Entrepreneur Coaching, Hotline Bling, and Almost Losing $5000
Let’s take any personal development book, doesn’t matter from what decade, I guarantee you it has a section in there about the importance of who you surround yourself with and who you choose to learn from.
There is almost nobody, and I repeat nobody, that has risen to fame, fortune, or high public esteem that has made it solely by themselves. They all had somebody in their corner helping them hone their skill and preparing them to go out and fight.
Now these individuals that you have in your corner, whatever you may call them, coaches, trainers, benefactors, or that guy down the street who just happens to own a small company and is willing to take you under his wing; are mentors.
And as entrepreneurs, we need mentors.
We need these individuals to share their knowledge, their expertise, and their social capital. Without them and the passing of their knowledge, the well of new and knowledgeable entrepreneurs could all but dry up.
So as wantrepreneurs (wannabe entrepreneurs), my partner and I wanted and needed a mentor to help us physically manifest our desire to start our own company.
I decided to do a quick search just to see what was out there.
Along Came Entrepreneur Coaching
Entrepreneur Coaching was a relatively easy find. Their name was exactly what my google search comprised and I had previous dealings with the Entrepreneur franchise in the past.
Everything I read on their site was exactly what I was looking for.
Entrepreneur Coaches understand that it isn’t about them. They place their focus on helping clients discover areas
of improvement, set goals, and define a practical plan for taking action. By keeping constant focus on the client’s
performance, graduates of Entrepreneur Coaching not only achieve their goals, they become people who achieve
After reading that, I signed up immediately and excitedly emailed my partner.
Obligatory “Get to know you” Worksheet
So after handing them my email address and some other personal details, I booked a time for them to give me a preliminary call.
The call was pretty easy, one of those tell me about yourself calls just to make sure you’re serious and find out a bit about what you are truly wanting out of the program.
Now because I wasn’t going about building a business alone I was asked to make sure I include my partner on the next step–a small questionnaire that would help them better understand our goals, both business and personal.
We really poured our heart and soul into answering those questions. It must have spent 2+ hours internalizing and putting down on paper our deepest wants and goals in life and being very honest and open, not only with each other, which I think brought us closer as a team, but also with the Entrepreneur Coaching staff.
The Final Step
It was now time for a call with the Program Director. This here was the last stop before actually making it into the program and having what we desperately wanted in our hands.
The call started with me and we then conferenced in my partner.
Everything started off like I would have imagined, hitting all the usual notes; why you want to be an entrepreneur, what made you want to make the switch, what market are you looking to enter, and how we planned to execute our vision.
As you can imagine, my partner and I were on a roll here. We were basically selling the program to ourselves. Our answers to questions started to really come from emotional places, places of pure desire for a better life, a life free of the rat race and institutional validation for our worth to society.
We were perfect for this program, partners who understand the risks of entrepreneurship, partners who knew each other and knew what each other wanted out of life, and more importantly to the Program Director, partners who would do just about anything to truly become the captains of their own ship and be entrepreneurs in charge of the financial future.
Seeing our willingness to be a part of the program he moved on from selling the program to closing the sale.
This is what he asked from us:
1. Begin Today — make a commitment to yourself and your partner
2. Time Investment — understand that there is a significant amount of time to starting and running a business.
3. Financial Investment — an investment not only to starting the business but a $5000 dollar investment to be a part of the program for 6 months.
4. Don’t Give Up — This was a three-way street. We won’t give up on each other, we won’t give up on them, and they won’t give up on us.
Everything was sounding absolutely great and let me tell you, I was ready to pounce at this opportunity until my partner asked a few well-placed questions.
That Smelly Smell That Smells Smelly
Mentor/mentee relationships aren’t something that just happen overnight with one cold email, they have to be predicated on mutual respect for each other and more importantly, for the craft.
But, how do we know if there is a level or mutual respect for each other and the risky yet rewarding game of entrepreneurship?
It’s actually quite simple.
Neither of you comes to the table unqualified and unprepared.
As someone who is looking to learn from an entrepreneur and grow as one myself, I want to be able to see a track record of success.
And this leads me to our first gripe with the program.
One of the well-placed questions my partner asked was what that the actual process was of assigning us a coach.
And as it turns out, we had zero say in who our mentor/coach was going to be. The coach would be assigned to us purely based on our time schedule and the schedule of the coach. If that coach was unable to meet with us for whatever reason then we could talk to another coach.
We didn’t like that at all, time for more questions. (Not verbatim)
Us — Okay then, how do we know that our coach has experience with starting and running a SaaS company? We want to build a tech company and we want to talk to someone that understands how to do that.
Him — Guys, starting a business is starting a business. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the same principles.
Us — Look, we don’t feel comfortable handing over five grand if we can’t look this guy or lady up and see that they have demonstrated success starting and running a SaaS company. I want to type their name into google and see what companies they have started, owned, and sold.
Him — You won’t find them and that’s the beauty of it. The companies that our coaches have founded during their career aren’t under their names.
This back and forth went on for a while and didn’t sit right with us.
We then asked if we could discuss this with each other and give him an answer in 24 to 48 hours. It just didn’t make sense to us that we had to make a $5000 dollar decision based on one hour long call.
He was very hesitant to allow us to do this.
By this time my partner had had enough and hung up his end of the call.
The conversation was basically over.
There is so much more that I could talk about but I really just want to hit on a few points here.
*Disclaimer: I am in no way bashing Entrepreneur Coaching. I have no evidence for or against them, only what I experienced over a week long period.
1. The fact that we couldn’t choose or have any say in who our coach would be was unacceptable.
2. After telling us that if our coach was not available to talk to us we would be able to talk to another coach and seek advice from them, we started to think this was just a massive call center where you could call for advice… a hotline.
3. If this is just a hotline then these coaches are just doing it as a job. We wanted to learn from a seasoned entrepreneur, not someone punching the clock.
4. If you go to their website and right click on any coaches profile picture and search google for that image, you will not find very much. You will just about only see links to the entrepreneur coaching website and that’s it.
5. If you look on LinkedIn for the coaches, you will not find any.
6. If you search up the Program Director on google you will see that he was also the Program Director of the Rich Dad Poor Dad Coaching. My partner was a part of that program and ended up dropping out due to the negligence of his coach.
My feelings really boil down to this:
1. Entrepreneur Coaching is trying to scale the unscalable. I mean that might work for CEOs doing one-on-one meetings with all his employees for five minutes at a time (Gary Vanerchuck), but it doesn’t work for entrepreneurship coaching/mentorship. These relationships are built not just bought, and definitely not transferable like customer service.
2. Be authentic. If you are going to put profile pictures of your coaches on your website with their first name and last initial then I better be able to look up that coach and see their track record. As 21st century human beings we are pros at sniffing out scams, people selling to us, sketchiness, and, all in all, unauthenticity.
Unfortunately, this has made my partner and I very weary of so called coaches and mentors.
We, or, at least, I, will only be receptive to a relationship that grows organically. I am not opposed to paying someone for their time and effort but that relationship can’t be bought, it must be grown first before money transfers hands.
At the end of the day, I’m glad I experienced this, especially with my partner by my side.
Without him, I would have lost $5000.