Is your business coach full of shit?

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One of my favorite things recently is checking out websites on WayBack machine. You can look up the web archives of ANY site out there, and see every iteration that was ever online. It’s very awesome and very eye-opening, especially if you are someone who is comparing yourself to someone like Marie Forleo, who has been in business for over 15 years (seriously – go check out her first ever site and see how far she’s come!).
And some of my all-time favorite sites to check out are those of newfound 6-figure business coaches who I see around the internet.

 

What a recent search showed me

This week I was looking at coach’s new site (someone who’s been popping up in groups lately) and I was remembering how much she was struggling back when we were working together. So I hopped onto Wayback Machine to check out her archives. Here is what I found: back in the first version of her website (sometime around 2013) she’s saying that she’s rocking her business doing what she loves (life coaching, I presume) and that she helps women do the same so they can make 6 figures. just like she did!

But now, on her current site (about 2 years after she said she was rocking it in business), I’m reading about how for the first two years of her business no one knew who she was and nothing was working, that in 2014 she was broke and she had no clients and she hit rock bottom …And now, magically! she’s pulling in multiple 5 figures a month by helping others do the same!

 

Do we all smell the same thing here? This is happening a LOT, I see it, you see it – we all see it.

 

Let’s just be clear that I have no problems with people switching direction in business, going through lulls (it happens), changing course, teaching things they are good at, and I love a good rags to riches story — when it’s authentic. But when someone is saying they are rocking it in business, and then later reveal that they were actually NOT rocking it (that was just a lie haha! but they don’t actually tell you that), and that they were really flat broke and business wasn’t working…  and THEN do a full 180 and use the old “I was broke and now I am making 6 figures (by showing other people how to make 6 figures too)” … it’s just so blatantly sleazy and gross that, as they say, I. can’t. even.

Also – ranty sidenote – don’t you want a coach who can actually manage her money and doesn’t lie to her clients about how well she’s doing!? It blows my mind that people actually buy into stories like this… Like I don’t want to work with someone who couldn’t get her shit together until JUST 6 months ago. Geeze. But I digress…

Of course, this rubs me the wrong way. As a business coach who actually grew a business that has been more and more profitable every year, with no bouts of hitting rock bottom and no bouts of insane leaps in income,  just slow and steady building, it makes me scared to think that potential clients are choosing these kinds of coaches over me, and I wonder about what it means for this industry in general that more and more of “I was broke and now I make 6 figures!” coaches are appearing – and actually getting clients!

It makes my blood boil to see people falling into the glamour of it all – how easy it must be to make a shit ton of of money overnight, because look she did it, and she’s just like me!My hesitation when I hear of people paying for these “coaches” is that they are buying into a good marketing story, rather than someone will skill, integrity, and know-how.  Because they made their fortune by saying “I’ll help you make a fortune!”, without ever actually doing anything well in their business before helping people make a fortune…

I’m wary, to say the least. We have all seen this pyramid-scheme-style shit, and some coaches out there even TEACH it (the worst form of all of this) — they turn health coaches, life coaches, yoga teachers, you name it – into business coaches on purpose, because the only model they know is how to help people make money by helping people make money.

All of this is just to say that we all need to do our research before we hire a coach or a mentor. At the end of the day, you get to choose who you give your money to, and if they can get you results, that’s really what matters… but be wary of the “I was broke and now I’m suddenly rich and I’ll show you how” coaches… they may not always be able to get you results in a way that actually feels good for you.

 

How to know if your coach is legit or not:

There’s no one way to know if your coach actually knows what they are talking about and can actually help you grow your business, but there are a few things you can do to try to make sure you’re not hiring  someone who is just blowing smoke up your ass by way of good marketing:

1. Check Wayback Machine
You’ll get a good idea of where they came from by looking at their past website revisions. Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t be too hard on them! But have a look at their evolution and you’ll get a gut feeling of whether it feels legit to you or not. If you see struggling life coach and then all of a sudden BUSINESS COACH, stay away.

2. Search for them in business groups you’re in.
You may find that just 6 months ago they were posting about how they have no clients and don’t know how to make any money, but now you see them selling 6-figure business secrets (interestingggg). Also – GOOGLE. When Reese Ben-Yaacov stole my programs and sold them I wrote a blog post about what happened, and now people still email me almost a year later saying that they are grateful that they found my post before they decided to give her any money!

 3. See if they work with people other than business coaches.
Often, these kinds of coaches will turn all their clients into B2B, and if you’re a passionate health coach who wants to help people cure their digestive disorders, you likely don’t want to be told that you need to start helping health coaches start businesses if you want to make any money. If your coach has worked with other people in your industry and gotten results, that’s a good sign.

4. Listen objectively to their story.
When someone says they were flat broke and then they started making all kinds of money — did they do that via the pyramid scheme method of making money by teaching people how to make money? If yes, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t help — there are many coaches who are legit and smart as hell whose businesses center around helping other businesses… but if it’s a “I was broke and had no idea how to make business work” and then all of a sudden they “figured it out” and are raking it in – just be careful.

5. Ask to hop on the phone with them for a consult.
Talk with them about how they see you growing your business, what they’d want to work on with you, and make sure they have solid, clear answers that instill confidence. If it sounds fluffy on a consult, it’s not going to get much better when you hire them.

6. Ask to talk with their past clients in the same industry as you.
Any good coach will be happy to send over the names of people they have worked with, and ask around in groups too to see if anyone has worked with them and ask if you can chat with them to get a sense of their experience (but make sure to have the conversations in private – you don’t want to start shit talking anyone in a public forum if that client wasn’t happy with their coaching!)

7.  Are they promising things that are too good to be true?
There are very few legit coaches I know who can guarantee that you will make more money in your business if you work with them. Most good coaches and consultants know that there is no magic guarantee – so they might say they will help you grow your social media following, or create your packages and courses, or build a marketing strategy that will help your business grow, but very few legit coaches will actually say straight up that they will help you make more money, and very, very few would ever put an actual dollar amount on it (because they know that there is a lot that goes into that equation. I tell my clients I will help them create packages that sell, but I would never say I’ll help you create a package that will pull in 10k/month. It might, it might not – a lot goes into that that is out of my control in our work together). The coaches who are saying they will absolutely make you more money (100k), are usually the ones who can’t actually deliver.

8. Pay attention to what results they are actually selling you.
Are they selling you a fabulous, first-class lifestyle, where you get to live your passions and escape the 9-5 and do work you love and make a killing doing it? Or are they selling you tangible business building tools and strategies, and coaching to help you find a way to do it that works for all your unique strengths and talents? Because I tell you, I see a LOT of people out there selling a lifestyle with no actually strategy to back up how the hell they plan on getting you there (and believe me, I am acutely aware of this because I have to be careful how I message this in my own business, what with it being named after the idea of a lifestyle “The Uncaged Life“).

One of my clients just last week told me she hired one of these millionaire coaches, and her coach told her to put more pictures of her in first class on her website, and get a professional photoshoot done every time she travels, to make people want what she has. Basically, she was told to lure them in with lifestyle photos and promises, and then teach them how to do the same with their clients. Um, no thanks.

There is a lot of awesome business help out there, and unfortunately, a lot of garbage. And I know we are all sick of seeing “make 6 figures in 3 months” bullshit. And while I have zero problem with anyone wanting to make 6 figures (or more – it’s your life, you get to decide what will make you happy), I know that you are too smart to actually believe that it can happen overnight, or even in 6months, or a year…

And I am hoping that you know that you CAN make your business work, and that you don’t need to buy into the FOMO that’s created when you see these glamorous, time-sensitive programs run by struggling-life-coaches-turned-6-figure-business-coaches-once-they-learned-the-secrets-of-success.

There are other options, and your business will thank you for choosing them in the end.

xx becca

PS. Are you thinking HELL YES Becca, this shit need to stop!!? If yes, I’d love if you could share this post  on your own business page or with someone you know who needs to hear it. Thank you!

PPS. If you want some personalized mastermind-style help with your business with 3 six-figure business owners who aren’t full of shit, we’re going to Antigua in February and would love for you to be there. Check out The Antigua Retreat (early bird ends Oct 5)

Read 162 Comments & Leave Yours

  1. Graciela

    OMG… I love this post… I’m sick of seeing people dangle their “shiny silky lifestyle” photoshoots at people saying how they made 6 figures, posting testimonials mostly of the people that trained with them and trying to tell people how to get the same but rarely showing how, yet charging thousands of dollars a month for their coaching.
    I would greatly appreciate everyone sharing the names of coaches they’ve caught lying, people need to be aware and be careful who they invest their money with.
    I don’t want to bad mouth anyone I haven’t had personal experience with them, but… can someone tell me without a doubt that Gina DeVee delivers with actual content and strategies, that her coachees are really making money consistently from clients other than people they trained with? I’ve read scam alerts about her but I’m not sure if it’s just hate from people or truth.

    • Rachel

      I worked with a coach who learned from Gina DeVee and I felt like it was a mix of smoke and mirrors with business basics. The course I took did teach me some stuff I didn’t know, but it lacked a lot of essential mindset and business strategies that I later learned. I looked into Gina’s courses but I wasnt impressed.

      • Sara

        I am convinced that 99% of the 10k in 10 Days trail of lies leads back to Gina DeVee.

        • Rachel

          HA! It sure sounds like it! I’ve noticed a lot of other coaches who learned from Gina DeVee coaches are also doing the same tactics.. I’m trying really hard to avoid that trap!

        • Graciela

          I have the same theory… it’s crazy!

    • Monique

      Gina DeVee is solid! She does do a lot of feminine mindset training which I LOVE! I’ve purchased two of her audio programs, Sales Superstar and Live & Luxurious. I found value in both programs. It’s clear to me that Gina has this stuff IN her. She’s a woman of depth and substance… her student though, meh… lack originality. But, that’s to be inevitable of newbies.

    • tracy

      Each person is solely responsible for what they put out there and will be held accountable for it. If someone was taught by a particular mentor, does that make the mentor responsible for what that person puts out into the world? I could learn from an Olympic skier how to snow ski, but if I then go out and teach people how to snow ski using a skateboard and they crack their heads open because, hello, skateboards on snow!, who is responsible? Me, that’s who. Not the Olympic skier who, quite likely, never advocated snow skiing on skateboards. Judgments (and that includes snarky, petty comments and gossip) cannot be made on hearsay–that’s called slander and defamation of character. Would you like that done to you? Before you all badmouth someone, make sure that you have the facts to back it up and know what you are talking about. Because, quite frankly, if I were G. DeVee, I would hold you all accountable and that would mean time in a courtroom.

      • Anna

        Ah, yes. I’ve heard Gina and her followers like to throw around courtroom threats to prevent anyone from speaking up about her. I wondered if it was true, so thanks for showing that it is. I hope you’re clear and upfront with your clients that if they dare criticize you or speak up about being unhappy with your service, that you’ll “hold them accountable” by dragging them into a courtroom. I mean, you could use it as feedback and address their concerns, but I guess it’s far easier to throw your weight around to threaten and intimidate them into silence.

      • If you look up Gina deVee’s history (her real name is Gina Ratcliffe) you will see that she was investigated by Congress in 2000 for engaging in inappropriate business activities with a Chinese businessman when she was a junior intern at the White House. To hear her tell it, she was the WH Chief of Staff but the reality is far different. She has many complaints registered against her business for fraudulent business activities and frankly, I don’t like her either. She is all smoke and mirrors and has very little substance backing her claims — none of these people ever share their income statements or tax returns to back their ‘six figure’ claims. I don’t hire any coaches who don’t have solid business credentials, including a university degree, and experience in business. Unfortunately, anyone can claim anything on the internet. Before hiring a coach, especially those who charge exorbitant amounts for their programs, do some research. As my father used to say, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

  2. Graciela

    Now I want to know too…

  3. Ali

    Thank you! Oh my lord I could rant about this for days.

    I’ve watched one particular coach (who friended me on FB when she was struggling) go through this exact ‘transformation’ and honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach. One month she was posting in numerous online groups, desperately struggling for clients and frankly doing a pretty bad job of engaging people in anything she was putting out. Then suddenly, literally in the space of a month, everything magically changed and she’s now having miracle five figure months and selling the secret formula. What changed? She hired a ‘high-end business coach’ who makes six figures by teaching others how to make six figures and now seems to be copying that formula to the letter. Right….

    Ugh. It’s such utter BS! I see her posting and want to scream at the screen. I agree that people can absolutely stumble on the thing that works for them and have things suddenly start to flow beautifully, but there’s a way to sell that story with integrity and this aint it. Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed for her. She seemed like a nice girl trying to figure out her groove, but just feels so so scammy, not to mention unoriginal. I hope for everybody’s sake that this particular story gets old quickly.

    I’m amazed that people have the audacity to market this way, but maybe more so that it actually works. As you say, I want somebody who’s actually run a successful business – for more than a month or two – in my corner.

    Thanks for writing. Commenting here feels better than shouting at my computer like a crazy.

    • Yup, I’ve had the same experience. I’m sure many of us here are thinking of the same person/people, but I’m not going to name names since I’ve not worked with her/them personally.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      hahah rant lady, rant! Yeah, it’s funny to see people struggling in business groups and then all of a sudden BOOM they are rocking it. Definitely agree that I only want to work with someone who has shown that they have a track record of rocking not only their business, but other people’s too!

      • This is such a good discussion. This pisses me off because there is no such thing as a cookie cutter solution that will be the be all end all for you. Everyone has to find their own sales process that plays on their strengths

        • anna

          I’ve always thought that being a coach would be so SO hard because even the best aren’t 100% sure what’ll work. They probably have a better idea than the rest of us, but, still… There would probably be a few flop suggestions before finally reaching the right approach for that niche and person.

          So. Even if a coach is great but doesn’t get it right on the first go, people might not think they’re very good?!
          :(

  4. Jessica

    Rebecca!!!! Thank you!! And amen. I’m an entrepreneur first, and accidental business coach who took some life coach training (for the skills) when people started asking for help in their businesses. I have had a window cleaning business with many employees, a product based manufacturing business sold nationally and a now I still own a crossfit gym. Why do I say this— I know about business!!! I see so many coaches who have only ever coached coaches to coach coaches. It’s exhausting to watch and discouraging to see because I feel that it brings down the industry. I had the same experience as you, a former client, a health coach, was unwilling to do the hard work when we worked together, months later suddenly shows up in my inbox as a 6-figure business coach!!! Say what? There are programs out there that teach this false advertising as the best way to get clients. And unfortunately people are still falling for it. So again, amen sister for bringing this topic to light!

    • Cheryl

      OMG YES. There are business coaches who have worked with businesses in many different industries, in some cases even owned businesses in other industries, and then there are coaches who have only ever coached coaches on how to coach more coaches. I’m sure some of them are skilled, but why do this? I know for a FACT that there are other markets that pay just as much (if not more) for a skilled coach that can get results. How? Because I have had clients in those other markets!

      Becca, I’ve seen these types of posts before in groups and things and they always came across as bitter rants – yours didn’t. You very clearly spell out what and why this is a problem, and we all appreciate you for starting this discussion. These comments scare me though. There are far too many horror stories here!!!

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Yep, some of my clients have gone that route and it’s really frustrating for me to watch. I mean, I’m glad they are successful (I guess?) but I definitely know the truth about their so-called amazing businesses, and it’s not really my place to say anything, but I sometimes want to!

      • I have had clients like that too and it’s really frustrating because they believe that’s the only way to make money ;s

  5. Preach it! I have been an un-official business coach for years. That means that I helped my website clients (I’m a webmaster) with much much more than their websites. I helped them in all things business.

    I very quickly started to hear horror stories of them buying this program or that program only to find it was utter BS. They hired this coach, that expert, etc…. and it was much the same. Regurgitated info from “coaches” who had ZERO experience building a real legitimate business – outside of “coaching”.

    How can you possibly be a business coach and not have your own successful business outside of coaching? It blows my mind!

    After people telling me for years that I was the best coach they ever had and I wasn’t even a “coach”… something clicked. That’s why I officially decided to hang out my shingle and start charging for my expertise. I mention this because I totally had to get around the fact that coaches are “sleazy.”

    In fact, I rarely tell people I’m a coach. Not only is it way too vague… but it leaves an icky taste in their mouth more often that not. It’s like you can hear them thinking “Oh, you’re a scammer.”

    I hear ya, Rebecca. More than you know. Coaching is such an unregulated industry and it’s super sad to see all these creative, ambitious women want to share their passions with the world but have so little business skills. So they hire this expert, that coach, this program, etc… and in the end they are confused, frustrated, and skeptical.

    It literally makes me angry. I hate knowing these entrepreneurs are getting awful information that has nothing to do with building real, long-term, viable and profitable businesses that support their lifestyle and their future goals.

    Thank you for posting this. You’ve seriously been a breathe of fresh air. In fact, your website is the ONLY business coach for coaches website that I follow anymore. Kudos to you on your success and authenticity.

    • Graciela

      OMG, exactly my thoughts … “”Regurgitated info from “coaches” who had ZERO experience building a real legitimate business – outside of “coaching”.””
      Who are this people telling others how to “build a business” when they haven’t ever built one themselves, besides coaching… how do they know how it’s actually done? Same for entrepreneurship teacher who are professional speakers but haven’t ever actually created something entrepreneurial… Sounds crazy but it just makes all my alarms go off.

        • Haha… I have seen so many programs with the exact same content especially b school stuff where it’s like really the same exact modules

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Thank you so much for the comment and the kind words Lynn!

    • anna

      I worked with a someone on the practical aspects of setting up a set – design, setting up mailchimp, etc…

      She went off and hired a business coach for $10,000. This woman helped people who wanted to grow their psychotherapy businesses. Funnily enough, this woman/coach was no longer a psychotherapist, but was a coach.

      I thought.
      Huh?

      • lol… totally odd how people magically become business coaches! Oddly enough, my web design company is niched in the health/wellness field and that field also runs rampant with “experts” on this and that. Much like coaching… personal trainers do not have to be certified and if they are… certification programs can be of really poor quality.

  6. Hurrah! Well said. It makes my blood boil when I see the glamour stories, selling people a dream, that actually they don’t want! It gives us business coaches a bad name. Every time people connect with me in person, they are like, you are real! V real,with good day and not so great. Thank you for writing this, Rachel x

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Thank you for being real!

  7. OMFG yes, you’ve basically just written everything that’s been in my head watching these guys. As a health coach, this is what I’m seeing – biz coaches marketing to other biz coaches or turning people into them. Bloody brilliant post.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Thanks Laura!

  8. devorah

    It is also a good sign when someone turns you away and/or refers you elsewhere, like you did recently! I have been tempted, when things are slow, to accept gigs or clients I know would be better off with something/someone else, and it is always the right call to send them onwards even when I feel like I need clients! Also–totally agree that if someone wants you to research your biz idea, that is good, if they want to hand you a “formula for success” you should run!

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Absolutely – turning away clients that you don’t think you are the best person to help or that you know are better served in another way is always the right thing to do… and your clients will thank you for it! I find I make more money in referrals from people like that (like you!) than I would by taking on any client, even if they aren’t a fit. Thanks Devorah!

  9. Vicki

    I imagine it must be a bit uncomfortable naming names but I so appreciate you doing so. I have been wary and hesitant to hire a coach/mentor to help me with some specific stuff in my coaching business because of this very thing. I simply do not trust that most coaches can produce what they claim – and I’m a coach!
    Thanks for putting it out there.

    • Vicky, I don’t want to give a name because there might be some legal issues involved in doing so but I recomend you ask any coach you hire, how many previous businesses they’ve had before this one.

      Look at their social media profiles, do they have a decent following, though a large social media following doesn’t equal a good biz coach, at least with a decent following you know they’ve probably been in biz for a while and might at least know who to get followers. Also look at who gives them testimonials, are these people successful and established or are their sites gone or very new?

      Do you understand their coaching plan and how it will help you?

      Is it very specific to what you want to solve or just kind of unclear?

      • Tatiana, all those comments are from yesterday (check the timestamps) not responses to your comment. Seems like with all the comments Becca’s getting the order of comments is getting out of whack!

        • I now realized this Mallie, thanks, this thread was on fire and I was reading them on my iPad’s small screen and the comments timeline didn’t make sense at least to me but now that I’m the computer I can see the light, I guess I’m used to really big screens, LOL!

          Great thread, I always like Becca’s brave approach to communications.

      • Rebecca

        I usually like to google the people that give testimonies to coaches to find out if they are still in business and how successful they are. And indeed, I have many times found out that these people have completely disappeared from the internet. But how do yo do business in todays world without the internet?? I think this is quite a good indicator for the quality of a business coach. Find out how their testimony givers are doing.

  10. Vicki

    I agree 100% and have recently been unsubscribing from lists that have anything to do with raking in huge sums of money. I’m over it.
    And, I want to say that I have been a coach for about 8 years. I have struggled immensely with the whole choosing a niche thing. I don’t even want to go back and look at my old websites because I have changed directions so many times it’s embarrassing. That being said, I would hate for someone to judge my coaching skills based on my marketing skills. My coaching skills rock and my marketing skills stink. :)
    B2B isn’t my business model but I do occasionally help coaches who are just starting out. I’m a great “what not to do” story! I would never dream of trying to tell someone how to make 6 figures but I sure as hell can tell them what not to do if they don’t want to spend 8 years struggling to find a niche.
    I spent too much time listening to the “experts” instead of myself. Now that I’m actually listening to myself, it’s so much easier to market.
    Rebecca, thanks for the list of ways to screen a business coach!

    • Rebecca Tracey

      You are absolutely right Vicki – someone can be a great coach and have shitty marketing! But the difference is that you’re not marketing to business owners saying you’re a marketing expert!

    • anna

      Rebecca.
      I’m with you. I’m at exactly that point right now!
      :(

      On the one hand, I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time. On the other, I’ve still learned a lot – so when I finally figure out what to do it’ll be good!

  11. Thank you for writing this Rebecca! I’m so new to this world and have just recently started considering getting a coach for my business so started following a number of them on social media/their blogs. I get emails from this one coach whose story is pretty much EXACTLY what you talk about here and I will tell you that her rags to riches story put me off completely. It’s what you said – why should I trust someone who didn’t know what they were doing until a year ago? And, there is no transparency about how she actually became this gazillionaire which, for me, rings alarm bells.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      I’m glad you found this at the beginning of your search! If you want to email me and let me know what you are looking for help with, I can see if I have a referral of someone awesome (and legit) that fits your needs — becca@theuncagedlife.com

  12. Lynne

    Geez, people are doing this? So fucking crazy. Where’s their sense of integrity. This is where good intuition and backbone come into play. And as you say, some good old research to find out who you are giving money to. Thanks for speaking truth and realness!

  13. Krista

    LOVE THIS! I’ve briefly considered hiring a coach, but they’re popping up all over the place and it’s just so hard to find one that’s trustworthy! I mean, I don’t want to rule out all the newbies because we all start somewhere, but a lot of times the price doesn’t reflect the actual experience. I admire that you’re getting the word out for everyone to be careful and take a closer look!

    • Pamela

      I feel you Krista, I’ve been seeing so many people who coach that I have no idea where to even start or who to trust. Also, I feel like there’s a big difference between someone who’s new to business coaching and someone who’s new to business AND coaching!

  14. Lauren

    This correlates perfectly with the trainers in the horse world too. Same shit. There’s a lot of money to be lost to the unscrupulous ones and in the horse biz there’s a very real potential for bodily harm additionally.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Really?? Wow ,that is terrifying! I mean, I guess this can show up in ANY industry, but that just seems dangerous!

  15. Sarah

    Nice post! Yes, this is something I feel strongly about – the idea that there is a blueprint to a successful business. There are some strategies that people can take and tweak for their businesses, yes, but mostly it’s about finding the right approach that works for you. Because at the end of the day we are all unique. I have in the past bought into the whole ‘build your biz to 6 figs nonsense’ but have come to my senses that I need to work out what works for me, and an approach that feels right for my business and lifestyle. Alot of the time there is no reading between the lines to see the real story. That’s not to say some of the people I have worked with (coaches and course creators) are all a load of BS, I have been inspired by and learnt alot from these people but I have also been smart enough to take what I need (what works) for me and discard the rest.

  16. Dee

    This makes me think back to 2010/2011ish when I worked with a coach, it was a VIP day. At the time, I was new, unclear, without any experience, and all I had was an idea about what I wanted to do.

    Her suggestion at the end of the day? Charge £2500 for VIP coaching days!

    £2500!!

    She didn’t do any digging to check I felt I was on the right path and doing what I really wanted to be doing, nothing.

    She came up with a plan for my next steps and of course, I resisted and did nothing because I was still clueless and unclear about what I was doing and for whom and I knew I had no right charging such a high amount of money so quickly.

    Fair enough, it wasn’t really about helping me to figure out what biz to start so my fault really.

    I actually signed up for that VIP day at her marketing for your business type day. I paid to be a VIP and it was hardly that. We were put in another room separate from the people with a ‘standard’ ticket and were given some big coloured ‘gem’ (no, not a real one). The only exciting part was that we got to have cooked lunch and dessert…

    Oh wait, they didn’t even have the dessert I wanted; it had run out. Even the ‘bonus’ of getting to spend time with her during said lunch was a joke. She spent a matter of minutes at each table.

    • Donna

      Hallelujah, Becca! There are soooooo many of these coaches and it’s climbing. I can’t believe the audacity!!!! Thanks for bringing it up. XO

    • Graciela

      That’s just horrible, thank you for sharing… please tell us who is it, people need the heads-up…

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Wow! I’m so sorry to hear that. And it drives me crazy when coaches just tell you to charge a crapload of money without first making sure that makes sense for your business and your niche – so so irresponsible!

  17. Shasha

    And THAT is why I’m coming to Catalyze! Xx

  18. Courtney

    What do you do if you decided to work with a coach because they “gotcha” by all of the marketing and enticing, or even maybe out of desperation, or I finally need to commit to this business and make it work. I have been working with my coach for two weeks and feel like all I see is her marketing on how to make 6 figures. One of the first questions she asked me was how much I want to make a month. . . Trying to decide if I should cancel our contract and get my money back, or I should keep going and see what I get out of the next 3 1/2 months. . .

    • Rebecca

      Trust your intuition! I am in the process of creating the Top 20 questions to ask before you hire your next coach, because of this. I have seen some massively shady things in an unregulated coaching industry and just posted about this recently. I’d say if you are already feeling uncomfortable after 2 weeks of coaching, then stand in your power and ask for your money back or stop your credit card. You deserve stellar coaching! XO

      • I HATE THESE KINDS OF SLIM BAG COACHES!!

        I’m trying to show people how to have fun in sales and these ‘coaches’ put the screws to people, with high pressure tactics that are so low – like borrow the money, ask your family for money, cash in your retirement savings, spend $2,000 a month when you bill $50 an hour as a VA……. giving people panic attacks, sobbing fits, no out clauses in 14 month contract…….. on and on and on. AND not helping more than 10% of their clients get to 6 figures to boot!!

        I am a business growth expert aka coach (not certified) with an MBA in marketing, 35 years of sales and marketing experience in many startups in 3 countries including 10 of my own, 2 quite successful B2B & B2C including getting to 20 employees and 7-figures. I think I have street cred and I”m a nice person to boot.

        I have NEVER in 35 years and millions of dollars sold of ‘stuff’ from IBM mainframe computers to blank books to bar code systems to 25+ countries EVER had to resort to high pressure sales tactics!

        Three thumbs up for the brave ones who revealed names! It must be done so that others are warned.

        I’ve written blog posts about ethics in selling and having a bully as a coach – that’s abuse and no one needs that and especially not if they’re paying for supposedly coaching.

      • Love this post and I await your article. My stomach doesn’t churn from the money part discussed here, even though I have my doubts about the genuineness of it all. And the B2B community does feel insular at times. I’m sure there are some great coaches in the field that have a lot to offer. It is tricky, however, to discern who is trustworthy and has something of value from who does not. I love your suggestion, Becca, on asking to talk to references as well as asking for track records and doing research.

        I’ve been having my eye out for a coach and have been hesitant, partly because I’ve been trying to become clear in exactly what I’m needing from one. But I’ve also been wary without knowing why, and I think this post has highlighted a concern I didn’t even know I had. Thanks Becca and everyone here who commented.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Eep, I am sorry to hear that! I’d definitely see if you can back out if you’re not comfortable. If the coaching so far is helping and she can give you a clear plan of action for your work together that feels good, then maybe stick with it, but if not, get out now!

    • Rosie

      Hi I’m with Becca on this GET YOUR MONEY BACK!! NOW!! love to you

    • Trust your gut feeling. The times I have not trusted my gut feeling I have lived to regret it. Just because you get out of a coaching agreement that doesn’t feel right for you doesn’t mean that you’re not committed to your biz or its success quite the opposite, spending your resources wisely it’s the best way to be committed. Don’t let this coach manipulate you into staying, if it doesn’t feel right for you.

  19. dis so good!! it’s easy to feel disillusioned with the coaching industry in general and you laid it all out perfectly.

    i. can’t. eeeeeven.

    haha :) great post!!

  20. Rebecca

    LOVE this article!! Right on target with what many people are feeling. I posted the below on my personal profile page last week and within an hour I had over 54 comments!
    Attention Women Entrepreneurs: TRUTHBOMB! If you see ANY posts or promotions by coaches saying how they doubled their “monthly income” or learn how to make six figures or any other money claims. I URGE you to ask them for a track record. I am so sick and tired of seeing women not being authentic. No one can mentor you on how to achieve CONSISTENT high level income unless they have sustained it for over a year! ASK, because very few of these women claiming to make all of this money have done it CONSISTENTLY and even less have the amount they claim to make in 1 month in a bank account. I do not care if you make $50k months, do you have $50k in a banking account?! Otherwise that is very false advertising and NOT someone I would hire as a coach! If you are needing guidance on who to hire PM me and I will be happy to speak with you

  21. Graciela

    Sometimes there just isn’t much beyond the silky shiny lifestyle marketing… I like traveling + good food + freedom like anyone else, but there has to be enough content and substance behind the whole glamorous front so people can actually create that for themselves doing what they love.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Exactly Graciela! The lifestyle is alluring, but if you can’t tell me how we’re gonna get there in a way that works for me, then no thanks!

      • yasmine

        This is hilarious… and the sad part is people fall for it….

  22. Lisa Gordon

    And one of the downsides of having so many coaches like this out there is the shift in expectations that it creates in consumers. Sometimes I read that stuff and feel myself expecting someone to help me make six figures in six days. I had to take a step back…. (or forward) and come back to reality.

  23. Ah those mythical 6 figure coaches, I wonder if they make their money in Lira where about 3 million of them were needed to by a 3 course meal for two people. I mostly agree with what you’re saying, I’m astounded by the coaches that lie, clients that lie to other women about their experience and the whole “put my photo on everything and tell them how wonderful my life is” brigade.
    There are a lot of people with more money than sense out there…

  24. Thanks, Becca. My husband has been getting tired of being the only outlet I’ve had to complain about this.

    And, for those who don’t know, you can find more of these types of call-outs (if you weed through the simply whiny/bitter posts) on the Get Off My Internets forum about “lifestyle bloggers.”

    • Taylor

      My thoughts exactly when I found this post. LMAO. My mom and husband are tired of me ranting about these scams. They have no idea what I’m talking about either.

  25. This is a great post! I’m not a business coach, or a life coach I’m a marketing service provider and consultant. Many of my clients have wasted time with coaches who don’t know a THING and I feel like I battle the bad advice! It breaks my heart. I would love to work with a life/business coach for my own business but have been absolutely turned off of it. I think the industry is going to SHIFT BIG TIME we SEE what these hype types are doing. Thanks Becca!

  26. Kim

    And this is what the new “paradigm” of coaching has turned into. I think there are usually some truths (have worked with coaches who are high priced and do make tons of money) in their claims but I also believe that is a bit like winning the lottery. Your chances of being that successful that fast and sustaining it is no likely. I think we all deserve what we want but if you aren’t completely aligned to your business and client then it’s going to take longer. AND the most important part of the whole coaching equation is YOU. They can advise all day but if you don’t do the work, be authentic, show up, be visible, and take care of you then the chances of it coming together are slim. I think we need to focus on our gifts and taking the time it needs to take each of us to achieve our dreams. I know I’m not going anywhere and have NOT been successful yet but I also know my work is powerful and needed so I’m in it for life. Being in a sisterhood of lifting each other up is what really matters, not comparing, belittling, or judging but encouraging, mentoring, and supporting instead.

  27. Man oh man. I swear I ranted about this on periscope for an entire week. I never understand how the liars don’t think anyone will notice the lies. I think that is what annoys me the most. If one week in one group you’re struggling, then next week in another group you have a thriving business…are we all stupid?

  28. OMG this made me sick to my stomach to ready, Ricki! UGH!

  29. OMG more than anything, this post makes me sad. I know you and I have gone round and round over this, Becca, but seeing it all in print and reading the comments here makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

    I do some consulting for new-ish coaches, and time after time in their initial call with me they tell me they want to make 6-figures within their first year. Some say in their first 6 months. (I had one recently that said she wants to make 250k in her first year). No website, no audience, nothing. The conversation is a little painful when I tell them that’s the exception (I don’t know ANY life or health coach that just does that, that’s made 6-figures in their first year). They see these promises and think it’s easy and that everyone is doing it. YOU GUYS, THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT ARE MAKING 6-FIGURES IN THEIR FIRST YEAR ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE TEACHING THIS “MAGIC FORMULA”. And honestly, I have some compassion for these business coaches because this type of cannibalism of an industry can’t last. It’s just not sustainable.

    “As a business coach who actually grew a business that has been more and more profitable every year, with no bouts of hitting rock bottom and no bouts of insane leaps in income, just slow and steady building” YAAAASSSSS! I made 10k my first year of coaching, 40k my second, and it’s steadily increased since then. Like a good, healthy, sustainable business should.

    • Rosie

      Thanks Andrea. Slow and steady wins the race! xx

  30. Oh my! I’ve seen her ads all over the place about how she banked $500k in the first 3 months of business or something. Jeez – I knew folks were exaggerating – but outright lying? Yikes! To be honest, anytime I see an FB ad at all it makes me wonder how well that business is really doing.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Aw, no way, FB ads are awesome and a great way to reach more people! BUT if they are ads saying “I am amazing at marketing and i make so much money and here’s how you can too” and then you find out that person is a lying sack of shit… well that’s not so good ;)

  31. Thank fuck someone else is ranting about this too. I swear I have gotten myself blacklisted from so many places by being the voice of truth.

    I’m not a coach but I am a teacher of how to build and launch passive income ecourses & academies – because that is my actual real background (plus I did teacher training).

    This is happening in the ‘build your ecourse’ world too. Two students even copied my course to sell to their unsuspecting clients – yet neither have any experience in teaching how to teach (which is an advanced skill).

    It’s quite frightening to see how some newbies with zero background in business can suddenly start earning mega bucks by scamming others into thinking that they’re an expert in this stuff.

    I’ve noticed that even the hosts of certain telesummits and conferences are now only seeking people with BIG followings and launches – instead of seeking out folks with actual expertise to share.

    It’s become a sad and empty world as an online entrepreneur these days – I can’t bear to be in the B School group much anymore because it’s wall to wall with this shit.

    • Oh and I have a genuine rags to riches story – I was a new age traveller for years living in tipis, caravans and converted buses (I have the photographic evidence) – and was even homeless 3 times.

      Yet I have actually seen people copy my own story in order to garner sympathy and make sales. Some of these people came from the MLM world and I notice that one of them has even got her own GOMI* thread which shows up her lies as lies -with video evidence.

      *GOMI = Get Off My Internets (a forum where scammers get called out).

      • Yesss Star, I also mentioned GOMI above and am thinking of the same person you are….

      • hahah totally! I had someone – whom I’d never heard of – pester me for several days to please be part of their telesummit. I finally said yes – then they sent all of these parameters (of which I met NONE). I just though “fuck off”. Like how dare you come to a professional like me, pester me for days, then when I say yes – give me all these hoops. It’s rude and scammy.

    • Ketrena

      Oh Star! I have mad respect for you and your fearless truth speaking! I’ve followed you for a while now and I can totally relate to your story of being convinced you had to be something other. I’m glad you smoothed out your whiskers and put your cat ears back on.

      This whole online biz explosion of “coaches” coaching “coaches” to make 6 figures has got my nickers in a twist twist too. What happened to finding your unique something and bringing that into the world?

      As icky as all that is its far more icky when you seek help from a coach and they present their package pricing to you and you can’t afford their services and by can’t afford I mean their pricing is elite. I take no issues with that a coach sets their fees to as long as they can back up that value. What I do have issues with is when they make you feel like a looser because you genuinely can’t afford them. Then they persist in trying to convince you to buy when really they should be thanking you for your interest and referring to on to someone they know.

  32. Rosie

    I got to this blog post because someone posted it in a business FB group I’m in. While I am struggling to get off the ground with my web design and VA services, I won’t hire a business coach who has never built a business outside of coaching! I hate how meta things are getting. It really is a type of pyramid scheme.

    • Ketrena

      Totally a pyramid scheme!

    • Graciela

      Exactly!

  33. Rebecca Tracey

    I’m hesitant about encouraging name-naming, because there are always 2 sides to every story and sometimes there are misunderstandings that arise that are better worked out between you and your coach… And i understand wanting to know. I’m going to ask that we keep names out of this comment thread. Thank you!

  34. Hannah

    Yep. This. So much. It happens with pure life coaching too, and it gives coaching in general a bad name. Whatever the niche, the whole point of coaching is to help people, not to squeeze them into ill-fitting boxes for the sake of making a quick buck. It seems like there is a constant stream of pissing contests (pun intended) in some coaching circles around pricing and income. I’m all for people making money, especially for a valuable service well done, but the underlying intention and energy around a lot of those conversations feels gross and way more about ego than integrity.

  35. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for posting what I’ve been thinking and ranting about for many months now!! I have hired several business coaches and they guarantee these numbers and these overnight success stories and it seems all flashy and nice at first until you throw away thousands and are in debt and realize that it did little to NOTHING for you. Then to make it worse, when they’re constantly flaunting it, it makes you sad (and mad) because you’re like “wait…so what am I doing so wrong that doesn’t allow me to have that life though?” **downward spiral thinking** It’s so unhealthy!! We should be focused on our clients amazing results, mindset shifts, etc — and the lies and the overnight money success stories need to stop!! :)

    • Rebecca Tracey

      I’m so sorry you have had that experience Lauren!

  36. Brittany

    OMG , I was JUST thinking this like last week. Okay I don’t want to name names BUT a “coach” I worked with in July of 2014 suddenly in 6 months did 500k in sales. I was her ONLY client in july. I actually fired her because I felt like she couldn’t help me …….now she’s turned into this huuuuuuge sensation, was flat broke, now lives the life travel; 5* hotels, bla bla bla ….. and suddenly she’s some business expert ? WTF !
    I specifically remember the moment I decided not to work with her, its because she said in our session “well, I just don’t know what to say to you…..” UM then WHY am I paying you ???
    Anyways, this is a huge debate, I’m irritated by all these fake business coaches too. I ran an 80k window cleaning business when I was 19 …. I don’t claim to be a business coach but I can say that I DO have some strategy and techniques up my sleeve

    • Graciela

      Amazing… that has scam written all over it…

  37. Sonja

    Yaas! Persiscope is the new “Monetize Market”. I just want to help people start their salons or clothing boutiques without going broke or insane. I’ve done both for the last 20 years. I’ve given advice that people have said totally helped them for free. Now if like to make an income from it as well. And the whole Niche Hong. Yes be specific, but have any of you on here included some of your personal knowledge / life into your business? If so how’s that been working?

    • Rosie

      Yes I can’t help but include my personal knowledge/life into my business. I’m 66 I’ve had a lot of it. It’s a big part of what makes me the coach I am!

    • Cynthia

      I thought I was the only one that noticed periscope is the new money maker for coaches

  38. Excellent post, thanks for sharing and kicking off such a valuable discussion. Like any big investment, you should always do your due diligence and ask the tough questions about the track record of any business coach you are considering. They should be completely transparent and give you case studies and a detailed strategy recommendation for your business, as you have rightly said. Make sure you choose to invest for strategy, guidance and support and not out of desperation or in seeking a “magic bullet”, we all now how those decisions can go.
    One strategy rarely works in isolation so ensure your coach is not just a “one-trick pony” teaching one strategy for success, because a more holistic approach is required to grow a sustainable and profitable business. Marketing is absolutely necessary, but is useless if your positioning is all wrong or your heart isn’t behind your offer and your pricing is all wrong.
    Growing a coaching or consulting business online is hard work and stakes can be high, and people can make mistakes as they find their way with their message to market, but taking the steps recommended here is a great start to making sure you are making an investment rather than a costly error.

  39. Quiana

    I am so happy to run across this blog. I am a business and brand strategist myself and been in business since I was 19. I just launched like three months ago and I also have ran into so many coaches that pronounce their money scheme, how much they made in the month, year, etc…and sometimes it can be discouraging but I have been telling myself that I must stay TRUE TO ME and I want to provide value for my clients and my goal is to make my clients experience freedom and fulfillment. I walk with my clients from A to Z concerning business, connecting them to resources and people as necessary, while ensuring they are fully supported to do what it needs to be done. I am definitely not in the game for pronouncing how much money to get you because I rather let my clients do the raving,but once you sign up for something on Facebook like coaching programs or like other folks pages, Facebook will show you more and more other people that are coaching and it is ridiculous and eye-opening to see what is really going on in this industry. You are right…they are fluffy….I call it fluffy unicorns that have not weight and is all fantasy because as long as I have been in business, it has been a slow and steady progress with authentic connections and resources. Anything fast should be discerned anyway. But you definitely spoke my heart on this and it just reminds me to stay encouraged and stay being authentic to my self and tell the truth. People want authentic stories and real people and real expectations.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Keep doing what you’re doing and stay authentic and people will notice :)

  40. Awesome post! I actually have a similar post coming out soon like this as it is SUCH an important topic. When I see those stories the biggest thing I look for is sustainability. It can be easy to get lucky, but sustainability is key. As well, I’ve been coaching coaches for almost four years now and it hurts my heart to think that people are giving false hope to coaches out there. Can you make 6 figures in your first year? Of course! Will you? Statistically, probably not!!! There are too many variables to be considered that can determine your income and if you are new to business with little resources, there is so much to learn! It’s such a falsehood. As a coach as well, until we start working with someone we don’t really know how much inner work will be necessary nor are we in charge of how long it takes someone to break through no matter how trained we are. We each have our own journey.

    Great post on an important topic. Thanks for sharing!!

  41. Thank you! I’ve just listened to a teleseminar by a well known coach, who spruiks the ‘I run a six figure company and only work a few hours a week” line. I actually like her, though her approach is not one that’s right with me. In the teleseminar she talked of being in hospital recently and stressing about money because she’s the breadwinner in the family and it was going to all come crashing down if her friends hadn’t bailed her out. I thought “with this six figure income – you’d think you’d have a better contingency plan?” (and I say that as someone who has run a small business for 25 years and had a health crisis a couple of years ago – and a contingency that allowed me to take up to a year off without sweating).

    I’m primarily a naturopath and health coach, but have a niche coaching health professionals. They tend to come to me disillusioned after they’ve done the rounds of coaches who promise them the dollars. I rarely talk about money, rather about the lifestyle that will support them best to be the kind of health professional they want to be. 20 years ago, the health professionals who sought my help did so because they wanted to be a better practitioner, they wanted to learn more about their art and improve their ability to help others. The focus now is predominantly “how can I get rich quick?’ I focus on authenticity and integrity to help them create the kind of practice/business they want for a long term career, and leave the quick fix promises to the coaching ‘gurus’ who work in the real of ‘hungry ghosts’.

    I don’t want a tribe of hundreds of high profile clients or thousands of hangers on – I want to work with those who are prepared to do the work through improving themselves and what they offer, rather than those after a cookie-cutter answer. My tribe might be smaller but the ones that show up are worth the wait. So in a way I thank all those bulls*t artist coaches, they sift the wheat from the chaff and in their own sweet way, help the genuine clients find their way to type of coach they really need.

    • Lisa

      Amen! *snap snap*

  42. Shay

    Just here to join the amen choir. This is my first full year in business and it’s absolutely crazy how many coaches are getting in it to get rich. That’s the exactly wrong why.

    It’s so bad now that the sales landing pages automatically make me click away. No more emails, no more promises. I’ve been way more focused and productive after getting rid of the junk.

  43. Yes yes YES!!! Like many in my circle, I assume, I am served these ridiculous “be a six-figure” coach ads all the time. Girls dressed up in fancy clothes with 0 engagement on their socials and just a load of paid for followers.

    It’s unfortunate that it gives this belief that people starting out can and should expect such immediate financial gains. I fear it invites people who don’t see five or six figures in their first year to quit before they even start.

    It’s a known fact that more often than not- it takes two years for a company to even be profitable, let alone net six figures. It’s just misleading nonsense.

    I have wanted to write about this for a long time and often talk about this issue with my students- so thank you!!!

  44. Laura

    BECCA!!!!!!!! YOU WIN!!!!!!!!! I’ve had so many gag-reflexes at these “$10K in 10 minutes” pitches, and then want to literally punch myself when I get told that I just have the right “ABUNDANCE” mindset. Oh, like I’m not in a cult? No thanks… steady beats peak & crash any day. Thank you for writing this!

  45. Rosie

    Becca thank you. I was just about to unsubscribe cos I need to down size my inbox but honey. you’re staying! I have also read through all the comments and have seen named so much that I have been mulling over. I am going up a notch from a little bit of accountability coaching to a balanced life and accountability and am wanting to change my clients too. So I found a coach who is helping me with my niche and my words etc. So in theory she is a teaching coaches to coach but this woman is genuine and has been coaching for 10 years so she deserves some success now.

    • Check out UnrollMe.com to declutter your inbox without having to unsubscribe! It puts all your subscriptions into a daily digest that you can peruse at your leisure.

  46. Sera

    This has put extreme fire back in my soul!

    I could say soo much more, but most has been covered and I am glad there are others who find this type of practise unacceptable. I am passionate about my coaching work and I do understand that some people are just trying to live & get business going, and may think telling a few untruthful facts will not hurt , but it will…It will do damage to others, financially & emotionally due to the fact they have no idea how to coach correctly, or don’t really give a hoot about the wellbeing of others..
    Thank you for this article x

  47. Sara

    The saddest part about all of this – from copying the 10k in 10 Days frenzy neo-pyramid scheme desperation to literally copying other people’s messages and content – is the fact that we all have some unique gift to give the world.

    If we allow ourselves to embrace that, align with it, and be authentic, we will have steady growth because it is aligned. Some may be lucky to see growth go quicker than others, but there will be growth of the most broadly fulfilling kind for both client and coach.

    Instead, people are now either being fed by 1) a feeling that “Oh! I am not making x amount I must be doing it wrong!” – the manipulative abuse of the term “Playing it small” is common in these neo-pyramid schemes and many women are believing that message; or 2) They have paid 10k plus to learn how to ask others for 10k plus and are in such debt it makes them desperate.

    If they had just embraced their authentic gifts, they would have so much more of a belief in themselves and the chance for true, sustainable success (which may take time) aligned with your core vision and beliefs is so much higher.

  48. Sudha

    It’s been few months since I have been following some groups and some coach websites. Initially I find it interesting. Now, I am really bored…Glad I came across your website rebecca. Your posts are BS proof.

    I love being part of groups to connect with people and share knowledge and “The Desire Map” group has helped me a lot for soul to soul connection. But, many people or lets say life coach added me in facebook through that group and when I accept that they instantly add me to their group with not much authentic posts. Its freaking annoying. Then, i saw this post of yours. I am deleting and unsubscribing some people right away ;)

    But, I wonder, how they get so many good testimonials by clients. It is in website. Even, about the one who you mentioned in your earlier blog post that she copied it. Her website is still running too. Its chaotic.

    But, I think, when somebody is really truly being honest and flaunting their honesty and authenticity then we can really connect with them or feel good. I love the posts of Heyshenee too.

    • Sara

      “But, I wonder, how they get so many good testimonials by clients”

      Firstly, people like the idea of their names and websites in the testimonial section. Nothing wrong with that. I actually WANT to promote my clients. I adore them, I love working with them, and I take them on because I believed in them from the beginning (I have a policy to send people to other coaches who I think could help them better if we are not aligned.)

      Secondly, AFFILIATE MARKETING. This is HUGE. Marie Forleo grows her business partially on the affiliates who get 50% of her program cost. Plus she has an army of lawyers out there to squish the dissidents. Let me be clear, I think Marie is a wonderful, inspiring cheerleader. I like her on many levels. But in the end, I got the most from the B-school community and her videos. Her program itself? Meh. A bit of a brain dump, leads to a lot of overwhelm and many people blame themselves for not “finishing” when I think it is time she cleans it up and focusses. But 50% of the investment for putting her link on my site is even tempting for me. Until I realise I won’t be able to say honestly what I think of the program – why it is worth investing in (community, networking, inspiration, perhaps one or two things form the exercises) and what is not (TMI, ADHD brain dump in the material).

      Lastly, people like Gina de Vee use an entire neo-pyramid system in her programs that rewards the big investment clients by giving them the most promotion and attention.

      This is a structural psychological tactic – I need to show my devotion to get attention and feel worthy. It works very well for solopreneurs who are already questioning themselves and insecure because they are already buying into the idea that they are not enough, not making enough, need to trade in their values for the divine luxury lifestyle to feel valuable.

      Lovely people – YOU ARE ENOUGH. You DO need to put in the work. No, it does not have to be 24/7. But it does need to be consistent to who you are, to your purpose and gifts, to your values, to your vision, to your style while pushing your learning curve and opening you up to becoming more awesome.

      And you have to be willing to let it grow.

      You do not give birth to a child ready to go university. You give birth to a child and you nurture that child to the point where you both learn and grow.

      xxx

      • Rebecca Tracey

        You do not give birth to a child ready to go university. You give birth to a child and you nurture that child to the point where you both learn and grow. — YES!

      • Rebecca

        Beautifully said Sara :)

        • Sara

          Thanks!

      • Cynthia

        Sara you nailed it on the head with your post.

        Also, the “rag to riches to story” ” Look at me luxurious lifestyle” can properly be traced to a few coaches and that is what everyone has been modeling. I believe is the same thing as the “SEO, Internet marketing, Get rich quick” just in a different spin.

        The problem is many people do not want to think for themselves and do not understand someone else’s formula cannot just readily “copy and paste” fit into your business and lifestyle. You have to tweak, add, test it in order for you to be successful, and that is where something called ” BEING THE HARDEST WORKING PERSON YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN COMES IN.

        That part cannot be skipped, you have to work your ass off and it takes time. NOT learning, NOT reading, NOT wasting time in FB groups. Actually taking actions, implementing and executing and checking this off. But guess what nobody wants to hear that, that is why they fall for these scams.

  49. Trenia

    Such a great topic, Becca. No offense to anyone here, but I see a lot of business, coaches even in this comments thread, perhaps doing some of the same things you spoke about, but are quick to point out “not me, I don’t do that”.

    I think the coaches who get hit the hardest by these pyramid coaching schemes and big promises are those of us who aren’t B2B coaches in any way, shape, form or fashion. I have yet to see a true life coach hit it big like a Marie Forleo. There are some who are doing pretty well, and maybe even high 6-figures, but I haven’t seen any 7-figure earners. Doesn’t mean they aren’t out there, I just don’t know any of them. It’s really sad when I hear stories from lifestyle turned business coaches who talk about how they struggled, but when they became a B2B coach their business took off.

    As a love and relationship coach, it took me 10 years to tweak my ideas, learn about business, network and learn how to put myself out there and what tools to use, all while having a full-time job. I had to do all of that before I was able to go full-time in my business. I don’t think it needs to take nearly as long, as I had a lot of detours, but even with all of my experience, I’m not trying to teach somebody else how to run a business.

    • Kelly

      Tina I’ve seen a few names in these comments that do exhibit this type of behavior as well. Quite blatantly in fact. I’m not sure if they are trying to defuse the finger pointing at themselves, or if they don’t truly understand how it is that they come off in their marketing. Maybe they are truly living that lifestyle they are selling, but are they truly helping at least 80% of their clients to achieve it too? And then my next thought is that it would really suck if those few really ARE the ones who are being honest and we’re doubting them because of the plethora of liars out there. This whole situation is lose-lose on all fronts.

      • Sara

        “Maybe they are truly living that lifestyle they are selling, but are they truly helping at least 80% of their clients to achieve it too? ”

        There is the crux of it all indeed.

        I do not need to hear about your luxury lifestyle. If anything that tells me you are out for my money so you can lead that lifestyle. That you may even be addicted to it.

        What I do need to hear are true stories about the unique successes of your clients. The goals you both set for them and where they are in achieving them.

        • Graciela

          Exactly… don’t make it about you and how you GET TO LIVE… make it about what your clients have accomplished with your help. The thing is if there’s not much to say there, all you can do if show off YOUR silky lifestyle and hope to blind people with it.

      • Sara

        True stories = without affiliate links behind them.

  50. Iris

    Thank you for putting your finger on something that I”d been feeling uncomfortable about. Ever since I started joining business groups on Facebook – I’m an artist – I’ve been getting TONS of ‘How I made x money in y months” ads, and they always feel icky. Kind of like people telling you how all your problems will be solved if you just play the lottery, because that’s how easy it is! Lucky breaks exist, but most of business is just hard work, showing up and constant refining

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Absolutely Iris! It must be interesting to see this as an artist and not a primarily online business… I feel like 6 figures isn’t a typical goal as an artist!

  51. Megan

    I find it so terribly ironic that all the coaches that do aspirational marketing (this icky feeling stuff) are all now posting in their Facebook groups about how we are supposed to be nice to coaches and to quit being mean. That those of us that don’t like the “truth” have scarcity thinking and are just jealous of their success.

    Oh, ladies. I so, so beg to differ.

    I’ve been a business consultant and coach for 15 years. I’ve worked with everyone from etsy sellers to multi-million dollar business owners. I’ve been in the trenches and I know the deep responsibility that we owe our clients…and our industry.

    The coaching industry has become a MLM scheme, and the only way it’s going to stop is if people stop buying into it. But every day, there are new women joining Facebook groups and seeing this stuff for the first time…and they believe it. Hook, line, and sinker. But there is no way to let others know! If you write a bad review, the coach turns the review into a “you didn’t do the hard work! It’s your fault”…It’s a never ending cycle of poo, if you ask me.

    I suppose that really what we all need to do is to not be so f-ing desperate and gullible. It takes hard work to make money in business…and anyone that tells you differently has something to sell you.

    Megan

    • Rebecca Tracey

      LOL nailed it – we should all be nice and stop putting other women down and blah blah… but it only seems to be the ones who are guilty of this who are saying those things. And YES to blaming the client for not getting results… the coach needs to take some responsibility.

  52. Naomi

    I didn’t know about Wayback Machine and I told my boyfriend about it…..he’s so excited and already using it for an hour going back in time checking out very first sites from years back. It’s amazing to see Marie Forleo’s history of progress! Fun website! Thanks for sharing

    • Rebecca Tracey

      It’s awesome isn;t it! Gives us a real perspective on the evolution of a business (and helps us not feel like we have to be perfect right off the bat!)

  53. Valerie

    Thanks for this Rebecca

    It can be so disheartening to hear this as so indisputable that our worst suspicions are real sometimes. I’ve had this conversation with friends who ask -can people really make a living as a coach? I tell them yes. Many of them don’t understand. The ones not in the helping biz anyway. There there are the charlatans that pray people and call themselves coaches. These people damage the name of coaches and it’s so unfortunate, but there are people like this in every industry. People focused on the $$ first. Dishonest people.

    It feels so slimy when you suspect it in promotions.

    Don’t focus on the money! As a client or a coach. It’s a bad place to start and sends you in all kinds of wrong directions.

    Love your tips for people to protect themselves. Well said. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Thanks so much for the comment Valerie!

  54. kristen

    So I finally got to read this post and see what all the hub bub was about. Becca, I’m with you on this. Its funny because I have been noticing recently a lot of life coaches all the sudden becoming business coaches. I’ve been wondering why they are all jumping ship! and how they are all biz experts now? I’m a life coach and my business is growing, SLOWLY, and thats okay. I didnt get into coaching to make 6 figures, I wouldnt mind if it happened some day! but not if I have to lose my integrity to do it. Plus I want to do work that fills my soul not keep hustling just to feel unfullfilled. I mean I get folks need to make money and probably want to get out of their current soul sucking jobs sooner but there has to be a better way, a more authentic way?

    • Rebecca Tracey

      There absolutely is a better way to do business, and it sounds like you’re right on track! And not to mention, there are way better ways to make good money than coaching! If people just want to get rich, coaching isn’t the best industry! lol

  55. Sad but soooooooo true. I don’t even understand how someone who’s never had a successful business prior to their “successful biz coaching” can dare call themselves a business coach, let alone coach or advise anyone. Having a corporate position, or even having an MBA it’s not the same thing as being in the trenches and having your own biz.

    I few months ago one of these self proclaimed inexperienced biz coaches who “studied” with one this crazy priced, millionaire coaches came to me for branding and webdesign. It was really scary to see she had no clue what she was doing, where to start or what to do next nor what her biz priorities should be at the stage her biz was in at that time. I was in shock she would laugh about it. It got to such a point that I said to her I wasn’t able to work like this and that I thought she shouldn’t be coaching anyone. The scariest thing is that she’s now claiming to be so successful and she hosting all these free biz events in Miami and a decent amount of people are actually following her and going to her events!

    OMG! It’s like the blind leading the blind! No wonder so many people are crashing!

    Some people do like to believe in fairy tales and magic bullets and after 9 different businesses starting biz #10 all I can say there’s no such thing as a magic overnight success in an honest ethical biz!

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Amen!

    • no.. should I delete it from here – and move to the top of the thread? Not sure how I goofed on that one – sorry. I thought I’d left it in the main bottom comment field…ooops!

  56. This is an outstanding read.
    It’s very true and following your simple steps of google and wayback machine can identify most frauds. Thanks for this.

  57. This is one of the best posts I’ve read in some time. I keep coming back here because “you tell it like it is”. For anyone that wants to make that kind of money, well more power to you, but I always feel a bit nauseous when I see those claims. Like really?

    Here I am being a Boundary Strategist and frankly, I just want to live comfortably providing for my boys doing what I love, helping people. Money is awesome and certainly makes things easier in many areas, but I am here to be off service not to get rich. It’s one of the big reasons hiring a business coach because it just seems more important to them about how much they can make rather than being of real value and service.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Thanks for the kind words Petra! And I have ZERO problem with wanting to make good money in business, but when coaches are selling false marketing tactics to get themselves there, and giving their clients bullshit advice and having them believe they too can just do a few simple steps to get there, it becomes a problem.

  58. Laura

    THANK YOU!! I’m glad someone finally said pyramid scheme because that is all I think when I see these rags to six-figure riches stories. It’s sad that people feel the need to resort to fake stories of failure in order to lure people in. I’d rather they just said, “I’ve been doing it like this for years, and it works” as it’s far more reassuring.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      You are welcome, and thank YOU for reading!

  59. Lucy

    Just catching up on all the comments because this post has blown up my FB feed today. It feels so good to know I’m not the only one that has thought there was something too good to be true with this trend of ‘6 figures by lunch time or sooner’ messaging from coaches.

    Thanks for always being real Becca and you gorgeous gang! At least we can be a contrast to the cookie cutter model that machine is spitting out.

    Back to the hustle! xx

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Thanks Lucy! I am ALL FOR people making good money, but sustainable income takes time in business!

  60. Jamie

    Fabulous + honest advice in this post. I especially appreciate the recommendation to “ask to talk with their past clients in the same industry as you.” I hadn’t thought of that, but it definitely makes sense!

  61. Michele

    Yes! I encouraged my mom to invest with this business coach who has a good reputation with well-known people in the online space. But the coach ended up just giving her little bits of advice, like make sure her newsletter is reponsive etc, but didn’t really help her organize anything or further her business at all. It wasn’t a huge sum of money but I still feel bad about that.

    • Rebecca Tracey

      Aw poor mom! Hopefully she’s found the help she needs now!

  62. Hi Morgan,

    Just wanted to weigh in here! I was on Giina’s radio show during my period of 54 “no’s” in a row which is a time I’m really honest about. I have not and would not ever lie about income or make false claims. That wasn’t a fun time so I reached out and got the support I needed. That was the same time I was working with Rebecca Mathias and she helped me shift so much in my biz! Anyway! Just wanted to give you the whole scoop!

  63. Hi Morgan,

    Just wanted to weigh in here! I was on Gina’s radio show during my period of 54 “no’s” in a row which is a time I’m really honest about. I have not and would not ever lie about income or make false claims. That wasn’t a fun time and I was struggling, so I reached out and got the support I needed. That was the same time I was working with Rebecca Mathias, and she helped me shift so much in my biz as well! Anyway! Just wanted to give you the whole scoop!

  64. Saira

    Oh my days! Finally, ladies who can see through all the smoke and mirrors! I too have spoken with “coaches” who were nowhere near being coaches at first and all of a sudden became expert coaches. I even coached (for free!!!) a woman who had no idea which direction she wanted to go in yet wanted to become a coach, knew she wanted to coach students or provide life coaching to employed staff members and then all of a sudden once day, out of the blue she had “found her niche” and hey presto…….it was exactly the group of people I was coaching and her tagline….was exactly mine just using a few different words! I was gob-smacked at the audacity but as a coach had to remain professional and not say anything to put her off her decision. Needless to say I didn’t hear from her much or at all after that!

    Couple of years ago, another female coach promised to help uncover the “challenge area” in my business and give me 3 points to work on….oh she did that easily…it was exactly the challenge area I had identified and related to her and as for the 3 points to work on….exactly what I had said I wanted to get started on – so she told nothing I did not already know PLUS kept pushing me to part with over $400 for a deposit to her “fantastic” VIP group by using the old line guilt trip line “oh but wouldn’t you want to invest in your future and business success”… Why yes of course I would but not with someone I’m giving the answers to, I might as well pay myself for that…and I did! :D

    I’ve come across those who are fabulously rich and make others rich too…always rings alarm bells for me and at the moment it seems everyone is on the coaching bandwagon making the same videos all from scenic locations about how to become rich. I remember when coaching was a serious profession not the new “flavour of the year”.

    I don’t even participate much now in coaches groups. I might read a few articles here and there but 99.99% of groups and posts I’ve backed out of or ignore as it’s all gimicks and tricks by amateurs trying to make a quick buck when in reality no business is a quick buck unless you’ve been doing a bit of landscaping in the back garden and struck oil.

  65. Annasus

    Reading this post is so timely.

    “…the only model they know is how to help people make money by helping people make money.”
    I’ve been so peeved off by this lately.

    All of these people were so successful at whatever they were doing that now they have time to suddenly start coaching. If you were so passionate and successful doing whatever then how would you have the time or energy to be a business coach AS WELL?

    I was really beginning to feel like the only way to be successful online is to lie about being successful and then teach people how to become successful online.

    OR, simply to become successful by selling a ‘how to be successful’ product.

  66. Deidra

    This is so on point.

    Thank you for voicing so clearly what many of us are feeling.

    Addressing these questions and concerns can certainly make clients feel more secure about commiting.

  67. People on reddit were discussing something similar to this. Recently, a guy made a post about how he’s making 100k after 9 months on his blog, with a “Here’s How I Did It!!!!” post, but it was all pyramid scheme. Some people bought into it, others saw right through it. People love to make money off telling people how to make money.

    On top of that, I’m a freelance writer and all I see are other freelance writers suddenly jumping into coaching. Every single day. But only a few seem even remotely qualified to do it. It drives me bonkers! Thank you for being straight-up about this!

  68. Having been an accountant (in my past life) I’ve seen behind the curtain of incredibly successful businesses that chose not to boast. And others that made me want to shout from the rooftop to warn people. But of course, I wasn’t able to…

    A few of my “fave stories” (insert sarcasm) include the “best selling author” and “multi million dollar business coach” who consistently, year after year (may have been 5+ years) stuffed receipts into boxes & put off doing tax returns, because “I haven’t made a profit yet”. And, truthfully they hadn’t – but not exactly a good reason to not file tax returns. To the public, they were bringing in multiple millions & coaching others to do the same – but their marketing expenses, promo to sell their books (surprisingly low numbers to make it to #1 ) and live events cost way more than people expect…. And some people just aren’t good with managing money…

    Or the “business coach” who had never heard of a Profit & Loss Report (Income Statement) or a Balance Sheet.

    And a 6 figure business coach who’s been “coaching” people to earn 6k+ for almost a decade now – who has never made more than $15K in annual net income, before paying herself. Basically living below the poverty line.

    Or, the life coach who decided she could coach entrepreneurs (only a few months into her career), who became livid when she realized she owed taxes at the end of her first year in business.

    People who are new to business, or haven’t filed a tax return, or haven’t made a profit in their business shouldn’t be “allowed” to put “business coach” in their title – in my humble opinion.

    The smoke and mirrors act turns my stomach. But I suppose this exists in all business models. There’s always a segment of any population that feels no shame in exaggerating their success.

  69. Damn! I wish I were as popular as you are! I love my coach coz she’s not really coaching but, in my own words, telling me what to do. I appreciate that. I don’t want to have a discussion about what’s blocking me. Just f**king tell me what to do. I coach that way too (I’m an ADHD strategist and family coach). One of my friends spoke at a “get rich quick” coach’s event (his team just found her and she thought it would be a good partnership). He had all these rules for her about selling in the back of the room. I went with her (to help her sell in the back of the room, but I wasn’t allowed to help at all and she wasn’t allowed to take any money (so it all went through him and he wrote a check). He also had pricing expectations. The people attending were so sweet but they were like lemmings. He also played trance music the whole time and had them standing up and doing cheers. Very cult-like.

  70. michelle

    Thank YOU tremendously for writing this post. It has helped me with trusting my gut and intuition before making a very big decision. It has truly placed clarity on what a legitimate and successful coach is and does for their clients and how to manage your own expectation when seeking one out. Busines coaches are also 1/3 of my clientele and in supporting many over these past 4 years…. I still find many of them puzzling and not clear on what benefits are they actually offering… Thank you for taking the time to write this and I can’t wait to share this post in my biz groups.

  71. My word, I can’t thank you enough for this article. It confirms what I’ve been feeling for such a long time! #relief

  72. Nicole

    I came across this post while conducting research on a coaching program. I found some not so favorable reviews of a certain 10K coaching program so I wanted to find out more information and read reviews from people who have actually taken it. I follow many coaches of FB who claim multiple six figures (and who have also taken the program that I was researching) but it’s hard to trust when they have 1K affiliate links.

  73. Valrita jones

    I came accross this post while doing some reasearch. I have a small bridal business which is struggling and there are so many business coaches on fb who claim they can help me turn my business round but at the same time the ask me to sign up for a course where they would teach me their key strategies and when I delve deeper into what they are doing it is clear that it is pyramid based selling, everyone is being told that the way to make money is to set yourself up as a coach and sign people up for a fee (your income).

    If there is anyone out their who has done a course to improve their business I would love to hear from you particulary if your business was product based and you were able to measure your successes after doing the course.

  74. Anna

    It’s very much a weird pyramid scheme, and I’ve been so tired of the vapid Facebook posts of “Omg, look at my Christian Louboutin shoes!! Look at my glass of champagne!!” There’s nothing wrong with having these things, but when they’re all you talk about, it’s not about helping people at all. It’s all about the coach becoming rich at other people’s expense . I’ve spoken to lots of people who have been in these high end coaching packages and they’ve been very unhappy with the service they received but are afraid of speaking up because they don’t want to deal with a lawsuit. Very strange that “ethical” coaches would try to prevent criticism by threatening lawsuits if someone isn’t happy with the service they provide. Seems more like the silencing, intimidation tactic of a bully than the behavior of a genuine person who wants to help others. Kind of reminds me of a saying I heard; “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you’re not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

  75. Shae

    Such a great post! It’s always good to make sure we vet every single person. So does this person you did the wayback machine on, happen to have a name starting with J and loves pink and sprinkles?

  76. Kay

    Add Simply Sarah King and Emily Williams to this list!!! Scammers! Beware!

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