Tara Newman: Welcome to The Bold Money Revolution Podcast. This is your source for straight-talking, no fluff business, and high-performance conversations that add real depth and value to the way bold leaders live, work and thrive. I’m your host, Tara Newman. I’m here to show you how to optimize your performance as a leader so that you can grow a business that is profit-rich, efficient, and allows you to generate real tangible wealth for yourself and others. We are here to help you lead with your values, to perform without overwhelm and burnout, and to do your most important work in the world.
Hey everyone. I am here today with a veteran business owner and a dear friend of mine, Maggie Patterson. She is not only an agency owner of Scoop Studios, she’s also a mentor for service-based business owners. Maggie and I often find ourselves ranting to each other about some of the things that we’re seeing happen in the traditional online business space. I think that Maggie and I both come from outside of that space. We have had long careers in corporate or private businesses that were decades in the making before we started running our businesses online. We rant because we’re concerned. I would say I’m deeply alarmed.
Maggie Patterson: Deeply alarmed, concerned, distressed some days. It’s a full range of not positive emotions. Then there’s this little part of me that’s like, “Why am I still here?” Then I remember all the good things and all the wonderful clients I work for. That’s why I think you and I have a level of distress that we do.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I know that’s true and I know that it’s taken me a long time to find a group of women who are seeing the same things that I’m seeing at the level that I’m seeing them at, and so I really value when I can just come into your Instagram and be like, “Maggie, I’m crumbling.”
Maggie Patterson: What is happening?
Tara Newman: What is happening? Because I think that you and I both have a similar mission in the sense that we’re here to wake women business owners up and show them that it doesn’t have to be the way they’re seeing it and trying to be one part, “Let’s get educated,” and one part, “Let’s guide the path out from some of what we’re seeing.” Today, we’re going to talk about some of the trends that we’re seeing because I think we are seeing a big shift in the traditional online business space. I want to talk about some of the gaps that I see. I know you see some gaps in terms of how businesses—I don’t like to use the word should—but how businesses should be running versus how people are influencing businesses in this space.
I think just by having this conversation naturally, some solutions are going to fall out of it and be solutions-focused. I do like to preface things and say that like you, there’s a lot of good that comes out of using the internet, when I say using the internet, to leverage your business. I don’t actually personally distinguish between online business and non-online business. I think because then you start to think that one, it requires different tactics. I think what you and I can come to an agreement on is that businesses have been businesses for decades and centuries and there are core foundational practices that every business uses and there’s nothing really new or earth-shattering here that’s going to get you to where you want to go, although that’s how it’s marketed.
Maggie Patterson: This is 100% true. One of the conversations I’ve seen a lot about is a lot of people being like, “But, bro, ‘marketing’ is so new and this and that,” and I’m like, “No, no, no, kids.” When I say kids because sometimes I feel like everybody’s mom or maybe grandma. I’m like, “Hi. Can we just settle down for a minute here?” Because I started my career in marketing in 1998 and that was pre-internet. I used to fax out press releases as an intern. The reality is all the tactics we use online are all based in traditional marketing. When we look at online marketing or online business and we’re like, “Oh, well, these tactics don’t work,” it’s like, “Just go back to the tactics you would use in a corporate setting or somewhere else.” The tactics haven’t really changed, it’s all the artifice around the tactics. If you know the history of scammers or people that do unethical things, this is not new, it’s just done in a way that’s at scale so we’re much more aware of it and we’re much more apt to be taking advantage of it.
A door-to-door sales person back in 1920 trying to sell us a health elixir, we would have shut the door. With the internet, it’s not as easy to shut the door so we get sucked into things that we think we’re too smart to get sucked into and then we start to try to explain it away. The reality is the tactics have not shifted that much, it’s just the application of the tactics.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I think when you’re talking about that door-to-door salesman, what comes up for me is that business has been around forever and grifters have been around forever. However, what I think makes the online space so concerning is the algorithm creates a priming effect and recency where the second you open your app, you’re seeing them over and over and over again. The door-to-door salesman didn’t harass you and follow you around everywhere you went. Whereas now with targeting, with the algorithm, we’re really, some may call it persistent, but it also has a brainwashing effect when you see something so many times and it wears you down from seeing it so many times. I do think in that sense, it’s different. But one of the things that I notice about the online space is that they teach tools before the process.
I think this is what you are getting at. There are all these courses and programs for “use social media, use email marketing, use a webinar,” all these ways that you can leverage. But those are tools and you have to understand why you’re using them. None of them are per se bad. I enjoy using a lot of those myself but I know when and where and why to use them instead of them becoming something that exhausts me and pulls my focus in a million different directions and distracts me. That’s just one of the things that I’ve been noticing in terms of a gap. But I want to back us up a little bit, let’s talk about some trends because I think things are shifting. What are you seeing?
Maggie Patterson: I think there’s been really interesting, and I really had to think about when this goes back to, I really feel like the way things played out immediately after COVID, lockdowns, and everything else is we didn’t see a slowdown in the trickery and treacherous tactics of online business. We saw an acceleration. “Put your PPP loan here and do all these things.” That for me made me say, I was in this space of like, “What am I doing and am I going to continue in this industry?” I looked at that and I was like, “Oh, I am so needed more than ever.” I think what’s happened is because of how swift and shocking that was for a lot of people, I think a lot of people woke up.
Then right after that, we had essentially racial reckoning where people realized a lot of the people following this space were not committed to the same values as they were. That has resulted in this acceleration of people wanting to do business with people that have values that are in alignment with them, people looking at certain tactics and realizing how rooted in systems of oppression and privilege, also just being like, “This does not work for me on a fundamental level.”
One of the big trends that’s resulting in this is there’s this conversation about “how do we do business”, I’ll use air quotes ethically, and I feel like there’s a great side of that where people are much, much more aware and there’s a downside to that where there are people taking advantage of it. I feel like that’s one of the biggest trends I see. Then I definitely see, I don’t know quite how to characterize this, but a definite awareness and willingness to push back on the tactics that I’ve never seen before. I’ve been talking about this stuff for a long time and people are much, much more open to having those conversations. Honestly, a lot of those people I’ve had those conversations with, I’ve been surprised by, I never expected they would get there. There is a shift happening albeit slow and albeit complicated at times.
Tara Newman: When I first came and brought my business online in 2014, also I want to say, I want to acknowledge your moment that you had last year during COVID where you’re like, “No, I’m needed more now than ever,” that was a moment that I had as well because our first business went bankrupt during the 2009 Great Recession and I tell my clients all the time, “I went bankrupt so you didn’t have to.” I learned so much during that time and when COVID came, I’m like, “Wow, this is my time. This is my time to have a platform and to talk about these things.” I started to notice people coming out with their 10-step plan to recession-proof your business.
Maggie Patterson: Oh, serenity.
Tara Newman: I was like, “You all need to sit down and let me have the stage now.”
Maggie Patterson: Where were you in 2008?
Tara Newman: In diapers. I’m like, “You all need to sit down.” Because it wasn’t even a service-based business that we had, we were running a brick-and-mortar manufacturing business that in today’s 2021, monetize your passion online, which is a very cheap way to get a business up and running. I, back then, had a multiple six-figure startup that had a lot of geopolitical implications because what really started to do us in was our clients started shifting to sending their work overseas to China. We had to really understand global markets and it was very different. When COVID hit, I had been planning for a recession since 2018 because we had seen it. My dad’s a veteran business owner as well and we were watching it come and we did not plan for a global pandemic so I just really wanted to acknowledge that for you because that really ignited me as well.
I remember when I first came and brought my business into the online space and feeling like I just fit nowhere and I came into this really big Facebook group when big Facebook groups were a thing where you can spend six figures and fill a Facebook group from ads with like 10,000 people. The woman who was running this group was using psychological tactics to manipulate the people in the group. As somebody with a deep psychology background, I was very, very uncomfortable in that environment. My intuition was screaming, “This is a cult.” For the last seven years, I’ve been waiting for everybody else to realize the grift that’s happening. What I’m seeing is I think Trump, the ultimate grifter, is highlighting what con artistry actually looks like in the world. There were a fair amount of people who did not vote for him and I think even some that voted for him in 2020 are probably like, “Oops, that was a mistake,” at this point. I think that’s a large part of the US demographic that’s waking up to things like that. I agree with you with your points around COVID and racial reckoning and values. I also think that a lot of people are starting to realize how in debt they’ve become.
Maggie Patterson: Look at what’s happened. So many people, the thing they thought they could count on has not panned out the way they thought it would. When your partner loses a job or the market takes a dip, or whatever is the expectation you have of financial security that a lot of people have, all of a sudden you start to realize like, “Hey, I can’t be running my business with this non-existent profit margin. I can’t be constantly investing in 50,000 masterminds that are really just glorified for business travel. What am I actually doing? What is the purpose of this business?” I think the interesting part of that is the consumer awareness piece and that’s really what I focus on with a small business boss is what is the consumer education piece of this around what is a reasonable threshold of risk? What is the reasonable threshold of debt?
When you have an online business, going back to your original business, we don’t need to invest multiple six figures to be successful. We’re not running a manufacturing business. We should be able to run very lean. Our expenses should be very much in check and there should be a profit margin pretty close to the beginning. If we can’t run our business in that way, perhaps we’re over investing. If you have to constantly be putting everything on a credit card for your business, there’s a conversation that has to happen. I know you’re into the money side of this but I’m always like, “If you can’t pay for this out of your business bank account right now in full, we need to talk.”
Tara Newman: Yeah. This year more than any other year, I’ve been seeing—and this is what’s leading me to believe that people are starting to wake up and get wise—I do want to say that there are some of these courses, programs that I actually think are appropriate at certain levels in starting a business. They’re usually geared toward getting clients now, getting cash in the door. I don’t always agree with the tactics that they teach but I agree with the premise behind it. I think that there needs to be more clarity around who this is for and how this will help them and why it works. I think there just needs to be more transparency. Because I can transparently see how those work to a point and then that starts to become problematic when people want to start to scale. That’s why I’m starting to see people who are incredibly exhausted, anxious. You and I are into the research. Gallup has a recent study out that 60% of women small business owners suffer from daily worry. That was a pre-COVID number. I purposefully am quoting the pre-COVID number because we know that that’s gone up. And 45% are experiencing daily stress and that is disproportionate to male small business owners.
Maggie Patterson: I think what’s really interesting that you just called out there is the level of stress and worry because we’ve all read those studies on women led businesses, it’s just a totally different thing. But then we are literally being sold solutions that are not customized, that are not tailored to our business model. What you said about like, let’s say they get clients, and I end up with a lot of these people in my circles because there is very much a one size fits all that has zero understanding of different business models and how to acquire clients.
As someone who works with service business owners who are both what I would call true B2B selling to corporate and then people who are selling more business to entrepreneur because that is really truly a market that we never acknowledge and that I am bound to determine we’re going to make a thing, keep talking about it. I see people who are learning a B2E, a business to entrepreneur tactic and they’re being told that will work for their corporate clients. I’m like, “Your corporate client wants a proposal.” I’ve had many fights in public about proposals because of this. Good luck selling a $50,000 retainer or whatever it is if you don’t have a proposal. They’re not going to go to your website and read your packages, they’re not reading your email newsletter. The lack of understanding of those tactics, how they shift even within a service business model based on the market, based on the individual’s needs, is massive.
Another one, everyone likes to talk about consulting or VIP days, that doesn’t work for everyone. Not everyone can work with that speed and velocity and stress. There are all these prescriptive solutions but there’s not an understanding of how those work for each individual person in each individual situation. That lack of specificity is killing people’s businesses and keeping them just struggling when they don’t need to be.
Tara Newman: Can we talk about, because I know you and I work, I saw on your website, you’re like, “I work with clients every day.”
Maggie Patterson: Yeah.
Tara Newman: Me too.
Maggie Patterson: What a concept.
Tara Newman: I know. I think that this is also a trend that I am seeing a shift where people are realizing that even if they have created a membership, even if they’ve created a course that gets you to a point, people actually want people to help them. People will pay to be actually helped because the world has gone mad and turned everything into an info product.
Maggie Patterson: Yes. Let’s even just break this down to the most basic level. Not everyone’s learning style is compatible with an info product. I’m the perfect example. I can pull the info products but am I going to watch your video? Probably not. The last thing I took, the only reason I completed it, is because there were transcripts. But the entire info model is based on a very narrow approach. I agree, people pay people like us because they want help, they want customization, they want specificity. They don’t want this cookie cutter one-size-fits-all advice. Then you know the flip side of this? When you’re working with clients consistently, you’re seeing the trends, you’re seeing the patterns, you’re seeing what’s happening in real time. Through a situation like navigating the ups and downs of COVID, we’re able to look across the data points of our clients and provide our clients with actually a real world perspective.
One of the things I see a lot of is I get people or I’m watching people who are learning about running a service business from people who haven’t actually done services in the last three to five years. They worked with clients for a hot minute and now they don’t do that. If I’m going to teach you to run an agency, I actually run an agency so I can tell you what’s happening right now running an agency. It’s all very meta but it annoys the hell out of me.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I know you get on that more too, like what we were just talking about, around info products because my background is in instructional design and learning and development and adult learning theory. It really hacks me off to watch course creators. It hacks me off to watch influencers teach people how to design curriculum or courses when they have no background in instructional design because they’re not actually creating something typically that’s particularly outcome oriented. It’s oh, you just know this thing so just put it into a package and slap a price on it and go run some ads. Which I think actually brings me to when I originally reached out to you, I said, “Can we have a conversation about the lack of innovation in the service-based business industry and in the traditional online business industry? Because it’s crushing.” I don’t care that the market is saturated at all personally, I really don’t, but if you’re not going to be innovative, you’re not going to stand a chance. When you take these programs that are mass delivered to hundreds and hundreds of people and you’re being taught the same process of doing things, that’s hundreds and hundreds of people who are now going out and doing the same thing. There’s no innovation there.
Maggie Patterson: Yeah. I co-host a podcast with Michelle Mazur, who I know you’re also friends with, called Duped. We just talked about this in our most recent episode where we’re wrapping up our season one. We’re talking about one of the biggest costs of online business as it is done today is there is no innovation and that lack of innovation is leading to so much sameness. All the messaging sounds the same. People literally rely on these tired tropes and then wonder why they can’t sell anything. You’re right, the market is saturated so if everyone’s saying, “I did it and you can too” or “Look at my six figure lifestyle,” those messages so quickly become meaningless.
How are you ever going to stand out? I know for me my solution to this is, “Now, what can I do that does not scale and what can I do that is highly customized? How am I going to say something different?” I literally just paid Michelle as a messaging expert to help me work through some of these things because I don’t want to lose my edge and I know that things I said five years ago that no one was saying, I now can Google that and find a hundred results for it. I’m not saying that I’m the originator of that concept but we have to push ourselves to keep our edge, to stay ahead of the trends, to watch like, “Okay, this is interesting. Now lots of people are saying this, what am I going to say that’s different? What is my approach? What is my unique perspective on this?” Because it’s really easy to copy someone, which we see a ton of, high plagiarism is rampant in this industry. I’m not talking about taking a swipe file, I’m talking about actual ideas being lifted and passed off as someone else’s work. It is crushing us in so many ways.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I think that we’re at the point where some of these mills that are pumping out business knowledge, education, I don’t know whatever to call it to be honest, I always say you have to look at the origins of the person who you’re being mentored by and you have to trace their lineage, so to speak, back and see where they have learned from because that’s what you’re perpetuating in lots of different ways. I think it’s important to understand that—and not to say you should or shouldn’t learn from someone because of that—but to understand where they’re coming from, what their approach is because I think a lot of people are very trusting that are taking some of these programs and they’re not realizing how they’re perpetuating a cycle that they don’t understand.
Maggie Patterson: This is 100% true. I wrote this entire thing last fall and did a podcast episode on it. It’s talking about that family tree. I feel like one of the things I would really like to see is for those of us that have been in the industry for a while, why aren’t we disclosing who we learn from? That information should be readily available so people understand what they are getting into. I look at some people who are slowly trying to step aside from some of these things and I’m like, “Okay, that’s great, you’re trying to distance yourself from these people, but at the same time I want you to name your teachers and I want you to repair the harm you’ve done as a result of that association because you’ve built a multi-million dollar business on it.”
Tara Newman: Yeah. It’s really interesting that you bring that up. During the 2020 election cycle—also you’re a Canadian, just forgot as we’re talking about Trump that you’re Canadian. You’re a neighbor upstairs so I’m sure you follow it—but when I went during this election cycle and when he started in with there’s fraud, people started talking about the big lie and there was a Yale professor on Twitter who unpacked what the big lie is. I have it in a Google Doc and I have it side by side laid out next to the online business industry and how they perpetuate the big lie. Honestly, I haven’t done a podcast episode on it yet because I just haven’t had the courage and the fortitude to really go there but I’ll start talking about a little bit now because you brought it up. You brought up something that’s a part of this big lie.
The big lie is a propaganda technique used by Nazis. It gains traction and one of the components of the big lie is that there are people who uphold the lie. You see now Congress in the US is upholding the lie and you see Liz Cheney who just came out and was de-leadershiped because she said, “I’m not going to continue to perpetuate this lie.” We see this a lot in the online business industry when we have these people, these prodigies, so to speak, that I got this big result, I built this million dollar business off of learning from this person. That’s this proof but it’s atypical.
Maggie Patterson: And this, the atypical, I literally should just probably get a T-shirt that says “Results Not Typical” because this is part of inventing authority in this space from the bullsh*t income claims right through to this “results not typical” social proof. These people perpetuate these cycles by continuously taking the one student who’s had amazing results with zero disclosure of “Did they spend their way to that?” Probably. Then that becomes the poster child, their wunderkind that will then go on and create more wunderkinds. I call this the circles of indoctrination and I can say this to you because remember that shampoo commercial back in the 70s or the 80s, the “they told two friends and they told two friends”? That’s what happens. Coach one teaches these three people. These three people teach nine people. Then it’s this exponential thing. We don’t necessarily know the origin of the idea but the lie is perpetuated, that this is the way business is done, it’s that you must use these types of stories, you must use these type of sales tactics, and we don’t stop to question it because that person got the result that has been marketed to us as the most desirable outcome. We need a seven figure or six figure, whatever type of business is, eight figure, whatever is most in Vogue at that time.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I watched this happen back in 2014. I was in this big group and the woman who was running the group was just a very gifted sociopath. I don’t mean to diagnose but I actually booked a call with her, I paid a lot of money, she was charging a sh*t ton of money for a one-hour call. I booked the call with her because I’m like, “I need to understand how she is doing this.” I didn’t book the call because I wanted to learn from her. I booked the call because I knew she was very suspect. She, of course, proved herself to be incredibly suspect on this call and then things started coming out.
But anyway, she’s this gifted sociopath who gets all these people buying from her and then she gets too full and she says, “Oh, but so and so is my protege. They learned everything from me. Go, book in with this person.” Everybody flocked to book in with this person. It was very interesting to see, first of all, that was credibility, she tapped this person as credibility. This person was very big into pay-to-play so she had paid for all these things like paid to write a chapter in a book, paid to get into these top business coach things, paid to get on certain platforms and have certain visibility. She looked a lot more credible than she was and that’s how results atypical happen.
Maggie Patterson: Yeah. This is everything from having the money to dump into a photo shoot to being able to buy the chapter in the book, to being able to buy your way into the right room, to press logos that are totally made up. Hello, have you all got the message about Yahoo? Because they want to put you in the top 10 coaches service providers. All of these things that are used, it’s all the trappings of authority when those people are essentially—and this is the way to think of them—they’re business influencers. They’re not actual business running a business. They’re running the image of a business to sell you that image so that you want that and then you try to buy that image.
I saw a meme not that long ago, it’s like, “Do you want that person’s business and life or do you want the actual business? Are you buying the lifestyle?” The lifestyle is a big part of this. For some people, that lifestyle is jet set and some people, it’s like, “Hey, I work an hour a day,” but we’re all being marketed to in a way that is not based on reality.
Tara Newman: I think you’ll agree with me here, Maggie and I want to teach you how to have influence over yourself, not be influenced by some of what you’re seeing. We want to teach you to be influential in your circles but not an influencer in terms of you monetizing your identity. I’ve done a lot to unf*ck my business from anything that I might have picked up inadvertently or tried and tested over time. I don’t do a lot of any kind of “Here’s my lifestyle,” because first of all, I’m boring as hell. I’m like, “What do you do with your money?” I’m like, “I invested in stocks and put it in a savings account and added value to my home.” I don’t know, I’m just not an assh*le with my money. It’s super boring.
I don’t want you to do the things that I do with my money. I want you to do the things that you want to do with your money. That’s what I want. I don’t want you to have my lifestyle. I want you to have the lifestyle that you want, boring or not boring as you want it to be. It was really a gift when I decided to not show a ton of my lifestyle anymore because it felt like so much pressure to be like, “Well, I’m just really boring.”
Maggie Patterson: Michelle and I did an episode on this and it came down to, “Are you an influencer or an expert?” One of the big distinctions is are you selling an image or are you selling your ideas? I want to be known for my ideas, not for my image because if we’re relying on image, I have some work to do. I don’t want to have to get hair extensions. My face appears periodically in things but do I want my entire business to be built on these superficial measures of success? No. Plus, like you said, my life is super boring, I’d be like, “Here I am, making dinner again, doing mom stuff.”
Tara Newman: The other thing too is, I’m going to bring up Rachel Hollis, and I don’t mean to stir up a whole pot of sh*t, but last year, around the COVID times, she decided that her and Dave were going to split up. I know a lot of people who follow her felt very duped that she was always portraying this perfect marriage and they had Rise Together or whatever the heck they do. I just genuinely felt bad for them as a couple going through something really hard like divorce and having to do it publicly. I get that they created that but nobody’s perfect. I’m not perfect. I don’t want to present that to people because I experience really hard things in my life. We all have life struggles and crises and all those things. I’d rather stand for being human than being #relationshipgoals or anything like that.
Maggie Patterson: Plus too, you and I both now, you’re married long enough and #relationshipgoals sometimes is not super exciting. I don’t want to play out my life in the public eye. That’s not why I started a business. I wasn’t like, “Hey, I want to be business famous.” I just want to do good work, put good things into the world, have the opportunity to create, and serve the people I work with. If that requires me to show up to be relationship goals, I’m going to reassess.
Tara Newman: Yeah. This other thing that I saw people doing in terms of innovation that’s really perplexing to me and concerning because I’m seeing it happen more and more—and they don’t realize they’re doing it so I want to highlight it—because also with innovation comes a couple of other factors, comes critical thinking, decision making, and problem solving. All things that we’re becoming void of as we consume info products, as we consume reams of content that takes us nowhere, I even think Steve Jobs would probably roll over in his grave if he realizes how he contributed to this lack of innovation and lack of critical thinking, you can power this very powerful technological device with zero critical thinking skills. I blame him also just to be clear.
But I’m watching women like us because what you said really resonated. You want to do good work, you want to do meaningful work, you want to work with people of high touch. So many people that I work with are like that and then they try to take this high-touch depth type work that they do and turn it into an eight-week program, an info product, or a course and they’re miserable and they’re like, “But everybody says I should be able to do it this way,” but that’s not how depth work works.
Maggie Patterson: It is not how depth work works. Going back to one of the lies or tropes or things being sold is the idea that we should have this scalable offer, whether that’s a course or a membership or something else and that is it is seen as we’re never going to get past a certain level unless we do that. I did it. I was miserable. I hated it. It was awful. It was not how I want to send my energy and guess what, I suffered and the people in that, yes, they had a great experience and I’m sure they’re not sitting around going like, “Oh my god, Maggie, what did you do?” But I don’t feel like they got my best because that’s not how I show up.
In terms of the lack of innovation, all of us saying, “Okay, wait, that’s not actually how I want to work,” thinking really critically and making decisions for ourselves that are going to buck the status quo. Because so much of the intricacies of this lie now comes down to “You can have the same results and everything else but you can just do it in this way.” I think we have to be like, “That doesn’t work for me.” A great example is when I had someone who told me, “I don’t have my price on my sales page because this is what my coach told me. I have always felt wrong about this.” I just said, “If you feel it’s wrong, why are you listening to that person?” She really thought about it and she’s like, “Oh my god. What am I even doing?” It’s just because that was the way that type of offer should be sold according to some arbitrary rule. I think the more we follow an arbitrary rule, we dictate the status quo, the loss of innovation is fast and swift and it’s doing us all a disservice as consumers, as business owners. We’re not advancing if we’re not willing to challenge the existing structures of what’s there.
Tara Newman: I’m going to roll this out so I’m going to give you my pet peeve real quick. I have had somebody that must go through the same program because they came to me and said the same thing. We’re not teaching sales skills, we’re not teaching women how to sell. That’s really why I’m passionate about teaching sales skills because if every woman just knew how to sell from a place of empathy, from a place of being a genuine human being and a caring individual, women would not be struggling to make money ever and they could take those sales skills and use them in their business, go back to work for somebody else, and use them in somebody else’s business. It is a life skill that women need to have. But I can barely even talk about the solution being sales skills because everybody wants the f*cking Ferrari version. They click on a link and buy. They DM me on Instagram, “I make three million dollars in a day and it’s just so aggravating and frustrating.”
Maggie Patterson: But I’m glad you brought up the sales skills piece because I think people are so scared of selling or they have these ideas around selling so then these things become much easier. What happens is there’s this constant push in all these systems, whether it be selling to or from a webinar or in the DMs or whatever, how can we consistently avoid actual selling and put ourselves one step further removed? What I always challenge my clients on is from my perspective, it’s an act of respect and humanity for us to show up in the sales process and engage with people. I don’t buy things if I can’t talk to people in it, unless it’s like a $297 Instagram course. If I can’t actually talk to you ever, I’m not buying that from you because I need that one-to-one connection. I want to be respected. I want to be treated with fairness and dignity and so many of these ways of Ferrari selling, if you will, they’re designed to strip out humanity and make it into a transaction, not a relationship.
Tara Newman: This is how the online marketing space preys on women. They know they’re uncomfortable selling and it makes them nervous. They know that they don’t understand their value and how to have a difficult conversation around boundaries and things like that. The pitch is, “Hey, don’t worry about owning your value or understanding your value, you can sell your thing for $59. By the way, you need to sell 4,011 of those every month to be able to put food on the table for your family at $59.”
Maggie Patterson: By the way, you have 12 people on your email list.
Tara Newman: Right, but they think they’re seeing it happen. Women go, “I can work hard,” because women are the hardest workers. Not only are women the hardest workers, they are the hardest workers for unpaid work. This is what women have been conditioned to do their entire lives is to raise their hands and take on more for less.
Maggie Patterson: Yeah, so perpetuates it.
Tara Newman: So this fits that cycle. The ambitious women, the high achievers go, “Hold my beer, no problem.” Then they realize they don’t even have enough money to buy the beer. This gets perpetuated over and over again by these archetypes in the online space and they think because it’s a woman that she’s just like me but she has learned from all the men.
Maggie Patterson: This right here is why I created something called the Celebrity Entrepreneur Archetypes because so many of my clients would say, “Oh, well they don’t look like or act like that.” I’m like, “It’s just a different archetype. You’re no longer dealing with someone selling you the luxury lifestyle, you’re now dealing with the best friend next door. You’re now dealing with rebel creative and these things are very insidious and they all pull on different things.” The BFF next door is focusing on that relatability. I’ve got the messy bun and I’m literally your friend and I will teach you. There are all these different ways of doing it and we need to become much more adapted recognizing the archetypes but just the tactics in totality. If people are using these tactics, they are not for you, they are coming out of that ecosystem because a bro isn’t always a bro. Sometimes they’re a babe. Sometimes they’re a non-binary person. It doesn’t matter the gender or the package, it’s about the tactics.
Tara Newman: Yeah. The patriarchy is genderless.
Maggie Patterson: Yes. I think one thing you mentioned about women being scared of sales, I also feel like the other part of this is working with clients has been villainized as a result because a lot of people struggle with the boundaries, they struggle with the conversations, they struggle with the interpersonal relationships. What tends to happen is this is the other reason they get sold the dream. Running a client service-based business is actually the fastest way to make money.
Tara Newman: And most profitable.
Maggie Patterson: It is the most profitable as someone who runs two service-based businesses, and has for years, I can attest to that, but the reality is we’re told that clients are going to burn us out, dealing with clients is hard, clients have boundary issues. Then what happens is this avoidance of working with clients the same way avoid sales and then we are now trying to sell a course we probably have no business selling. We’ve created something based on no experience, no frameworks, nothing because that’s, again, another avoidance technique. These marketers, these people selling us these solutions, they know what we’re fearful of.
Tara Newman: Yeah, 100%. It’s so funny because everybody thinks they’re being sold on the fear of missing out. They’re not. They are being sold on something so much deeper.
Maggie Patterson: Yeah. Fear of missing out is like one percent of all of it. I’ve got this running list, like, “Let’s talk about all the mindset manipulation tactics. Let’s talk about how we use all these cult tactics about limiting access to leaders.” Everything you said about cult is true. If you run through—I’m sure you’ve heard The BITE Model, Steven Hassan who’s a cult expert—if you run through the BITE (Behavior, Information, Thought, and Emotional), you run through those sections on the website, you will easily see the tactics of online business, you’re like, “Check, check, check.” The second I started doing that last summer, I had goosebumps and I was like, “Oh, my goodness. This is an actual thing. These people use the exact same tactics in order to control us.”
Tara Newman: Yeah, it’s true. That’s what I’m going to say, it’s true. Maggie is speaking the truth. But I’m going to be respectful of everybody’s time and I’m going to roll this out of here. Maggie, final thought, tip, help for people, what can they do if they’re like, “Wow”?
Maggie Patterson: I think the one thing I don’t want to do is leave everyone with a sense of fear, a sense of dread about all this. There is a lot of good happening in the online business world and I think the easiest distinction that you can make is as a consumer and looking at tactics in your business, “Am I leading from a place of fear where I am playing on people’s deepest insecurities or am I leading with trust? Am I focusing on respect, transparency, and truth, and doing things in my full integrity or am I trying to gain the system to get ahead?” I think if you can carefully look at those things and also critical thinking and trusting your gut, never underestimate the power of those things because they will force you to slow down and make better decisions, whether that be a purchasing decision or a decision you have to make in your own business.
Tara Newman: I’m really big on having people just be better consumers. Just do your research, vet people. Oftentimes, the most qualified people don’t have the shiniest marketing. That’s usually a hallmark to a really good incredible expert at times. The other thing that I will say is, to add to what Maggie said about trusting your gut, when I went and studied a whole bunch of cult things, the one thing that I realized was there was always this moment where people, it didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel right. Their gut, their intuition, something was trying to speak to them. It felt weird. They were like, “Why is this person asking me to do this thing? Why are we doing this weird dance party? Why are we wearing–
Maggie Patterson: Why do I have the sashes?
Tara Newman: The sashes from NXIVM. Why are we wearing these sashes? It was like a fork in the road. It was almost a decision tree based on their intuition. The ones who were gnome out got out of the cult. The ones who overrode their intuition always wind up deeper into the cult. I just want to drive that point that Maggie said home. I also want to drive the point home that we’re not trying to be fear-mongers here. Maggie and I are very much realists and we are both benefiting from using the internet to grow our businesses, we enjoy that, and we really are here just to have a different conversation. Maggie’s big on no BS, I’m big on no BS. One of my core values is transparency so I like having these conversations. That’s really where I want to leave everybody. I also want everybody to go, Maggie’s got two podcasts.
Maggie Patterson: I do. I have Duped, which you can find at duped.online and that’s all the places that our podcasts are and I also have the BS-Free Service Business Show and all the conversations Tara and I had today, I’ve got episodes on cults, I got episodes on income claims, all of this. Everything we talked about, I probably got an episode on that at this point.
Tara Newman: Yeah, and they’re great podcasts and so I really want you to go and check Maggie out because I think you’ll learn a lot from her if you’re starting to wake up and question how things are being done. I don’t want you to freak out and be like, “I don’t want to be like them.” I hear that so much, “I don’t want to be like them.” I want you to know that you can do it your way and Maggie and I are here to show you how to do that.
Maggie Patterson: If anything, get excited about the fact there is another way and there’s another path and there’s an opportunity for you to do things with integrity and value and everything else versus feeling like you have to jam yourself into these things that just don’t feel quite right.
Tara Newman: Yeah. Have the courage to lead with what you want to see in the world. Thanks for coming by, Maggie.
Maggie Patterson: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Tara Newman: Always so much fun chatting about this stuff.
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