I was going through some old Coffeezilla content on Youtube today when I saw a podcast where Coffeezilla confronts Graham Stephan about course sales and the course sales industry.
The true value of a course is the time it saves you. […] I feel like alot people come to gurus because they don’t want to learn it themselves, because they want someone to do the work; but the work cannot be done. A trainer cannot lift the weights for you. Obviously people still spend it. […] Eventually you just have to do the work. That’s my message to people go learn how to learn and then you never have to have anyone again. That’s like the ultimate thing to become self sufficient.Coffeezilla December 2020
On one hand there are quite a few people offering little to nothing of value in their courses and then on the other you see big success stories from people taking courses, coding boot camps, and other information based products. I happen to have gotten acquainted with an industry leading course seller who is a proven success in training the future real estate moguls. I wanted to get his honest opinion on Coffeezilla’s broad brush on course sales.
With this in mind this is his full opinion on course sales and then course sales as a business model:
Three years ago, I was approached by a family member that was working for the nation’s largest real estate coaching company. She was a veteran real estate agent who decided to stop selling, was approached by this company and offered a job, and accepted. After 8 years working for this corporation, she had built a name for herself as a coach, but knew she was unsatisfied working for someone else. That’s when someone who knew her situation showed her a webinar by one of those online gurus (Sam Ovens), about how to start your own consulting or coaching business. She is older, and not tech savvy, and knew she needed help, so she made me an offer: “I’ll buy you this course if you complete the whole thing AND start a business with me” At the time I was living abroad, doing some freelance digital marketing and not much else. It was an interesting offer, and I was curious. She had the coaching experience and industry connections, but she needed everything else. Immediately I started to think what most internet savvy people would:
“Are we really going to pay for information I can probably find out there for free?”
“I can probably figure it out on my own anyways”
“This is just some guy on the internet, it’s probably a scam”
I shared these concerns with her before I even watched the 2-and-a-half-hour webinar. I grew up pirating games, programs, books, anything I wanted. To pay $2k for an online course seemed crazy. Now, as someone who had been working as a coach, selling information and growth, and achieving real results, she shut me down pretty quickly, reiterated the offer and told me to take it or leave it. Long story short? I took the course. Yes, a lot of the information was out there in books, YouTube videos, other training programs and courses… but I took what I learned, used it to form our first offer and launched what soon became a six-figure coaching business. You know what we did a year later? We bought his next course for $5800 and used it to revamp and scale our business. Right now, we have a thriving coaching business selling 1 on 1 coaching, group masterminds, and guess what? Courses. Oh, and we have a business coach that we pay $5k per month to help us continue to grow even though everything is already out there on YouTube and in books… This whole story might seem a little bit long-winded, but the reason I bring it up is for one reason and one reason alone: to show that the value of a course is what you accomplish with it.
Coffeezilla says “The true value of a course is the time it saves you. […] I feel like alot people come to gurus because they don’t want to learn it themselves, because they want someone to do the work; but the work cannot be done. A trainer cannot lift the weights for you. Obviously people still spend it. […] Eventually you just have to do the work. That’s my message to people go learn how to learn and then you never have to have anyone again. That’s like the ultimate thing to become self sufficient.” It’s like he is almost there, but he just can’t grasp it. The true value of a course is the value you get out of it. That’s it. When buying a course, it’s important to remember, you are not buying a “course”. Meaning, you are not paying for a certain number of modules, an amount of content, or however many hours of video. You are paying for achieving a desired result. People buy courses for two simple reasons:
1. They don’t know how to do something
2. They want to do it faster and better
Every information product is designed to close the gap between a customer’s current situation and the desired state. Any course that is effective (just like any coaching program) will get them there as quickly and as simply as possible. If that happens, then there is 0 question that it was worth it. Coffeezilla’s point against courses already starts with an admission of their value – It saves you time. Next, he says that “people come to gurus because they don’t want to learn it themselves” To this point, I struggle to even form a counterpoint. What does it mean to “learn it themselves” as opposed to from a guru? Is learning something from a teacher not learning?
I don’t think there is one successful person out there in any industry that will tell you burning yourself over and over for years is preferable to learning what to do or not to do from someone else.Course Sales Expert August 2022
It is not a question of doing the work or not – of course you have to do the work, but rather knowing the best way to do it as quickly as possible without having to beat your head against the wall for years. As for getting to the point where you can stop learning and never have to have anyone again, Coffeezilla is again exposing his business immaturity and lack of exposure to truly successful people. The truth is that if you are not growing, you are falling behind. The smartest and most successful people are constantly seeking out new information, courses, and coaches to improve their game. I won’t sit here and try to convince anyone that you can’t find all the content in the world on the internet. But the fact remains that content alone doesn’t cut it, otherwise we would all read the right books, watch the right videos, and be billionaires. People like Coffeezilla, who are against every internet guru and every course have fooled themselves into believing that anybody selling any information must be a scam, because it is all out there to be learned. Somehow, the irony is lost on him that even with all of that information out there, he is where he is today, and not where he would like to be. Unfortunately, the internet, social media, and current information technology has made it incredibly easy for anyone to slap some stolen content together and sell a course. As such, the market is flooded with fake gurus, shitty courses, and terrible content. Don’t look for the coolest guru, look for the people having the best results. Remember, the product here is information and transformation – the course is just the vehicle. If you can produce a result consistently working with someone 1 on 1, you may be able to deliver it to multiple people in a group setting. If you can deliver it to multiple people consistently in a group setting, you may be able to deliver it in a course. If you can deliver it in a course, congratulations, you have a very scalable business model. Start by finding your audience, knowing where they are and where they want to be, and creating your minimum viable offer. Get proof of concept, and eventually you may be able to turn that into your minimum viable course.
Sounds reasonable to me. I think if Coffeezilla heard this he would be less contrarian and/or cynical on the topic. In a broader sense one could say the same thing about calling college education a scam. Some degrees from some institutions are worthless trash and others will give you the foothold to set your career or business up for life. The power of discernment between the trash and the good is the most important tool in the individual’s arsenal when deciding on information products. Have a blessed Sunday everyone.