August 17, 2023

Maybe I'm Not the Problem: Maggie Patterson @bsfreebusiness

Maggie Patterson is a vocal advocate for humane business practices rooted in respect, empathy and trust. She’s the host of the BS-Free Service Business podcast, and the co-host of Duped: The Dark Side of Online Business.

In this episode we are SPILLING ALL THE TEA. Maggie and I talk about: 

  1. Self help, cults, and MLMS
  2. Scammy online business practices
  3. Mystery offers
  4. “If I can do it you can do it”
  5. Steven Hassan’s BITE model of culty practices
  6. How to avoid getting scammed
  7. How to be ethical (what does it even mean)

Maggie is the editorial director at Scoop Studios and the creator of BS-Free Business. With two decades of experience, Maggie has spent her entire career in client services and has been a successful entrepreneur for over 15 years. 

Maggie works with service business and agency owners to build bs-free businesses that put trust first in everything they do. 

To get in touch with Maggie, you can check out the following links: 

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Kristen Carder 0:07
Hey, what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to a new bi weekly series on the I have ADHD podcast called, maybe I’m not the problem. This is a different type of podcast where I have deep conversations with therapists, psychologists, and trauma informed coaches about how our pasts, our upbringing, our parents, or teachers or traumas or narrative urgencies, all of that have impacted us and how maybe, just maybe we are not the problem.

Now, this is not ADHD specific content. So if that’s what you’re looking for, just click on one of the over 200 episodes of The I have ADHD podcast and enjoy. You can expect this bi-weekly series of Maybe I’m Not The Problem to be a casual, long form and really vulnerable conversation with someone that I deeply respect. For detailed information about today’s guest, check out the episode show notes for their bio and links. And now, let’s get started.

So I am really pleased to talk to you today I have been dying to just get all of the dirt and like chit chat about all the things with you. Specifically, I’ve been following you I don’t know for a couple of months, maybe six months. And just I’m sure as this podcast goes on, we’ll talk about like the the journey that I’ve kind of been on, which was like really buying into all of the scammy stuff and really being gross and scammy myself and then okay, I wouldn’t say scammy. But being gross, I would say. And then having like a little bit of a reckoning and being like ill and then waking up and looking around and oh my gosh. So I just cannot wait to get into it. I’m just so excited. So I really appreciate you being here. And I I like did a deep dive on your Instagram and just wrote down all of these like spicy. Actually not even spicy just like very normal things that you’re saying.

Maggie Patterson 2:17
That’s a big, sometimes taking the spicy because they’re counterpoint to the industry. But then it’s like, they’re actually just like how normal business is done.

Kristen Carder 2:25
Totally what in the world? It’s shocking to me. How we’ve, like in the online business world is specifically coaching because that’s what I know as far as online. Yeah. How we’ve just tried to like really make it about, like, credibility doesn’t really matter. Training doesn’t really matter. Like your expertise doesn’t really matter. You don’t need a website you don’t like you just like show up and sell. And it’s like, wow, it’s wild.

Maggie Patterson 2:57
And unfortunately, like a lot of this targets people that are so new, so they don’t even really know. They’re so fresh in their business. They’re financing it with their personal money like they just, they get duped. Yeah, it’s wild.

Kristen Carder 3:11
Totally. So tell us just a little bit about who you are how you have gotten into kind of calling things out. I’m very interested in that. And we’ll just have a real casual conversation. I’ll inject a bunch of my own story in here. But I’m I’m really curious about like, How did you land here?

Maggie Patterson 3:33
How did I get here? That’s a really great question. And I get asked that question a lot, because people will find me and be like, I didn’t know you. I don’t like you just came from nowhere. And I’m like, Oh, I’ve been here all along. So I actually this month was 18 months of I started my own business when I had my son who’s now turning 19. Freelancer. And you know, I freelance for a really long time found myself in about 2013 in the online business world through a series of events and I was like, I want to make some changes my own business, I want to make a little more money. I was looking to work more with like less local clients, more clients, you know, across the US or across Canada, not just being confined and I kind of fell into the online business world. And let me tell you, when I got here, I was enchanted. I was like, wow, this is a whole new world. And then then I got in real deep so I you know, I made the business investments. I had the coaches I did all the things you’re supposed to do. And because I was a seasoned business owners I am I was like, Wait a second. They know what they’re talking about. Yeah. And then I had the experience a couple years in at the time I had a business partner. We worked for a couple very, you know, seven figure coaches in the industry. And seeing behind that curtain like just was like that nail My the coffin, so to speak, I literally was like, This is not okay. And my business partner and I used to have these conversations behind the scenes because I thought we were working with these clients, but I was getting a little more vocal and a little more vocal, a little more vocal about things I saw in that were business practices, like I had been talking about, like the problems with affiliate marketing, and she’s like, you’re gonna get us fired. And I’m like, I don’t care, right. And we ended up terminating all of those clients over time, because it just was so out of alignment with our values. But, you know, so that’s like, 2015 2016. And I’m just getting slowly louder, and louder and louder and louder and louder. Nobody wants to listen to that conversation until about the year 2020 2021. Yeah,

Kristen Carder 5:50
I believe that now. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So 18 years of business experience that is significant. Like that’s a leg to stand on?

Maggie Patterson 6:02
Yeah, I do. You know, I have a lot of experience, working as a service business owner, before I was four, I had my own business, I worked in a PR consulting firm, for five years had worked my way up the ladder, I’d worked in a tech company. So I had a lot of experience coming into this. And I knew, from a marketing perspective, because I’ve always had these, you know, some of the biggest brands in the world. I’ve worked on their marketing, you know, midsize brands, small brands, tech companies, like, I’ve had a lot of hands on experience. So I was able to look really critically at the marketing and sales practices and be like, wait, what, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is not a this is done. Like, yeah, this is not all normal, even though we’re taught it’s very normal.

Kristen Carder 6:45
Why do you think it’s normalized in the online worlds?

Maggie Patterson 6:48
Well, the online world is this little love child of MLM type behaviors. Along with a lot of self help, there’s a lot, there’s a heavy dose of kind of that individualized self determination, pull yourself up by your bootstraps that is infused into all of online business, never any acknowledgment of any systemic issues ever, ever, ever, ever, right. And then you add in, you know, this heavy, hardcore influence of these very toxically, masculine internet marketers that really have created this industry, they were really this crossover of those three things. And so we got to a point where things have just become really, really normal, like you show up here, you think, Oh, my coach says, I have to do this. And then next thing, you know, you start doing things that you’re probably wouldn’t have done in any other realm, but it’s normal for you to do it. And it becomes it has become the status quo of the industry. So many times, I will raise a point I will say like, why would you do your payment plans that way, just as an example, and people will push back and push back and push back? And I’m like, I’m not gonna argue with you about this. You’ll get here in your own time. But the reality is, is I’m right. And there’s always room for nuance, but there are certain things like the things people fight me the hardest on, I’m like, I know, I’m right. Yeah. And then like a year later, they’ll come to me, they’ll be like,

Kristen Carder 8:23
so I think it might have been right. Okay, so I actually wrote down that quote, for us to discuss online businesses, the love child of self help MLMs and cults. Yep. And I see it everywhere. I see it in. Oh, gosh, I just I’ve really been thinking through in the last week, like, how much do I want to self disclose on this in this conversation, because I was trained as a coach, and oh, MFG, there’s so much to discuss. But about, I don’t know, a couple years into my, like, affiliation with I just really began to notice just some very distinct culty vibes. And to the point where I was reading books on cults, and the one book called Terror, love and brainwashing, fantastic book, by the way, and she like kind of mapped out the structure of the cult, and I was able to be like, Oh, this is so and so. Oh, and this is so so and just being able to see the pyramid that that creates in an organization to be able to see that and be like, Wait, what am I participating in? What’s going on here? How am I contributing to this and how am I like perpetuating this? It has been a real reckoning on my part.

Maggie Patterson 9:59
Yeah, and I think Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter what organization it is, but or, you know, what your affiliation is, is choices and experience that is very common across online business because we are stuck in this. There’s so many layers to this. And I mean, am I going to go around labeling and saying, Oh, this organization, this certification? This is a cult? No, I’m absolutely not going to do that. But when you look at like something like Dr. Steven Hoskins, bite model, which behavior information, thought and emotion, the bite model goes through all these types of control. And you can start to see, based on your own personal experiences, like, Oh, that’s interesting. They’re controlling information. Oh, that’s interesting. They don’t want me to associate with people outside of this realm. It’s a closed system. There’s ingroup, and outgroup. There’s mindset manipulation, once you start to see those things, and I mean, let’s be real, a lot of those things show up in places outside of online business. But they are very prevalent in online business. And it’s because we’ve created these cults of personality. There, there’s these relationships where we put people up on a pedestal. And we create a parasocial relationship, we know so much about them. And the next thing we know, is we are just like, we give them so much power over us that we’re so control, thought control, these things can easily happen, and really reshape our identity.

Kristen Carder 11:30
And so the theme of this podcast is the concept of like, maybe I’m not the problem. And so let me just expand on that just a tiny bit. So growing up as someone who’s neurodivergent, growing up in a very interesting family system, I always believed that if there was a problem, it probably had something to do with me, it was probably my fault. That made me very susceptible to really being drawn to this, like, very harsh, toxic masculinity kind of vibe in a leader. And then assuming that they’re right, and I’m wrong. And assuming that, like, if there’s a problem here, it’s probably on me, or, or, you know, if they’re saying somebody else’s the problem? Yeah, it’s definitely you know, for sure. And so one thing that I love that you talk about a lot is like, maybe you’re not the problem as the consumer, maybe you’re not the problem as the person participating in this, maybe it’s not your fault, that the program didn’t work, maybe it’s not your fault that like you invested your money, and you didn’t get a return for it. And I was just wondering if you could like, expand on that concept a little

Maggie Patterson 12:43
bit. And I definitely want to acknowledge what you said about, you know, knowing the audience for your podcast being neurodivergent. I’m neurodivergent, too. We have been taught we are the problem. Yeah. So many times, like the default setting is like, Well, this must be a me problem. Yeah. And that is the default setting an online business. When a program doesn’t work, when an investment goes bad when you have a question that the person you’re paying doesn’t even want to answer, or you chat, like you challenge their authority. Again, you’re labeled the problem, you’re labeled the problem, you’re labeled a problem. And the reality of that situation is is that the entire I wouldn’t say there are very ethical, very values driven very, like good people in this industry. 100% if there wasn’t, I would be, I would run. Sure. But we don’t know their names in the same way. We they don’t ascend to the same level as a lot of these. So these very well known, I don’t name names, well known individuals, what happens is, is that they blame you. It’s always your fault. And they basically screw you over. And you never can. It’s so hard because I get so many people who come to me after they’ve been burned. And the conversation is I feel so bad. Why didn’t I see it? And I’m like, you didn’t see it? Because you’ve got played? Yeah, like I use the word scam, because it is a scam. If you can you imagine you paid someone to build a house. You paid someone to build the house for you. And they gave you half the house. Right? Right. You would have you would have everything you needed to sue them. You would have Consumer Reports, you would have all these recourse? Yeah. So if you get half a program, or someone doesn’t show up for calls, or they don’t give you what’s thromb been promised, yeah. That’s a problem in and of itself.

Kristen Carder 14:49
So if we take that even a step further and say you pay for someone to teach you how to build your own house.

Maggie Patterson 14:58
That’s a lot of what The programs are I can, if I can do it, you can do it. I can teach you how to how to build a six figure business or a seven figure business, but you don’t actually build the house. And then they blame you for building like, you didn’t follow the directions, you did it wrong. And that that is the part that gets me. Yeah. And they I did it. And you can, too, is one of the biggest problems and probably my biggest pet peeve because so many things are layered on that first, and a lot of the people that say I did it in you can too, did it 10 years ago, in very different market conditions. They had first mover advantage. They had resources, they had education. They were like, you know, Coach 100, you know, in the first 100 Yeah, not the first one he 5000 or million or whatever we’re at at this point, right? Yeah. And there’s never any acknowledgement of their privilege, their financial standings, like, how many of these people have a partner who’s been able to bankroll them for three years, so they’re able to get where they’re going to go? Like, with women, then privilege pretty privileged, being able bodied, like all these things being white, how many women are white, right? And I’m the first technology. But the reality is, is that for these people, there’s never and then it’s they literally will look you dead in the eye no matter what it is, and be like, Yeah, I did. You can, too. Yeah. And that is the sales pitch. And that, to me, there’s no nuances. There’s no acknowledgments and that should always be treated as a red flag when someone is boiled it down to that super simplistic thing.

Kristen Carder 16:45
And I used to do that. Oh, it does. It makes me want to vomit. And I have apologized for it before on this podcast. And I, sometimes I’m tempted to like, I don’t know what it’s called, what is it? What is it called when you like, go through all the archives, and you’re like, let’s edit all of this out and like, make sure that I look great. And but the truth is that I think showing growth is important, and a lot of us leave it in. But I completely agree that it’s not enough to say if I can do it, you can do it. Because it’s not that is never It is never that simple. It is never, ever, ever that simple. Especially when it comes to if we’re talking about online business and like selling. Like I entered this space. With so much privilege, I was one of the first. It’s like one of the first ADHD podcasts one of the first ADHD coaches on the scene. And I had 15 years of prior entrepreneurial experience. I already knew about selling about funnels about online marketing about, like how to like an elevator pitch, like all of the like basic things that people are having to learn now in real time, like I had already done the work of that, of course, in a different business. But I had learned it. And so when I came on the scene here, it looked like an overnight success. And I could easily be like, Oh my god, this is so easy. But I wasn’t acknowledging like all of the work that I had done prior to that. I think

Maggie Patterson 18:25
I’ve done it to anyone, it’s so I think most people have and I think your willingness to acknowledge it is honestly more than most. I mean, that’s how bad like once a bad but how like broken this industry is the fact that even acknowledging it is like so uncommon. And this isn’t to give you like a cookie or gold star. But so many people if they change, they do what you ever attempt to do. And that’s such a natural inclination, right? I’m just gonna kind of clean things up and nobody needs to know. Because it’s really hard to admit like, Hey, I fell for it, too, when I did these things, and like, that wasn’t cool.

Kristen Carder 19:08
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And now when I look back at my former mentors, I’m like, this was like your fourth business that you started. You had, like, there’s one in particular that likes to tell a story about starting out with just two spoons, and then making it to multiple million dollars. But what she doesn’t talk about is that like seven years of sales experience that she was developing with when she just had those two spoons, right. And so it’s just like, when you become a coach, but you already know how to sell that’s a totally different thing than when you’re just coming in. I think that people who feel very scammed or are legitimately scammed are often the ones that come into the online space looking at like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe like, this looks amazing. I would love to do this. And then they’re told Yeah, I could do it, you could do it, but not realizing that they’re starting from a totally different starting line, it is not the same starting line.

Maggie Patterson 20:09
It’s not and so much of the messaging right now in the market is really shift toward shifted towards getting people to quit corporate jobs, getting people to start businesses, unlike the, you know, like, what was happening with the economy? And there’s never a discussion of okay, what skills do you have? What strengths do you have? Is this the right choice for you like we Manta sized entrepreneurship to such a degree at this point in Western society that it’s seen as the most desirable option. And it’s not the right fit for so many people can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with my own clients over the years. They’re like, sometimes I think about getting a job. And I’m like, You know what, maybe that’s something you should explore them because there’s no gold stars at the end of the day for doing this. Now, you are not a better person for it. You are not, you know, this is a very hard path that we don’t talk about. We’re just supposed to, like live our passions and get paid to be you like, it’s not that simple. And like exactly what you said, like you had prior business experience, full disclosure, I had agency experience I tech company experience. I had years of marketing experience, like I excel in my business, because I had all those things. I don’t have the raw ingredients coming into this. And I am a person that is hardwired for entrepreneurship. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 21:31
Same 100%. Same. So I’ve been training coaches, which I know is like so annoying, like coaching coaches to coach, whatever. I’ve been training coaches the last year and one of the prerequisites to joining the coach training is, do you understand that this is not just about learning how to coach, if you want to be a coach, you will have to become an entrepreneur? Do you know what that means? Do you believe you have the skills to do that? Do you have prior experience that you can draw upon? If not, are you willing for it to take time? Are you willing to learn it? And like prefacing that whole conversation around like, you can’t just learn to coach and then be like, well, great, like, roll out the red carpet for me now. Because like, hello, I’m here, everyone, like, I’m ready to coach, you also have to learn how to build an audience sell, have an offer, make offers talk about money with someone face to face, like, how do you feel about that, though, all of those skills go into being someone who is making money as a coach, and I don’t hear anyone else saying that. And I don’t understand why.

Maggie Patterson 22:47
And, you know, nobody talks about it. Because it’s easier to sell the dream of coaching, it’s easier to sell the dream of six or seven figures than to be honest and say, Yeah, this is gonna suck for a while, it’s gonna take you a long time to build an audience like, it is just supposed to be magic. And I feel like this happens so much with coaching. Like I see it constantly. There’s a discussion of the coaching opportunity, they sell you coaching, but never any thing beyond the coaching skills, the actual, like, building of the business, the how, like, how, and this is the question I always have for anything is, but how are you finding these clients? Like, where are they coming? Right?

Kristen Carder 23:29
Right. Right, where where do you plan to meet all the people who want to pay you all the money to do all the coaching by simply Exactly.

Maggie Patterson 23:40
Yeah, I mean, majority of people, there’s like a blank look. And they’re like, I don’t know, right? And that’s

Kristen Carder 23:49
because we see ads that say, Hey, I am at my house in Scottsdale, and if you want a house in Scottsdale, you should join my coach training program. Yep. Yeah,

Maggie Patterson 24:04
I got I always say, we have to be so I especially think he neurodivergent like we are extra susceptible to the lifestyle marketing pieces or like, Oh, my life is like we feel out of control or we don’t feel well managed or executive functioning is like doing whatever it’s doing in a given moment. And then someone says this thing that we want that we aspire to have as part of our identity or the life we want to live and we see that the house in Scottsdale, we think, Oh, well if I just do this, yeah. Very seasoned. I literally talk about these things, and sometimes I’m having a bad Yes, I will see it it’s too grim out I think, could this be the thing? Yeah,

Kristen Carder 24:50
I do. Like

Maggie Patterson 24:51
I’m like, is this a me problem, Mike? No, it’s not me. It’s not me and buying this is not gonna fix it.

Kristen Carder 24:58
Right. Yeah, I mean, We all want that quick fix, we all want that solution. We’re all uncomfortable. I think that’s the other part is like, we’re all uncomfortable. Whether you’re making no money, or six figures, or seven figures, there is still a hefty amount of discomfort. And we’re all looking for that escape. Like, where can I get it helped me to, like, get that luxury lifestyle. I mean, I, I am very successful in my business, and I am still waiting for that luxury lifestyle, like all of that, where’s that? When is that going to happen? And it’s an illusion, it is an illusion, it’s not even a thing. It’s marketing.

Maggie Patterson 25:42
Like, if you see someone, I’ll give you an example. And I’ve seen this one every so often, you know, you see someone in luxury travel or shoes with a red bottom or like whatever

it is. Why are they showing that

to you in an ad? Yeah, it’s a sink. It’s a signal of affluence designed to short circuit your brain to persuade you that they have the key to success and the thing you want someone who’s marketing to you in that way, you’ve got to question their motives. And you’ve got to question like, What is the real game here? Because the odds are the majority of their clients are not going to get those things. Okay, so let’s

Kristen Carder 26:26
talk about that. Because when the majority of the clients don’t get the things, and people start talking, what I have noticed happening is a lot of deleting comments. A lot of shutting down discussion, a lot of turning it around and victim blaming. And And again, like, You’re the problem here. Yeah. What thoughts do you have on that? What do you see?

Maggie Patterson 26:52
Everything you just said? So I think here’s the reality of it is, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of derbo.

Kristen Carder 27:01
Oh, honey, I wish I wasn’t I wish I wasn’t great not to be familiar with that. But go ahead and explain it.

Maggie Patterson 27:08
Yeah. So D.A.R.V.O. deny attack, reverse victim and offender and what they’re doing like that’s what we see all the time is and like, I’ll use what I see a lot in the coaching realm is you’re a woman you should be supporting other women. Yes. You’re just being a mean girl.

Kristen Carder 27:26
Like yeah, all right. Hater question.

Maggie Patterson 27:29
I got a hater. I just, I asked a question. And there is an this is something in the bite model from Dr. Steven Hasson. It is in there like the inability to take any critique to have any conversation to have any meaningful exchange. It’s immediately shut down. So like if you roll up on someone’s Instagram, and I’ll just give this example because I see this one often. You roll up on someone’s Instagram. And it’s we don’t like basically I delete with like, this is my space I delete. And there is never any challenge. There’s never any conversation that is red flag city that you’re in the cult zone. Yep. And you need to get the hell out of there. Like I feel so strongly about that. Because I’ll tell you this as someone who is an active creator on Instagram, I get comments. Sometimes they get me I get annoyed. Yeah, I don’t want to have this conversation. I understand the impulse to want to delete it. And it because sometimes I like message my sister who works with me and I’m like, I don’t want to entertain this conversation right now. I’m not really in the mood. Well guess what? That’s part of having a community so I better get myself in the mood and I better show up and come from a place of curiosity and like there is no cure when someone has no curiosity and an unwillingness to and to entertain any critique feedback conversation questions. No, yeah, no. Like so it’s not about someone protecting themselves it’s about them shutting down critique Yeah, and

Kristen Carder 29:13
building walls around their their process their method like they’re in impenetrable like you can’t you can’t question anything you can’t it’s like no this is the way it is and that’s that there is a coach that does this quite a bit and and she not only does she do this, but she What is the word like she platforms that hey, if you’re in this space, you need to know what’s going to happen. As if you if you’re consenting to be in the space you’re consenting to only say good things. What is her name? I’m so glad that I forgot her name. Oh, read all of the flags all of the scary scary flags. She has align herself in a way where she is seen as ethical. Oh, that is, and she talks about ethics. Way that is so scammy. So scammy she’s a huge problem. Okay, I’m so glad we are on the same page. I started to get vibes, like two years ago, maybe not that long, like a year and a half, I was like something, something’s off. Okay. So let’s talk about people who pretend to be ethical, because I think that that’s an interesting conversation where now, it’s really trendy to talk about ethics, and it’s really trendy, to, to talk about inclusivity, and equity and ethics and values and blah, blah. And I think that now that is a tactic that people use to scam others. Are you seeing that in the industry?

Maggie Patterson 31:02
100%, I wrote an essay at the end 2021 What year is this? Yes, and 2021. Because I started to see this. This shift, where people understood that the market in 2020, had undergone this, there was a very dramatic shift in 2020, because of racial unrest, because of the pandemic. A lot of conversations were coming to light in the industry. For the first time, people were seeing certain behaviors, they were seeing actions or inaction. And there was more awareness in the industry. And what happened is you had people who are like, Yeah, I want to be more ethical, one of those, and the consumer kind of Zeitgeist changed expectations of what people have changed. And let’s, let’s be real, these people, people, I like that are doing these things that are, I would say unethical from my set of ethics, they are unethical, we’ll talk about what that distinction is in a second. They’re very smart. They’re very, very good at what they do. They’re one step ahead. So what did they do? They said, Oh, I’m gonna, I’m gonna talk about being ethical. And for me, like, and substitute ethics for inclusivity for diversity, inclusion values, values, like substitute any of those things in it is such a performance. It is like, they’re on center stage, like, look at me when I got the call. And I’m like, but what are your ethics? Like? What are your ethics? Like? Where is your values page, I want to see the ACA. And not only that, I don’t want to just see it on page, I want to see your plan for where this it lives in your business. Because if you say I’ll use an example, I have a value of being accessible. Well, what does that mean? So it is documented of accessibility, like a value for us is accessibility. This is how we’re doing it. We have a friggin like three year plan for these things. Wow. So that we are can walk our walk, walk our talk, because so much of this is talk. Yeah. And here’s the thing. I never say I’m unethical marketer and ethical business owner, because ethics, we are not operating from a shared place of understanding. There are not a there’s not a common, you know, ethical standard in this industry. And so when someone says, Oh, I’m ethical, they can get out of here with that, because I don’t know what your thoughts are. And all this. There’s a lot of people are trying to fill this vacuum to teach people to be ethical, right? Convinced you can really truly teach people to be ethical. Because who am I like, and I was asked a ton 2020 2021. Me and my podcast co hosts like constantly, can you teach a course on this? Can you do this? And we’re like, no, what got you into this mess is having prescriptive tactics given to you. What’s going to get you out of this mess is learning how to critically think for yourself and decide, okay, you know what, this feels terrible. Why would I do this? Oh, my values are this, this is misaligned. But we are so trained in this industry, to not want to do the hard things to have six easy steps to when someone comes to you and wants to teach you ethics. Yeah. Hi. I personally have a lot of questions because who am I Maggie Patterson from Ottawa, Canada to decide what is and was not ethical until there is like industry wide standards or consumer regulations. Yeah, very slippery slope.

Kristen Carder 34:52
I totally agree. And I would add, like, I think it’s a red flag and I’ve probably done this, but I’ve thought about it since I think it’s a red flag when ethics are a selling point. Yes. When I’m using my ethics as as a way to get your money it’s like a little maybe unethical. I don’t know. Like, that feels weird. It is weird. And I feel like, for me, it’s just sloppy. It’s sloppy. It’s the whole like,

Maggie Patterson 35:30
I, I’ve said this a million times to my community to my clients, like, I don’t want to be your new guru. Yeah, don’t rip out the crappy one and put me in there because you think I’m more ethical like, right? I am. I am human. And I mean, I am not without my faults, I am the first to admit it. So, you know, being willing to do the work to unpack it to figure out what’s going to work for you to slow down and not look for a quick fix. Like that’s hard. But do I ever say to people like, come work with me because I’m super ethical. No, that comes through my actions that comes through my content that comes through and how I talk about things comes through my level of disclosure, like, if you have to say it, there’s a problem.

Kristen Carder 36:11
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Maggie Patterson 38:45
recognize. Yeah, the payment plan thing, I think is one of the most pervasive and probably prevalent examples of this because it is so normalized. Do I know where it came from? No, but it is it completely normal. And this is one of those issues that people will fight me on? Yeah, in a big way. And I mean, I just feel very strongly as someone who has offered payment plans with no markups since 2016. You can make it work. And the way I’m able to make it work is I don’t have a default. I’m not selling people things that can’t afford I’m not selling people things that are the wrong fit for that. Oh, totally. Oh, the reason we have these payment plans in the markup that justification is that they have to chase payments, that there’s defaults that not get all kinds of gets absorbed into the cost. But here’s the other thing is the reasonable administration of a plan should not be 30% or 25%. That’s a revenue stream. Yeah. At that point. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And like in terms of the accessibility part of it is if you were making the payment plan to make it more accessible to people, the question I would have is, why do you need to make it more accessible is your price point unreal, like just unrealistic. Oh, yeah, that’s

Kristen Carder 40:01
such a good question like, is

Maggie Patterson 40:03
it just have you just priced yourself out of the market? And why are you punishing people for accessing a payment plan? Like someone who needs to use a payment plan? does not need to pay more for the thing? Yeah.

Kristen Carder 40:18
Yeah, I’m so I’m so with you in that. And I think one of the ways that I justified it was like, you know, the luxury of which Sodom is so gross, the luxury paying over time, or, you know, if the payment plan went out beyond like our time together, or something like that, but the truth is, like, what I’ve worked through in my own mind is, I don’t want to take money from someone who doesn’t want to, like freely give me their money. And I mean, that like a back and forth exchange, right? Like, I’m giving them a service, I’m providing a service, they’re paying for it, I don’t ever want people to be like, Oh, I’m so mad that I have to pay this or like, want to, like, if you don’t want to pay me, like whatever I want. It’s just it’s a very different mindset. From when I like first entered the space.

Maggie Patterson 41:17
And so much, well, I think here’s the thing, ultimately, so much of the way sales is taught, marketing is taught, it’s about how can the seller benefit? Yep. It’s always about the business owner, how can they benefit? It’s not looking at the how do I create a fair exchange, where respect where transparency, where truth are being prioritized in that relationship? And this is why we have people that are so angry about these investments. This is why there’s Reddit threads about people like people are not just upset about the money. They’re upset about the fundamental lack of common decency they have in that sales process, they have been manipulated by a payment plan that goes on for 36 months when it’s a six month program. Like, what? That doesn’t even make sense. Yeah. Yeah, at least I buy a car and it’s over 36 months. I still have the car, right? You’re driving

Kristen Carder 42:19
the car? Yes. Oh, my gosh. I think that that is a great transition to like the high priced nature of some coaching packages. Can you speak to that a little bit. So I’ll tell you my own experience I have invested in high ticket coaching ish. I don’t know that’s so like subjective. I’ve also, like been had my prices high at one point, for one on ones, which I will never do again, it was like a two year. But I will never charge that I just, I’m not ethically aligned anymore in charging or paying that much. And when I look around real life, nobody else in real life charges anything close to what coaches charge. So WTF is up with that.

Maggie Patterson 43:15
It’s basically been an escalating thing. And I mean, there’s two parts to this is number one, you have people that are just pushing the envelope. And a lot of the most scammy most shady coaches, they are like they have moved that with that window of pricing to such a degree that like I can’t even talk about it with a straight face. You’re like giggling right now. Yeah, like $85,000. Like that’s someone’s annual salary. Yeah. Yeah, like $85,000 for six months of coaching with me, and you don’t even have a certification. Right? Like we have lost the plot. So and that whole group that is a very MLM group of coaches. They have to charge escalating prices so that they can charge me can pay, like the person who’s paying 85k It’s because their coach is paying 150k Like it is just it is a disaster. Yeah, and I mean, I can smell they’re all seven figure millionaire mentors, like, like it’s always about making money. There’s never any functional skills involved. So there’s that. And then I also think, too, people need to finance their growth. growing a business is expensive. Running a seven figure business, or even like a half a million dollar a year business has hard costs and to continue to grow. It’s very resource intensive, they need working capital, and they need and they also need capital for their lives. Because the way they they need to buy the read balm shoes that can show to you in the ad. So the pricing just continuously grows. And honestly, I do believe a lot of these people, like they just it’s a game to them, they’re just pushing the price up. They’re gonna keep, you know, turning the screws in their marketing, because it benefits them on a professional level. And I’m probably not alone. Yeah, yeah, and buy more of the things and I’m like for me, like, don’t get me wrong. I like nice things. Yeah. But, like, at a certain point, like, really? What are we doing here? Like, do you really? I’m just not that motivated by money? I guess? I don’t know.

Kristen Carder 45:33
I mean, from another perspective, like, I am very motivated by money. And I, once I noticed that, we’re just, like, asking for more and more just because we can, that didn’t feel right. Like that. It was like, Okay, this, something’s got to shift here. Right? Like, it has to be more than just like, oh, well, people are willing to pay it. Like, that’s like, what is up with that? That is not I just can I intentionally last year, it was a hard, like, personal year for me. And I lowered my goal. And I was like, we’re just going to have a, like a healthy, functioning, study here. That’s it. Yep. We’re not going to grow. We’re not going to try to like, do all the things, we’re just going to, like, we’re just going to breathe. And we’re going to make sure the business is healthy, we’re gonna make sure that we’re profitable, and that we’re paying people in an ethical way. Like, everything is just like, can we just take a breath? And that for me? was really, really important to be able to just pause and, and have a year where it’s just like, I’m not even trying to grow. I’m just like, how’s everything doing? Let’s do a check in are we doing okay? Because that, like, maybe will help scale things in the future. But the the thought of $25,000 for a coaching package, that’s just like, What in the world? What in the world?

Maggie Patterson 47:10
Yeah, never gonna happen with me. Yeah, like for me, as a business owner, I look at $25,000. So it’s, I have in my backyard. What am I going to use it for? Sure. It’s not on a coach. Yeah, it’s not it’s not I’m gonna use it in, you know, some sort of investment, I’m probably going to invest it into my

Kristen Carder 47:28
team. Sure. Sure.

Maggie Patterson 47:30
I mean, my team is very well compensated. I, you know, I treat them well, I pay them. Well. I mean, that’s not a brag. It’s because I have prioritized that in my business and what you said, about wanting to, like, maintain? Yeah, we that’s a piece of the conversation that’s missing. And I talk to clients about that so often, because I’m like you it’s not healthy to continue growing like this. Yes, you will break. Yeah, you will break your team will break, the systems will break, your marketing will break. Like if there’s no care and feeding and attention to do kind of fundamental things. Your business is not sustainable. You might be growing, but it’s not sustainable. It cannot withstand hiccups along the way, what happens when a team member leaves what happens when you have a really bad personal year? I mean, I’ve had them sounds like you’ve had your share, like when those things happen? You need to be able to go like, yeah, we’re in maintenance, sustain mode. And we can stick here for a while. And I know things are good. Yeah, absolutely. Oh, my goodness. Absolutely.

Kristen Carder 48:35
So then what do you make of the coaches who claim to be making you know, and $5 million more every single year? I think a lot of them are lying. Say more words.

Maggie Patterson 48:52
They’re lying. They’re lying. Like you think what we don’t see is maybe they’re making that money. We don’t see the bad debts. We don’t see the team churn. That’s a huge one. Yeah, see how they’re exploiting their team. Like, making more money isn’t always a good thing. Like when and I know there’s been a talk in the industry, like, let’s talk about our profit. Again, talking about profit. Did you extract that profit from your team? Did you extract it from exploiting people? Like how did you get to that profit? Like there’s profit and then there’s like healthy profit, right? I you know, I don’t want to conflate those two things, but from a revenue point of view, so many times, those gains are being made by doing things that I believe to be deeply unethical. They’re doing things they’re raising their prices to this completely bonkers price point that like, nobody should be. I made $20,000 in the granted this was in the late 90s $20,000 a year in my first job. I can’t imagine pulling that up in a single shot.

Kristen Carder 50:07
So like, right, right, right, right.

Maggie Patterson 50:10
And it’s no, no, no.

Kristen Carder 50:13
Um, so an example of like, people claiming revenue that might not actually be 100% truthful, I didn’t realize, well, like I putting the pieces together, a lot of coaches charge you to apply for coaching or to apply for their mastermind. So let’s just give an example of you might apply for a mastermind, it costs you $5,000 to apply. There’s maybe, let’s say, 200 people that apply it, that’s a million dollar. That in itself is a million dollars. Okay. 200 people applied, but I only have room to take 75 people. When I refund those 75 people’s money, yep. The refund, I’m still counting the million dollars as revenue, I’m not accounting for the refund. So $375,000 is actual revenue, the rest of it is returned in refund. It’s on the balance sheet.

Maggie Patterson 51:23
I can’t do that. I’m scared.

Kristen Carder 51:24
I’m trying to articulate it.

Maggie Patterson 51:26
The reality is, is that difference of the 125 people that are not getting in the program is on the balance sheets on

Kristen Carder 51:35
and then I claim it as I made X amount of million dollars this year, where 125 times 5000. Yeah, it’s it’s wild to me that we’re not more particular about if we’re claiming it, we’re making revenue claims, which we could debate is like why, but if you are saying you made $10 million in your business is not saying much. Because we don’t know anything about that business. We don’t know anything about the health. One. We don’t

Maggie Patterson 52:10
know anything about the health. And why are we choosing coaches or consultants based on how much money they make in their business? Our circumstances are not the same. It goes back to the I didn’t want to, I’m never going to pick someone based on they made acts. It is so flawed. And when clients come to me and they want to have that conversation, oh, wait, they don’t have that conversation, because they’re hiring me for other things. Yeah, claims are a really poor marker of experience, skills, strengths, and what someone can actually bring, whether that be in a program, or individual coaching, what they can actually bring to your business. And that which brings me to the other thing, is these application fees? Hell no. Oh my gosh, why? Why? Why am I gonna give you $5,000? So I can have the privilege and the honor of you reviewing my application, it’s best to get out of here with that you can review my application with none of my money. Yeah. Like, if I look, I look at applications all the time, because people send them to me. And if you ask me for money, that’s a no. Yeah. And if you ask me one of those, like, are you willing to invest in your dreams? Like, you know, manipulate questions, I’m out. And if there’s no price on your program, and you’re willing to ask me to invest, Everyone, listen to me, red flag, get out of there.

Kristen Carder 53:49
Why aren’t coaches putting pricing front and center?

Maggie Patterson 53:54
Well, because apparently, as consumers, we’re too dumb to make decisions. It’s about objection handling. Yeah. Yeah, they know that someone’s gonna go get $25,000. I’m not doing that, where if they can get them on the phone or on a DM with their sales team. They know those people are trained to break down those objections to convince people to invest in their dreams. Like to me,

Kristen Carder 54:21
if I’m

Maggie Patterson 54:25
applying for something, or I’m interested in working with someone and I’m immediately like the next step, as I’m going to the sales team. That’s telling me everything I need to know about the fact that the salespersons job, like any salesperson is to close the sale. Yeah, they’re not going to necessarily act, my best interest. They’re not necessarily going to represent things accurately. They’re not going to necessarily look out for me. I mean, I know for me, I do all my I mean, my business is very big. And in trouble from this point of view. But I mean, if I didn’t do the calls, I would put Sarah, my team on calls. Yeah. And it would be the conversation is like, what do you want to know? I’m not gonna pressure you sure know the price when they book the call. And I mean, there’s a lot of different ways to do it. But it worries me, it worries me deeply. There are so many tactics being used in things like application forms. And it’s all whether that’s the application form the call, it’s all micro commitments designed to get you further down not to get you to say yes, because you now feel like, Oh, I did a call with them. I filled out the application. Oh, I should probably do this. Because, you know, I spent an hour of my life on

Kristen Carder 55:44
it. Right. Right. Right. Right. You’ve made an investment already of your time of your energy. Yeah, for sure.

Maggie Patterson 55:50
And let’s be real, like, I think one thing we don’t talk about enough in online business is exhausted as a strategy, whether that be going to a large group event, and they do the sales pitch in the end, when you’re completely emotionally depleted. Whether that be long webinars, sales calls, are designed to short circuit how your brain works.

Kristen Carder 56:13
Okay, as someone who is unfortunately, very well versed in narcissistic abuse, I would say that that is very much a narcissistic abuse thing as well, where it’s just like they wear you down. And there’s so much overlap there.

Maggie Patterson 56:31
Yeah, they as fellow narcissistic abuse person. But I mean, sorry, we all get No, it’s all good. I’ve been to a lot of therapy, but you know, that experience, right? You’re dealing with someone, you’re going through that. And what do you do? You just you kind of just fall back and go, Okay, fine. Yeah. And that’s the same tactic. Yeah, okay, fine. It’s either that or there’s like, been a degree of love bombing. Yeah. Where you are so like, in your like, in the haze, you know, like, to sign up for the thing? Yeah. Yeah. We don’t sign up for things generally. Because we are. I hear a lot from people in this really, I find this so hard. And so like, humbling. And from when people says, I people say like, I feel so stupid. I feel dumb. And I’m like, No, it’s not in a going back to the theme here. It’s not you. Yeah, these tactics have been used to break you down and persuade you into taking action. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 57:39
As if, well, actually, maybe that is it. Because I was gonna say, as if the program itself was just not enticing enough that I mean, that’s kind of like a negative word. But like, why isn’t just the the bulk of what you’re offering? Why isn’t that just something that they want? Why do we have to coach on objections? Why do we have to over like, when when coaches talking about overcoming objections? I’m like, No. Like, you can explain. You can help them understand what you’re doing, you can help them understand how it would benefit them. But if now’s not the right time, now’s not the right time, like that has nothing. We don’t need to coach around that we no need to overcome that. It’s just now’s not the right time. Or I don’t want it maybe they just don’t want it. Why are we overcoming objections?

Maggie Patterson 58:27
I feel like from my perspective, like with a marketing hat on a copywriter hat on it comes down to poor messaging. Yeah. Or offer construction, poor marketing and the offer? Yeah, yeah. A lot of these people do not have enough people seeing this content, like, yeah, we’re getting like 200 applications like at scale, like for the you know, scale of their business, they don’t have a big enough audience of new people that have not seen this offer, right? Therefore, they need to, like they need those conversion rates to be that much higher. And so many times these offers, they’re all the same. It’s the same thing. So like rainbows, unicorns, big promises, six, seven figures what like there’s no actual substance. And the thing I’ve noticed a lot more than last year is to a point where some of these coaches don’t even put together an offer it’s just like coach with me at $5,000 google form send me your deposit. Yeah, like

Kristen Carder 59:31
screenshot people being like I’m in and then posting the screenshot she’s she’s moving to the next level in her life and she’s just like, Oh,

Maggie Patterson 59:41
listen, screenshots should not be trusted. Photoshop. All I’m gonna say is Photoshop, the income screenshots the testimonials screenshots, like it’s, I I’m not a fan and I feel like with testimonials, we only only ever see that top 1% And maybe there there is that there’s, there’s a phenomenon called survivorship bias. And this is something I always think about the testimonials. And it’s essentially that we see the top 1% of results in everything.

Wow, well look like, like a professional sports, right? You’re like, oh, like, I’ll use hockey because

the NHL like oh, the Navy and all these all these players in the NHL? Do you know how many hundreds of 1000s of children in my country like, oh, many so many. And so many delusional parents think their kids are going to the NHL. And I’m like, Oh, the odds of that happening, you’re more likely to be like, crushed by a house falling from the sky in a tornado. And

Kristen Carder 1:00:42
so if we take it a step farther, how many of those delusional parents are paying 1000s and 1000s of dollars to train their child thinking that they have a chance? And God bless them? Some some of those kids do, but it’s a very small percentage.

Maggie Patterson 1:00:56
Yeah, I mean, I have one of my very best friends for kids are both elite athletes, like, they will probably go all the way like when is going probably to the Olympics. But I also see how I’m all our friends of all the kids that are friends with my kids that are at been doing like elite sports like by

Kristen Carder 1:01:15
Yeah. Okay, so applying that to the online coaching industry. I think that there is this attitude of if I just want to, I don’t think I know like, well, I’ll just take this program, I’ll just get trained. And then I can do it too, when really, we’re just circles back to like we’re missing. That it is just a very small percentage of coaches making money. And I stole this from your Instagram, you have some stats on there. Okay, 9% of small businesses make more than a million dollars in revenue per year. 9%, nine, and then 86.3% of that was US based and then 86.3% of US base small businesses make less than 100k a year

Maggie Patterson 1:02:10
doesn’t that blow your mind? I am shocked.

Kristen Carder 1:02:13
And I’m appalled. That like making 100k Making 200k Wink wink, making this like seven figures, whatever. Is is such a pervasive marketing strategy when it’s like, oh, actually, it’s not really that common.

Maggie Patterson 1:02:33
And that is why I’ve shared like, I mean, I’m constantly pulling stunts, because I want people to be grounded in reality. It’s not that it can’t happen for you. I hope it does. Sure. I really, truly hope it does, like I am rooting for you. Sure. But at the same time, all of that marketing messes with people’s heads so much. They feel so bad, they feel ashamed. They feel like what am I missing here? And I’m like, No, you are like, I hate to say this, your average, average results, an average human right? Not everyone is going to be in that 9%. Like, honestly, I would be thrilled if more business owners just got to 100k because that creates a viable business for them a livable wage, and lets them do the thing they want to do. And that the way even that goal is market, it is so manipulative, as if it’s so easy. It is treated as so easy. And you know, it’s funny, when I arrived to the online business world, like I had been a freelancer for eight years, I’ve been very successful. I’d replace my corporate salary, and then somebody was fine. making six figures was such a big deal. Like I was, I was like, what, what have you been talking about this?

Kristen Carder 1:04:00
Yeah, yeah, that’s fascinating.

Maggie Patterson 1:04:04
The world of people who are just doing the thing and not worrying about like, right, it’s artificial numbers that have

Kristen Carder 1:04:12
I wish I had more of that. groundedness like 10 years ago, when I was I owned a brick and mortar, like a tutoring company. And I spent years and years and years and years and years trying to get to the 100k mark. I mean, so many years, it took me for ever to finally make 100k in that in that business. And part of that was just like, figuring it out. And another part was, I was so fixated on the 100k number that I couldn’t even enjoy, like I like it makes 75k And you’re just like, well, that sucks. And it’s like wait, why? Why is that? So like you’re making a livable wage. Why are you telling yourself that that is not good enough? That doesn’t even make sense.

Maggie Patterson 1:04:54
It doesn’t make sense. And I think what’s really interesting and my personal experience of it Having a business pre like non non online and then online. Those first few years I was online, my business became deeply unprofitable to perform because before my expenses were so minimal, it was a very efficient, very profitable business. Like I’m talking like 90% profit, because it was me and there was no bells and whistles and you know, all these extra like a cooter moss. And the reality is for the majority of business owners, they might be bleeding out on coaching, they may be bleeding out on tech, or tools or team members they don’t need and I always want to encourage people to go back and look at those numbers. Even if you don’t like numbers, I get it. I don’t love me either. But to really be like, Am I able to pay myself appropriately from this business? Yeah, the priority for you, as a business owner should be paying yourself and the tax man. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 1:06:06
If you’re loving this podcast, would you take a moment and share it with a friend, there are so many people in the world who need to know that they are not the problem. And I know that there are a lot of people in your life who would benefit from hearing these conversations with therapists and coaches, about how to establish a healthy sense of self and create better relationships. So take a moment and share this episode with someone that you respect. It’ll be like a beautiful free gift from you to them. And if you’d like to share it to your socials, make sure to tag me at I have ADHD podcast, and maybe even today’s guest so that we can both say thank you to you and give you a virtual hug. All right, back to the show. Do you do you feel like you’ve been scammed at some point like Have you participated in in coaching programs where you were like, Okay, this was just a piece of nothing? If you’re not well, if you don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine. No, no,

Maggie Patterson 1:07:10
I’ve been very transparent about this. I would say it’s not I wouldn’t classify it as scammed, I would classify as there’s definitely some situations where I bought into the dream. Yeah, there’s two or three I can think of where I just like fell, hook, line, and sinker. And it was really not the right thing for me. And this is why I am very passionate about people, ensuring that they are working with whether it be coaches or consultants or whoever you want to hire to provide you support in your business. I do believe getting that support your business is really important. But you need to hire for specific, the specificity. So in my case, I’m service business owner, why was I working with people that are focused on horses, you know, really being clear, like, I’ll use you as an example. Like, if I am looking for a coach around ADHD, I need to work with someone who specializes in ADHD, not someone who was like, Oh, I do all this coaching. And I work with all these people, like, specificity is so important. And we will get so much better because the results will be so much better if we choose specificity. And like my clients come to me because they know I work with great evidence and solvents. Like they’re very specific. And you’re very, very clear on that. And I don’t think we vet our investments hard enough. Another one I see is if you want the corporate clients, please don’t go hiring someone from the online business world to coach you. Because no idea. With consumer, like if you sell jackets, and you’re growing your pet, my friend has a pet jacket. I was like, wow, those very specific and I was talking to her yesterday. Asked him dog coats like why and you want to grow like your wholesale presence? Why would you work with someone who randomly works with people who create courses or write write themes for Internet stores or whatever, like you need to be ultra specific when you’re looking for those jobs that you need done on your business?

Kristen Carder 1:09:15
Yeah, I would say the only time that I really felt like I made a really poor investment was when I was so

Maggie Patterson 1:09:27
I was so like,

Kristen Carder 1:09:28
desperate for help and connection. And I was like, I really think this person is the person but I didn’t really let them prove that to me ahead of time. I like I listened to his podcast and I was like, Oh, this is okay. I’m sure he’ll be fine. Instead of being wowed by the content. Big and it was from a place of I think like loneliness. Like I was like I felt really lonely as a business owner and I had a membership but I didn’t know anybody else who had a membership and I was like, I applied to a man just reminder that I am so happy that I got denied. Side story there. Like, I felt very rejected, but then found out that like, half the mastermind walked out and she wouldn’t give their money back and like all the things, and I was like, Okay, well, that that’s actually a good thing. But I was looking because I got denied from that I was looking for like, I just need connection. And when I got so I applied, I really didn’t pay attention too much at all. There was no sales page. By the way, there was just like, I do this, like secret mastermind thing. So I was like, Oh, great. Okay, paid money. So much money. got in there. 100 people in this quote unquote, mastermind, and we had, like, group, Facebook q&a sessions once a month. That’s what it was. And I was like, dear Lord, Jesus, what did he just what did I just do? I knew right away, I was like, Okay, people paying 199 And my membership are getting so much more than I am getting from this $10,000 mastermind. And I, I was just, I was distraught, because I was like, so sad, like, what have I done and then feeling embarrassed, and then, like, trying to make it work? So like, trying to make it my fault, like, well, since I didn’t do my due diligence, now it’s my fault. And I have to make the I have to, like, make the investment. So I tried for a good three months. And then I was like, I’m out. There’s, I would pay money to get out of this thing. Like, it was so annoying. And it was on auto renew. So they came back to me and they’re like, they’re your your membership is about to auto renew. And I was like, excuse, excuse me, what? auto renew for a $10,000? mastermind. I was like, Absolutely not.

Maggie Patterson 1:11:59
And this is why it’s a prime example of why you should always read the terms and conditions, dude. And like, take a screenshot of the terms and conditions, save that save the sales page. Because one of the things that I see more and more, and I hear from people more and more is this, there’s no sales page, there’s no like, get as much documentation when you’re buying Yes. So that when you’re having that moment, you’re like, is this amazing? You can go back and read those terms and conditions of being like, yeah, no, there’s no, there’s no mention of this auto renew.

Kristen Carder 1:12:36
Right? Right. Or there’s no mention that there’s 100 people in here or that it’s just like a once a once a month q&a. That’s what I’m paying for. Are you kidding me?

Maggie Patterson 1:12:47
What are you with 100 other people? Honestly, like,

Kristen Carder 1:12:53
at the i Das, oh, my gosh,

Maggie Patterson 1:12:56
big a dusty, like, do that, like that? Sounds good. Maggie, once a month q&a,

Kristen Carder 1:13:02
I auto renew that 10k Every year for you.

Maggie Patterson 1:13:08
For my my like, I think the thing you brought up though about the number of people this is a really good question when you are vetting, memberships, group coaching, anything like that? How many people will be in the group get? If they can’t answer you. Like, when I am enrolling my masterminds, I’m like, there is no more than x people and same,

Kristen Carder 1:13:33
same Yep, we have a cap and grow grows, then we split into two groups. Because we’re not going to have 20 people in a group, we’re not going to do it that from my perspective that’s on a mastermind. So that’s like 1012 is getting too many 15 is like for and that’s just my own, like personal preference of what I would want out of a group and it’s okay that that’s subjective, as long as you disclose that information. So like your mastermind participates, participants get to consent, they get to know all of the information and say like, Oh, I like the idea of 20 people in a group or I’d like the idea of 10 people and they get to decide for themselves.

Maggie Patterson 1:14:17
Yeah, like we just opened something today and like the program just started and it was very clear on the sales pitch. It was this is capped at 30 people, you know, how many people we have in there? 30. So good. Not Not a single one more.

Kristen Carder 1:14:32
So good. I love it. I think that that is such an important question how many people are in it? That also so as a like, I have a large membership with hundreds of people in it. And I struggle with like, how do I communicate that like, even though there’s a lot of people in the membership. We still are serving people individually. And that’s something Like from, from a sales standpoint that I really, like when people ask how many are in we tell them, but also a membership? Like, how do you? Okay, so I think this is a broader question. How do you then sell in a way that is really? I try not to use the word ethical, because you are like, well, that’s not for me to tell you how to do. So how do you sell it in a way? That’s not scammy? That’s not pushy. That’s not trying to overcome everyone’s objections, but it’s still selling like we you still have to sell. Right? So like, what are your kind of like, big picture points on like, how do you still sell and have a business? But do it in a way that’s not high pressure? That’s not scammy? Or like, hiding things shady, I guess is what I’m trying to say.

Maggie Patterson 1:15:53
Yeah. So I have this framework called trust DNA. And it comes down to five things because trust, trust is the bedrock of our communications. It’s the bedrock of our relationships. And when I’m selling you something, I want you to trust me, and not just trust me to get you across the finish line to give the money, but to start our relationship in a working relationship from a place of trust. And so that comes down to five things. And this is such a good way to vet through like, do I want to use this tactic? Do I not want to use this tactic? How do I communicate this is truth? Am I being truthful? Are you able to look at the testimonials and be like is this representative of these experiences? Like really being truthful? Transparent, you’re not hiding? Or, you know, you’re not being like, oh, there’s 100, there’s 10 people and there’s Right, right, right. Just you’re being very transparent. I also feel like part of the transparency is being very transparent about what this is what this is not your skills and experience. Results? Like how are you speaking to results? We have a very big problem. We touched on this a few minutes ago, we have a very big problem with this industry, people overstating what you can do for you. Yeah, like, how are you communicating results and communicate, really sharing with clients that for the experience, what can they reasonably expect? And what is the daily results are a two way street? It is a partnership. So what are you going to get from me to help you support you in the results? And what results can you realistically expect? Then respect is a really important part of it, we do not talk nearly enough about respect, because so many of these tactics, if you just sat with them for a minute, and really like did a little analysis, you’d be like, That’s interesting. That’s not actually driving any respect for anybody. I feel like I am not respecting my own values. I am not respecting my client. And it’s just really messing with things across the board. And what is the fifth one? Why can I remember it? Respects results. I don’t know off the top of my head. There’s one more but I can’t remember it right now.

Kristen Carder 1:18:19
You’ll remember it like five minutes from now we’ll circle back say, Well, I love that. Because when you look through, let’s say like an email funnel, where you’re you have an offer, and you’re wanting to, like get the people who want it to buy it, right? You’re not trying to convince anybody who doesn’t want it, but the people who want it, you’re like, hey, now’s the time to buy it. If you look through the lens of truth, transparency results. And whatever that other thing is respect

Maggie Patterson 1:18:53
and time spec time as

Kristen Carder 1:18:56
we knew it would come. Okay, explain time. Like what about it

Maggie Patterson 1:19:03
being clear on the amount of time to get the result being clear on the amount of time they get with you being clear on the time to decide, like there’s so many elements of time that are used to gamify how the sale is being done. And it’s really I put time in there for a very specific set of reasons because the pressure cooker of the sales process for people is too much. And you know, you’d set it a few minutes ago but something else is like, if this isn’t the right time for you, that’s okay. And like I can’t even tell you how surprised people are when I have a sales call or a sales conversation with them. And I’m like, You know what, I don’t think you’re a fit for this right now. Like come back in six months come back in a year, like being very clear about the time it takes to deliver the result to be successful. And also like the time they get with you because in that example you just give us a few minutes ago like the time like What time were you getting into Facebook? q&a?

Kristen Carder 1:20:01
None? None. Okay, so that brings up a great conversation because that is something that I think is one of the biggest scams is coaches selling programs that they are not actually in. Girl. Yeah, listener, if you could see her face, if you could see her face listener, coaches selling programs as if they are in the program constantly. And then they’re nowhere to be seen. They’re nowhere to be found. And you’re just like, wait a second, I bought this thing thinking that you would be here and you’re not here. Where are you? That is? What is? I mean, I would like to know what is up with that? It’s equally

Maggie Patterson 1:20:49
disturbing to me that this goes on, because so many of these people have personal brands. Yeah. So you didn’t buy this from life coaching company or business? Now?

Kristen Carder 1:20:59
You bought it from the person because you want the person?

Maggie Patterson 1:21:03
Yes. And this is why I cannot with these people. As a consumer, you need to be doing like you need to be putting on your detectives hat. Click on a magnifying glass and like figuring out how much time do I really get? And like, buy time? Like, is there a one on one? If there’s no one on one? Who’s answering your questions? Who’s leading the group? Who’s leading the calls? Like if that is not abundantly clear from the get go? Yep. Yeah. So that’s a problem for sure.

Kristen Carder 1:21:41
I totally agree. And I, I bought into a sales program that I thought the coach would be totally in. She was there once a month. So and then she had her like protegees coaching in there as well. She was in the Facebook group, maybe once a month, so maybe once a month live and once a month in the Facebook group. And when she was in the Facebook group, everyone just felt like her glory has descended upon all of us and myself included. I was like, I can’t believe she answered my question. I am the luckiest person on the face. I mean, what in the narcissism is all of this? I don’t even know. I learned a lot from that program. So I I am still firm in that investment. But it wasn’t what I thought it was. And I think now, so this is four years later, four years after my purchase of it, I am sure that she is even less present. I don’t understand why coaches don’t want to be in their own programs. I think it’s because of luxury lifestyle and like working less and scaling bigger, better offers. But I, I like I and I like to coach. Like is that weird? Like, I think it’s fun. It’s actually what I want to do. So I show up in my own stuff because I like I want to be there. I like actually want to be there. It’s so so I have on my sales page for focus, which is my my membership. There’s three to five calls a week, at least two of these calls are with Kristen Carter. And then like other coaches will be hosting. So I’m in my membership twice a week when I go on vacation, which I am trying to do more often. I put it on the calendar months in advance for everyone to see, I’m gonna be gone this week, I let people know in advance. Like, I don’t understand, like showing up to a call. I had actually a coach who had an experience where she invested $25,000 In a mastermind, and she would just show up to calls in the code. It would just be somebody else. Like she wouldn’t know in advance you just $25,000 baggy, I would lose my ever loving. She did. And this comes out like I get it to scale the business. You can’t be on all the calls. Right? But then maybe don’t sell like right away from my personal brand.

Maggie Patterson 1:24:13
Right for one. Yeah. Be very clear about who is doing the coaching. Yeah, again, one of my one of my masterminds, we have an operations coach and we have a leadership coach, and they have office hours. Yeah, I am not on those yet. But that’s very everybody knows they ain’t got no way. Right? But I’m also very present like I Voxer with my clients we’re on together like it’s, it’s very clear what is in and what is out. And there has been more and more of this push. I feel like especially in coaching for people to do deliver less and less and charge more and

Kristen Carder 1:24:52
more. Why in the world and for the consumer to just suck it up.

Maggie Patterson 1:24:58
Just take it Yeah, it’s seen as normal. And I think the thing you just said about being so excited when someone’s in there answering your question like,

Kristen Carder 1:25:10
yeah, it’s something that I paid for. Yeah, these $2,000 For answers to those questions like, and my voice is getting really squeaky and annoying, because, like feeling very enraged.

Maggie Patterson 1:25:24
Understandably, like, if you’ve got, let’s say, 100 people paying $202,000. That’s $200,000, I think, right? I think so. Yeah. 2 million. I don’t know what this is. Where the worst at math, but you can’t show up 30 minutes a day and answer questions.

Kristen Carder 1:25:43
Right. Right.

Maggie Patterson 1:25:46
I get it like in a lot of it comes down to like, I’m the CEO, I shouldn’t be doing these things. Don’t put your face on the business. Yeah, don’t claim it’s with you. And, more importantly, please put competent people in these roles as your success coaches or coaches, as that is an epidemic in this industry of people just throwing any old unqualified person up there, grossly underpaying them. They’ve learned the framework, and like, that’s not serving your clients. And ultimately, it’s not serving that person doing the coaching. It’s a mess for everybody. Yeah. And it’s not serving the the long term results for anybody. So then, like your program is not going to be moving forward the way you want it to be because of the lack of depth to what’s being offered. Yeah. And I mean, I see these job postings for these coaches, you know, assistant coaches, success coaches, we’re talking like $20 An hour and compensation Shut up. You’re not attracting a players with that shut up. Oh, I am not joking. Or I’ve seen this one we talked about on the Duke podcast,

Kristen Carder 1:26:57
it was you’re gonna do it for free.

Maggie Patterson 1:27:04
You were gonna do it for free. Like I was like, oh, hell, no, no, no, no, no, like, this is not happening. But it is happening in this industry. And that’s why if there are other people that are going to be coaching, you should be asking who those people are and whether it’s good, because if it’s not transparent, yeah, that’s so

Kristen Carder 1:27:27
good. That’s so good. That makes me want to put all of my coaching people’s credentials on the website. That’s just like, that’s easy. I could totally do that. That’s so simple and easy. And they all have credentials. Like it’s great. Yeah. So to clear it out there for everyone to see. Yeah, for sure. Oh, my gosh, we take a deep breath, because this is like, the amount I guess I’ve just been really craving a space where I could talk to somebody who sees it, the way that I see it, who can just be like, affirming and validating to all of the BS, because I feel like I just sit here on Instagram, or I’m on Facebook. I’m just like, What in the actual is happening with all of this? And then trying to navigate the world of selling in a way where I am selling but not doing like, how do I stay away from that kind of that kind of like little smarmy, smarmy Ness. And yet having such a respect for the for coaching, like, I love coaching, I think that like it’s changed my life so much. I’ve seen it change so many people’s lives. I feel like I’m home. When I’m coaching, I feel like I’m home within my soul. My body. I just feel like this is where I’m meant to be. And so I have such a respect for the industry. And yet, it’s hard to exist within that industry in a way that’s like feels good and right. I don’t know, I do feel that same tension.

Maggie Patterson 1:29:05
Absolutely. And this is deeply personal for me, because I spend a lot. I mean a lot of time on consumer education and consumer advocacy in this market. Honestly, it’s very thankless work at times. Like, I got some people who really don’t like me

Kristen Carder 1:29:25
now, so you aren’t so likable.

Maggie Patterson 1:29:29
They don’t want to hear it and that’s okay, I can handle that. But I do it from a place of a knowing it needs to happen. I do it from a place of repair of I know I’ve done things in the past that I’m not super proud of. But most importantly, I do it from a place of believing so deeply in how these types of businesses provide opportunities to people and I want to fight Go for it. Yeah, that for me, like, I’m like, Oh no, we’re not doing this down, we can do this in a way that actually works. Because one of the things I have heard time and time again, for people is kind of this bad attitude of like, well, I don’t know what to do instead. Um, yeah, there’s lots of alternatives of what to do instead. And you just need to be willing to do the work to excavate them to figure out what’s going to work for you. And I will say this, like, the more steadfast I have been, in my values, the more clear I have been about what I’m all about. And quite frankly, the the more vocal I am about just like, this is the way it’s gonna be. hasn’t hurt my business. I feel like so many people are so scared to do something different, because they don’t know what the outcome is. But here’s the thing. So many people are not succeeding in their business, because they’re just doing that like knockoff thing of like the coach 10 people up the upline, yeah, if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else like, and it’s unethical, like, you’re going to struggle in your business, like tap into what’s actually going to work for you and like, know that the way sales and marketing are done in the rest of the world, probably is gonna work a lot better for you, then this online, hot garbage.

Kristen Carder 1:31:28
hot garbage. So I am going to make an assumption, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, that you would like to see some regulations in the coaching online coaching world online business world, what are your thoughts on that?

Maggie Patterson 1:31:45
I, there’s multiple aspects to this. Do we need some coaching? 100 coaching regulations and guidelines? Absolutely. Yeah. But I’m very skeptical about where that might come from. Yeah, a lot of things popping up. And it makes me ill at ease. Because if you look at other regulated professions, law, medicine, there’s a governing body, there’s a code of ethics, there is a clear discipline, you know, set of discipline actions. Those are the types of mechanisms that need to be in place, not just two coaches, deciding three coaches for coaches, deciding they’re going to be one of the ones to regulate the industry. Yeah. And again, it comes back to the what I was saying earlier about ethics is we need to be very thoughtful about who is being prescriptive, and like, what are the mechanisms by which these things are going to be managed? So do I think coaching needs regulation? Absolutely. And like some standards, and here’s, here’s the other aspect of this is people who are coached, you know, certified by certain bigger coaching Federation’s or whatever they are, they do have codes of ethics, they can hold dual roles, like, there are very clear things, but the problem is, we have a lot. It’s the Wild West, there’s just a lot happening. And it’s really hard to know, like, what’s the difference? The average person doesn’t know, what’s the difference between this certification, this certification and the certification? Like nobody knows the difference? Yep. Yeah. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 1:33:31
I totally agree that, like standards need to be in place regulations need to be in place, and we need to make sure that whoever is setting those standards, like, I don’t know, it can’t just be like the three most popular, like coach people getting together. I mean, like, and now we’re here to tell you all had to do it, because that’s not gonna work for me at all.

Maggie Patterson 1:33:58
And that’s my, that’s my misgiving. Is this is right for someone to be like, Oh, it’s gonna be $3,000 to become a blankety blank. Yeah. Certified, certified coach like,

and I do think on a

bigger level, we are getting to an inflection point where in the next, you know, five to 10 years, it sounds long, but it won’t be that long, where we will see consumer protection start to catch up. Yeah, like legal, like, you know, coming from the FTC are never good. The same way we’ve seen with MLM this, that will come because a lot of this stuff is there’s a lot of legal things that happen in this industry that nobody talks about. Yeah. But if you know what’s, you know, and I’m not trying to be cryptic, I’m trying not to get sued.

Kristen Carder 1:34:52
Good plan, very good plan,

Maggie Patterson 1:34:54
but there are a lot of, you know, behind the scenes, legal things that aren’t talked about and eventually one of these is going to mainstream or someone is going to go too far and an attorney general the state is going to go after them. And changes will be forced. I know there are some self help legislation and in in New York State that is moving through the bill process. So there are some things that are going to happen, it’s just going to take a while. And then meantime, I’ll just be here banging with my pots and pans.

Kristen Carder 1:35:27
annoying everyone about it, which is so perfect. I just think it’s such an important position for you to be in your willingness to just be screaming it from the rooftops, like Danger, danger, because there are so few people willing to talk about it. And there are so few people who truly understand what’s happening. I mean, myself included, you know, like really just trying to do a deep dive and learn and trying to be as legal as possible, as ethical as possible. And still finding facets where I’m like, Oh, we got to tweak that, oh, this this is something like such as putting the, you know, like the specific coaches, when people enter my program. Maybe they should know exactly who is going to be leading them. Yeah, you know, like thoughts like that, like, yeah, no doubt, like the obviously. But that kind of thing. I think if we were more open and receptive to conversations, it would be easier for coaches to make changes, but it’s being modeled where it’s like, don’t let anybody questioned you stand in your authority, and bla bla, which there’s room for that. But also, we need to take some feedback once in a while. We need to be open to like hearing our clients I’ll never forget, I had a client who went through one of my programs, not focused, but something else. And at the end, he was like, I don’t feel like I got out of this what I wanted to. And I was like, essentially, that’s your fault, not my fault. Wow. And he, one of the things he said was like, I’m struggling, because it looks like everyone else is loving this and getting a lot out of it. So it must be like he put the blame on himself, too. He was like, I guess I guess it’s my fault. And I just confirmed it for him. I was like, yeah, it’s your fault. And then like two weeks went by, and I was like Kristen Carter, who do you think you are? And I circled back to him. And I was like, I was a real jerk. And I am so sorry. I gave him all of his money back. He didn’t even ask for that. But I was like, I just needed to repair like, I was like, I am so sorry. Please take all your money. Like I don’t want to keep it. But it was a real moment of me recognizing in myself, the desire to deflect the desire to say like that’s on you, that’s not on me the desire to say like, this isn’t something that I need to be concerned about. That’s not a very cute part of who I am. That’s not something I am proud of it all. But I what I am proud of is like that decision to say like acknowledge harm, apologize, take responsibility, make repair. I don’t know, that just stands out to me as like, if if we could all just have a tiny bit of ability to do that. I think it would be a much safer industry. I absolutely agree.

Maggie Patterson 1:38:47
It is particularly hard for us as women because we you know, boundaries are a challenge. And I’m not you know, I hear this from clients all the time we struggle with boundaries, we struggle with confidence. And so when we finally are confident to have to so true, hold the polarity of I am, I am confident and I am holding my boundaries with I am willing to take feedback and be open to a conversation. Those two things there can be a lot of friction there.

And I listen. I have a I am a very, like, right and wrong.

I see things very like I can see. But yeah, but I am for anyone that knows Myers Briggs and the most INTJ you’ve ever met, like I’m just like, No, that’s not. So. I think it’s a matter

Kristen Carder 1:39:45
of learning to when you are being challenged that way to be able to discern like, is this a boundary issue? Yeah. Or is this my ego? Yes, exactly. Exactly. And for me in that moment, it was Ego. And if I had handled it better, if I had listened upfront, if I had validated, and I think we definitely would have worked something out, that didn’t result in me being like, here’s all your money back, but because I was a complete, closed off, like that repair needed to happen, but I think that what I learned from that is, hey, let’s just like have a chat. Let’s just be open to conversation, let’s get curious instead of getting defensive, that can save everyone a lot of trouble. Yeah, and the curiosity

Maggie Patterson 1:40:35
part, the more you can tap into that, that is the place I have to show up with when I get these completely off the rails.

Kristen Carder 1:40:44
What’s like the craziest comment that you’ve ever gotten? Come on, give me the give me the dirt. And then we’re gonna wrap it up.

Maggie Patterson 1:40:51
I have a really interesting one, which was a it was someone who had gone to the effort, and it turned out to be like a total scam burner account. So I figured that out what I was responding, but they had gone through my terms and conditions and thought they were gonna got to me. Oh, wow. And I just wrote really nicely. And I mean, behind the scenes, I was like, spitting that. But I just wrote back a really nice reply and said, I stand by my terms and conditions, they are aligned with my values. You know, this is clearly disclosed in the contract that every one of my and like they had nothing to work with. And I think, for me, the funniest part is like, I am literally a communications professional, like, my degree is in PR, I can crisis calms you all day long. Do not try me. Nonsense, covers. I’ve also had conversations with people who have said, like, I find revenue claims really aspirational. And I’m like, great, here’s what I would consider in that realm. Like, for me, it’s like a no if you’re using revenue claims, but for other people, like, what is the version of that that’s actually gonna be helpful for them to be letting people

Kristen Carder 1:42:11
know love that? Yeah, because I do fit into that. A group that’s like, I always have found it to be aspirational, because I do, because I have so much privilege I am able, with all that privilege to be like, Oh, maybe I could do it too. And like, maybe I am I am able to do it. And it is invigorating for me. I’ve also heard like, it’s a no, I’m gonna put all of your good stuff in the bio. It’s gonna be right there for everybody. And I really appreciate your time. This has been so fun.

Maggie Patterson 1:42:48
Awesome. Thank you so much, Kristen.

Kristen Carder 1:42:50
I appreciate it. See ya. Bye.

Thanks for listening to maybe I’m not the problem, a biweekly series of the I have ADHD podcast. For more information about today’s guest, check out the episode show notes where you can find their bio links and all the fun things. Make sure to like subscribe and add this podcast to your feed and then tune in every Tuesday for new episodes of The I have ADHD podcast. And I’ll be back here with you in two weeks for the next episode of maybe I’m not the problem.

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