It’s very rare that I endorse online small business coaching programs. I am very, very choosy.
As an internet marketing virtual assistant I see numerous scams and hypes on the web that appear authentic but in reality are wolves in sheep’s clothing. And, it takes extensive research to sort through the online coaching program mire!
Like many entrepreneurs, I want to continue my small business education. I want to develop my capabilities as a business owner and strive to attract and retain my ideal clients. But I am so leery of the many ‘get rich quick’ programs which pop up endlessly in my email box day after day. It has been difficult to choose the right coach with the right business program for my agenda.
After several months of intense online research I finally decided at the advice of a trusted VA, to sign up for Marisa Murgatroyd’s course, “Message to Money” (M2M). I haven’t looked back!
So today, in this post, I share my experiences with my Business Darling readers who may be seeking to expand, improve, develop and polish their businesses in 2013 with the help of a coach without having to feel as if they’ve been ripped off by trainers offering false promises.
[For the record, this post is not about what I have been learning in Marisa’s course. You can check that out here. Rather, this post is what you need to look for when choosing an online business coaching course. And you can read my testimonial here.]
Here are 12 tips to for choosing an online business coaching course. (VA’s you will love my #12!)
1) Ask for recommendations. I trust only a handful of other virtual assistants. Their opinions are gold. And it was one VA who sealed the deal for me…so do ask your peers for their opinions.
2) Spend time reviewing the coach’s online profiles. Check out LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Look for inconsistencies, poor grammar, too many ‘get rich quick’ phrases and the overuse of ‘multi-six-figures’ in the description of the course. Run don’t walk.
3) Check out the coach’s Tweets. Much can be said for someone’s tweets. Are they coaching through Twitter? Do they offer free advice to the Twitter-verse or are they only self-promoting with affiliate links?
4) Check out the coach’s websites. Log into any ‘freemiums’ in exchange for an email address and carefully look over what the coach is offering for free. If the free items offer value, chances are the coach will offer greater value in the paid course. Does the coach stop at one freebie or do they offer more than one item?
5) Look carefully at the splash page (promo page) for the coaching program you are considering. Does the text clearly define what you will get for your money? The first paragraph should address what the course will do for you in REALISTIC terms. If the promises are too lofty, again, run, don’t walk.
6) Look for a video from the coach to see if you can connect on some personal level. Does the coach’s personality resonate with you? Is the coach speaking to you or AT you? Some sales coach videos are ‘in yer face’ type speak so stay away from those!
7) Something often overlooked is the QUALITY of the sales video…is the coach well dressed? Is the video of good quality and sound or is the coach just sitting at a desk with a webcam with flowered wall paper in the background and the dog barking downstairs? (Yes, you know…run…) So much can be learned from the coach’s sales video …whether he is a good listener or just likes to hear himself speak…whether he even knows HOW to communicate.
Look at the environment in which the video is filmed. Does it appear the coach put some time into determining a significant background for the sale of the product? The videographer will try to create a mood with a particular background so key into that while you want the sales video.
==> An outdoor video taping may mean the coach is laid back. Indoors in front of a fireplace denotes that the coach is looking for a ‘fireside chat’ with the student and therefore the classes may be less structured and more open mic style. Is the video filmed in a studio? If so, then the videographer may want the coach to appear particularly polished which may clash with a student looking for a coach who is more casual in their learning process. And finally, the absolute worse background any coach can use to film a sales video is in the dining room, under bad lighting, recorded from a webcam, with that flowered wall paper I mentioned earlier.
Look for a coach’s money back guarantee
8) Look for a money back guarantee that specifically states, ‘100 percent satisfaction’ guarantee. Make sure that is in writing and prominently displayed on the sales page. 9) Look for testimonials from people like yourself. A good sales page will have an assortment of testimonials from all walks of business. Read those testimonials and find ‘ah-ha’ moments. Look for text which shows a transformation in their businesses which occurred as a result of enrolling in the coaching course. Some of the testimonials look ‘canned’ and simply say how grateful someone is for taking the course. Any coach who uses only the grateful testimonials and doesn’t have any action-oriented words may be selling a “dud” coaching course.
==>Another tip about choosing a good coach that I like to look for is this…does the coach give the students who offer testimonials a chance to have backlinks to their own businesses? As minor as that might seem, I am drawn to coaches who want to ‘share the SEO’ and therefore hyper link testimonial students’ websites on the splash page. To me, that detail (a backlink) from that the coach truly appreciates the students who took the time to write the testimonials.
10) Does the coach offer more than one payment plan? Does the coach offer a discount for paying in full? Does the coach offer a graduated payment plan? So if the course is 7 months, can the student make payments over a period of 7 months without penalty? Look to see how easy a coach will allow you to pay for the course. If they only offer 2 forms of payment, (credit card and PayPal) and you can only send a wire payment, then contact the coach directly. See if the coach will work with you. Flexibility in making payments can be a deal breaker!
11) Does the coach personally answer your questions? I simply won’t pay for a course where I don’t have at least one-on-one email communication with a coach. I don’t expect phone time unless that comes with the course but at the very least, email communication should be considered.
12) Who is the coach’s VA? As a virtual assistant myself in business for 6 years, I have to tell you that it is just as important to me to know who the VA is that works with the coach as it is to know the coach themselves. If they don’t work with top-notched VAs, I won’t sign on with the coach. The selection of a quality VA to partner with a good coach tells me that the coach knows how to gather an effective team. I only want to pay for coaching services by an effective coaching team. So how do you know who the VA is that works with the coach? Google.
==> Google the coach’s name and the words, ‘virtual assistant’ or ‘online business manager’ and then all the corresponding acronyms, i.e., VA, OBM AVA, etc. Chances are the coach has given a testimonial to the VA so you can find out a name. Check out the coach’s name on LinkedIn and search for any recommendations the coach may have given to a VA. Check out the coach’s email addresses…in many cases the coach will send student to the VA’s email address to take care of admin issues that the coach doesn’t handle. Check out the coach’s Facebook page and search for LIKES for VA services. Once you have that, then go to the VA website and see if the coach is listed as a referral or a testimonial. This may take a few minutes to research however, if the coach is working with good VAs, this often means the coach partners with only the best.
If you have any questions about Marisa Murgatroyd’s Message to Money course, feel free to email me. I will tell you she has made payments very affordable and manageable here . You will never find greater value in a business coaching program so do check it out…
Sadly this will be my second to last post here on Business Darlings since its inception February 14th, 2011. Check back in 2 weeks for my Business Darling reflections…and final social media tips!