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Small Business Review

Small Business Startup Review – Starting From Zero

This is my personal unbiased review of Fred Lam’s Starting From Zero and the Zero Up programs. I am not affiliated with his products and have nothing to gain from them.

  • Founder and author Fred Lam
  • Product Launch April 9, 2018
  • New version 2019
  • Charges $1.99 for an audiobook
  • Followed by four upsells that when totaled cost you upwards of $400. There’s also a monthly membership charge.

Credibility

Fred Lam is a serial entrepreneur and he’s damn good at it. He builds and markets new products every year or so, makes money and rewards his top affiliate marketers so that they will be very likely to promote his next product launch.

The biggest and most common complaint is that he seems to adopt an almost “hands-off” approach on old programs with each new product/program he publishes and he keeps people locked and dependant on his own system and apps.

Fred achieved success early in age and was the youngest Marketing Manager for the BMW Group Canada. He quickly rose to the top, from a dishwasher to where he is today – the CEO of several multi-million dollar businesses. He’s a mentor to thousands and enjoys a healthy following on social media.

What makes Fred Lam’s product so appealing is that he uses well-known personalities to lend him credibility. For instance, Robert Kiyosaki not only wrote the forward for Lam’s book but is also featured in his landing page and video.

Heck, it’s what initially attracted me. I’m a fan of Kyosaki’s books. Lam also uses video promotions from Anik Singal, Les Brown and Grant Cardone.

Sales Funnel

Lam clearly has the funds to hire the best copywriters and put together an effective sales funnel. A careful look at what he does can provide a roadmap for your own online marketing.

What I am advocating is to emulate what already works. I put together this infographic so you can easily take note of the sales funnel structure.

The key take away is “always provide options”. For instance, in Phase 1, when you click to purchase the $1.99 audiobook, you’re immediately presented with a “discount” opportunity to purchase another product for $27.

Phase II comprises of an upsell charge of $147 and a membership.

Phase III & IV consist of a product cost of $197. The downsell is to offer the consumer three payments of $79 = $237. This is obviously meant to pressure the consumer to go with the full payment of $197.

Introductory Offer: The Audiobook

When you first click on the $1.99 Audiobook offer you’re presented with a “ONE TIME OFFER” upsell of $27. He claims that the value of this $27 course is $5,982. Stop and think for a moment.. if that was actually true, who in their right mind would offer a something worth nearly $6,000 for less than $30?

The answer is simple. In advertising, the concept that if they get you to take one small bite, $1.99 introductory audiobook (and your email), then you’ll more likely to take a larger bite and purchase the $27 digital course. After that, they’ll entice you with the 6 Step Guide for $47 and on and on. One small step at a time. Isn’t that how all marketing works nowadays?

If you buy all the products on the front end you would have spent $419 with a monthly recurring fee of $49 that covers the live training.

As expected, the $1.99 Audiobook covers the basics of media buying and drop shipping. Nothing you couldn’t find elsewhere for less.

Like many other marketers, once they have your email you can expect to receive daily emails pushing new products, courses and upsells. As an aside, Internet Jetset does the same thing.

The B.S. (Brilliantly Strategic) Framework course offers 6 highly-profitable ways to generate a six-figure income or more a year. He does cover himself though and emphasizes his results are not typical and your purchase covers knowledge, not actual results.

Stop, remember how Lam earned his millions? By creating his own digital products and publishing books. However, there’s no denying he is an expert at marketing.

The eCompreneur says it teaches you how to start an eCommerce business based mostly on dropshipping physical products.

Basically, it consists of 12 weeks of videos where you are watching Lam mentor someone else, not you. There’s no interaction with Lam, the trainee or other members for help and support. However, only after you’ve completed all 12 weeks, you are then given two live coach calls per month.

Another problem I have with his training is that he sells you his own apps, tools, and software, rather than teaching you how to run your own dropshipping store.

Compare this with the free Entrepreneur Certification training by one of the oldest and most respected online training, web hosting platforms over the last ten years.

Let’s Take A Closer Look

Look at the above numbers more closely. You see, Lam is counting on most people to gloss over the number and remember only the big number.

According to his own numbers, out of 38,172,086 in sales, only 30 members are actually earning a six-figure income. Here’s another thing that gives me pause. Out of the thousands of members, he surely has at this point given it has been widely advertised for over two years, he states here that only 30 have actually achieved a 6-figure income. Only five are actual millionaires. Not very good odds for a newbie. I’m willing to bet that those five are probably top affiliate promoters pushing his products online, here’s why…

Back in 2018 and 2019, Lam was offering his affiliates a brand new Ford Mustang worth $25,000 to any affiliate who could generate over 5,500 leads. He also set aside $100K worth of glitzy prizes such as Rolex watches, TVs, laptops and more to affiliates willing to take on the challenge. So what do you think the chances are that those 5 millionaires are actually affiliate marketers? That’s what I’m guessing.

Lastly, consider that running an eCommerce business always comes with its own expenses. Sales volume here is likely very different from the net volume actually achieved when you deduct costs associated with running such a business.

Selling digital products is by far less costly which is probably why Lam may have abandoned drop shipping and/or switched to selling courses and memberships.

How Dropshipping Actually Works

eCommerce has become extremely popular today and dropshipping is NOT for the faint of heart. Before you spend a dime trying to set one up, consider your upfront costs can be quite high. Also, consider carefully how you will compete with your competitors who have been in business far longer. These include eBay, Amazon, and others. Price alone isn’t enough.

Keep in mind that people purchase based on perceived value, not price. This is a common mistake that newbies often make. Affiliate marketers understand that and will often offer up lots of bonuses. Therefore, you’ll need to take the time to conduct thorough market research.

There’s a lot that goes into setting up this type of eCommerce system. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Identify and choose a popular item that is selling online.
  • Identify a manufacturer/supplier that can supply a knock-off of the same product as cheaply as possible.
  • Determine where you will store the product shipments from the manufacturer.
  • Work out how the orders will be processed and the products delivered to your consumers.
  • Before pricing your product, work out your manufacturing, storing, shipping and return costs.
  • Set up online stores (Amazon, eBay, Shopify, etc)
  • Here’s the hardest part. Make sure you have the funds and system in place to drive paid traffic to your shops.

Keep in mind, the bulk of the profits will go to the manufacturer, not you. After all, they are the ones supplying the actual products. Then shipping and tax take another big chunk. Overall, your actual profits are minimal.

Choose these two critical elements very carefully as they could make or break your business overnight. Keep in mind, you are relying on their work ethic and sense of integrity to keep your customers happy and ordering from you again and again.

Lam gives you very few options in regards to traffic generating strategies. He focuses mostly on paid Facebook advertising. Can you say…EXPENSIVE! I know this for a fact. Facebook charges the little guy the highest fees while giving large corporate entities the best rates so that they continue to dominate their markets. Facebook ads, add up very quickly. These are upfront costs you will incur before you’ve made a single sale.

There’s a big learning curve that comes with utilizing paid advertising effectively. Essentially, it’s trial and error training. You have to run a bunch of advertising campaigns until you find something that works.

Setting up an ad and crossing your fingers while the bill exponentially grows is no way to run a business. Learning to navigate paid advertising is a science in and of itself. You need to know how to drive enough targeted traffic straight to your products daily to more than cover your costs. Not easy to do!

Let’s take a step back for a moment and tally up your expenses before you’ve made a single sale.

  • Cost of Lams eCompreneur $147
  • Monthly membership $47
  • PPC advertising
  • Cost of paying manufacturer for products
  • Cost of storage & shipping
  • Sales tax

By my own estimation, before making a single sale, you’re already in at least $500 or more. Now there are people who have fine-tuned their own dropshipping eCommerce business but what they won’t tell you is how much it cost them in money, time and effort before they actually got there.

Lam claims to give you “an entire store up and running in just minutes”. He also mentions what he calls “inventory arbitrage”. Well, to arbitrage something is to partner up with someone who owns a product or real estate and give you control to sell that product or rent the real estate at an agreed-to price (sometimes monthly). This still comes with its own risks.

Wealthy Affiliate Entrepreneur Certification

ZeroUp Program

Lam explains how to set up and create a business within the legal USA framework. The total number of course videos (including 20 weeks of Bootcamp videos): 113 videos. The program consists of 10 modules covering the basics.

  • Create A Store (12 videos, 2 hours and 4 mins)
  • Finding A Niche (6 videos, 1 hour and 28 mins)
  • Inventory Arbitrage (9 videos, 1 hour and 38 mins)
  • “Turbocharging” Your Store (5 videos, 1 hour and 5 mins)
  • Creating A Sales Funnel (16 videos, 3 hours and 27 mins) 
  • Advertising (16 videos, 3 hours and 27 mins)
  • Store Management (9 videos, 2 hours and 8 mins)
  • Traffic “Genius” (28 videos, 5 hours and 52 mins) 
  • Zero Up Jewelry
  • Weekly Bootcamp (20 videos, 26 hours and 17 mins)
  • Bonus Training (7 videos, 1 hour and 50 mins)

Lam’s course also includes:

  • Importance of building a business structure.
  • Explains how to purchase a domain and how to set it up in Shopify, and branding.
  • Gives a basic run-down of how to set up a Shopify store (but not nearly as comprehensive and thorough as some of the other courses)
  • Again, he covers only the basics, such as Shipping, Email, Checkout and linking Google Analytics. 
  • Introduces you to his own Zero Up Software, useful for installing a Shopify Theme, and tweaking your store settings.

Take Aways

The “Profit Multiplier App” is simply a glorified pop-up maker.

A big fail to my mind is that he does not teach you how to interpret analytics and Shopify data. This is critical to understand why some ads campaigns work and others don’t, saving you a lot of money in the long run. Part of that includes split testing, which is also not mentioned.

Another failure on Lam’s part is that he fails to inform you that without a sizeable email list from the start, before email marketing alone becomes a viable option to drive repetitive sales. This takes time and a great deal of effort to build, but it can be done. Although he does place emphasis on automation, he does not cover email marketing automation which is critical to your online success and repeat sales.

Interaction with members is limited to a weekly “Bootcamp” session with Zero Up members, where he discusses additional tips and he answers questions submitted via email. He does, however, have a members-only Facebook group which means you’ll probably have to wait a day or two to get some answers.

Module 8 covers selling jewelry exclusively. So it could be “throwaway” to many others not in that niche.

The “Bonus Module” consists mostly of theory focusing on email marketing and working with influencers. There’s no real instruction here.

Is It Worth The Investment?

Well, I’ve tried to provide you with the good, the bad and the ugly about Fred Lam’s courses. Although a lot of the content is mostly basic information, there are also some nuggets such as Facebook Ad training. Whether it’s worth the investment is up to you to decide.

Consider that his apps will cost you approximately $170/mo and then add the membership on top of the cost of the course. The ZeroUp course will cost you $750. But you do get to choose which features, apps and tools you want to use.

how to build and set up your email list free e-course
Here’s a better alternative!

Also, all of the apps he offers can be found in the Shopify App store for considerably less. So why pay $170/month? In addition, if you do some research, you can find specific apps that will suit your type of store or niche for far less than what Lam charges.

I would suggest you start with Shopify, which offers a great deal of free training in their Shopify Academy that already covers much of the basics when you’re just starting out. The app store has hundreds of useful apps (533) designed to help grow your shop.

If you’re looking for one on one mentorship, live training or an interactive community, this is not the place for you. Lam has got his fingers in many different pots and as such, is spread pretty thin which leaves him little to no time to pay attention to the “little guy”.

Overall, his courses focus more on using Lam’s own apps and products rather than running your own store independently. One of the drawbacks of running a dropshipping business is that you must monitor it daily. It’s impossible to completely automate it like other online businesses can be, such as Affiliate Marketing.

A Better Alternative

Good news, there is a better way that won’t cost you anything for the training, which is excellent by the way.

It’s not only the best training out there, but it’s also the easiest to follow along as you build up your first WordPress site. There’s no prior experience or out of pocket cost to start and it’s an excellent program and hosting platform.

The Entrepreneur Certification and the Affiliate Marketing Bootcamp training will take you step by step. As you follow along and complete each of the lesson assignments, you’ll be building your first WordPress website. No matter what niche you’re interested in, you shouldn’t pass up this opportunity. Read my review about this program here.

Your Two Cents

I know I’ve given you a lot to think about here. Putting aside Lam’s notoriety, his program is more about locking you into his products and systems that will inevitably cost you. Let me know what you think and if you have any questions. I’ll do my best to answer.

6 Replies to “Small Business Startup Review – Starting From Zero”

  1. It’s not bad training, but it definitely misses a lot of critical components. I like the FB ads part of it. But the lack of some other things that are critical to success with dropshipping is a turnoff. It’s a good course, but I think there are better options out there. Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. I think dropshipping is a great business model and Fred Lam is one the most successful dropshipper out there. He came up with this amazing program which has a lot of pros. The only problem for me is that it demands a bit of an investment before starting. 

    I would like to start with a less financial commitment to not be too worry if I fail. That is just me and your advised alternative offers that.

    Thanks

  3. Though this training quite covers some very cogent aspects of marketing and dropshipoing, it however lacks some really basic and very germane aspects which may end up bad for anyone buying this program. Personally, I feel I would go for the second offer rather HSN sticking with the first one. Though Fred lam is quite an accomplished person but I dont see myself with this platform. Thanks

  4. There are some really fine business ideas going on today, but some of the businesses are not making money for the individual involved in it. You have some really fine suggestions in this post and they are some of the few I would suggest to anyone as well. Although from the list, drop shipping happens to he really fun once you have an already set up warehouse for your goods.

  5. To be uite honest, the price for being a part of this is not in the low side at all and it’s not encouraging that I have to spend so much for what I can get for a really reduced price. Imran those stuff a really basic and the price is that high. The starting from zero program is not really what I thought it’d be. It’s a lot less than it should be actually which is very sad. But I’m happy you have an alternative. I would like to check that out.

    1. Hi Henderson. Here’s what my #1 recommendation offers: 

      Free initial membership with no time limits.

      2 Free training programs to choose from. 

      2 Free Word Press sites and training to walk you through setting up and promoting your site.

      An active community and system designed to drive traffic straight to your site.

      Your site indexed in seven days or less.

      24/7 Live chat with experienced mentors ready to answer your questions right from your dashboard.

      Unlimited training courses and live events once a week.

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