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[Nyerges and his Significant Other recently attended the “Daymond John Success Formula” training. This is their report. Nyerges is a journalist, author of 16 books, and founder of the Self-Reliance Foundation. His website is www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com]
Like millions of other people, we enjoy the popular Shark Tank show every Friday night where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to “sharks” and seek an investment in their companies.
So I was naturally quite interested when I got a postcard in the mail from Daymond John of Shark Tank, offering a free seminar on how to be successful just like him. Daymond is the quiet dapper shark, usually the last to make an offer, and often willing to help the underdog. Wouldn’t it be great to meet Daymond and learn to be just like him?
Naturally, I signed up and spent 2 hours at the Alhambra Hilton. It was free, and who wouldn’t want to be successful like Daymond. At this free event, I was told that I would learn to utilize high-level entrepreneurial skills. activate my own entrepreneurial plan of attack, develop my professional networks, realize increased income, and much more.
How could I go wrong? When, we arrived, we were first told that Daymond would not be there. OK. He cannot be everywhere. Still, I expected to get some great ideas, and I did, but the program was primarily a high-powered pitch for the 3-day seminar called “Daymond John’s Success Formula” where we’d then learn how to now apply all the skills that Daymond uses in his businesses. Naturally, if Daymond uses these skills, I’d be successful too if I took the course. It was only $1,900 for the 3 days. Still, a bit steep, I thought, but the pitchmen told me that only the amateurs think about what something costs. I should be asking “how much will it yield” if I want to be a true entrepreneur.
What the heck! I’m not getting any younger and I’d probably learn internet marketing skills a lot quicker in a 3-day focused workshop than I would by trial and error, or by enrolling in junior college courses.
What sold me was that they said they offered a money-back guarantee if I did not earn the cost of the admission back in a few months by applying the skills I would learn. I knew it would be tax-deductible for me, and the clincher was that I could bring a friend for no extra cost. I didn’t ask about the details of the money-back guarantee, because, as they told me, “don’t plan to fail, plan to succeed.” OK, here is my credit card!
We arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on a Friday morning at the Ontario Doubletree near the airport. I was looking forward to meeting the one and only Daymond, but we were first shown a video where Daymond told us all to enjoy the program, but that he couldn’t be everywhere. OK.
The presenter got everyone all fired up about all the new things we’d be learning, and how we too could be the next king of belts, or queen of the internet. Everyone is excited and the presenter is dynamic, telling us that we too could follow the path of the successful Daymond John, that we are all indeed lucky that we joined the program this day.
He told us that he was going to cover a lot of material, and he did, and I filled page after page in my notebook, the type of material that you’d get in a junior college course on internet marketing, but all jazzed up. Lots of topics were addressed, and I had the feeling that we were jumping from tip of iceberg to tip of iceberg. Most questions were deferred, often with “we simply don’t have the time to go into the details of that in our short time together.”
We were told about the necessity of knowing your personal “why”—That is, why I do what I do. Understand that before all else. We were told about sources of income to start a business, choosing a product to sell and knowing the competition, how to identify the audience, and a little about how to sell on Amazon.
Before day one was finished, we were given a sheet to find out our credit rating. Why do they need to know that, I asked. There was no clear answer, except that if we were going to change our lives, and take a risk, we had to free up money. I thought that was good – I was going to learn how to find money to finance my future business ventures.
Day two arrived quickly, and once we had the recap of the day before, we again we were paraded through a series of basic business concepts, some great videos, books to read, and a great pep talk about how we too could succeed if we only had good business mentors, a good business plan, and followed all of Daymond’s instructions.
We were told to adapt to the changes of the future. We discussed the cute animated movie “Who Moved My Cheese?” which illustrates that the market is always in flux, and that we should not waste time over a job (or profession) that is disappearing, but just get moving and find the next opportunity.
We spent more time on Amazon marketing and how to do private labeling. We discussed the 3 ways to increase profits (cut costs – the easiest, raise prices, or sell more). We discussed what it meant to create a brand, and (my favorite) the six ways to influence customers to continue to do business with you: reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus.
At lunch on day two, my wife and I had our personal 30 minute consultation. I was looking forward to this, where someone on Daymond’s team would tell me how to kick-start my business ventures and start on the path to success. The consultation was a sham, and very disappointing. It was not a consultation. The consultant had the papers I’d filled out in his hand, though I don’t think he actually read them. He told me that if I had not succeeded on my own after all these years, it was pretty clear I needed additional training from Daymond. He showed me the brochure for advanced training, where supposedly I would finally get to meet the famous Daymond in person, for a three day intensive jump-start of my business, all for about $20,000. Oh, but again, I would get to take a friend for free! But, I reasoned, I already paid $2,000 to jumpstart my business. I realized then that they didn’t have me check my credit scores to jumpstart my business, but in order to make sure I could get the $20,000 to pay for the “advanced” programming. I was disappointed. This was not about my business plan, it was all about Daymond’s business plan.
Day two ended with more videos, and charts, and jumping from point to point but never delving deep enough for it to be useful. I was beginning to think that it really would have been more productive to sign up for a junior college’s internet business class.
I’d wanted at least to learn how to do drop-shipping on Amazon from this course. I learned how to drop ship, but that going that route would not get me high on the Amazon rating, because it would mean they could not ship my product via Prime. In order to do Prime, I’d have to buy the product in bulk and ship to Amazon so they could fulfil orders immediately. OK, so I learned one thing that I would probably not do.
On Sunday – the final day – I realized that there were no secrets or magic pills in any of the Daymond John success methods. It was simply implementing all the skills that any successful business does, automatically. We also learned a neat rope trick where two people were connected by two separate ropes. Each person had a loop on each wrist, and each rope was looped around the other person’s rope. We were told to find a way to extricate from the other person, a task that initially seemed impossible. There was a simple solution, and once someone got it, we all followed suit. The lesson here was that you can’t know everything but you can see the others who succeed, and simply follow them. It was their way of telling us that if we were to succeed, we needed the next level of the Daymond John success training. Plus, I learned a neat trick that I’d be able to do the next time I’m teaching at a summer camp –though I didn’t come to a $2000 seminar to learn a rope trick.
I learned a lot in those 3 days. I learned that I already knew most of the business principles they shared with us, and I realized that even in three days of talking about the tips of many icebergs, there were no magic pills to be found. Just more hard work and perseverance. I also met many excellent people with whom I interacted, and have continued to stay in touch. I consider $2,000 a lot of money, and I must admit I expected a bit more for my money, and I more than slightly resented that so much of the three days was simply a sales pitch for the next level. I did not pay the $20,000 for the advanced training, since I thought it would only serve Daymond John’s business plan, but not mine.
Still, for someone just starting out on a business of their own, and who has never studied basic business, this could really be just the inspirational “crash course” that they need. But in my case, it was an expensive, though highly-entertaining, three-day business pep talk.
I will still watch “The Shark Tank,” and I suppose I still like Daymond. At the end of the day, I realized that what really drew me to the “Success Formula” training was the star-appeal of the dapper Daymond. Let’s face it— Daymond is successful, charming, beautiful, and rich. Still, everything he teaches in his seminar can be found better and cheaper at a junior college business course.