I’ve done some reading on self-improvement and productivity. I’ve read quite a few books and blogs on the subjects. I’ve also signed up for email newsletters from people like Dan Miller and Brian Tracy. I also downloaded a bunch of samples of Nightingale-Conant books.
I routinely get emails from these companies, as well a The David Allen Company, Dr. Steven Covey, and plenty of others for products, seminars, GTD Connect, etc. I’d love to have each of them, but there’s always that one glaring issue: money. Dan Miller announced a new product in May. You can buy it for $4, but the total cost is $197. A GTD Connect membership is $48 a month. I’m afraid to spend that much money on products like this. I also routinely get emails from Brian Tracy about new products that are available from his store and his affiliates. All of them are advertised to help me to achieve my goals and succeed.
When it comes to products like this, however, I’m not only afraid to spend the money, I’m almost afraid not to spend the money. What if the $48/mo GTD connect membership helped me to bring in $50 or more a month? What if Dan Miller’s $197 product really did help me to achieve a 6 figure income?
Ramit Sethi has a post in his archive that addresses this to a point. He says that if a $200 dinner lands him a $50,000 project, then it was worth it.
There’s a difference between Ramit and me though. Ramit has an entrepreneurial mindset. I don’t (yet). I’m trying to learn, but how do you learn an entire new way of thinking? For one thing, I’m trying to listen to entrepreneurs lately. I read their blogs. I buy their books. I listen to their podcasts.
That of course brings out the problem of separating the wheat from the chaff. In the field of success literature, there are plenty of snakes. In some fields, there is more money to be made in selling books to people about being successful than there is in actually being successful in those fields. Watch some of the paid advertising on the Discovery Channel or TruTV early in the morning. “Make millions in Real Estate with no money down, no experience, and no actual work!”
John T. Reed has a “Real Estate BS Artist Detection Checklist” that can help. It’s applicable to just about any area where beginners are an easy target for “gurus”. If you're a novice in certain areas, it makes you an easy target for the snakes. It's much harder to discern the snakes from the real experts who can teach you something useful for your money.
Have you ever bought a product hoping it would help you to be successful, only to find yourself ripped off with a bunch of "rah-rah" motivational platitudes and no constructive help?
Have you ever spent money on one of these product to find that it delivered to you a value much greater than the cost of the product?