If you are like probably 80% (maybe higher) of the students we work with in Uncage Your Business, my guess is that you have taken another marketing course, or hired a coach, or joined a mastermind…. and “been burned”.
I use the phrase “been burned” with a grain of salt, because while there are genuine situations where people have paid money for a course or coach and been totally ghosted or fucked over, in MOST cases it’s not so much “being burned” as it is being disappointed by not getting the results that were promised… for any number of reasons.
Because I sell a highly popular course for new business owners, I have heard it all.
I have also been running my program since 2013, and have a decade of experience in course delivery under my belt. So I know a thing or two about what makes a great program.
AND, even with my course, sometimes students leave not getting the results they hoped for. Of course we try to mitigate this as much as possible, but sometimes it still happens, and is usually due to one of the reasons listed below.
I wanted to take some time to dive into WHY that course/program/membership/whatever you took, didn’t get you results. Of course, I can’t know your specific scenario, but I can guess that it falls into one of the reasons listed below.
There are a few reasons I think it’s SO important to understand why something didn’t work for you.
- It normalizes it, and helps you feel like you are not alone, and it’s not your fault. We can often feel like we failed if a course that others rave about didn’t work for us and it’s important to know that it’s likely because of one of several external factors, and is rarely about you. (ok sometimes it is about you — and I have included examples below where that might be the case)
- It helps you make a more discerning decision next time you want to sign up for a course or coaching. Knowing what didn’t work for you is key in knowing what WILL work for next time
Here are the main reasons why a course or program might not have worked for you:
1. Not relevant
The marketing strategies taught may not be applicable or relevant to your business. For example, if a course is mainly focused at helping B2B businesses, the strategies are not going to work for a life coach who is focused on selling to “regular people” and not to business owners. Similarly if you took a course that is general info for ANY kind of business and not specifically focused on service-businesses like coaching, you won’t be able to apply what they teach effectively.
How you can avoid this:
It’s important to make sure that a course has worked with and gotten results for your type of business, before signing up.
And… make sure you check yourself if you find yourself consistently rejecting marketing strategies because they don’t feel “aligned”. If this is an ongoing problem, it may be a YOU thing and not a problem with the strategies themselves. I have seen this before with students in my program, even though other students with almost identical businesses use the same strategies very effectively, sometimes students insist that these strategies won’t work for their business.
If you notice that NO program you have taken has resonated with you, and you have been unwilling to even try implementing what they teach, it could be time to do some mindset work to help you shift the belief that “nothing will work for your business”, and get into the space of being willing to try things with a fresh attitude!
2. Complex or ineffective strategies
The program you took may have been too complex or difficult for your NEW business to implement effectively. This happens a LOT! I have said it before and I will say it again til everyone hears me — the strategies needed for NEW businesses that have not sold anything yet are wildly different that the strategies needed for businesses that have already validated and tested their ideas and are making money.
This is literally WHY I created our Uncage Your Business program in the first place. I noticed all the courses I was taking when I was new weren’t right for a new business! There were major gaps in what was being taught, and all the newbies were getting stuck!
There is a lot that goes into the validation stage, and if you skip that step and just apply marketing strategies for growth, you’ll be stuck doing a lot of work with no results.
How you can avoid this:
Ask the course creator or coach what level of business their course is best for, and what, if anything, you need to have in place to get the best results. Look for case studies and testimonials from people who were in the same place as you in business, who got results. If you don’t see any, ask the course creator for examples of students who were in your shoes.
3. Overwhelming information
There may have been too much information covered in the program, making it difficult for you to focus on what is most important.
- Hour long videos with the course creator blabbing on.
- Extra materials for you to read.
- Way more in-depth info than you need.
Course content should be bite-sized and actionable. You don’t need hours of theory, you need small actions you can do right away to get results. It’s common for an overwhelmed brain to quit.
How to avoid this:
If you are already in a course, let the course creator know you are feeling overwhelmed with info and ask them what they recommend. Before you sign up for a course, ask about the content. Do they have various ways to consume it (like transcripts you can scroll instead of having to watch a long video?). What exactly do they cover in the course? Ask for an outline or a syllabus and check to make sure you actually NEED most of what they are covering. Look for testimonials that share what the course experience was like (are people saying it was easy to consume and take action on?)
4. Insufficient support
It is very likely that the program you took did not provide enough support or guidance for you to implement the strategies successfully.
This is a big one and one I have mixed thoughts about.
Some people don’t need support. They buy a course and implement all on their own and do great.
But if you know you are someone who does need feedback and support to make sure you are on the right track, you want to make sure you will get what you need (within reason! I will argue that usually, people think they need more support than they actually need. I say this after having worked with 1000s of students who all say they need ALL, but then don’t show up for half the coaching calls because they don’t have any questions!)
Good content and easy implementation in the course will help ease the feeling that you NEED support all the time. AND, you still want to ensure you are clear on the ways to get support when you join a course.
How to avoid this:
Ask the course creator or coach exactly what kind of support is included. Be clear about how you can submit questions, what the response time is, etc.
For example, we can clearly tell you how many coaching calls we have in Uncage Your Business, how to submit your questions, what to do to get support in-between coaching calls, etc. If a course creator can’t clearly explain how you can get the help you need, my guess if they are dancing around giving you a straight answer because they don’t have a lot of support!
I have found that usually it’s not the lack of support in a course that people get frustrated with, it’s the discrepancy between how they THOUGHT they would get support, and how support is actually delivered. Clarifying this ahead of time can go a long way to set expectations and make sure you are set up to know how to best use the support offered.
5. No overnight results/unclear or unrealistic expectations
Even with the best course, you might not see immediate results from what you are learning, leading to frustration and discouragement. And the urge to quit before you should be quitting.
This is definitely a problem and something you want to keep in check. Do you have unrealistic goals? Are you expecting miracles?
No matter what a course teaches you, it still takes TIME to grow a business from a baby to a full-time job that can support you. It’s one thing if you went in with unrealistic results because your brain just wants this to happen NOW, it’s another if the course creator is responsible for over-promising results that are not typical of most students.
Any course that tells you they will help you nail down your business foundations (niche, messaging, packages, pricing, learning how to validate your ideas, etc) AND teach you how to scale, run ads, hire a team etc etc — RUN. It means they aren’t doing each stage justice and they are trying to jam 3 VERY different stages of business building into one.
It’s unrealistic to think you can do all these in one program.
Similarly if the course is mostly promoting their star student in their marketing, sharing how they went from no business to 6-figures in 3 months, but not sharing many other results that aren’t as flashy, I would be cautious. Just because ONE student did it doesn’t mean that it’s typical.
If you have unrealistic expectations going into a course and then don’t meet them, it’s likely you will drop out or stop engaging.
How to avoid this:
It’s always best to chat with the course creator about your specific business before you sign up, to find out what kind of results are typical based on where you are at. And, it’s up to you to be discerning about what to expect. Read all the case studies and testimonials. What other results are people getting, other than the “6-figures overnight!” claims? Are those results valuable to you?
It’s also necessary to manage your expectations and not place all the heavy lifting on your time in the course itself. Usually marketing strategies work over time, and often take much longer than the length of any program to see real results. Just because there was no instant result, doesn’t mean the strategies are not good ones and won’t work for your business. You may just need to have patience and implement with consistency over time, before you start reaping the rewards. The course has a role in teaching you what you need to know or do, and you have a role in staying persistent and consistent with your implementation.
6. All mindset, no strategy
A lot of the business courses I have seen out there for newbies have been mostly mindset courses, which I find interesting! MIndset is VERY important as a new business, but you ALSO need strategy. All the positive thinking and manifestation won’t get you very far if you have no idea how to market and sell yourself.
How to avoid this:
Look carefully at the language used when the course is describing what you will learn. Are there tangibles included? Or does it all sound a bit vague? If you’re new, I strongly recommend a course that focuses on both strategy AND mindset, for best results. This is exactly what we do in our Uncage Your Business program. We have specific strategy pieces we teach you, and then our mindset coach jumps in with mindset content, because we know exactly where your brain is going to get stuck with each strategy piece, so we give you lots of support to make sure that doesn’t happen and that you have no trouble implementing!
7. Lack of personalization
The marketing program may not take into account the unique needs, goals, and brand of YOUR business, and provide you generic advice without nuance. Any good course should give you ways to tweak the strategies for your business, or have coaching included so you can make sure you know how to apply what you are learning.
How to avoid this:
Check ahead of time whether the course strategies taught will work for your specific industry/niche, and ask about what options there are for support if you get stuck and need help applying the materials.
8. Misalignment with values
The marketing strategies a course is teaching may not align with the values or ethics you want to build into your brand, leading to you feeling uncomfortable using the strategies. This happens a lot with bro-marketing style courses that teach aggressive selling on the phone or cold pitching people in the DMs. You have to go with your gut on what feels good.
How to avoid this:
Spend some time watching how the course or coach you are signing up with does their own marketing. Does it resonate with you and feel good being on the other side of it? It’s likely they will be teaching you similar strategies and a similar vibe. You can always ask what the course creator’s values are too when it comes to marketing.
***One big asterisk here that needs to be mentioned — If you’re new to selling, especially selling yourself, you will need to nudge yourself out of your comfort zone for marketing! Some new coaches think that even talking about what they do or telling someone they have an offer, is pushy. There is a big difference between sharing what you do with people who need it, and shoving it down their throats. Make sure you aren’t using this one as an excuse to not do ANY marketing.
At the end of the day your gut will know what is genuinely a NO and what you’re just scared of because it feels vulnerable getting visible.
9. Lack of focus on the life coaching industry
The marketing strategies taught in the course you took may be more general and not specifically tailored to the unique needs and challenges of life coaches. This is a big one!! Life coaches, healers, or anyone who is selling yourself as the product is going to need wildly different support than a business that is selling a more tangible outcome (like copywriting, or web design), or a physical product. If your course doesn’t teach you strategies that are proven to specifically work for coaches, or offer support for how to tailor the strategies for coaching businesses, it’s no wonder it didn’t work for you.
One of the biggest challenges new life coaches come up against is the mindset drama that comes when you have to sell yourself as the product. This just doesn’t happen as much for businesses that sell something more tangible, so there needs to be a strong mindset component to whatever course you choose (even if you don’t think you have mindset issues! I guarantee, you will once it comes to asking for money and getting visible!).
Mindset stuff aside, selling coaching can be tricker because it’s not always easy to articulate, so you need to make sure that your course knows how to sell coaching and can help you.
(if you’re a new coach, I don’t think there is a better program out there than our Uncage Your Business program. We work with all kinds of service-businesses as long as you have a coaching component, but our program was created specifically with coaches in mind since coaching is notoriously harder to sell than other more tangible services! Click here to learn more about Uncage Your Business)
How to avoid this:
Make sure the course you are taking works for coaching businesses! The course creator or their team should be available to chat through your questions to help make sure it’s a fit.
As you can see, there are SO many reasons why a course or coaching program may not have been right for you. Hopefully this post gives you a way to break down what didn’t work so you can choose a more appropriate course for you in the future.
The most important thing is to not let one “bad” investment ruin your willingness to ever get help in your business again. We learn from our mistakes and we move forward differently, we don’t close up shop and never try anything again!
I also believe that even if you took a program that wasn’t right for you or didn’t get you the result you had hoped, you can ALWAY gain something from it.
I wrote this post about exactly that — how you can get your return on investment in ways that maybe you hadn’t thought of. I encourage you to read it if you have ever signed up for a program and have felt let down by what you learned.
Of the 80ish% of students that take UYB who had told us they have taken other courses and gotten nowhere, most of them come back to us saying that now that they have their foundations nailed (the main part that the other courses were missing), they have been able to go back to those courses and use some of the info in them, which is great news! You never know when a strategy you learned too early might come in handy in your biz further down the road.
Don’t be afraid to get the help you need if your business isn’t where you want it to be. And if you think our Uncage Your Business program might be a fit for you, reach out with all your questions so we can help you figure out if what we teach is what you need right now!