The trap of personal development

Self-help is a massive industry across the world. There are a lot of people out there trying to emulate people like Tony Robbins, trying to sell courses or motivational quotes to make a living out of inspiring others.

Nathan Birch, founder of b Invested has done mentoring programs a couple of times in the past, but he’s never been to one himself. He has however met a lot of people in business that are fans of self help courses.

From what he can ascertain, they usually feature a whole lot of people on a stage, presenting and trying to sell you their products or educational tools.

So who are all the people in the audience at these seminars and what do they do? 

In search of hope

Nathan believes that if all these people had gone to so many curses and armed themselves with all that knowledge, they should really be at the top of the food chain. Their financial positions should be second to none. But that often isn’t the case.

Nathan has realised that a lot of people are there to buy hope. They want a magic solution or cure. A big secret that someone will tell them that will solve their problems and make them successful.

There’s always an add-on

There is knowledge to be had out there in all walks of life, especially with investment. But you never achieve that knowledge at these self-help seminars. Usually, instead, there is an add-on. You get a free opportunity to learn more about a topic, which will then lead to a paid course over a seminar or weekend away. That might be $2000, and once you’re there, the next step is another course for more money. Each level you get to costs more and before you know it you are halfway along their marketing funnel.

Funnels lead to multi-spending traps

Often the courses, retreats or webinars you go to feature a panel of ‘experts’ or ‘gurus’ and at the end of the panel discussion, each of those experts is selling their own products too.

Nathan has been asked to be on panels at these events and he found out that what will usually happen is that the panelist actually has to pay the event organiser. So if that panelist is selling courses, or software for $10,000 for example, they may have to pay 50% of sales back to the event.

They are all in the business of continuing to sell hope, or as Nathan calls it ‘hope-ium’ to their audience. 

Forget courses and think of fundamentals

When people ask Nathan for course recommendations, he never has any to give, because he never does courses.

He says the most important things are simple. Have a plan, have a strategy and be committed. Understand where you are now, compared to where you want to be and recognise the steps you need to take to get to that place.

There is no course that gives you steps to follow and at the end you’ll be magically cured financially. 

Regarding property investment

People look at property courses to figure out how to invest and often these are marketing funnels with plenty of spruikers just like all the other asset classes.

Nathan says that if he was to begin investing today, he would do it the same way he did it 20 years ago.

He would have an initial goal to buy 10 properties and use them to extract enough cashflow to live on and replace his income.

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