AWOL: Can You Afford It?

24 Apr

If you are investigating a new online income opportunity that involves paying a fee to a company to train you, make sure to read the small print before you join. Can you afford it?

I was nearly 80 years old. An escrow that had kept the bills paid was going to end soon. I would be faced with a paltry $930 per month income, from Social Security and a state elderly stipend. What could I do?

I decided I needed to find some work-at-home job on the internet, so started looking. Here was an ad for an affiliate marketing company. You signed up and then enrolled other people in the program.Two cattle

Not too different from a MLM (Multilevel Marketing company), which I was familiar with, as I’d once been part of one. The company was pitching the possibility of earning large sums in a relatively short time. I joined. After the initial interview, I was asked to pay in a rather large sum — something like $2500 — to get started. I had to borrow that money from a friend.

I began their 21-step training program, which was really quite good. I was assigned a training coach, and met with him on Skype. Every day I had to watch videos showing different folks in the program receiving a phone call from a staff member telling them they’d just made rather large sums of money. I wanted in!5 people figures in line; middle one highlighted

Then I came to another training crossroads. I was told I could jump two levels if I paid another lump sum — again, I believe it was $2500 — within a period of a few days. I’d skip a level, saving a couple thousand dollars, and would move up to new opportunities.

Now what? I’d just paid back the first loan from my friend. I borrowed money from her again. I explained to my coach that I had to get the money deposited in my bank before I could pay. As there was no bank in my little town, I had to send my friend’s check to Juneau.

A storm came in. Mail was delayed. The week was drawing to a close. Would I make the deadline?

Then I got an email saying the FTC had closed down the company, declaring it an illegal scam. Whew! I would have lost my friend’s money if that storm hadn’t come through. Saved by rain clouds.

With relief, I gave my friend back her money. But now what? Not only did I have no platform for making money, but I had just lost a large (to me) sum.

Back to the internet. By now, I was sure that affiliate marketing was the way to go. I just had to find the right company.Logo for AWOL

Then I stumbled upon AWOL. They wanted $99.00 to join. That seemed reasonable enough. I liked what I’d read about the company, and thought it might be what I was looking for.

I joined and started the training. Again, the instruction was good, and I enjoyed it. Then I was asked for another $49 for more training tools.

Though $49 was not bad, I was wary. I’d been burned once. But I’d thought that $99 was all I needed to get the business up and running. For some reason, I had accepted this company on their hype and had still not learned to do my due diligence before jumping in. I had not learned the absolute value of reading company reviews.

Then they sprung it on me. In order to move up, after that $49 purchase, I had to buy the next training module, which was $447.00 — money I did not have. At that point I finally investigated further and discovered there would be other, higher upsells as I went forward.

Again, I quit. The company seemed legitimate enough, and I realized a brick and mortar business would cost a lot more to get established. If I had not been so broke, I might have continued. But I needed to find a company that didn’t welcome me in and then ask for more and more money.

This whole technique reminds me of a Venus flytrap. Once the fly is stuck on the flower, he’s a goner. When he tries to escape, he just becomes more and more mired, until he becomes flytrap food.

I finally found a home with this company

Now I have learned the value of reviews, and am writing this one for you so you can know ahead of time what to expect.

Business name: AWOL Academy

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Website: www.awolacademy.com

Owners: Keala Kanae and Kameron George, who created AWOL in 2014.

Price: Initial cost: $99; then a series of modules upward from there to a total of about $26,000.

Products: The training modules from AWOL

Overall rank: 4.0 out of 5

AWOL stands for “Another Way of Life”

The training is quite good. I found Keala to be an accomplished teacher. However, I wish I’d seen their scheduled modules ahead or time, and I would have realized it was not for me.

WHAT DOES IT COST?Sign: New life >old life<

If you have the extra cash so you can afford such a program, and bought the full gamut of products, you would be out around $25,883.00. Here is the breakdown of the modules and their costs:

$99 Pro (setting up a sales funnel)

$49 Learn the basics (fundamental knowledge as to how it works)

$447 Inbox Academy (Everything about email lists)

$1797 Conversion Academy (Our most coveted conversion secrets)

$2997 Traffic Academy (Leads: high converting, lazer-targeted ready to buy right now)

$5497 Masters Academy (Money management, strategic tax planning, investing and more)

$14997 AWOL Elite (reserved for the most serious students.)

It is hard to pin down the “Elite” module, as I have seen it priced in three different ways. Perhaps it often changes. If you get up in rank that far in the company, you will find out for sure.

The Academy also has what is called an “Awaken Seminar.” The AWOL description says “An experience designed specifically to challenge, awaken, inspire and change you and your business from the inside out. It is impossible to attend one of these events and not leave transformed.”Description of AWOL Academy Pro

Here is a bit more information on what you will get in each AWOL Academy module”

Pro: This module covers setting up a sales funnel with your own website, lead capture pages, conversion tracking system, and email marketing campaigns.

Inbox Academy: Teaches you how to sell through email marketing and gives you strategies to get subscribers to open and click on your order.

Conversion Academy: How to use storytelling and persuasive language to your advantage to engage your audience to action.

Traffic Academy: Discover how to get more targeted traffic to your website with customers who are ready to buy from you.

Masters: Provides training on money management, strategic tax planning, and helps you find good investments.

Elite: This one is only for those members showing exceptional promise.

HOW DO I START ?

Purchase the AWOL 101 coaching package for $99.00. Then watch a short welcome video. Create a personal profile with your contact information, then book a call with a coach to get your questions answered.

Once you have completed these steps, you can then watch all the videos included with this course.

BBB RATING

The company has been accredited since June 2017. At this writing, they have a B rating. When 68 customer reviews were averaged, it showed them with a 4.3 rating out of a possible 5-star rating. 23 complaints have been filed against the company.Small red flag on pole

SOME RED FLAGS

I should have had some questions about AWOL as soon as I read their home page summary of the company, as it is full of hype. For example, here’s just one of the statements they made: “Discover how to turn your website visitors and email subscribers into raving fans and rabid buyers, eager to consume everything your business has to offer.”

These and other similar statements should have triggered a red flag or two. Who would believe that stuff? Also, I learned recently that the house shown in an early video was most likely not Keala’s home, though he intimated that it was. In a video from a totally different company, the CEO entered the same house and claimed it was his. Hmmm…

Another interesting item: I could not find information about their payment plan for affiliates anywhere on their website. I just checked again to make sure. Nowhere do they tell you how much you will make by promoting their products. Nowhere do they tell you when or how you will get paid.

I learned from another review that, as an affiliate, you make 30% commission on any AWOL product you sell. You also make a 5% commission on any products your direct referrals sell to others. This idea is reminiscent of a MLM.

To make affiliate commissions, you have to reach and buy the Traffic Academy module at $2997. To be an affiliate you then have to pay $39.95 per month.  I’m guessing you will learn more details about payment in this module.

PROS

They have a no questions asked refund policy. (I can vouch for this one, as I got my $99 back.)

There is in-depth coaching and high-quality teaching

Direct access to program creators

CONS

Expensive

Focus on paid advertising

Pushy and expensive upsells

Staff focuses more on recruiting than on helping

Program details: No explanation of how you earn

MY OPINION OF AWOL

It is not a bad company. I enjoyed my training time, and feel that it is thorough. However, I think they try to get you sufficiently “hooked” so you keep buying more and more expensive modules.

If you have the money, you might find it is just what you are looking for. However, for me, it is just too expensive. Instead, I have found a company that is much more reasonable, does not expect you to invest more and more money, and gives you the training you need to build your own money-making website from scratch.

14 Replies to “AWOL: Can You Afford It?

  1. I’ve been clicking through your site after I read your last post I really enjoyed. I must say I agree AWOL sounds really too expensive. I’m not being funny but also, if  you have that kind of money to be paying for that training…why are you training to try and earn more money online?? It makes it seem a little unattainable for normal folk, who just want to keep themselves above board using what little money they may already have. I am sorry to hear about your first experience also and almost losing more money.  Thanks for sharing your review as I have been looking for ways to possibly do something from home, I am happy to get a good insight, so I  know exactly what I’d be in for if I stumble across some of these companies and start to consider any of them potentially.

    • Thank you for your comment.  I am glad my information was helpful.  Writing reviews has made me realize that there is a review for just about any company on Google.  This is good to know, if you are looking up internet opportunities.  Sometimes things are so well-written you can’t tell what to expect.

      Then when you join, you get hit with lots of expensive upsells.

      Glad you have discovered Wealthy Affiliate.  It has never let me down.  Things just get better and better.  I am so pleased that I found this place after my first two mistakes.  If you want to start a home business, in my opinion there is no better place to start it than here.

  2. Hi Fran

    Having read through this informative review, I feel for you and the bad experiences you have had.

    I do not know a lot about AWOL but reading this post has opened my eyes to the expensive up-sells some companies land on people and I find this to be so dishonest and my reasons are these.

    I joined Wealthy Affiliate not knowing a lot about this platform but felt it was worth looking at. For the monthly fee, members get absolutely everything they need to become a truly successful Affiliate Marketer without any up-sells of hideous surprises and I am so grateful to have found this place.

    I am also very pleased you have also found this place as now you can rest easy knowing you will not be wasting your time or precious money

    Go well Fran and thank you so much

    • Thanks for the comment, Vicki.  

      It is true — it seems that a great many of these “online opportunities” start you out with a low price, and as soon as they have that hook firmly set, here come the upsells.  Wealthy Affiliate was my third try, and if it had turned out to be another high-priced iffy venture, I would have quit looking.  However, third time was the charm, and I am very, very happy to be here.

      I agree with you that we have everything we need to be successful right here on Wealthy Affiliate.  We simply need to absorb and build until we get the right combination for a successful site.  It seems that every day I learn one more thing, which is very satisfying.

      I wish you luck with your website and business.  Will be watching out for you around our back office!

  3. Wow, that is quite an incredible story!  I have heard of people getting scammed like that!  Thank God I found Wealthy Affiliate right off the bat when I was first doing my searches to learn Affiliate Marketing!  I see that you have some ads for Wealthy Affiliate.  Have you been happy with the training there?  What are some of the costs that you have incurred for Wealthy Affiliate?

    • Yes, you were lucky to find Wealthy Affiliate first.  There are so many folks out there just trying to take your money. After all, they realize, as we do, that their marketplace is the world, so they will surely find a few “suckers” — like I was.  I was a lucky sucker, as they didn’t get a whole lot of my money.

      I am absolutely delighted with Wealthy Affiliate.  I think the training is excellent, and extremely thorough.  And, if you do get stuck, you can ask the community for an answer.  Chances are, you will get many answers.  Also, with a techy problem, site support is fast and excellent.  Overall, I haven’t found much to be unhappy with!

      Costs are minimal.  Free the first week; $19 the first month; then $49 a month, which is a bargain, for all you get.  If you buy for six months or a year the price goes down.  I renew for the year on Black Friday, because if you buy the year at that sale, it’s $25 per month.  

      What’s not to like?  Wealthy Affiliate is the place to be.

  4. Oh my goodness! Miracles do happen! This is why they say every disappointment is a blessing. I am glad you didn’t lose that friend’s money, you were really fortunate on that one.

    I would have loved to give Awol Academy a try and decided to check it out first, and I am glad I stumbled upon this review from someone who has actually tried the program.

    From your review, I can see they do have genuine training to offer, which is a very good thing, but my disappointment is in how much one needs to commit in order to progress with their product.

    I don’t think I would be able to afford as much as $26k just to run through the whole packages, so it’s a total no-no for me.

    I am really glad I stumbled upon your review, as it has helped me make a better decision, and I think I will rather check out your own recommendation and see what it has to offer.

    Cheers…

    • Thanks for reading my review; I am so happy you found it helpful.  I wish more people would realize they can find a review or reviews about an opportunity before they sign up and pay their money.  I’ve finally learned that lesson!

      I am glad you are checking out my recommendation.  I was lucky to find it on the third try, before I was completely broke and fed up with the whole idea.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing comments from you after you check out what Wealthy Affiliate has to offer.

  5. Wow! From $99 to $14997, The really a lot of up sell happen there to suck the money from you. However, it is a very good strategy too to start selling with very cheap price to attract the beginner and step-by-step increase the price for the next level. 

    In normal case, once become customer, it is much more easy to up sell them the next level, especially the next step is not too expensive. 

    Maybe we can learn from it and use it to price our product in future.

    • Thanks for your comment, and of course you are right.  That’s a lot of upsell.  It is a good strategy to start at something everyone can afford, but when the upsells get so huge, there is something the matter with the picture. 

      With affiliate marketing, I don’t think we want to price our product in such a way.  Basically, that would mean that our company would do the same thing…sell to us cheap and then up the price.  It is good to know ahead of time just how much the venture will cost you.  That is one thing that irritates me about all these “opportunities” — they start you with a small purchase but don’t bother to tell you they will ask for a lot more later on.  That should be some kind of false advertising!  

      I hope you are lucky and choose the right company the first time.  My recommendation would be to use the company that I use — Wealthy Affiliate — as it gives you everything you need at a reasonable price.  Check out my review:  https://build2winaffiliates.com/is-wealthy-affiliate-a-scam-or-for-real&nbsp;

  6. I am familiar with AWOL. Like you, I saw a video featuring Keala Kanae arriving at “his” mansion in his exotic sports car. He meets his buddy inside and sits at another table nearby to conduct his webinar. 

    It struck me rather odd that there were very little furnishings in that room. It looked brand new. Now I know why. It was probably rented. After paying the $99 and got presented with the up sell, I also requested a refund and received it. 

    You were very generous in your AWOL rating. It is like putting a frog in warm water and turning up the heat. When they realize what happened it is too late. 

    After I went through several other similar opportunities where I paid my initial $99 and found out there were up sells, I gave up hope of ever being able to afford training to create an online business.

    Then I found Wealthy Affiliate. I expected it to be the same as I was very skeptical by now. When my sponsor told me I could sign up for free, I went for it. This seemed too good to be true. But it is NOT. 

    I think other new members would really appreciate what is offered here if they also went through what you and I experienced with over priced training companies. Wealthy Affiliate offers the same training as those overpriced companies and does it in a far superior way. It’s a bargain. 

    I appreciated your article a lot. I am sure it will help others realize what a deal we have here.

    • Well, Edwin, you are getting this answer twice.  I wrote quite a long one; thought I’d sent it, but somehow managed to lose it instead.  So, will try again.

      Yes, that house was rather bare, wasn’t it?  I wondered why when I first saw it.  Now I know.  It’s been used by more than one person wanting to make an impression.

      Perhaps I was generous on the AWOL rating, but I do feel like his system would work, if you just went far enough with it.  I don’t think you’d have had to buy that last really expensive upsell to get the “meat” from his course.  Nonetheless, I’m very glad I made the decision to join WA; it’s one I’ve never regretted.

      It’s sad but true — I didn’t learn about reviews until I started writing them.  There is a review online for just about any company you can think of.  If you are going into a new venture, it is an excellent idea to find out what others are saying about it first.  Wish I’d known about reviews sooner.

  7. Great review Franc,

    Must be devastating to lose all that money on upsells, good thing you managed to get it back. I felt the same way when I fell for Russel Brunson’s upsells on Dot Com Secrets X which after that I never bothered opening again so I know how it feels to go through a program with high hopes only to get sucked into more games. I’ve seen a lot of scam programs with up to $10k memberships but seeing Awol’s $15k package, that took my breath away. Do you think some people actually bought that?

    • Oh, yes, I am sure some people bought that big package.  MOBE was even worse.  I watched as people spent thousands of dollars on their upsells.  It’s amazing, how easy it is to get ripped off by a scam.  Good to learn about your experience with Russell Brunson.  I started working on a review on him and got sidetracked.  Maybe I should give it another go.

      I am so glad I finally found Wealthy Affiliate.  They say third time’s the charm, and it certainly was for me.  It is a great company with a good many excellent features.  If you’d like to read my review, click on this link: https://build2winaffiliates.co

      Thanks for your visit, and I hope you will come back again some day.

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