Toxic Traits of Online Business

Toxic Traits of Online Business

If you’ve been around Station Rove for long you know we’re passionate about calling out bullshit when we see it. Especially inside our own industry. If you’re new here: welcome. We don’t mess around. Here’s our newest list of red flags within the online coaching industry.

5 Figure Investments in Nothing 

Buyer beware: mystery offers, vague services, and under-qualified service providers are lurking around every dark corner of the internet! 

Online business is an amazing development in our recent history. It opens doors and levels playing fields, but this brave new world is still a bit like the Wild West. There is very little regulation when it comes to digital offers and services, so it’s up to the consumer to learn how to spot the fakes. Here’s what you can look for: 

  • Service providers being vague about their deliverables. This should be solid and easy to define. Don’t give away your hard earned money without clarity on what you’re getting in return!

  • Mystery offers that are wrapped in “feel good” marketing. We’ve seen content creators selling literal mystery offers for thousands of dollars. When someone is playing on your emotions to sell something completely unknown – run the other way! 

  • Inexperienced service providers confidently claiming titles like coach, expert, consultant, or trainer. We all start somewhere, but honesty is the key here. We’ve worked with plenty of new service providers who are still learning their trade and provide high-quality work as they learn. But they were upfront about their qualifications and experience from the beginning. Remember that many professional-sounding titles in the online space aren’t regulated by anyone. Just because someone says they are a “coach” doesn’t mean they have any background to prove they can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for credentials. 

Selling a Lifestyle vs Services 

Have you ever made a purchase from an influencer because of the image they portray? It’s ok, we’ve all been there at some point. But we’re learning and growing and it feels like a good time to call this shit what it is: toxic. “Bro marketing” is a great example of this. Pictures of fancy cars and mansions are a blatant attempt to manipulate your emotions, especially if  the services and track record aren’t there. 

Focus on your business and figure out what you need first. Then seek out a service provider who can provide the work… not someone who promises to single-handedly deliver you into the land of the wealthy. 

No Middle Ground

Ok, we get it. Strong, decisive language helps digital consumers choose your product or service. But can we all agree to add a touch of humanity back to our marketing messages? There are so many headlines and social media posts about hustle culture… and almost as many that have overcorrected to toxic rest culture. The reality is somewhere right in the middle. 

All work and no play is a recipe for burnout, and most of us already know that from personal experience. AND – Working 4 hours a week and focusing on full-time self care is simply not going to produce results in your business. 

Coaching as THE Solution  

Sometimes you need a consultant, mentor, or service provider. Sometimes you need to hire a team member or add a regular freelancer to your strategy. Coaching simply isn’t the solution to every problem. We use every chance we get to talk about the differences. Coaching can be an amazing solution if coaching is really what you need… but it can’t fix all of your problems! 

PS If it’s actually a consulting agency you’re looking for, learn more about Station Rove here

Freebie Overload 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by free downloads. 

Don’t feel bad. We’ve all been down that road. Downloading every single free template and watered down content without taking any action is exhausting and honestly a huge waste of time. It’s time to take responsibility. We can call out industry red flags all day long, but this one’s on us. YOU are responsible for taking action in your own business. 

If you have a google drive full of downloads, templates, freebies and digital courses that you’ve forgotten to ever use… make a note in your calendar to go through it. Delete the resources that aren’t relevant. Unfollow the content creators that don’t resonate. Create a strategy and DO IT.


Financial Advice From Unqualified Sources 

We already railed against the lack of regulation on the internet, but this one feels worth reiterating. Financial advice is not regulated online, so beware where you get this advice from! Just because someone has a lot to say about budgets and tax season, does not mean they have any training or qualification in this arena. 

Finances can be scary, so find a trusted, truly qualified source for help. We work with and can’t say enough good things. From tax filing to business structures, and payroll, Collective can help you make financial business decisions.  

What else would you add to the list? Any major red flags that you’ve been noticing lately? The best way for us to stay honest and transparent is by calling this stuff out, so let us know what you’re seeing in the online business community that drives you bananas.