Whilst we live in an ageist society, I try very hard not to be ageist myself. I have been both the victim of ageism and guilty of being ageist. I’ll try not to be ageist here. James Francis is very young – he both looks it, sounds it and is it. I think he’s 23 years old, judging by his username when he shows off his Clickbank balance in one of his videos. His Online Income Masterclass is a coaching programme in which he mentors the budding Internet Marketer in exchange for a monthly fee of $47.
I don’t know if it’s the result of the ageism that feels rife in our society, but I feel the need to say it again: he really is very young to be touting himself as a mentor.
This I assume, is the reason why he has a video on his sales-page that shows un-edited accessing of his PayPal, ClickBank and other online payment-taking sites and the abundance of wealth therein. This new kid on the block really has the funds in his accounts. And with his somewhat lengthy ‘cry me a river’ back-story that precedes his monetary revelations, we learn how he gave up his university course and left his job at a local supermarket when his Internet Marketing business started to really make money. Perhaps this is the fresh face we’ve all been waiting for.
As a brief aside, I’m afraid the video on his sales-page left me annoyed with him rather than endearing him to me. No, it’s not his annoying voice, which I’m not going to mention (oops). It’s that he maintains that he was treated worse than a ‘dog turd on the bottom of your shoe’ whilst working 40 hours a week at his shelf-stacking job in a Somerfield supermarket. It’s not the tired cliché of dog faeces that irritated me (actually, it did a bit). It’s the fact that he complains about a job that should only have ever been viewed by him as a stop-gap. He says he was at university when he did this job, but he also says he did 40 hours a week in the bread aisle. I don’t know what course he was doing, but even I, with my 6-hours of lectures a week English Literature degree, could not work 40 hours a week at the same time as doing a university course. I don’t know anyone who can honestly get a degree and do 40 hours of work a week. In my experience, shelf-stacking is what you make of it: it can be a laugh and it’s character-building too – and he got paid significantly more for it than I did it (even taking into account inflation), way back when I was in Sixth Form. I acknowledge that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself and find alternative ways of making money, even at an early age, but asking potential punters to play the violin for the ‘living hell’ (his words) that he lived through is patronising and demonstrates his lack of worldly wisdom.
That said, he’s not offering his services as a life-coach or a sage-like philosopher. He claims that he now owns an online business that turns over a six-figure income and loves ‘to make other people rich too’.
So, for a monthly $47 you get a mentorship programme that is broken down into the following components. First up is instant access to a 6-module, 40-hour-long, step-by-step, ‘no stone unturned’ video-training series. Module One is 13 videos that show you how to build up your Internet Marketing business from nothing. Module Two is 12 videos about traffic-generation. Module Three, 9 videos covering email marketing and copy-writing. Module Four presents 11 videos on the subject of creating your own product, be they ebooks, video tutorials, webinars or software. Module Five demonstrates in 10 videos ways to sell your product; and Module Six is 7 videos on methods to increase your income to in excess of six figures per year. It’s an impressive range of videos, informative and presented with an authority that shouldn’t belong to one so young (I say that as a good thing). Even knowledgeable Internet marketers might learn something.
But you can access these videos for a lot less than $47. James has used the old trick of enticing prospective punters with the ol’ pop-up deal-breaking offer when you click away from his sales webpage, presenting the offer of accessing the entire programme for $1 for your first month. In James’ own words: ‘I’m so confident this coaching program will help you, I’m offering you a final chance to gain full access to the entire program for just $1.’ For $1 the videos are well worth it.
On top of the videos, you also get his promise of coaching. You’re presented with his personal email address (which he promptly replies to), live bi-weekly webinar training sessions, a personal members’ area, the promise of James creating personal video tutorials for his members’ requests, and a 60-day no-quibble money-back guarantee.
Before I conclude, I want to point out a few other things of note. There are a number of inconsistencies on his sales website. Some are facetious of me (his ‘Wish you were here?’ beach and holiday apartment photographs are reminiscent of a bog-standard trip to Salou [I know, I know: I’d also complain if it depicted the exclusivity of Mustique]); some are questionable but forgivable (the picture of his ‘brand new’ BMW sports 57 plates, even though this is a 2012 offer); but some are undermining of his product. Let me explain… In his sales video, he says that 300 people can access his mentorship programme for the special price of $47 a month, yet on the same sales-page, he claims that he is looking for only 25 people to join him: ‘Accepting 25 Serious And “Ready To Make Cash” Marketers – ONLY! Because you’ll be getting personal access to me and my training today, I can only accept so many marketers […] I am a human, and my resources are limited’. He said it himself: his resources are limited. If he does sell 300 memberships, he’s not going to be able to mentor all of them.
Ultimately, this is not get rich quick scheme (nor does it purport to be). Internet marketing takes time and effort. So $47 does turn out to be quite expensive month-after-month. It’s early days still with this product, and the content already is impressive, but time will tell to what extent James Francis can deliver.