Frank Kern: The Worst Guru Ever?
By on Oct 06, 2010

Frank Kern wrote a very interesting article the other day titled, “You: The Best Guru EVER“. It speaks a lot of truths about taking action. He mentions:

All a Guru can give you is education.

But the fact remains that’s only 25% of what you need.

You still need throw in 25% effort, 25% determination, and 25% sticktoitiveness.

…And that’s the 75% that YOU and ONLY YOU can provide!

At the end of the article he puts up a challenge to his readers and followers “Don’t buy any advice this month”.  Interesting, huh? Written by Frank, one of the biggest Gurus out there. It made me question,why on earth he would say something like that?

  • Was he just being a great honest guy? Saying, “Hey, this is how you actually do it”.
  • Did he feel this article would be useful to increase his brand’s trust, so he could sell more of his guru products?
  • Or did he write it to respond to complaints made by his guru product customers?

With all that said, it was quite a thought provoking article to say the least. Great stuff!


P.S. Why does every guru story start with a friend telling them something?

P.P.S. I’m not guru bashing here. I don’t have anything against Frank Kern. I think he is one smart, smart, marketer. He certainly knows how to pull people’s strings. Everyone seems to have great things to say about him.

Comments (42)

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  1. James says:

    Looks like he's innovating and taking a new route. He's a clever guy, so knows where this is going…probably setting himself up for something else.

  2. d3so says:

    Who knows what his intentions are.

    It seems like a disarm/trust tactic to me. If he's being genuinely honest, then shame on me.

  3. Hannah says:

    I know one person who buys into ALL of that guru bullshit.

    The guy came into my office one day and went "Hey Hannah I just finished listening to this Tony Robbins tape and I'm SO MOTIVATED do you want to go get a coffee and talk about getting things done?"

    Kern's going for that sort of person. The one that reads it, goes "oh he's SO RIGHT" and then doesn't do anything about it. But, the next time Frank Kern pushes something, they'll buy it. So basically my long-winded way of saying "bullet point two".

    • Lorenzo Green says:

      hahaha "The one that reads it, goes “oh he’s SO RIGHT” and then doesn’t do anything about it."

      I know the ones!

  4. Aqif says:

    This question is also keep playing in my mind as he ask to stop buying any products. Maybe this is just a marketing trick. However, I also don't like to bash any who called themselves or recognized as 'Guru'.

    All I can say that, if we want to do something. Just do it and stop buying product that will make you go nowhere.

    Am I right here? Just my 2 cent. 🙂

    • Lorenzo Green says:

      Spot on.

      However I feel when someone gives advice "just do it" whoever is listening would be like "oh yeah spot on!"

      But then if that same person comes back the next week and says "you can't just do it without knowing a few secrets". The same people listening will once again be like "oh yeah spot on!"

  5. Carl says:

    Ah…Here's the rub:

    "So whenever you’re considering buying advice, coaching, mentoring, seminar tickets, or whatever – understand this:

    They Are All WORTHLESS

    …Unless you’re bull-headed enough to immediately put what you learn into action. (And then get right back to work when your first attempts inevitably present some challenges)."

    That "…Unless" statement is what gives guru followers just enough hope to keep buying products.

    Clever Mr. Kern…clever!

  6. "At the end of the article he puts up a challenge to his readers and followers “Don’t buy any advice this month”. Interesting, huh? Written by Frank, one of the biggest Gurus out there. It made me question, why on earth he would say something like that?"

    It's psychology to tell someone to NOT do something thinking/hoping they will. If they are even slightly interested in your product/service, giving them a reason to leave will simply motivate them more to buy from you.

    This principle works VERY well in practice too.

  7. You are right, though people need success stories to keep the motivated, not just that they might help them.

  8. Darren says:

    The reason Internet Marketing is so popular is because of the 90/10 rule. 90% of the money goes to 10% of the Internet Marketing Gurus.

    Gurus know this ratio hence, they know the formula. 90% of all aspiring Internet Marketers fail to make any long term money, because they simply don't have the mindset for it. So if everyone made an absolute fortune because it was "easy", IM would cave in completely!

    Significant amounts of money Gurus earn go to the next marketing scheme that in turn gets pushed to not only the same "lists" again, but to all new aspiring Internet Marketers…and the process repeats itself.

    Frank is telling the absolute truth about how success is achieved in the real world here however, I believe the ratios are more like:

    50% education and 50% sticktoitiveness, where determination and effort are part of the latter.

  9. browie says:

    The video I saw of him with Tony Robbins is like what you quoted. He talked to Tony about people that kept buying his stuff and weren't making it work. He said there that people (including himself) have to take action and work after what they learned.

    So basically what I'm saying is I think Frank has believed in that quote above for a while now.

  10. Frank has been incredibly successful and certainly knows his stuff. I also completely agree that you can spend all the money you want on guru products, but if you don't actually take action then it just doesn't matter. As Hannah says above, getting motivated to "go to the coffee shop and talk about getting things done" is all well and good. But, talking won't get your new website built or new marketing program launched.

  11. Phase 1: Collect underpants

    Phase 2: ?

    Phase 3: Profit

  12. imKazu says:

    the fact that this post was written and got featured on affbuzz makes it look like he knows a thing or two … intentional or not

  13. Brandon says:

    @imKazu — Anything Mr. Green writes ends up featured on affbuzz. ;P

    He's a business man first and foremost, but even as a guru he just wants to help people, he knows that his products will only get people so far, and I'd say it's also psychological tactic for developing trust and disarming.

    People buy info products because they need someone to tell them what to do, and with mentoring they get someone keeping up on them, the key here is adding a level of accountability to their actions (or lack of action).

    P.S. got a chuckle out of the use of the P.S. & P.S.S. closing… you're a funny dude.

  14. alantanblog says:

    maybe he's going to launch a new product.

    The message is don't buy other Guru product because mine can provide all the 25%!

  15. Here are a few thought

    Frank Kern just sent out an email to one of his lists for a product called "Kajabi," which is basically like affiliate-theme/site-build-it, etc., on crack. In that email he said "I'm going to promote the hell out of this."

    If I'm not mistaken, that shit launches in a day or 2, so there's NO WAY he could have meant what he said.

    Here are my thoughts on that article…

    #1) Frank has been abusing his lists for a while. He has people eating out of his hand to the point that his emails are pretty much pure spam. I signed up for his list just to read his email copy. Honestly, he doesn't even write much copy anymore, just links xyz new launch.

    I think this post was an attempt to clean up his image.

    Perhaps he's been called out recently or fears he will be soon.

    #2) One copywriting technique Frank teaches is to say stuff like-

    "Look, if you just want to be a fat slob, eat potato chips all day and expect my program to make you money, I DON'T WANT YOU TO BUY IT. You will fail and I don't want failures on my team! On the other hand, if you're willing to put in 5-15 diligent hours a week, I'm confident you can profit from this wildly and go to bed with a supermodel everynight, and a lambo in your garage, etc."

    The whole purpose of statements like this is to overexagerate person's ACTUAL bad behaviors/habits, which 80% of the time they DO exhibit. This gives the reader/listener the opportunity to say "Man, people like that really suck. I'm not nearly that bad, so I'm not one of those people. [enter logical fallacy] I must be part of the other group of people that is willing to do 'some diligent work.' Ok, I guess this program is good for me.

    In the case of this article, I think Frank is using a very similar technique, where the next time he launches something, the reader can say to himself-

    "Man, I sure am glad I'm not one of those people that just keeps buying products and not doing ANYTHING, like Frank wrote about in that article. Since I'm one of the people that actually puts 'some' real effort into what I'm doing, I could sure benefit from this new product frank is pitching me for $XXX-$X,XXX."

    He's basically setting the customer up to pitch himself.

    my .02


    P.S. The reason every guru story starts with "my friend told me xyz," is because its one of Frank's 3 core story-telling frameworks (which came from Dan Kennedy? not sure).

    He calls it "hometown boy does good."

    Essentially, an unlikely and not particularly talented protagonist stumbles upon a "secret" that's so effective, and he becomes so successful using it, that eventually feels an atruistic desire to share his discovery with fellow man…. but since this isn't what HTB does professionally, its going to be a "limited time offer" and then he's going to go back to doing home-town-boy stuff.

    Franks home-town-boy story revolves around him being an untalented, beach bum surfer. He's actually a copy/sales psychology genius (you can't argue with that, he makes 7-8 figures every time he launches something and he launches shit frequently).

    I'm guessing he surfed 1 time in his life.

    • Lorenzo Green says:

      Hahaha damn! Nice comment!

      "hometown boy does good" technique sounds very interesting haha. Maybe I should start growing out a beard and shaggy hair…

    • Joseph says:

      I just assumed this is the reason Kern is doing this kind of CYA message. Kajabi is launching right now so I can't imagine why he'd come out with a message like this at this time unless his hand was "forced." That SaltyDroid video is pretty damaging.

  16. Bryan says:

    Maybe he has a product coming out in a month's time and doesn't want them to buy into any other product launches so they will be ripe for the picking when it's released. 😛

    He's a savvy marketer for sure, but I really don't think he's in it to truly help people. Yes, it is up to people to "take action" but generally most of those Guru products cause more confusion or have a ton of holes in it.

  17. z00t says:

    He's not saying don't buy "my" products, he's saying don't buy any advice this month. By doing this (being honest), he is providing value to his followers (and building trust), which in turn will buy his next product on his next launch, which will keep supporting the lifestyle he wants for himself.

  18. When giving personal advice to people I meet who want to make a living online, one of the things I emphasize is that they don't need to spend money on any ebooks, info products, etc to learn this stuff. But of course, I'll probably come out with an info product myself soon enough. lol

  19. Very interesting approach.. what was the 25% of the stuff did he cover? Tired of all these gurus.. an eBook for $7 on how not to spend money on eBook or info products is a great idea lol

  20. andrew wee says:

    Google translate:

    You need not to buy anything this month, cos next months thingamajig2000 is going to cost 2 month's worth of pay and your left nut.

  21. TSR says:

    The biggest problem Frank Kern's customers have is they are buying "guru products" like his. These customers are bothered by the fact that they are still not making any money after having spent thousands on "guru training."

    Frank Kern knows guru products (including his) are useless, so this month he is telling you not to buy any products. This makes him look like a good guy. But if Frank was really a "good guy" he would not be selling these "guru products" to the hopeful.

    The hopeful: People who need real actionable info on how to start a business to feed themselves/their families.

  22. peter says:

    I dont know how you can judge him on being a nice guy, good guy, bad guy or what, I mean everyone wants to make MORE money and keep there readership, and some people enjoy helping people as well. Only some are good at doing both, his post was a great example. For the reasaon that he said that, was probably to try to prove the point of his quote

    "All a Guru can give you is education.

    But the fact remains that’s only 25% of what you need.

    You still need throw in 25% effort, 25% determination, and 25% sticktoitiveness.

    …And that’s the 75% that YOU and ONLY YOU can provide!"

    he wants to prove his point and is saying for the next month, actually do that 75%, dont worry about buying my products i have already made enough money off of you, now take the next month to actually DO SOMETHING! Knowing they will be back in a few months prob to buy another product. So he gave good advice, got alof of attention, made himself look good, and probablly will increase his followers, or at least make his current readers more active and may entise them to read some older posts on his blog and maybe buy some product anyway. It seems as if most of these product launch purchases are when you are in this spur of the moment, ready to take over the world ACTION MODE, they were for me at least, by making that statment he prob put some of his readers in that MODE. nice work! I wouldnt be suprised if his blog revenue has a big jump following that post.

  23. Elena says:

    I think that if someone is on an advice buying spree… They should stop for a month and focus on what they have learned. Knowledge is power, but ONLY if you apply it!

  24. Ahiahia says:

    aha! This is reverse psychology in my eyes. all he said is don't buy any advice….
    in fact, you just "buy" his advice!
    and fortunately this goes viral…this is what he wants…
    and yes he's telling the fact that 75% is your effort and 25% is information.
    just 0.02

  25. Anthony R. says:

    Frank Kern is Famous for being Famous…I think we can all learn from him if we pay attention on how he markets to people

  26. FKIAC says:

    Frank Kern is a CUNT

  27. Sam says:

    I've seen a video of Frank where his phone rings, he looks annoyed and answers "don't you know I'm in the middle of a disguised pitch".

    I think he is well aware that the majority of people that buy his stuff know he is trying to sell them something, but because he is honest about it – It's the one thing you can't hold against him.

  28. Eddy says:

    Ask yourself this one question and you will get at the heart of all this stuff, ready…

    Why does all this stuff work mainly in America?

    Look, if a person can take a pill to solve their problem, they take it. Heck, we've got people getting their stomachs banded to lose weight instead of simply eating less and moving more. Nobody REALLY wants to actually DO any of this stuff, they want the results. Guess what? You have to do it to get it, but nobody wants that. So, what's the next best thing? Sell the dream, the mirage, lull people into a "goodness" an "aura" that makes them "feel" it without actually doing it or even attaining it. Throw in proven power of suggestion and yes, some psychology and you've got a person that can influence.

    More power to Kern and the rest of them. Simply don't buy the stuff if you don't agree, but heck, the guy is telling you EXACTLY what he's doing and then does it and people still pay. The only people getting hosed are those that want to be hosed. Our economic system is set up to redistribute their resources and Kern is simply getting his fair share, and rather than doing it door-to-door or town-to-town, he's doing it by leveraging the Internet and direct marketing. PT Barnum did it in his day, Kern is doing it now. You always sell the SIZZLE, not the steak.

  29. I love Frank Kern 🙂 I live in Germany and it´s good to learn from his stuff, becaus internet marketing is way ahead in the US than here in good old Germany 🙂

  30. oh i forgot to say, that i bought his course and it is helping me al lot in my business…

  31. DineroConPc says:

    we get it Frank, you're cool..nextt

  32. Laura Wolf says:

    When I hear "honest" and "No BS" I usually run away. That means they want to get you into buying the hype and it is indeed BS. It is not easy to find someone who is giving away real value, not to mention that most gurus keep the most profitable tips to themselves. Fact.

  33. Jon Rhodes says:

    Hmmmm, saying don't buy any products for a month implies that most people buy stuff at least once a month, which at least for me isn't true. That's the message he's sending out. All your competitors are buying stuff more than once a month – what's wrong with you?!

    I will find it incredibly easy to meet this challenge as I don't buy any marketing products from one month to the next. Surely most people are the same? Imagine me saying "Don't comment on my blog for a week" or "Don't give me a donation for at least a month". The answer would probably be "Don't worry, I won't"!

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