Shady practices to watch out for in the online business
Episode 1271st April 2022 • Courageous Content with Janet Murray • Janet Murray
00:00:00 00:18:03

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Have you ever wondered why your social media feed is full of people posting pictures of themselves with celebrity entrepreneurs and/or raving about their online course? 

 

Or seen a coach you admire giving away an amazing free bonus - with another entrepreneurs’ programme?

 

Maybe you find yourself looking at an uber expensive online coaching programme - and wondering if high ticket really means high quality? 

 

In this episode of the Courageous Content Podcast, I share six practices to watch out for in the online space that can be shady. 

 

Find out how to spot the signs so you don’t get caught out. 

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Is it time to shake up the online coaching industry? (podcast)

Should you use income claims in your marketing? (podcast)

The obsession with 6 and 7 figure businesses (and how it could be harming yours) (podcast)

Duped podcast with Michelle Mazur and Maggie Patterson

Why I don't do affiliate launches (podcast)

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Transcripts

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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Have you ever seen a coach, you really admire giving away amazing bonus. Maybe it's their signature program, giving it away free with another entrepreneurs online program. And it just feels too good to be true. Maybe you sometimes find yourself feeling like you're not doing well enough in your business because there's so many people out there banging on about having six and seven figure businesses,

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all running luxury retreats from the beach, or swinging out at masterminds in glamorous locations. Maybe you find yourself looking at high ticket online programs and thinking they must be better if they cost more. Right. Welcome to the, sometimes the shady world of online business. I'm Janet Murray, a content and online business strategist. And then this episode of the courageous content podcast,

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I want to draw your attention to some shady business practices in the online space. So before I share what these practices are, I do want to issue a shame. Disclaimer, I'm not even sure that a shame disclaimer is a thing, but that's what I'm calling anyway. And what I want to say to you is some of the things that I am going to share with you might make you feel shameful because you may have done some of these things you may have been taken in by some of these things.

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And I want to share with you that I have to, not only do I look back and think, oh, I did that, or I said that, but I know that I've also been taken in by some of these things that I'm going to share with you and something else I want to point out before I start is that these practices, they aren't all in horribly bad.

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They're just potential red flags and the kind of behaviors and practices that when you see them, it's just a good idea to check in with yourself. Just to be that bit more critical. Just to take a little bit more time, just to slow down and ask yourself, what am I seeing here? What's going on. Maybe what you're seeing is okay,

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but just give yourself that time to question, to think, to consider and don't rush into making any decisions. So first up there is the too good to be true launch bonus. So this is where an online coach or teacher, often someone you really admire and you like their work is offering a high ticket bonus with someone else's online program they're selling. So it's likely to be another online entrepreneur.

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And what they're offering is something that is usually high ticket, something you've been hankering after for a while. Maybe it's a VIP mastermind. Maybe it's a coaching program. You've wanted to get your hands on. Maybe it's a one-to-one with them, but whatever it is, it's irresistible. And it also with a free program. And that free program happens to be one that everybody's talking about at the moment,

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because the coach or teacher who is offering you this irresistible bonus is taking part in a big affiliate launch and more on that coming up. So in my episode entitled, is it time to shake up the online course industry? I talked about buying a program where there was this coach. I was following at the time who was giving away a free mastermind in Paris.

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So she was doing two of these masterminds, one in the U S and one in Paris for her European followers. And I remember thinking at this time, like, how can she afford this? Like how can she afford to give away these two amazing bonuses? It must cost her a ton to hire out the space, to give the time, particularly traveling to Europe,

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to give the time to deliver that mastermind. Why would somebody do that? And I'm not proud to say it, but it actually took me a few years to work out how it's because they were making so much money from the big program that they were selling as part of an affiliate launch. If you're being paid, as I think was the case in this situation,

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a thousand dollars for each program you sell and you have a large audience, a large email list, and a lot of people who trust you, you're going to be able to shift a lot of this program, a lot of the program that you're pushing for this other entrepreneur. So when you do the math, it's going to make sense to throw in your VIP mastermind or your high ticket coaching program.

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And I think for those at the very top end, the very super rich online entrepreneurs, it's probably not going to detract too much from their reputation, but for those who are not yet at that level, and this could be you, maybe you're thinking about doing this yourself at the moment, maybe you're thinking about being an affiliate in a large program and wondering what you could offer giving away one of your highest ticket offers,

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or what does that say about how you value your expertise and your resources. If you're prepared to give it away in order to sell someone else's program and what might that mean in the future for generating your own clients? Might it be that people will think your program is less valuable because you were giving it away for free last week in someone else's program, might they wait to see whether you include it next time you're involved in that launch?

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So there's a lot of questions to think about here. As a buyer, I'd be asking myself why somebody is giving away one of their most valuable resources to sell somebody else's program, to build somebody else's business, but also potentially as someone that might get involved in an affiliate launch, you need to think about the longterm consequences of that. And if you're focusing on building someone else's business,

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instead of your own, how is your business going to look two years down the line five years, 10 years. So just some things to think about some critical thinking to be done. So the second thing to look out for is income claim marketing. So this is the websites and socials that you say that are full of claims about being a six and seven figure business owner,

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making other people, fixing seven, figure business owners, making millions overnight, making money in your sleep. And I'm not saying there's anything necessarily wrong with income claims. Sometimes it might be relevant and more on that in just a second. For me, the problem is making it look so easy because it is not easy. And having been in the space for more than eight years now and being connected with lots of people,

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I've got lots of friends who have similar businesses to me, who I do talk to more informally and off the record about what's going on in their businesses. And I've seen nothing yet. That would convince me that you don't have to work super hard to build a six or seven figure business, particularly one, which is based on recurring revenue. I still work ridiculously hard and I enjoy it.

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So that's okay. But there are times when I work so hard that I push myself to the brink of burnout and I have to have work and, and come back again because building a multi six-figure business with so-called passive income products. And I think I'm probably one of only a handful of UK entrepreneurs that actually does this genuinely like selling digital products to my own audience at scale is hard work,

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and you have to work on it every day. So I work on building my email list every day. I work on generating new leads. Every day I spend money on Facebook advertising every day I launch really regularly. Every time I launch, I learn new things. I read about email marketing. I listen to podcasts and really experienced it, that sort of stuff,

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but I'm still trying to learn all the time, trying to pick up new strategies, trying to understand my audience, my clients better. It's exhausting and I love it, but it's not for everyone. I've touched on this in a couple of episodes. One is called, should you use income claims in your marketing? The other one is, do you care if I'm a six or seven figure business owner?

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And this is something I'm still struggling with a little bit, because some of what I do is teaching other people how to launch online courses. And I guess there is an argument that it's important for people to know that I'm walking the walk and I'm making decent money from what I'm doing. And also that I'm helping clients to do the same. So it's one that I still have quite mixed feelings about because I know I wouldn't want somebody teaching me how to generate recurring revenue or build a multi six figure business if they hadn't done it themselves.

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So I'm not saying that the answers to any of this stuff is easy. I think it's just important that we're asking questions. And I think if you're following people who are not doing what I'm doing saying, yes, this is a great way to make money. It can be really enjoyable, but it's hard. And also it takes time. It takes most people a good year or two often longer to build the kind of audience to sell digital products at scale and to make it their sole source of income.

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It takes investment. I spent money on Facebook ads every single day to continue growing my list. And usually you need support. I make no secret of the fact that it costs me about 10,000 pounds a month just to run my business. Not everybody wants that responsibility. There's some days when I don't want that responsibility, it feels like a lot. And it feels like a lot to be responsible for all of the people that work with me are contractors,

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but I don't want to bin off suddenly and leave them with no money. So that does feel like it responsibility. And when you see people out there making it look so easy and not telling you what I'm sharing with you right now, that definitely raises some red flags for me. And I would want to ask more questions and want to know more. So then we've got high ticket coaching offers.

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And I think this is where you've got to be really careful, really discerning because just because something is high ticket doesn't mean it's good. It might be, but it doesn't mean it's good. So you really need to do your due diligence around checking testimonials and getting feedback, ideally from people who are not being paid to promote that program as part of an affiliate knowledge,

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I do go into this in more detail in my episodes entitled, is it time to shake up the online course industry, which I've already mentioned? And just to be clear, I'm not saying that it's wrong to charge high ticket prices and that you shouldn't charge what you're worth you absolutely should. But you've got to ask yourself why you would pay, for example,

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a couple of thousands of pounds to be part of a program that has thousands of people in it. And you get no personalized attention, not even the kind of attention that you would get in a group program where you might get a hot seat or you get the chance to ask questions. I'm talking like no personalized attention from the course creator and take care over the perception.

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High ticket means high quality. I charge about a third of what people with similar experience do in my space and that's people with less experience. And I know it hurts my business and I've known it for a long time because there's that perception that something isn't as good if it's affordable or if it's more affordable than it may be. It isn't as good. And it's just not true.

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If you take nothing else from this episode, I think it would be to remind yourself that there are people out there who do charge fairly for their work. When I'm pricing up a program. I think about how much time it's going to take me to prepare all of the resources, how much time it's going to deliver, how many team members I'm going to need to support me if that's okay.

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And that's where I start. I don't start by thinking, well, how much money can I make? And then once I've done all of my costings, I go and have a look at the market, but don't make the mistake of thinking that high ticket means high quality or lower ticket means quality. Just take the time to do your due diligence, because there are people out there providing good quality training and coaching who are not trying to rip you off and are trying to offer their expertise at affordable prices,

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or at least as affordable as they can make them. They're not creating high ticket programs just because they can. And I think that's definitely something that's going on in the online space, particularly around large programs. If you want to work with me, one-to-one, it's going to cost you thousands. That's how it works in most industries. But if you want to join one of my programs,

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then I have plenty of affordable ways that you can work with me in a bigger group context. I think that's right and fair. So just do your due diligence and avoid falling into the trap of thinking that high ticket means high quality. Then we've got culty behavior. Now this is something I've only really started to see quite recently. And this has really helped.

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And I've shared this podcast before. It's a podcast called Jeeps by Maggie Patterson and Dr. Michelle Mizell. It's brilliant at getting you to think about some of these issues. They introduced me to a lady called Amanda Montel. Who's written a book called cultish, and it was their work actually that really opened my eyes to how the online space can at times be like a cult because of what you get.

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And this is what I would watch out for is people who follow charismatic leaders. So the so-called celebrity entrepreneurs, they buy into that, person's teaching. Then they go out and preach the word for their communities. And in other words, that means they sell their stuff. And we'll also attack anyone who dares to question that leader or even their back desk.

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And that is not a community. That's a cult that's cult like behavior. So watch out for that too. Then we've got the luxury lifestyle. Marketing's they, you know, those Instagram feeds where people are swinging around and nice houses, driving, fancy cars, airplanes, glamorous beach shots that remember you can pay for beach photo shoots that make you look like you're on holiday or year round.

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Some influencers even use toilet seats to look like plain windows. It really is a thing, Google it. Oh. And by the way, people pay to go to NACA islands and get their picture taken with Richard Branson. Lastly, there's a large affiliate launches, and I did a whole episode on this called why I don't do affiliate launches. If your feed is full of pictures of a particular influencer with other online business owners begging them up.

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And if you keep seeing pictures of the same celebrity entrepreneur with pictures of other online business owners or business owners full stop, there's probably a large affiliate launch in town. And in that situation, you have to ask yourself, why are hundreds of business owners promoting someone else's business instead of their own? I went into this in much more detail in my podcast on whether it's time to shake up the online coaching industry.

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And also in that episode about affiliate launches. And just to be clear, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being an affiliate recommending products or services that you know, and love, but this is different. This is business and is being paid quite significant amounts of money to promote other people's programs and to build other people's businesses. A lot of people liken it to pyramid schemes.

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So you've got your rich celebrity entrepreneurs at the top. They're all doing fine because they can sell their mates course. And because they've already got node audiences and they know how to do a launch, they can make a packet. Then you've got a kind of medium level of people who are probably doing okay, and okay, enough to make a bit of extra money format,

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the people or the positivity that really worries me is the people at the bottom. So what often happens in these programs is you get people who realize that they can actually make more money selling someone else's program than building their business. And it can delay people's progress for years. So just to conclude, I'm not saying all of these things are inherently bad. I mean,

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I do think talks about and try as I might, I can't get on board with big affiliate launches. I just can't, but maybe that's just me. Maybe nobody's presented a convincing enough argument for me yet. What I am saying is just practice some critical thinking. So when you see things like this, just take that time to step back and think what's going on here.

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Like, why would somebody do that? Why would somebody take time out of their own marketing schedule and their own business to promote somebody else's product or service? Why would you do that? Maybe there is a good reason, but it's just taking the time to ask yourself that question or asking yourself why someone is to almost sycophantic level posting pictures of themselves with their coach or mentor and saying how wonderful they are and how amazing they are.

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And by the way, join their program or join their webinar or whatever. Like that makes me want to peak. And if my clients were doing that, I really would, but that's how these affiliate ecosystems work. And it's why I'm not a millionaire. So do it that what you will. So I hope that's been insightful and given you a bit more awareness of what to look out for and where you might need to just take a step back and think and reflect to ask questions and a reminder that if any of this has made you feel uncomfortable,

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it's uncomfortable for me to talk about too, because I know that I have done some of these things I'm talking about. And I also know I've been taken in play some of these things as well. So if there's any consolation, it's uncomfortable for me too, but I think any kind of change is always going to be uncomfortable and the more awareness that we can have in ourselves,

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but also we can share with other people on these issues the better. So I'd love to know your thoughts on what I've shared in this episode as ever ideal of hearing from you. The best place to connect with me is over on Instagram. I'm at Jan Murray, UK.