Education Through Observation
During the weekend as I attended the Rich Schefren conference I took notes. I’m not a huge note taker, I generally sit back and absorb and find that the knowledge rises from me in the future when required, however when you receive a lot at once I do like to take some notes for particular key points to really ram them home.
I also had one other motivation to take notes – I wanted to share with you guys and girls some of the biggest take-aways from Rich during the weekend, here on my blog. There are some great “hidden” tips in the advice below and I’ll have some more for you in part 3 of my recap of the conference coming up soon.
A Note About Criticism
I’m about to mention some criticisms that were circulating at the event as I talked to different people. As you will read in a moment I believe, while Rich won’t be super happy with how the weekend played out, he won’t be overly upset either. As he stated, this seminar was better than the first he did for his elite clients and no doubt the next will be even better.
Rich always practices what he preaches, and even though he may have not delivered exactly what he planned to over the weekend, I expect most of his clients will stay with the program and will continue to appreciate and benefit from what Rich offers (I certainly will). This in itself is a business lesson, which I will elaborate on in a moment.
I don’t want you to think that the problems that occurred at the seminar reflect on the quality of the content. Rich hasn’t nutted out all the kinks in the delivery of his program yet and to realise his end goal it will probably take several years – it really is something very innovative and ambitious – I’m not even sure if it possible. For the moment he offers great education and experiential lessons for anyone interested in Internet business.
I for one am very glad that I am on board with Rich and Strategic Profits now so I can watch the evolution of the company. The real value for me comes from watching what Rich does and seeing how his clients react and how the market responds. If you want to see how a guy can go from zero-to-six million plus in revenue in under a year, hire a staff to manage the business for him and see the exact marketing techniques to achieve this, Strategic Profits is ideal.
For me a lot of the core materials Rich teaches are not new because I’ve been studying business and online marketing since I first entered university and discovered the Web in 1997. It’s always good to have the foundations reinforced, to be reminded of what works, and I often need a kick in the pants to take certain actions, which a course like this provides. I certainly find the whole experience motivating, but in my situation seeing how Rich does what he does best – generates huge cashflow in a very short period of time and then constructs a business that runs without him – is the truly powerful experience.
For others, for example my mother – Zahava Starak – who attended the event with me as a guest, are still learning the keys to successful online business, so the program content is crucial, and that’s where the materials Rich provides through his online system are most beneficial.
I don’t know absolutely everything about business and every now and then Rich injects a nice little nugget of knowledge or an example case study that teaches me something new and valuable. For many these nuggets might be worth thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours of freed up time.
In the Beginning It’s All About You And Cashflow
This is a particularly important point Rich made for all you start-ups out there. If you are running solo at the moment and revenues are not exactly flowing and you have little momentum, the focus must be on you and your cashflow.
Over time once you establish momentum and the money is coming in, the focus moves away from you and targets your employees and customers. At this point it’s all about pleasing everyone else, but in the beginning it’s all about the money and what you can do to make it.
One of the somewhat controversial points Rich made was, during business start-up, you don’t necessarily focus on your clients or customers, which intuitively we all known is very important for a business to succeed – it’s all about customers usually right?
Rich argues that it’s more important to focus on cashflow so you can build systems that will eventually service your clients better, certainly much better than what you could do on your own in the beginning. There’s no point trying to achieve miracles when you just don’t have the cash or resources to deliver them.
This is definitely a counter-intuitive way of thinking, which is why I highlight it. I also mention it now because of grumblings from some of my fellow coaching clients, who were not pleased with parts of the seminar.
Some of the attendees at the seminar I spoke to were not overly impressed with Rich’s presentation. One of the main issues was the live streaming event, which at the last minute on the advice of his team, Rich decided to default back to his tried and true presentation, which he used when he launched his program last time. This presentation has been available as a free Google video for many months now, I’ve recommended you check it out previously on Entrepreneurs-Journey and it’s been watched 50,000 times according to the Google stats.
It’s safe to say if you know about Rich, you have watched this video or seen the presentation live before, and that was the problem in this case – many of the people at the conference were not happy to have to go through that same two hour presentation again, no matter how good it is, since they were expecting all new content for the entire weekend.
Some people commented to me that if they were going to do that presentation again for the seminar Rich should have at least provided warning, so people could choose to go outside and enjoy some time in the sun by the pool in the warm Florida weather. Of course if too many people did that then the room would have been empty, not a good look for Rich on his live seminar, so I can understand why we were not told – that and Rich simply may have not had the time given how last minute the decision was.
The reasoning behind the choice to switch back to the original presentation, as I see it and based on the justification we were given at the event, was because Rich knew the old presentation better. I also presume that they assumed many people completely new to Rich were going to watch the live stream, hence since his presentation is a proven sales converter – it really does blow you away the first time you see it – it makes sense to go with what works.
I think Rich had been rehearsing a brand new presentation for the live stream and the fact that we never got to see it, nor did the no-doubt many others who tuned in for the stream who had already seen his old presentation (I apologise to you guys if you came through my blog to join the seminar expecting something new – I was expecting something new too), was my biggest disappointment from the whole weekend. I only hope Rich goes on to one day perform his new presentation so we all can see it, or at least his coaching clients do, either live or in video format.
One point should be made – despite all this, Rich did sell out of the 100 pilot coaching program slots he released to the people who watched the live stream, who are to act as a test group before the doors are completely open to take on new clients later this month. The result was half a million in sales. NICE.
This success was announced to us at the seminar and we all in some way took part in the whole launch process, even if many people would have preferred for the focus to stay on the current clientele and not on acquiring new clients.
The people who purchased after the free live stream were also permitted to watch the rest of the seminar live until 6PM Sunday, when the streaming ceased. I suspect this was a first for an Internet marketing seminar and something I expect we will see a lot more of in the future as a means to further monetize a conference.
It was clear Rich was a little rattled after suddenly switching presentations and I have to be really honest – I’m worried about the guy’s health. He seems to do all nighters in preparation for these events and then burns his way through the weekend by charging himself with red bull drinks. It cant be good for him, although he does seem to work that way often and maybe that’s how his best stuff comes out.
People commented that Rich’s last minute work style along with other niggling things like typos in presentation slides and ending the weekend with four presentations not shown, all demonstrate how poorly planned and prepared the whole event was. Some people also noted that Rich should consider some presentation training to spice up his style and increase the interactivity – you definitely don’t want that “university lecture” feel.
Rich did promise to record videos for the missing content and release them to his clients. It’s always clear to me that Rich means to do the best he can – he just hasn’t quite got it all together yet.
Was the Event Worthwhile?
Yes of course it was! As I mentioned previously, the networking, the opportunity to meet Rich Schefren and Mike Filsaime and countless others, as well as the experiential learning of watching Rich in action were highlights for me and far outweighed any complaints about the quality of the presentation. The experience has motivated me and helped stitch together in my mind some final pieces of the puzzle that I was missing before attending the event, which I hope I can action shortly after returning to Australia.
I mention all the critical points about Rich and the seminar for the sake of providing feedback to Rich (I hope he’s still talking to me after this!) and to report what people were saying during the event. By offering my honest appraisal I demonstrate authenticity here at my blog, which is important because it creates loyalty – I know many of you read my blog exactly because of this, because you have told me so.
Authenticity is more important than you might think. Rich succeeds because of his authenticity, because he demonstrates a real likable personality. You genuinely want him to succeed and feel that he genuinely wants you to succeed. Even when he makes mistakes he’s not hiding behind them and will apologise and promise to perform better in the future. He focuses on the future and continuous improvement and actively seeks feedback. All these factors definitely help keep his clients loyal.
As one quick example – Rich is permitting all his current clients to have another full year of access to his new elearning system at no charge.
If right now you don’t feel that your audience or customers feel your authenticity you should start taking steps to demonstrate it. Stop trying to present perfection or a corporate facade and instead demonstrate who you really are. You will win more fans and as a result, long term customers.
Practicing A Start-up Mentality
I think it’s interesting that while Rich’s business is not a start-up in terms of cashflow, it’s definitely a start-up in terms of age and speed of operation/change. It’s clear Rich runs many aspects of his business by the seat of his pants. He’s always innovating and changing things based on the current situation and the advice of his employees and mentors. It’s strategic, but it’s dynamic like a start-up company.
Many of Rich’s actions I observed over the weekend validated his point about focusing on cashflow even to the detriment of current clients. Yes he upset some of his current clients over the weekend, but he also generated another half a million in sales by leveraging his existing content for marketing.
Because of his authenticity, previous track record, affability and the over-delivering of content in the online modules, I do not think he has done any damage to his credibility. Then again I could be wrong and time will tell. No doubt Rich will adapt to whatever the market demonstrates to him and will continue to succeed.
This article is already too long so I’ll continue the lessons learnt from the Rich Schefren seminar in my next piece. As always I welcome your comments.
If you are interested in watching a recording of the live seminar from the weekend you can do so here:
When did I become a journalist?