In the last couple of months, several developers have reached out to me, asking if I can provide advise to them on how to set up a successful freelancing business. Truthfully, I was a bit taken a back, until I realised that I am living proof that it is possible to have a successful full time freelancing business - and have the flexibility and lifestyle that freelancing brings!
With this in mind, I am in the early stages of looking into becoming a mentor for other people wanting to break into the freelancing world. As a result, I have been doing some research into what others have done and how mentor.
I've noticed recently a string of Mentors advertising Webinar's on Facebook, basically explaining how they made it as Mentors and you can too - and asking you to join them on their live Webinar.
Naturally I signed up - and as part of it I had to enter in my email address. I didn't mind - I thought it would be a good chance to receive fresh content from top Mentors.
The first Webinar was at 8pm the next day. I was even nervous initially logging into the Webinar, getting ready to listen in to a live recording. Within about 2 minutes I quickly noticed it was prerecorded. Truthfully, it didn't bother me that it was - why should a top Mentor give up an hour or two a day to do the same Webinar over and over again - but why lie to us and make it feel like it is live!
The second Webinar I signed up for was even worse. When I signed up, the Webinar was supposedly starting in 15 minutes. I selected that time - but to make matters worse, a prerecording came on of the Mentor explaining to remove all distractions and to get ready for the live recording. He even mentioning stopping any other downloading from happening - such as streaming live TV - to ensure I got the best possible connection!
The second Webinar was nothing short of a lie. It referenced the year as 2016 at one point - and even had a "live chat" of 400+ people asking questions to make it seem live.
The content of the first Webinar was in places excellent. The second smelled like a scam - trying to sell consulting, but never really answering the questions on when to do the actual work and what to charge! Instead just explaining how to get clients, with no substance on what the actual work will be, nor how the billing model would work.
Both actually claimed that they could build semi complex websites with no coding experience and as an experienced web developer I struggled to believe that.
In the end, they were both trying to sell their "systems" for big money - around $1500 for both - neither really providing any honesty and very little substance. I closed both Webinar's when I realised I had received very little answers and ended with more questions than I started with.
And to make matters worse - the newsletters that I was excited to sign up for, were nothing more than an email funnel, trying to get me to sign up to their system. Again, I didn't receive any fresh content that I had craved in the first place.
The emails I received seemed like they were delivered to me personally and I received several over a 24 hour period. One tried to tell me that some people complained they hadn't been able to see the live recording and offered me a recording of it. I actually watched it again and noticed the "viewer count" was at 401. I've been programming 13 years, so I know that trick - it was obvious 400 had been added to the counter!
My frustration isn't so much with what they are selling - for some people, it might be worth paying for the information they have. What frustrated me was the lies. Why make it seem live - why not just say what it is. Why sign me up to a newsletter only to spam me with sales funeral material - rather than actual content.
The ironic thing is, I wouldn't mind paying money if I respected the mentor and felt I was going to get real content out of it. But it's pretty hard to win over any respect by lying to me. The unfortunate thing is, the only people who will sign up to those systems are likely so gullible that they won't realise they are buying into a system which doesn't have any real substance and they will end being told that it didn't work out for them, because they "didn't work hard enough".
I am planning on making a move into Mentoring - I want to share my knowledge to help people move into the freelancing world. However, unlike what I have seen so far, I plan on doing it with honesty and integrity - and certainly won't use these lying marketing techniques to gain clients.
As always in life - proceed with caution and be aware. Always look for substance in anything you read or watch - and if you don't get it within the first couple of minutes, chances are it is something to avoid.
And just be aware of tricks and lies. If someone is happy to lie to get your business, chances are they aren't someone you want to be in business with!
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Did you know, I am now offering mentoring for those looking to get into freelancing?
Click here to learn more about my Mentorship Programme.