She pulled up to the Drive-Thru and asked for a Frappuccino.
There was a long pause.
“Ma’am, we don’t sell Frappuccinos here, that’s Starbucks.”
“Oh well. I’d like a Frappuccino.”
There was a longer pause.
“We do make Frolattes, which are similar, so would you like to try one of those?”
“Yah, whatever. Medium.”
When it comes to bringing your gifts into the world through business, there’s a Frappuccino on offer.
It’s been accepted as the standard by which all other frozen beverages are measured, and it’s consumed at alarming levels in certain circles. It seems that everyone is so busy consuming it that even those who want to offer something else are trying to justify their Frolatte options and getting “whatever”s back.
Let’s talk about the Business Frappuccino.
Currently, the Business Frappuccino includes modules and group coaching and killer marketing and endless testimonials and people who say that it changed their lives/beings/finances/income/hair color/all of the above. It costs two grand, give or take. (If you think I’m referring to one specific person or program, think again — this is the standard, not the singularity!)
Worse, and more expensive, there’s the Mastermind Frappuccino. Each one starts with the price tag. (If it costs less than $10k, no one will take you seriously, apparently?) Once it’s priced at $20,000 to $45,000 and the creator has thrown in at least nine months’ worth of activities, peeps will automatically assume it’s good. After all, who would pay that much money for something that isn’t good????
For good measure, Mastermind Frappuccinos toss in a panel of 1-17 experts to speak to participants, throw in a few retreats in exotic locales and VOILA! Those who take the plunge assume they’ll find their ‘tribe’ and the money invested will come flowing back in no time at all.
Both these Business Frappuccinos hurt humans.
When there’s a program full of one to twenty-three THOUSAND people, it’s overwhelming and exhausting to join the conversation. So many people go quiet, opting out of the ‘community’ aspects of the offering. (Or at least, I do.)
Worse, overwhelm also takes place at the curricular level. In a recent Business Frappuccino I fell for and purchased (DAMMIT THE SUGARY ENDLESS TESTIMONIALS MARKETING WON AGAIN), over 3 hours’ worth of videos were used TO INTRODUCE THE REST OF THE LESSONS. Yes, that means that over 180 minutes’ of video were devoted to getting me ready to watch the rest of the videos.
In Business Frappuccinos, more is better. (Because more is MORE, and how could you not want More?)
More bonuses, more extras unlocked after 30 days, more treasure troves and chests and vaults full of old materials that will eat up 5-12 hours a week with endless audios and videos and case studies. More exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More e-mails. More phone calls by staff members and follow-up e-mails to ask how I’d rate those ‘helpful’ phone calls. More scalability, more profit. More, more, MOOOOOORE.
The Mastermind Frappuccino has been made scalable as well, so where 5-10 people would have fit nicely there are 20, 30, 50, or more humans vying for the attention of a guru, ‘thought leader,’ or expert in person.
If I have to take one more call from a past or present client in tears because they’ve been duped into buying a Business Frappuccino, I may start kicking things. Past and present clients report dropping ten grand here, two grand there, seven grand for that one…and they only tell me once the money is spent. Once they’re in debt and their partners don’t know. Once they’re so tired they’re daydreaming of working at (tell me you get the irony, here) Starbucks.
It’s heartbreaking. It’s exhausting. It’s a sugary-sweet, fat-saturated blend that tastes SO good for the first few sips, but that doesn’t lead to long-term business health or sustainability.
Please. Let’s stop with the Frappuccinos.
If you can’t answer these 4 questions clearly and directly with a resounding “YES,” walk away from the buy button.
1.) Would I follow the leader of this program to hell and back?
If you’ve just stumbled across a webinar or series of articles or videos and you have no experience with the leader of the course or program, don’t buy (yet). Sit back and watch. Take in all the free content he or she has created for at least three months so you can take a true measure of their willingness to walk in the world as a model of whatever it is they’re teaching. (Also, if they’re subtly teaching workaholism via MASSIVE upsurges in PRODUCTIVITY and NEXT LEVEL shit like AUTHENTICITY and ALTERNATING ALL CAPS KEYWORDS, run away.)
2.) Would I take this course or mastermind if it cost twice as much?
Your willingness to pay double your money means that you’ll probably get tremendous value out of whatever it is you’ll be learning during the duration of the experience.
3.) Do other people who’ve had experience with this person say great things when that leader is not around?
The more in-person (note: not online, in large Facebook groups full of strangers) advice about buying you can get from people you trust, the easier it is to sign up.
…and when you find threads of ‘OH GOD THE HORROR,’ ask more questions. Are peeps objecting to small things (the hotel where we stayed for the retreat wasn’t my favorite) or huge things (he/she was unavailable at the times stated)? Are they complaining about details (the graphics could use improvement) or major issues (there’s a lottery involved to be able to ask a question during the coaching time)?
You can always find people who love and who hate a leader who’s been around for more than a year, so hone in on the specific objections your beloved and trusted peeps have to this person. Decide from there.
4.) Does every fiber of my being want this course or mastermind/group thing?
Take a class because it speaks to you deeply, not because you want others to go “OOOOH” when you tell them about it later. If your primary concern in taking a class is to make others jealous or to say you’ve spent $X,000 on it, walk away. You can do better.
If every part of you wants to go for it AND you would pay double to take part AND your colleagues trust the shit out of it AND you can accept the negatives others have addressed, give that class or mastermind your money.
If not, save it, ’cause it’s only a Frappuccino trying to seduce you into sucking it down.
Even as I tell you to avoid the Frappuccinos, please know that we’ve all consumed them. We’ve all gone, “THIS IS GONNA BE AMAZING,” only to be disappointed at the absolute lack of content, of original ideas, or of actionable advice that was on the other side of hitting the ‘buy’ button. We’ve all gotten to the paid side of a thing and gone, “Shit. Whoops.”
Try not to be bitter. It’s taken 7 years in business for me to even give this phenomenon a name, and sometimes I still want Frappuccinos. They’re simple and quick and that cash flow is such a nice hit for my ego and also they come in s’mores flavor.
But lentils and vegetables and green smoothies and hydration and rest are what you need for long term health in your body. (Imagine trying to live solely on Caramel Waffle Cone beverages for the next week, let alone the rest of your life…)
In business, you need people who get you, and questions that help you grow, and deep support when you’re in the thick of working through your hardest moments, which are all things Frappuccinos can’t give. You need trust, and time, and finding your way through tough bits, which is rarely as simple or straightforward as the bullet points outlining the AMAZING changes headed your way RIGHT NOW if you’ll only SIGN HERE would have you believe.
Business health is hard work, but it’s worth it.
Further: you might be in a season in which nothing is wrong or broken, in which business is flowing along and you’ve got no gnawing anxieties about your future. Treasure those moments, as they’re fleeting and your ambition or desire to learn more or need for _______ will flare up soon enough.
If you’re enjoying your business, just enjoy it.
And if you’re seeking…
I hope you find what you’re looking for, and I hope that what you receive is deeply nourishing, fulfilling, and meaningful.
With all my love —
P.S. Since I’m not one to rail against shit without offering an alternative, Steer Your Ship is my answer to the Frappuccino Mastermind.
It’s the most potent and transformative thing I offer, so if you’ve been following me for at least three months and you dig what I do, now’s the time to find the dollars and put down your deposit.
If you’d like for me to hook you up with peeps who have taken Steer Your Ship so you can talk to ’em and ask about the good and the horrible bits (they’ll probably tell you about the crabs that were NOT advertised as part of the Costa Rican scenery), I’m happy to share contact details.