Andrew Balerdi

Digital Marketing Consultant

Are Frat-Bro-Entrepreneurs ruining small businesses?

Are Frat-Bro-Entrepreneurs ruining small businesses?


You have all seen the financial bros, bro-ing out hard on YouTube and Facebook, showing off their luxury cars, their big meeting rooms or houses, casually strolling and parading their time and wealth. ‘Look at me, my responsibilities are minuscule, my wealth is ginormous and I don’t have a care in the world! You can have this too!’ But really you can’t…



Life is a reflection of our brains. Both are busy. Both are tired and too stimulated. We pour out into the world what we have in our heads. Sometimes this makes sense and we look for evidence to support our own truths. Sometimes it does not make sense. The people that make sense of all of this will, in some, form be successful. They will have an order to make sense of the non-sensical. A singularity in their purpose to drive their own or others value and wealth. This is great for them but what about the rest of us?

The singular question resting heavily on all aspiring successful people’s lips, when looking at the successful, is How did they do that?’. How did they get to where they are, and can it be replicated, and more importantly can I get there quicker? And the only answer to that question is no. No, you can’t get there quicker, because you have to appreciate that their story, of how they made their success, is specific to them.

The frat-bro-entrepreneurs, Alex Becker from Market Hero, Chris and Taylor from Traffic and Funnels, Josh Harris or this guy, who is a property magnate at 19, don’t have templated successes to pass on to others. They market themselves in a way to seem relatable and appealing but I can guarantee they had some form of unique support, some space where they could inhabit, where their idea met with opportunity and luck. Luck of meeting the right person, luck of applying their order or system to realise a truth, that people needed advice or property or email marketing for Shopify.

And, I hasten to add, people, are very willing to pay for all of it. And what they might be doing, and this is probably more emblematic of our society at large, is giving business owners false hope. It’s the idea if they can do it why can’t I?
Moreover to suppose that their success can be replicated in the same way is how they get clicks into their sales funnels. They will promise a free’ route to replicate financial success, however, it has been proven many times, over many years, that attraction marketing is flawed and is more or less a dressed up pyramid scheme. (Take a look at what Ethan Vanderbilt had to say about why).

From their ads on social media sites, mainly YouTube and Facebook, they will entice you into a long-winded webinar. This usually will tell you the thing you made you click on the ad in the first place, right at the end. Then they will invite people to apply to be selected for a call. When really they accept everyone, and have their staff field the calls. Smart, they create an illusion of exclusivity but all they do is provide supply to the demand.

Then on this call they will ask you pertinent questions about you or tour business journey and maybe throw in a few quips and ‘that’s awesome!’. From there it will go either one of two ways. They will either tell you a ridiculous price to work with them somewhere in the region of $4K up to $12k or they will entice the less initiated into an introductory programme.’

This is the genius part.

The amazing once in a lifetime deal’ gives the caller an introductory price to achieve their dreams’ and find out the best kept secrets’ for a nominal fee. Usually something attainable, $200-$400, but nonetheless, often money that you, as a small business owner, could be investing in something more important.

This cycle repeats and by the time they have their 10 calls made in that day they have made upwards of $4000.

Foolish you say? Well maybe not. You have to appreciate that there is some form of method that they are following and their success for many businesses cannot be replicated.
BUT there are many things we can learn from them as they do run successful businesses.
These are the main takeaways:

1. Test

These people have had to spend a fair amount of time, never as much as they say, analysing responses from their advertising and diving deep into the demography of the performance of their ads. You can easily do this too. Spend small amounts on Facebook or Adwords, for example, analysing the performance of one type of ad for one audience group.
Say you have an app. And you suspect that app would appeal to men between 34 and 65, who live in metropolitan areas. You run your ad and don’t get much return. You suspect its either the platform, the customers or your app that does not resonate with one another. This is far from the case.
You need to run multiple ads going to multiple audiences to find where your app will resonate. Your 34 to 65 audience is too large and although your app might have mass appeal someday, you will need to start small. Think of this as customer research. People will tell you if they like your product by their clicks. But also people will only click if your products solves their problem. You won’t know what that is until you test out that suppositions are true.

2. Create Collateral

Whilst your ads online say a lot about your brand your website and landing pages (where users land on your site) should say a lot more. For your ads to do well you will need to conform to the basic principles of search, and by an extension of search online ads.

The complexities of search engines’ algorithms are immense but the underlying principles are simple. They have been the same since the Yellow pages directory was replaced by Google in 1996.

It is this: I want ‘x’, I search for ‘x’, I want to see then buy ‘x’.

Say you are looking for how to run a marketing campaign. You perform a search and the top results are ads. You click on an ad that looks good, however, when you go to the page it’s a corporate site for an agency giving you no detail on how to run a marketing campaign.
Each of these frat-bro-entrepreneurs has understood that they need to solve problems for their customers and serve their queries with appropriate content. Putting yourself in the mind of your customers/consumers/users is not enough. You also need to understand that they want to be free from concern. That their time, money and worry are considered and someone else has already done it all for them.
And if your collateral, your web pages, can free your customer from their concerns, your ads will perform better.

3. A Sales Funnel

It sounds daunting, but a sales funnel is really a process. A way that you can track your customers from search to ad to purchase and service them better.
So say you have followed the steps above and you are still in a quandary as to why your conversions are down. You have tested, you have freed users from concern and you wonder, now what?
It’s at this point you either go back to testing or you have a process with which to follow up with customers. Becker from Market Hero uses email, Josh Harris and the click funnels guys use calls, but whatever mechanism you use to get in touch with your customers keep using it. Your tests and analyses should have already determined where your users hang out and how they like to communicate.
Here is a list of some of best sales-funnels tools I have used for clients and have produced great results:
  • ClickFunnels
  • Unbounce
  • Ontraport
  • Autopilot
  • PipeDrive

And here is a big old list from the chaps over at Docurated:

And then you ask the consumer what they want with your follow up. You give them options based on their indecision. Would you like a discount? Would you like a trial? Is there another way? Obviously, some brand who get this wrong come across as desperate but you should be able to gauge how you should play this.

In short, I don’t think frat-bro-entrepreneurs are ruining small businesses. Most of you should take their advice and what they can promise with a pinch of salt. They prey on you to believe them, but the old truths are true because they are…true.

Financial success or stability comes from hard, long, structured work. You have to listen to people smarter than you, you have to know when to shut up and more importantly you have to listen to what your customers want and fulfil that need.


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