Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rich Dad Education

I attended one of the Rich Dad Education “teaser” “seminars” in Dallas this week. My perspective in going was perhaps unique among the attendees. I give seminars and was interested in experiencing a small part of the RDE business model. I had no intention of buying anything beyond. I knew there would be selling involved, but this was old school 1980s hard sell, not unlike something you would find at a MLM seminar.

I can’t add much to what others have said about what happens at these seminars, except maybe from the perspective of the business model. I counted the people there and noted about how many signed up for the $500 training. Then, there’s the other training. It’s a good business model, if you choose to do business this way.

First of all, it was deceptive advertising that got the attendees out. The advertising did not say anything about real estate. It said they’d be teaching you “what the rich dads tell their children that the poor dads do not.” In looking around, and talking to my seated neighbors a bit, it was evident to me that these people were looking for a short cut in life. They were expecting a “rich man” to share his “secrets” with them tonight.

They probably would not come out to hear one of us who own one or a few measly properties. They fall for the over-the-top personality and star power of the mega-rich celebrity - even if one does say so themselves – people who would never have a cup of coffee with them.

Speaking of personality, this was a carefully crafted seminar, from the announcement of “we’re starting late due to traffic” (nothing unusual about the traffic that night) to herding us into the front seats (to establish their ability to control us) to the embarrassing “I’m learning to be rich” or some such message on our stickers. Nothing spontaneous about it. No questions allowed since “there’s so much information to share.” No audio or video allowed since “we’re giving away so much valuable intellectual property.” The speaker was Jessie Connors, whose claim to fame is she was on season one of The Apprentice. That, plus her attractive looks, were all that was needed to pull rank on most of the attendees and set up the intimidation from the start.
She showed pictures of her with celebrities – all byproducts of being on the show – and certainly intimidating to some. I can see Robert K. sitting at home watching The Apprentice and seeing his next “trainer.”

She slipped in many “offhand” comments that were clearly part of the act – that she didn’t attend college, spends time in Florida, Europe, wherever, that “you don’t want to look back and kick yourself”, “I started like this”, etc. Then, there was the repeated insincere flattery: “but you all know about that.”

Her favorite thing to do was to say something and then say “do you guys want an example?”. Then, act dumbfounded when someone chirped from row 3 “yes”. She acted like the whole audience just shouted “YES!” all at once. And then she proceeded to give the example she was going to give all along.

Now, people that get on The Apprentice are not simple. Her folksy act meant she was acting less smart than she is in order to have the people relate to her.

She even slipped in a reference to a Warren Buffet book. The believers in this audience will never be reading a Warren Buffet book so all she had to do was reference it and people would believe her message was similar to Warren’s. Nice!

Some people were buying the whole thing, believing she is super-smart in real estate. Folks, she was only throwing around some terms. If you have some charisma and spent 1 day with the head of education at RDE coaching you, you could GIVE that seminar. Remember, there were no questions she had to answer! She was just the speaker here.

But that is the problem, now isn’t it. These people going back to “buy now before the cost goes up” because we “usually do this just in blah, blah, blah, but we’re holding a special workshop in Dallas on ___” do not want to do what it really takes and are all too happy to turn over their dreams to anyone who says they will help them. They don’t want to READ. They don’t want to work. They don’t even want to research the internet before they plunk down $500 (the “cost of a TV” Jessie reminded us a few times.). And they don’t want to crawl (i.e., get 1 property) before they run (be ultra-rich).

Jessie said she had a lot of income property and gave some examples. This is just a hunch, but she could get away with NOT actually owning those properties. Now, I’m not saying there’s no property out there in her name, but if there is, there’s no proof she did it using the RD approach or that RDE didn’t deed it over to her to cover that base so she could do the seminars without lying too bad. Who knows?

No, I cannot say I took the $500 3-days of training (which, in reading posts on the internet seems like a waste) and you can say therefore I don’t know if it’s valuable, but I could say back that you also did not try this-or-that class to see if it is valuable also. I wouldn’t be looking for a tidbit or 2 of value, while sorting through the selling messages for 3 days, for my $500 and my 3 days of time.

I would advise:

1. Get past the idea that there’s a magic formula you haven’t tapped into and get mentally prepared to provide value to your fellow human beings for your return
2. Find out which, of the many ways there are to make it, will work best for YOU
3. Learn about money and ROI (by reading and self-study)
4. Assuming you’re looking into real estate, learn about real estate (by reading and self-study)
a. Whatever you’re looking into, find books, and people doing it who will help you, who are not into manipulation techniques (my book and advice for example if you're doing consulting)
5. Target 1 transaction that’s profitable
6. Repeat

Monday, January 4, 2010

Should I stay or should I grow now?

One of the major decisions an independent consultant entertains is whether to stick with a single, fulltime, lone-ranger client situation or focus on multi-person projects only. You can pursue both strategies at once if you have a flexible anchor client and are willing to work hard, but let’s face it, some leadership positions during intense project activity times require fulltime effort. So do some clients who may not have that level of need, but are only comfortable with that manner of working. So, should you take it/stay or go to pursue something bigger for your consultancy?

Some of the factors that should induce you to stay:

1. It is your business model – nothing wrong with that!
2. The client is local and you prefer your own bed
3. The technology to be used is an entry point to a career-enhancing opportunity
4. The prospect is an entry point into a career-enhancing industry.
5. The technology to be used is an entry point into a career-enhancing technology.
6. The client location is highly desirable, either from a personal standpoint or from a career-enhancing standpoint.
7. The application is an entry point into a career-enhancing application.
8. You see that the personal service you are providing can lead to multi-consultant services from your firm following this service.
9. The work is for a charity or a small firm doing good for society that you want to support.
10. Despite your best efforts following the direction of my book, you’ve been on the bench for longer than your comfort level

These are similar to the factors I present in chapter 7 of the book where I talk about when you would reduce your rate. This is no surprise since, for many, taking the lone-ranger situation is tantamount to reducing your (overall) rate by limiting your ability to grow multi-person projects.