Following on from my post here on choosing the best virtual assistant course something made my blood boil recently… We’ve all seen them: Those adverts which claim that their course will let you spend your life sitting on a beach.
Now don’t get me wrong – I know some VAs who do sit on a beach, it’s perfectly possible. (And I’m angling to get an invite to sit on their beach, so let’s not annoy them by saying they are making it up!).
But really the claims in this advert were just nonsense. Supposedly this woman has “skyrocketed her business”, “earning a 6-figure sum”, and she’s going to share all of this with us, the general public for free! (that sounds good doesn’t it? All it will cost you is time…right?)
- This woman does not run a big business – or if she does, she does it as a sole trader which is an exceptionally risky thing to do once your turnover reaches a certain level. She has one entry on Companies House as a director, and no other appointments currently or historically (which does link maiden names too).
- Of this woman’s other businesses, only one seems to be trading – one other has yet to sell any products, and the other has outstanding hosting fees.
- This woman lives in a very average semi-detached house – I google mapped it from her director’s entry on Companies House.
- Her training company does not appear to exist on Companies House anywhere… despite being listed as a Limited Company in her literature. Does she not know the difference?
So let’s say you go on her course – it’s free, there’s no upsell and you meet some like minded Mumpreneurs who all want to support each other starting up their own business. Fantastic. Except she’s never run a big business, so the advice she is giving is shaky at best, and she may well be giving out the wrong advice, which could land you in a lot of trouble. Like with the Limited Company nonsense above!
So here’s some additional checks you need to do when taking up business training (even for free advice):
- Find out what else that person is involved in – google their name and their company name and see what pops up.
- Check where they supposedly made their money – is it trading? are their social media accounts up to date or is it peppered with posts flogging the training?
- If they are a limited company, go to beta.companieshouse.gov.uk and use their webcheck service to check a) that it exists b) what else they are involved in c) when it was created and d) how much money it makes if it has posted results.
- If you find an address, Google Street Map it and see where they are living – millionaires live in nice houses.