Here on the blog, I’ve covered a lot of direct sales and MLM opportunities. Heck, I even created a calculator to help analyze the earnings potential for each company on their own. But one thing I haven’t touched yet? The online business coach industry.
Hold up, you say. What do you mean by this? Is this an MLM?
Well, let’s take a look at how the online business coach scam works.
What is an online business coach?
An online business coach is someone who works to help individuals focus and define their business. There are online business coaches in many niches, but each follows a similar structure:
- Free webinar or online group that offers information about building a business in your niche
- A call to join the email list to get a freebie or two
- A strong call to action urging you to invest in yourself and purchase coaching
- Offer of single-session or multi-session courses aimed at helping you achieve a large amount of money online (typically “six-figures” or thousands of dollars per month)
What does the online business coach scam have in common with direct sales/MLM companies?
A lot. In fact, the FTC did a pretty good job of sharing those details in this article. But here’s the short list of similarities:
- Many online business coaches are Utah-based.
- The cost of signing up is high, typically amounting to thousands of dollars. (LuLaRoe, anyone?)
- The online business coach scam promises people will achieve financial freedom. Their told it’s “impossible to fail” and they can earn thousands of dollars per month by following a “foolproof” formula.
- Once a person signs up, they find that the course is disappointing and lacks the real information a person needs to succeed.
- The people who sign up rarely – if ever – earn money after taking the online business coach’s course.
So if it’s this obvious that online business coach scams are prevalent, why do people fall for this? Simple. People love a good story.
The Online Business Coach Origin Story
Each business coach, regardless of industry, has an origin story. And this origin story is designed specifically to make the business coach seem relatable. It’s always a tale of struggle and of being at rock bottom. Each origin story follows the same pattern. The online business coach was struggling financially. They considered other means of earning an income. Then they had a revelation: they could invest in themselves and become a coach.
What’s so dangerous about that, you ask?
The stories are designed to sell…
Whether the online business coach is telling you the truth or not, the fact is a lot of their messaging is designed to make a sale.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. But what’s hard to swallow is that online business coaches prey on financially insecure people.
…and target those who can’t afford the cost.
Look, we can see it from different angles. Maybe these coaches genuinely want to help people who are struggling, right?
If that were true, a lot of things would be different. For starters, their price point might be more accessible.
But much like MLM and direct sales recruiting, the online business coach focuses on selling the dream. Their pitch has little to do with reality. And worse than MLM and direct sales companies, these online business coaches are completely unregulated. Literally anyone with a .com or dot whatever can start an online business coach scam. At least direct sales/MLM companies are required to submit income disclosure statements now (even if most people ignore and “follow their dreams” instead of cold, hard facts).
Now, I’m not saying that all online business coaches are illegitimate. I’m sure there are some great ones out there. But the majority of online business coaches are running the same shady model – and most of their “students” aren’t seeing the promised six-figure results.
And that’s the online business coach scam: a motivational message, a promise of a better future, and a pull at your wallet.
How much does an online business coach cost?
The FTC has addressed this recently. Some online business coaches were charging nearly $14,000 for “one-on-one” coaching.
But most online business coaches use a scalable approach. There’s a “starter” price, typically below $500 for initial coaching. Then it gets more expensive from there, ranging from $1,200 to over $10,000 for highly specialized, niche coaching.
As you can see, the online business coach scam is a lucrative opportunity – for online business coaches. And the worst part is they try to sell you the idea that you could, too, become an online business coach.
Ask yourself: do you want to run an online business coach scam? If not, you’ll want to steer clear of their advice.
Shouldn’t it be expensive if an online business coach can really help you?
This is the logic most people apply when considering an online business coach. Of course it’s expensive, you’ll think. This person is going to help me earn six-figures and solve all of my financial problems.
Here’s the big issue: there is no regulation governing the online business coach. It’s basically the wild west.
How do you know if an online business coach is legit? There’s no certification. There’s no seal of approval. You basically sign up for an online business coach on faith. And you make a decision based on what the online business coach sells you.
And that’s always the dream of financial freedom.
It’s the same thing direct sales companies and MLM companies sell to their recruits: opportunity.
The problem with this is that opportunity is already available to you, for free.
And there are many, many other ways to improve your financial status that do not involve paying large amounts of money to start.
How can I start an online business if I don’t have an online business coach?
One of the most persuasive points in the online business coach scam industry is education. Many people are afraid to start an online business and want someone to help guide them.
Here’s something you may not want to hear: starting an online business is very hard.
It takes a ton of work.
But the good news is you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars for an online business coach.
You can learn most of what you need to know for free online.
And you can purchase eBooks or physical books on business to fill in the gaps you don’t know.
Unfortunately, the issue with this is that it’s not a quick fix. That’s why the online business coach scam is so alluring. They’re selling you the idea of a packaged, perfect formula for success. But reality is, even with effective online business coaching, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Bottom line: Invest in yourself, for real.
You can’t buy an investment in yourself. You need to invest time in building yourself. Even if you choose formal education, you still need to spend time earning that education and learning beyond what you’re taught.
You can’t buy your way to instant online success unless you’re purchasing a profit-making online business. So don’t shell out thousands of dollars for an online business coach scam.