
Gutenberg is a sleek and modern block-based editor that completely alters the way posts and pages are created. But it’s still in its early days. Some bloggers and writers don’t like it because they are not familiar with it while others think the block-based editor is way more complex than the classic editor. Here we will talk about how you can disable the Gutenberg editor and get back the Classic Editor.
Fortunately, Gutenberg does not affect your published content. Folks at GoDaddy tested it with more than a hundred websites and there was no difference in live posts and pages after updating to WordPress 5.
The posts and pages created prior to the rollout of Gutenberg will appear in a Classic block, which is marked by a “Classic” heading. You can convert the Classic block into multiple blocks via the blocks menu by clicking on the three dots.
While the old classic editor had a clean writing area similar to Microsoft Word, the Gutenberg editor has blocks for paragraphs, images, videos, headings, and plugins. Depending on the WordPress theme you have, you can style the editor to look like the published page.
Early reports suggest that users have encountered random bugs while working in Gutenberg editor. The Gutenberg plugin has a disappointing 2.3 out of 5 rating. It will take developers some time to fix the bugs and enhance the user experience. Until then, you can disable Gutenberg in WordPress 5 and switch back to the Classic Editor.
How to go back to the Classic Editor in WordPress 5
Yes, the WordPress team allows you to disable Gutenberg and switch back to the Classic Editor. And they have made it pretty simple. Here’s how to do it:
STEP-1: Log in to your WordPress site as an administrator and go to Plugins > Add Plugin
STEP-2: Search Classic Editor in the WordPress plugin repository. You’ll see the Classic Editor plugin near the top of search results. It is developed and maintained by the core WordPress contributors. Alternatively, you can download it from here
STEP-3: Click on Install Now and once it’s installed, activate the plugin. It will automatically disable the Gutenberg editor in WordPress 5 when you activate it.
STEP-4: Now go to Settings > Writing to optimize the Classic Editor settings to your liking. You can also choose to keep both the Classic and Gutenberg editors. After changing the settings, hit the Save Changes button near the bottom of the page.
That’s it! Now you can create new posts using the Classic Editor. You will also be able to edit older posts and pages using the classic one.
It’s worth pointing out that Gutenberg editor is the future of WordPress and it’s here to stay. The WordPress team will continue to support the Classic Editor through the end of 2021, giving you plenty of time to get familiar with Gutenberg.
Even if some themes and plugin face issues with the new editor, we expect developers to address the problems in the coming months. The core WordPress team is giving developers of third-party plugins, themes and tools the time they need to add compatibility with Gutenberg.
Once you are ready to use the block-based editor, you can enable it from Settings. Or you can uninstall the Classic Editor plugin altogether.
January 7, 2019
Jim Paar shares 6 Marketing Strategies You Must Know in 2019.
These strategies are basic marketing strategies that every small business need to follow. You’ve to understand the power of these marketing strategy for 2019. Also, educate yourself about these 6 basic marketing strategies to run your business effectively.
1. Content Marketing on Your Business Blog.
2. Social Media Marketing By Sharing Content.
3. Register Your Business on Google My Business.
4. Start Email Marketing. Low cost & very effective.
5. Start Free Consultation and Trial Base Offer.
6. Start Marketing on Google Adwords.
January 7, 2019
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