Why JumpStart Programs Are a Two Edged Sword

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Jump Starts are crafted to build small successes that induce you to buy into a program with the expectation of greater success. And they are designed to make you fail.

The Internet, and specifically social media, are full of them. They are ads and messages from smiling, happy people telling you how successful they are. They have found the secret sauce and have put it in a bottle. If you follow them, join their tribe, and eventually buy a bottle, you can pop the top and – as a popular ad campaign for real sauce quips – “put that s#$^t on everything!”

Some of these happy messengers will even go so far as to give you the recipe. You can start from little to zero skill, talent, or knowledge on a topic, and if you follow the recipe in the prescribed amount of time, you will be seriously cooking. They will give you a jump start on a dream business.

Yeah. Right.

JumpStarts, or JS for our purposes, are crafted to build small successes that induce you to buy into a program with the expectation of greater success.

Download this guide. Send this email. Follow this plan. Jump start your efforts with quick, mindless – albeit minor – success. Then you are ready to buy in big time.

There is always an urgency in this message. You must sign up now because you deserve to have a six figure income doing what you love… or what you can learn… or…. something.

What is obvious is that these cult leaders (I stop short of calling them gurus) have reached their own success by selling their success plan to others who want the same success. That’s okay. They will even tell you this and we all say good for you. They will build their online community as a grooming group, readying interested prospects for the eventual call to the cash register.

Human behavior fascinates me. While I can effortlessly resist the urge to buy into the program, I can not resist watching the dynamics in motion. I have joined social media groups strictly for the purpose of observing the behavior patterns that play out in the JS. What follows is not what I imagine happens, it is what I have seen played out in group after group. This is true regardless of what the program is selling. Whatever the program is, it will give you a six figure income and the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed. All you have to do is get started and follow the plan.

So it begins. Grab the free, no obligation, guaranteed to work (if you put the right amount of effort into it) JumpStart program and make that first sale. Get hooked. Buy in. Repeat.

Why does this pitch work? Because as good as we may be, we feel we can always be better. Because somebody has done it, why can’t we? Something is forever missing. Sometimes it’s a system. Sometimes it’s skill. Sometimes, however, it’s as simple as patience. We are missing patience. So we skip all the steps that come from experiential learning and jump straight into the program.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shouting fraud. This actually works for some people. The pitch works, the program works, some bit of the system takes root and off we go. Someone will always end up with the right combination of education, skill, talent, and timing. For those people, these programs are merely that missing system or bit of confidence they need. But these are the exceptions and not how most people relate.

So let’s talk about the rest. Let’s go back to the definition of JumpStart and look at the angles.

JumpStarts are crafted to build small successes that induce you to buy into a program with the expectation of greater success.

Right away, the JS divides up the field. People either hit those successes or they don’t. Human nature tells us we are either winners or losers at that point. We seldom take in all the reasons the JS might not have worked for us. We are just failures, plain and simple.

Right here is where I will say that it probably isn’t your fault. Simply put, you were set up to fail. Yes, that’s right. The very message that insisted you could do this is partly to blame.

So for a moment, let’s take a look at the reasons. Remember, this is based on what I have observed first hand from within these grooming groups, for a variety of programs.

Starting from zero is a lie

None of these programs are for your health. They are for revenue streams. Revenue means business. Never mind whatever technical or occupational skills you might need. At the very least you need some exposure to business.

These programs are not designed to make up for the background that you lack. They are about here and now. Their creed is “Follow these instructions to get this result.”

Then there’s the technical side of talent. You can’t sell an ebook that you can’t write because you don’t know the subject matter. You can’t pass yourself off as a photographer if you can’t provide a portfolio. You are not a designer if you have no designs. Good luck getting SEO clients if you don’t know what the initials stand for in the first place.

The minute your prospective client asks a question you can’t answer, you fold like an ironing board. Darn them for getting you off your script!

Close enough counts

Getting even part of the way there can be spun into a win. This is the only way the cult leader can get you committed. In fact, getting you close is better than getting you there, so to speak. That is the perfect scenario to prove that you just need a little more instruction. You need the full program. You are on track. Buy in!

It’s only after you have opened your purse strings and taken on the full commitment do you realize that the real world seldom works in “close enough”. You either have what it takes or you do not. So in addition to technically failing the JS, you have failed the paid program as well. Double loser.

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The cool kids sit at their own table

Peer pressure knows no age. Social media groups are a time warp to middle school. The same peers that encourage you to JS success will be the first to wave you goodbye when they move to the next level of the program. There is nothing worse than the cavernous silence that falls on the grooming group once the JS success stories elevate to the closed, members only group.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

You know this, you know this, you know this, regardless of how many times you have heard that cliche. This really needs no explanation. The thing that makes us forget this, however, is the artful grooming. The pitch relies on the community of like-minded people being whipped into a frenzy of encouragement and optimism. While this can amplify reality for some and give them what they need to succeed, it can not necessarily transcend the reality of your specific situation, personality, or principles. To borrow another cliche, it will not turn you into something you are not, or turn your life into a lottery win just because you bought a ticket.

The cult leader needs to you fail, and fail early

This sounds counter-intuitive. If you fail the JS, you won’t buy in with the big bucks. You won’t make the commitment. Then again, why would the cult leader want to waste his or her time going only as fast as the slowest tribe member? Think of it as failing the first critical test and being weeded out.

Does this mean that all JumpStart pitches lead to ultimate failure? Not at all.

No jump start program, no program that follows afterward, or any program at all, for that matter, will create in you what is not already there. Every mighty oak starts from the smallest acorn. A talent, a skill, an interest, whatever seed it is just waiting to become the root of your success, must exist and be activated.

After that, it really is up to you. Some people have positive life altering experiences with JumpStarts. They understand the meaning of the individual words: “Jump” and “Start”. They start out with the understanding that regardless of the sales pitch, the decision is theirs. They know success doesn’t just rub off.

They will be successful not because their cult leaders are successful, but because they are themselves willing to put in the effort.