In light of the buzz around Trump University during the presidential debates, I’d like to put my two cents in.
First, let me say that I’ve never taken the course or looked at it’s contents. But I have seen some of the sales literature.
Anyhoo, before we dive in, let’s talk about an important word – responsibility.
Why do so many people consider it a dirty word? How do I know that?
Because when you blame others, you immediately shift responsibility for your failure to someone else.
It’s not my fault, it’s THEIR fault.
Back to Donald Trump.
There’s a lot of buzz during the Republican debates about Trump University. How this is not a “real” University. And that Donald Trump scammed people out of their money, and that there’s a lawsuit. Blah, blah, blah.
Since I’ve never taken their courses, I can’t speak for the quality of the material. That said, here’s my take on it.
Of course it’s not a “real” University. It’s a name of a product. Who ever said it was an accredited school?
It’s called a University for marketing purposes.
Was Dr. Seuss a real doctor? He was a cartoonist and chief editor or a humor magazine. In fact it’s not even his real name.
So to tell people that Donald Trump ran a “fake” University is as dumb as calling Dr. Seuss a fraud for not being a “real” doctor.
This is an information and a coaching product, created by Trump and his staff. The curriculum teaches Donald Trump’s strategies for business, real estate, and career success.
By the way, it’s a heckuva lot more education than “accredited” schools teach you about these topics.
Nowhere does it say you’re guaranteed to make money. There is risk in starting any business or making any kind of an investment. But the potential rewards (like making a lot of money and becoming free) are huge.
It’s a process of learning and then applying what you’ve learned. As someone who’s been in business for 20+ years, I can tell you it’s all trial and error.
Oh, and Donald Trump is not the only one who sells business, entrepreneurship, and investing advice.
But here’s the problem.
Some people think that just because they buy a course or spend a weekend learning about investing, that somehow they’re not responsible for the decisions they make going forward. That if they do something and it doesn’t work out, it’s not their fault. It’s the people who taught them.
There are so many factors that go into launching a business and becoming successful, that nobody can tell you with a straight face they can guarantee your success.
However, by learning from others who have done it, you absolutely can significantly increase your odds of success. Which is the whole point of coaching programs like that.
But at the end of the day, your success and/or failure is all on you.
To think any other way is insane. It would be kind of like enrolling your kid in basketball when they’re 4. And then when they don’t make it into the NBA, blaming the coach.
Now look, I am a big believer in ongoing education to improve your skills and get better at what you do.
My bookshelves are bursting at the seams with books, manuals and newsletters I’ve bought over the years and continue to buy.
This is just a part of my not so little collection.
There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t pick up a new book from Amazon.
By the way, guess which book is at the TOP of best-sellers list in Business & Entrepreneurship category on Amazon right now? Yep, Trump: The Art of the Deal.
I guess publicity (good or bad) does wonders for you. That’s a lesson in and of itself.
Anyways, I’ve spent a not so small fortune on all kinds of coaching programs and seminars.
One was $10,000 for a four day workshop. Not including travel and lodging, which was another $2,000. Crazy, right? But this was one of the BEST investments I’ve ever made in my marketing education.
In fact, every book, seminar and coaching program I’ve ever bought, was an investment in ME. And it’s paid of in spades because I actually USE what I learn.
It would do me a great deal to spend THOUSANDS on a program. Then do nothing and blame the person I bought the program from.
And I’ve seen plenty of people like that. A good example would be looking at 1 or 2 star reviews on Amazon for popular business books, with remarks like – waste of money, pure self-promotion, nothing new.
There isn’t a single book that I’ve read (and I’ve read MANY), where I didn’t pick up at least ONE good idea (at a minimum). And one good idea (if implemented) is worth many times more than the book or even an expensive training program. Again, if implemented and acted upon.
Now Here Comes The Ugly Part
BUT, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any shady operators out there. There’s always a bad apple in the bunch.
I’m well aware that there are true scammers and con-artists. Who take in money from people by promising big things, without any intention of ever delivering on them.
Some are just liars who talk a big game, and deliver very little value in return.
And then there are some thieves, like this guy…
The Guy That Stole $1,000 From Me
This story goes back a number of years. And since this dude is a true scammer, I have no problems mentioning his name – Matt Harward.
He was what we call a super affiliate. Someone who has made a lot of commissions by promoting other people’s products. He had a little fame in a few internet marketing forums, and they guy seemed like the real deal. And was even praised by a few big name marketers who I personally like and respect. And still do.
Then Matt decided to launch a coaching group of his own with a private forum called – IM Warfare.
The cost was $1,000 which quite honestly is a great deal for the information and the training he promised in return.
About 300 people signed up at 1 Grand a pop, including yours truly. Not a bad payday, don’t you think? Now again, I’m all for this. As long as he would deliver on what he promised, my $1,000 would be well spent. Just like the $10K I put up for that 4-day workshop I mentioned earlier.
But Matt was very slow on delivering anything earth shattering. A few webinars in the first 2 months, that were mostly about basic stuff and talking about how he’s gearing up to release the real juicy secrets very soon.
Then, by the 3rd month he started disappearing from the forum. No calls. No replies. And about a month or so later, the entire website was gone. The guy vanished into the ether. Along with the roughly $300,000 he collected.
Oh and he used PayPal that did nothing to go after him in spite of attempts from most of the members. I guess PayPal is a stickler to their 60 day return policy or whatever it is.
And as you can imagine, there were some really upset people. Heck, I was upset. Who likes to be hoodwinked and taken advantage of like that, for any amount of money?
So it does happen. It ain’t pretty. And it doesn’t feel good. But those are far and few between. And at the end of the day, blaming anyone else and not taking any responsibility will not do you any good.
When there is big money at stake, whatever “big” means to you, it’s ultimately YOUR responsibility to do your your homework to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride.
But the bottom line is this…
This kind of stuff does happen but it’s rare. And in most cases it’s usually not the “program” or the “system” that didn’t work for the person. But their lack of commitment and discipline to follow through and take action on what they’ve learned. As well as accepting full responsibility for the choices they make and the consequences of those choices.
Wow, can imagine what our world would look like if everyone did this?
Now I don’t know whether Trump University delivered the goods or not for the money they were asking. But in my opinion, the whole lawsuit against Trump University and talking about people who invested upwards of $15,000 for it is absurd.
Why don’t the college kids who graduate with $100,000 in student loans and can’t get a job, take the University of (fill in the blank) where they got their sheepskin to court?
Now there’s something for the politicians to chew on.