Shady practices to watch out for in the online business

April 1, 2022

Learn how to spot shady practice in the online business world so you don’t get caught out.

Janet Murray Courageous Content Podcast Headshot

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.

You can listen to the podcast or read the blog version below.

Here’s what I cover:

Too good to be true launch bonuses

If an online coach/teacher is offering a high ticket bonus free with someone else’s online course/programme, ask yourself why they’re devaluing their own learning resources in this way.

And why they’re prepared to give away one of their most valuable resources to build someone else’s business.

To find out more, check out: Is it time to shake up the online course industry?

Income claim marketing

If the website/socials are full of 6 and 7 figure businesses, making millions in your sleep and the coach/teacher makes it sound SO easy… proceed with caution. It takes most people years to build a multiple 6 or 7 figure business (and many don’t make it).

And easy is the last word I’d use to describe it. Building an online business takes time – and there’s a lot of work involved. While you may generate recurring revenue from digital products, you can never just ‘set and forget’ an online business. You need to be building your email list and generating new leads – every single day.

I’m not saying income claims aren’t ever relevant. For some businesses they might be. I certainly wouldn’t want somebody to teach me how to generate recurring revenue or build a multi six-figure business if they hadn’t done it themselves.

But they aren’t relevant for every programme. So do your due diligence by thinking about the outcome you actually need from working with a particular coach/teacher – and seeking appropriate testimonials/recommendations.

Income claims marketing

High-ticket coaching offers

Just because an online course/programme is high ticket… that doesn’t mean it’s good. So take the time to seek out testimonials and feedback – ideally from people who aren’t being paid to promote the courses/programmes you’d like to join.

And consider how you learn best. If you know you need 1-2-1 guidance, paying for a high ticket mass programme with thousands of other students may not be the best solution for you. Investing your training budget for 1-2-1 coaching/consultancy may be a better option.

Cultish behaviour

Watch out for people who ‘follow’ charismatic leaders (aka celebrity entrepreneurs). People who buy into that person’s teaching, then preach the ‘Word’ to their communities (i.e. sell their stuff) and attack anyone who dares to question their leader (or their practice). That’s a cult – not a community.

Luxury lifestyle

Luxury lifestyle marketing

Cars and houses can be hired. You can pay for beach photo shoots that make it look like you’re on holiday all year round. Some ‘influencers’ have even used toilet seats to look like plane windows. Oh and people PAY to go Necker Island and get their picture taken with Richard Branson.

Large affiliate launches

If your feed is full of pictures of a particular influencer with other online business owners singing their praises – they are probably part of a large affiliate launch. Which means they are being paid to promote that programme.

I don’t have a problem with affiliate marketing – it’s nice to reward your customers for recommending your products/services. But I do have a problem with large affiliate launches – those that pay anything from $500 – $1000 dollars commission per sale (for what are already generally vastly overpriced courses).

I believe large affiliate launches can take entrepreneurs away from building their own businesses and enable already rich entrepreneurs to get wealthier. Want to know more? Here’s why I don’t do affiliate launches.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying all these things are inherently ‘bad’. Just practices where it’s worth applying some critical thinking. And stopping to ask yourself questions before you commit any of your time and money.

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