This is the final part of my review for T. Harv Eker’s “Never Work Again” seminar held in June 2010. Be sure to read part 1: Never Work Again Seminar: Introduction, part 2: Day 1 Review, and part 3: Day 2 Review before reading this post.
As I mentioned in my NWA Day 2 update, I was running my own workshop (7 Habits of Straight A Students) today, so I didn’t attend Day 3’s morning and afternoon sessions. After my workshop, I had planned to attend the remainder of NWA for Day 3, only to see Tatt’s text message that him and O have left the seminar as it was the same setup as in Day 1 and Day 2. Every new speaker was there to talk about his method of earning passive income (with supposedly massive results), followed by a sales pitch for his program/course to learn more about it. The topics were also not relevant. Hence, I went back home to rest.
(Side note: My workshop went well – I was training school students on the habits to get top results, and some parents even came with their kids!! Talk about real dedication! I’ll be continuing part 2 of the workshop next Saturday. Most of the same participants will be back and with new attendees too, so I’m looking forward to that. 😀 )
Here’s a rundown of the agenda for Days 3 and 4. Again due to intellectual property reasons, I’ve listed the topics but not the actual titles.
Day 3 Agenda
- Successful Investing*
- iPhone/iPad Mobile Applications*
- Payday Lending*
- Better Trades System*
- Speaker Panel Discussion – Q&A session between all the speakers and audience members.
Day 4 Agenda
- Lifestyle Trading*
- Membership Sites*
- Pre-Development Land Investing. Tatt, O and me left NWA midway through this segment. There was probably a sales pitch at the end as well.
- T. Harv Eker NWA Concluding Video
* These are sales pitch sessions. They follow this general formula: (1) A 10-minute introduction on why this particular method creates passive income (2) 15-minute brief sharing on how they do it, followed by (3) 20-minute sales pitch for their course/program to learn this skill so you can create passive income for yourself.
After 4 days, I give NWA an overall rating of 0/10. It was a complete waste of my time. And this is coming from someone who got a free ticket — had I gotten a paid ticket of SGD 1,000-3,000 / USD 800-2,400 which was the list price, I would be pretty irate. And here’s why:
1) Did not meet the workshop objectives
If we look back to the list of deliverables promised in the seminar description, pretty much none were met, at least not to the way I see it. Let’s review the description from the promotional brochure (text in blue are my comments):
- A) Proven strategies and investment techniques to develop and increase passive income. Not really. We were made aware of the methods people use to earn passive income and the basic steps they do so, but we did not learn the actual full set of strategies or techniques to achieve the same outcome for ourselves in NWA. We had to sign up for additional courses/programs in order to learn that, and these typically cost USD 1,000-4,000 per program, usually on the higher side. Even then it’s not clear whether these courses really do have the complete set of info or they will lead to even more upselling. And even if they have the info, whether this info is robust, reflective of current market trends, etc. is another thing altogether.
- B) Practical earning strategies that guarantee you more time and money. No. See Point A.
- C) How to create businesses that work for you, rather than control you. Not that I know of. See Point A.
- D) Which businesses are the real cash cows. Not that I know of. See Point A.
- E) How to earn $20,000 to $100,000 in passive income each and every month for the rest of your life. Definitely not. The segment with this topic title turned out to be about Membership Sites (refer to Day 4 agenda) and it was just an introductory 101 module on what membership sites are. Like I mentioned for the asterisked segments (which are almost all the segments), these were just sales pitches to pique your interest and get you to sign up for more courses.
- F) A wide variety of high return, low-risk investments normally available only for sophisticated investors. Not that I’m aware of.
- G) How to gather investment contacts and find rare opportunities. Not that I’m aware of.
- H) And much more!
- I) Plus you’ll leave with your own personal plan. Absolutely not. I did not leave with any personal plan whatsoever. Maybe this was covered as the last segment of Day 4 (which I skipped), but I highly doubt this plan would have any value given how Days 1 to 3 panned out.
2) Misrepresentation of the content (IMO)
a) Fundamental mismatch in content and what was told
NWA gave me the impression that it was going to teach passive income strategies that we could immediately apply to our lives/businesses. According to Tatt, this was how they pitched it during MMI too, which was why he signed up. Based on what I read from the NWA brochure, I got the same impression as well, especially from points #A to #C. However, it turned out to be a pitch fest with barely any real content.
I suppose people who have a big load of money to readily invest in the tools pitched by the speakers + the courses/programs they upsell may find it valuable. But I do question whether these products/courses can deliver on the results. For example, trading and stocks — there are tons of people who lose money trading + investing in stocks, big chunks of money in fact, and this includes veterans in the field. In my opinion, these 2-3 day courses or 1-month programs are typically nicely marketed courses with overly simplified content that is easy for the layman to learn and create a feel-good factor (so that you feel that your 2-3 grand has been well spent), but they don’t actually give any real insight into what it takes to make reliable, constant passive income off such tools. Think about it: if it’s so easy to make money in X (be it internet marketing, membership courses, stocks, or trading or an internet business), why do you have to wait for someone to pitch a 2-3 day course that costs 2-3 thousand dollars to you instead of you actually hitting the books to learn on your own? That’s because it really isn’t as easy as it seems, and anyone who tries to gloss over the difficulties should be ashamed of themselves.
Not only that, there’s also the risk factor. For things like starting an internet business, say you work on it for 2-3 years and you get no results — what you lose is your time, energy, and money spent on the business setup, tools, and fluffy internet courses (if you get any). It’s terrible but not the end of the world.
But when it comes to financial investments, stocks, and trading, the risk isn’t just this — you risk losing huge amounts of money. This is a serious issue, especially if you don’t grow money on trees, which I suspect is so for most of the people who seek out financial courses. Personally I have friends who have traded / dabbled in stocks who have lost a lot of money (I’m talking $10,000 to over $100,000). Some lost their entire life savings and had to restart from scratch. These are not stupid people but smart people in professional careers, some of whom even work in trading firms, i.e., they study professionally in their career. When it comes to risky financial tools, it may be better not to invest in anything and still have your money, rather than to dabble out of a moment’s greed and lose your time, energy, and money, when you don’t even know what you’re doing.
b) Overhype on the results one can achieve
Assuming the speakers are legit — personally I haven’t heard of any of them excerpt Harv, not even the online marketing ones and I’ve been in the online space for 10 years — the general impression that I got throughout NWA was that you can just sign up for one of the courses (be it Google Adsense, Forex, Trading, Tax Liens, or Mobile Apps) spend a few weeks learning the skill, and you will be earning large amounts of passive income in no time.
This is deeply troubling to me. It grossly simplifies the process of creating passive income, when it’s far more complicated than that.
For example, putting Google Adsense on a website does indeed provide you a source of passive income, but you don’t just get passive income from putting ads on a site. You need an insane amount of traffic, like hundred thousands of pageviews a month, before you can earn thousands of dollars a month from solely Adsense. This only happens if you are providing an insane amount of value on your site, which in turn is the result of having the skills and knowledge that people want to learn from, not to mention the technical work that comes with running an online platform. This kind of output doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s built over years, and also from having a real passion in what you’re doing. Also, online competition has become incredibly stiff now. Most people who start online businesses actually fail, and they have invested many months/years of their time and money into it.
This reminds me of one of my past clients who signed up for an Internet Marketing course by a local trainer back in 2007. It cost about USD 2,000. However, he did not achieve the results marketed in the course pitch even after several years. Why? It’s because achieving these results requires real dedication, in-depth knowledge of the industry, strategy, and a real passion in what you’re doing. He signed up for the course thinking that it would be an easy, fast way to earn side income, and it’s hardly his fault because that was how the speaker pitched it. Same for many wealth “gurus” today.
Speaking of which, I saw some middle-aged aunties putting down their hard-earned savings for the Google Adsense course, and honestly I felt a little worried for them as I’m not sure if they knew what they signed up for. Why? Because they weren’t English literate, much less tech savvy. The salesperson at their booth also did nothing to give them an objective assessment of what to expect. Rather, he kept telling them that they would learn everything to generate passive income online in their program, right from Step A to Z. The aunties then paid the money, signed the invoices, and walked away with a slightly clueless look on their faces.
3) Barely any content
Out of the entire 4 days, the only real content segments were
- A) How to Write A Best Seller’s Book by Eker (Day 1)
- B) Literary Agent and Book Publishing (Day 1)
- C) Licensing (Day 1)
- D) Successful Investing (end of Day 2, start of Day 3)
- E) Membership Sites (Day 4)
By content, I’m referring to the segments sharing actionable insights, not masqueraded as sales pitches. Out of the 5 segments above, only (A) and (D) had concrete value. Information covered in (B) and (E) can be easily found by doing a little research and reading 1-2 books on the subject. I can’t comment on (C) as I skipped the session, but I doubt it would be different from how I felt about (B) and (E) given how the overall seminar went.
With a seminar outline as detailed in point #1, I would think that they would share passive income principles for us to apply right away. But it was really just specific tactics covered, and even then we didn’t get to learn anything that we could action upon without signing up for more programs.
4) Poor planning
As I mentioned in my Day 1 Review, there could be an overall framework that maps out the entire 4-day seminar. But there was none of this. It came across as a random mish-mesh of different people/companies pitching different passive income tactics to us.
There was also no agenda at all. None of us knew who the speaker was until he came on. Even when we asked the crew, they had to check, and at times gave the wrong information. Being a multi-speaker seminar hardly serves as a reason for no agenda. Hay House’s I Can Do It! Conference is a multi-speaker event and has its speakers and agenda planned out all the way till next year’s events, and it costs nowhere as much as NWA. The same for many global, even larger scale conferences like TED and SWSX.
5) Dragged out agenda
There were a lot of energizer sessions i.e., sessions where we were asked to get excited, dance, shout, meditate, read declarations, and so on. There was one every morning (one hour) and then after every break (about 6 breaks in total each day) for about 15 minutes. These are fine for belief breaking seminars where the audience needs to be in the right state to make the maximum change, but since this was more like a pitch fest, it was quite a waste of time. Removing all these fluff, we could easily have had a one-day event. And it wouldn’t even be a real “seminar” or “conference,” but a sales pitch event.
Request for NWA Refund (Failed) + Incredibly Terrible Service
So after the seminar, my friend Tatt promptly tried to ask for a refund. After all, he paid USD 1,600 for what was a pitch fest. The customer service was unfortunately one of the worst I’ve seen. I’ll leave you to decide:
To: Quantum Leap SRPL <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, June 7, 2010 0:54:56
Subject: Feedback on NWA 3-6 Jun 2010 in SG
This weekend, I attended T.Harv’s Never Work Again (NWA) on 3-6 Jun 2010 in Singapore and it was my first Quantum-Leap (QL) course after Millionaire Mind Intensive (MMI). I agreed that MMI was one of the best life-changing seminars; then, I chose QL program to continue my journey with T.Harv’s courses. But this NWA was totally under expectation to me, my guests, and some of QL members I met here. It was hardly to recommend this to any of my business partners in the future. Key reasons are
1. Content – Too much over promising & selling without sharing insightful knowledge. Most of speakers’ contents were very basic – could be easily found from speakers’ or relevant websites. In addition, it was not localized for target audiences whom were mainly from Asian countries. We found that some of speakers just have a good network to bring great gurus under their teams and selling the courses much higher than the real gurus. We questioned if trainers had made money from training more than their investment, there would be something wrong.
2. Poor structure – No framework connecting during 4-day. There was no connection in each trainer; for example, you started with Real estate and came to Future/Options, then, went back to real estate again. Also, you did not provide any introduction or fundamental knowledge to each topic. I would say NWA was not a seminar but it was just a pitching stage for each speaker to sell their product/service. I am fine for selling “advanced” course but after you had provided fundamental & applicable knowledge first. NWA was not a seminar; it was like a “Investment/Trade Fair” which could be attended for $0 cost.
(Celes: Plus some other information I’ve already provided in point #1 of this article which Tatt used in his email; I’ve cut it out for brevity.)
In net, this NWA was just good for the eye-openers but not worth as much as S$1995 course. I acknowledge that refund policy might not be applicable for this case; however, I would like to ask full money back for NWA course (NOT the whole QL program). (Celes: QL is Quantum Leap, and the QL program is this SGD 8,072.65 (USD 6,500) package of 5 programs under T. Harv Ever’s team that Tatt bought during MMI. NWA is one of these 5 programs, which is quoted as SGD 1,995 (USD 1,600) in the package.)
I hope that this email would address my concern to the right person. Looking forward to receiving your reply within a week.
I don’t know about you, but SGD 8,000+ / USD 6,500 is a lot of money to me. Whether I’m a sincere business owner or not, I’d want to pay due attention to this customer’s request, especially if he has invested so much money in my programs. However, there was no reply from them for over a week. They only responded after nine days:
From: stanley quek <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 16:55:27
Thank you for your feedback.
We understand your concern and your feedback to us is valuable. However, there will be no refund since you have attended the program.
Thank you for the support.
I’m not sure if this is typical of customer service responses from Success Resources or just specific to this service officer. Either way, it was terrible. There was no attempt to address Tatt’s concerns (such as about the poor quality of the seminar, misrepresentation of the content taught); no attempt to allay his obvious frustration; no refund (or even partial refund) for a service that was deemed heavily lacking; and a seeming cookie-cutter response at the end.
The worst thing was that this wasn’t some $5, $10, or even a $100 product, but a seminar that cost USD 1,600! Also, Tatt is a Quantum Leap member who has purchased USD 6,500 USD worth of Harv programs. Doesn’t customer satisfaction and feedback, especially someone who has invested so much money in their work, matter to them? He also had to get his own plane ticket (he’s not local), arrange for his accommodation, and pay for them (all out of his own pocket) to come to Singapore and attend the seminar. That’s SGD 900/ USD 700+ on top of the seminar costs!
Tatt responded right away on the same day:
To: stanley quek <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 22:49:16
Subject: Re: Feedback on NWA 3-6 Jun 2010 in SG
I am sorry to say this is the worst customer service response I have received before. First, I have waited for your response over 10 days (since 6 Jun) and you did not mention anything about my concern or how you will improve for the future courses. Second, you mentioned that there is no refund if I have attended the program; therefore, I would like to desperately ask full refund for the balance courses for myself and my family member.
1. Refund Quantum Leap – Mr.
Total: S$8,072.65 Minus NWA S$1995 = Refund S$6,077.65
Note that I attended NWA as the first course in QL program
2. Refund Mission to Millions – Mr.
Refund full amount: S$957.65
If you would like to have conversation via phone, pls feel free to contact me on 17-18 Jun, 2-5PM SG time. Looking forward to receiving your reply soon.
Like before, there were no immediate responses. After 2 days, Tatt followed up:
To: stanley quek <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2010 17:18:11
Reminder – please response.
6 days later, STILL no response. Tatt then sent another follow up:
Second reminder – please response
Then finally, 22 days / 3 weeks after Tatt’s original reply on June 16, Stanley responded:
From: stanley quek <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 8, 2010 14:27:30
I am sorry that the program did not meet your expectation. However, you have attended the program and we can’t possibly give you a refund. We really hope you can understand our position in running this business.
You may still cancel the programs which you have signed up but it will result in a 20% of cancellation fee. The terms and conditions are printed at the back of your order forms. The following is the correct calculation:
1. Refund Quantum Leap –
Total: S$8,072.65 Minus NWA S$1995 = S$6,077.65
$6,077.65 – $1,215.53 (20%) = $4,862.12
2. Refund Mission to Millions – Mr.
S$957.65 – $$191.53 (20%) = $766.12
My advice to you is not to cancel because it will not benefit you. We certainly hope that you will find more value in the future programs. If you insist in cancellation and refund, we will proceed as the above terms and conditions.
Tatt subsequently tried to contact Peak Potentials which is T. Harv Eker’s company in the US, but they said that since his membership and ticket were purchased from Success Resources (their training partner for Harv’s training arrangements in Asia Pacific?), they couldn’t do anything for him.
In the end, frustrated by the 20% cancellation fee (that’s a lot for a service that’s not even delivered, and the cancellation request is being issued months before the appointment), Tatt realized that cancelling meant paying USD 1,126 (SGD 1,407) and getting absolutely nothing in return. Resigned that the fees paid were sunk costs, he and O (his friend whom he tried to ask for the refund for as well) decided to proceed with the remaining courses without cancellation.
I met up with Tatt again when he was back in Singapore for the remaining courses in his package. He said that these was better than NWA since NWA was essentially a sales pitch seminar, and also shared with me the course materials. Personally I found the content lacking for a course in the thousands range. Out of all the 5 course booklets/materials, MMI’s booklet is actually the most comprehensive and meticulous, and the ticket price for it is only $100~200, possibly even free. I feel that they use MMI as a strategic platform to recruit/upsell people into the high-priced courses, which is why the material seems so well-developed and comprehensive. Unfortunately I don’t think the material measures up to the price in the same way that MMI gives such enormous value at a low/affordable cost.
I think after this very negative experience, none of us have the faith nor interest to join Success Resource or any related seminars. I’ve subsequently read many other bad experiences shared in the comments section of this article series, as well as in other reviews online. The experience seems consistent across different countries, so they’re likely using the same template training model everywhere. In fact, someone who attended MMI in 2012 conducted by Harv’s student went online to watch Harv’s past trainings in 2006, and realized that the content, concepts, lines, jokes, etc. were exactly the same, despite the fact that the seminar was conducted by a different person in 2012. (Refer to the comment by commenter “speakout” here.) This means the material has remained exactly the same for at least 6 years (probably much longer than that), which to me is a sign that the course creators don’t seem very vested in upgrading the material and content. Rather, majority of the efforts seem to be focused on the marketing and selling. As a trainer, that is troubling as any rigorous trainer would continually upgrade and improve on their course materials every few years at least, not keep recycling the exact same thing, much less the exact same delivery/lines/etc.
I highly recommend you check out the comment replies to my entire review series (here are the comment links for part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 at the end of this post), where visitors from around the world have shared their own experience from MMI/NWA. You are welcome to post your own too if you have any to share. I also recommend that you check out other reviews online; apparently there have been many negative reviews and similar reports to what I’ve experienced:
The message below has been updated as of 2016 to share my updated thoughts.
It was a disappointing seminar. I had a number of takeaways, but not on passive income generation — they were mainly on training, about what I should/ should not do for my workshops to ensure my participants get the most out of them. These came out of my personal observation of how the seminar was run, not the actual content taught during the seminar. I had a series of reflections that came more from being in a mass seminar than specific to NWA.
I think in general, I’d be very cautious about people who try to claim to give you amazing results in X period of time, especially if this sounds too good to be true, especially if this is something you have absolutely no knowledge about. The vibe I got was that many of the attendees were not very financially savvy or “conscious” about their path, if it makes sense. It then felt as if NWA or any of these seminars for the matter became the go-to channel for them to find some semblance of meaning, direction, and to pour their money in and get going.
It’s not supposed to be easy stuff. I have been earning passive income from my business since starting in 2008, and today majority of my income is passive in nature, though in no part due to NWA. Let’s put it this way: if you find earning active income difficult, then passive income is 10 times more difficult. In general, earning active income is easier than earning passive income and is actually the first step toward earning passive income. Earning reliable, abundant passive income is only possible when you develop some expertise and skill that lets you earn reliable, abundant active income.
In short, creating a new passive income stream needs energy and hard work, the same kind you need to be the top in any field. Attempting a touch-and-go approach or thinking you can just invest in something for a few weeks/months is naive at best. Example: You can simply set up a random site, write a few articles, and set up adsense code, no problem — which will generate 5 cents a month if you are lucky. In worse cases, you lose not just your time/effort, but also money, such as burning your hand in stocks/investments from wanting to make some quick cash. If you want to see real results in any of the supposed “passive income tools,” you need to invest your 10,000 hours. For zero-sum financial tools (such as trading where winners are actually making money at others’ expense), it’s best to stay clear of them IMO.
I share more here:
- Are You Looking for a Magic Bullet to Your Goals?
- 10,000 Hours To Develop Talent
- 5 Harsh Truths About Blogging (And 6 Tips If You Want to Start a Blog/Online Business) [PEP010]
- My 2016 in Review
As reader Francis commented, “I find that mostly they (seminars) are either fluff or are just chock full of marketing materials with the aim to upsell you to the next more expensive tier of courses/product.” A seminar like NWA is precisely the reason why many have such an impression of such seminars.
Certainly, not all seminars are like this. I’m sure there are great seminars out there. NWA has left me with a bad taste, though I understand that MMI is not like that. Though, one can argue that MMI is more content- and value-driven since it’s meant as the low-to-no-cost introductory platform to build goodwill and get participants to sign up for the costly “advanced” courses. Whichever way you see it.
Would You Like Me To Continue With Such Reviews?
The point of this review isn’t for you to conclude that all such seminars are useless/scams, but to inform you about how it like and what to expect. For what it is worth, I’m a coach/trainer and I have created many self-help courses and workshops. There are genuinely good, high-value courses out there, and then there are the scammy courses which are out to get as much of your money as possible without delivering the value that commensurate with your investment. It’s about being discerning and making sure that you invest yourself in the former and stay away from the latter.
I hope you’ve found this review helpful. This is the first time I’m doing a seminar review on PE, so if you would like me to continue reviewing other seminars I attend, please let me know in the comments area. Thank you! 🙂
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