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An Honest Review of Call to Action

You’re probably reading this because you want to know if Call to Action is a scam or if it’s legit (cliff notes version—it’s not a scam). This is a Call to Action Review, so if you like reviews…read on.

In this Call to Action Review, I’m going to show you how I first came across Ramit’s stuff (because everyone loves to find out how someone else entered down the rabbit hole of an Internet guru’s world), 5 things I learned through the process of investing in the course and implementing the content, an FAQ section around the course and who it might be good for and not good for, and finally…what my numbers have been like since investing.

As I was writing the outline for this Call to Action Review (a simple but critical tool I picked up in CTA) I was trying to put a timeline together. A little walk down memory lane. In 2011, Amanda Steinberg introduced me to Ramit Sethi’s work. She’s a Philly native and I had met her via Gabby Bernstein through RHH Live circa 2010.

Amanda is the founder and co-founder of DailyWorth.com and WorthFM.com which are amazing sites for women who want to become financially empowered and savvy investors. Highly recommend.

Since I trusted (and still do) Amanda, I checked out iwillteachyoutoberich.com and immediately resonated with Ramit’s humor and found the content to be really smart and genuinely helpful. I went five years without buying anything from him but he never kicked me off his list because I was just a “reader” not an actual buyer.

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Is it lame that I was concerned about this? No, because I know you’ve wondered this, too…if you’ve ever been a long-term reader of someone who sells information online but never bought anything from them.

Over the years I’ve specifically used Ramit’s content to get a better job with a 40 percent increase in salary alone using the briefcase technique and have also used a lot of his content in general to figure out how not to be socially awkward at times.

Thanks, Ramit!

Summer of 2015, I (and the rest of his gazillion readers) got an email from Ramit about some course he’s in the middle of launching. If you’re on his list, you know this happens all the damn time…but because his content is so good…you still read most of his emails because they provide so much value while at the same time being very entertaining.

I emailed him a question and then got this response:

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Am I the only person who would literally cringe upon getting this response from Ramit? I doubt it. It was in that moment that I realized who I was in person (most of the time) was coming across very differently online.

Since you’re reading this, you’re concerned about your own copy skills…imagine this: you talk one way…but when you write it’s almost as if aliens have invaded your brain and the words you get out onto the screen sound like some encyclopedia or even worse (like me) someone apologizing for being alive.

Even though I had been writing religiously since I was like 7 years old (poetry and screenplays), had an article actually published in a real book and had also run a moderately successful blog about being me (I cringe at that blog but whatever it was cathartic), this response from Ramit about sums up how I wrote.

Reality Check: your writing is truly the final frontier, and yes, your insecurities can and will show up in your blog posts, emails and any other written content you put out there so you really need to handle that quickly if you have or want to run a successful online business.

If you always let your insecurities lead the way during in person conversations…your business or career would seriously suffer. When you’re online, you don’t have the benefit of making eye contact, cracking jokes or catching a vibe off the person you’re communicating with…so it’s super important to be able to communicate really effectively otherwise you will lose readers, prospects and clients.

FACTS.

Fast forward to November 2015. I had recently come up with an idea that would require me to become a more proficient writer. I know this might sound totally crazy because I just said my writing didn’t come off as incredibly confident, but I’ve always been a good writer…it was just that I was missing something when it came to copy. I’ll also say that not every online business owner would call themselves a writer, so I saw how I could fulfill a need.

Even though I want to share how I went through this whole thing…you have to remember that I’m doing this so it might help you make your decision. So, let me take a moment here to bring something else up, one of my problems in the past was decision making. So….

Public Service Announcement:

When you’re making this decision to buy or not to buy Call to Action, I want you to consider something.

When you make a decision, do you

  • go with your gut instinct
  • impulse buy or
  • ruminate on a decision for far too long

(Notice how I separated going with your gut and impulse buying—they’re two totally different things). If you’re an impulse buyer, I don’t know what to tell you. I can’t relate because I used to fall into the last category.

If you also fall into the last category, read this post but give yourself the gift of making a damn decision. Yes, or no. Don’t ruminate on this or put it off until next year if you think you want to do it…because I 100 percent guarantee that this is a problem outside of simply buying this course. And every time you actually make a decision now, instead of putting it off until later, you’re creating a new, more powerful habit that will save you time and help you become much more confident person.

Confession: Like seven years ago, I was proud to say that I spent approximately five months without a car (and I was in outside sales at the time)! Yes, I would drive my then husband nuts by borrowing his massive Ford F150 to go to my appointments because I was RRREALLLLLYYYYYYY thinking about what my next car should be. Looking back…I think this is completely unacceptable. But at the time, it was my normal.

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Notice how happy I am after making a damn decision.

Any big purchase (or small, in fact) had to be scrutinized and determined to be the BEST decision. Very little room for error. There were other dynamics going on here that were not all me, but this isn’t about that…this is about how you need to read the info from Ramit on Call to Action, listen to his videos and basically decide if you want to invest in a copywriting course.

Back to November. Leading up to Call to Action’s initial launch, I had decided to become a copywriter. Like I mentioned earlier, I had been writing religiously since I was around 7 years old but hadn’t quite “broken through” to any kind of mainstream success, but I was and am a good writer so I knew this could be fun, beneficial for my future clients and profitable.

Tie that in with the fact that I had been in sales since I was in college (starting with Phone-A-Thon for Fordham College Rose Hill, Go Rams) I figured creating persuasive copy and engaging content to keep readers and clients engaged was a brilliant combo of two things I’m good at and I enjoy.

I knew I would need some help so that I could take all my mad skills and translate them into catchy copy on the regular. I did read some books on copywriting but I wanted something really substantial from someone who had recently (in the past 10 years) grown an online business.

When I saw Ramit was offering this Call to Action Course I was so excited that I could finally call myself a proud #studentforlife in the I Will Teach You to Be Rich family. For me, the decision was really clear and easy

So, what the hell happened once I got into the course and what have I learned?

  1. Making the decision to invest in something should really be very easy and also instill confidence.
    • Ramit is obviously a savvy marketer. This means his copy is on point. His research is on point. His content is on point. If you’re not sure whether or not you should join the course, this problem is most likely in you. While Ramit did discuss failed launches in this course (which means he’s not 100% on point every time), I pretty much know his sales pages generally answer every question I have and if I have any lingering questions I can email IWT people and someone from his team will get back to me quickly. Whenever I’ve been unsure about something…I was really just scared of something. Saying “yes” or “no” is incredibly freeing. Try it.
  2. Tracking my KPM’s is the key to getting serious about what you’re doing.
    • Key Performance Metrics are a big part of CTA. If you don’t know where you’re starting from, how can you track any progress? In looking at my own numbers (page views, opt-ins and any sales conversions) …it was really hard. I explain why below…but I do it now because I’m serious about growing this business.
  3. Saying “I” all the time isn’t ever a good thing. Especially in your copy.
    • I’m sober nearly 12 years. I became an adult in “the program.” Part of recovery-speak is not telling people what to do. So, you basically answer people’s questions by explaining how you’ve had a similar experience. You say “I” a whole lot. But in real life…people think that’s incredibly self-centered. And you know what…it kind of is. I don’t think everyone out there blogging is actually sharing about their opinion and saying “I” all the time because they’re self-centered. I think there is also this want to NOT tell people what to do and not come off like a know-it-all. Understand that when you’re writing copy, it’s far more powerful to speak TO a specific person by saying “you” or NOT saying “I” and just get over yourself. There’s a balance to sharing personal stories and giving good advice to people. When you’re in business, your prospects and clients expect you to provide solutions…so drop the “I” statements and replace them with “you” statements. Relate things to how your solution will benefit them.
  4. Growing a TARGETED email list is super important.
    • Even if I could add more people to my list faster with a broader topic…I wouldn’t want to. This course has hammered home the importance of speaking to a specific person and providing solutions to that person. The more focused you are, the easier it is to get results faster (results for me = clients not just subscribers).
  5. Being specific trumps being creative.
    • Such a hard one for this grasshopper to understand (being a poet and a screenwriter). When you speak to numbers, conversions, results that you’ve provided your other clients…people’s ears perk up. In a day and age where smoke and mirrors is a real thing, people respond to tangible results.

Now, let me breakdown what the course is like.

The course is broken into 8 Modules with bonuses for each Module found in what Ramit refers to as the “Vault.” Each Module has a ton of written content, plus a video with transcript and separate audio file of just the audio that you can hear in the video. I really appreciated all of the different ways to absorb the content because I listened to it while I was driving, so audio worked well for me.

Fun Fact: the opening music in the videos reminded me of the theme music from Nip/Tuck. When Ramit’s voice would pop up, I would be snapped back into the reality that I wasn’t going to be watching trashy TV, but enriching my life by honing a skill.

It was truly bittersweet.

Embarrassing Confession:

I’ll also add that it was during Call to Action that Ramit became like a professor to me…and I had to stop following him on Instagram because of his posts of him in the gym which were making the wiring in my brain go kind of wonky. I needed to stay on track with his lessons and his biceps were clouding my focus. I wish I was joking. Really hoping if he reads this he doesn’t take this the wrong way. It’s a compliment.

I found the Vaults to be filled with really useful content. You’ll find behind the scenes videos of Ramit with students in a classroom setting or some of his copywriting coaches doing tear downs of other students writing.

My favorite part of the content was probably when Ramit would actually review copy of some of his students one-on-one. Why did I love this part? Because not every student had INSANE results. Some were growing slowly, but were clearly committed to making it work.

It was good to see people at a level I could relate to.

This course is still really early and I really only began implementing in Dec/Jan. So, I’ll give you a breakdown of how I’ve done since “officially” becoming a copywriter.

Time Frame: 4.5 months

New Writing Clients: 4

Income: a range from $300-$1000 per month (depends on how much work I can do in a given month some of this has come in the form of a check…here’s a screenshot of my paypal from April. I can’t show you my check deposits because it’s just too difficult, but I do have another client who’s not appearing on here and my rates are standard from client to client).

5 Email Subsribers in 2015 (2)

 

New Subscribers: 18 (basically for a brand-new business and these are highly targeted people). Here’s a screen shot of this new subs.

5 Email Subsribers in 2015

5 Email Subsribers in 2015 (1)

Other Anecdotal Improvements: My Opt-In went from really crappy to really good!

Before: (I told people I would send them new “stuff.” Really compelling, I know. 

Alison Before CTA

After: Specific Call To Action for targeted group of people who need help with writing. 

Alison After CTA

So I didn’t add 400 people to my list. I now know that I can and I know that I will.

My goals with my copywriting business are to grow my email list to over 1000 people by the end of the year and replace my full-time job at some reasonable point (need to get clarity around timing here…but most likely spring/summer 2017).

I’ll also add that given more time, I could grow this substantially faster. I started and grew an offline business several years ago pretty fast, but divorce brings change so that’s over now.

I know that hard work + focus + winning strategy = results. The reality of my results is this: I got the results I was looking for. To make money through my writing alone. 

As I become more focused on different results, the outcome will also improve.

I’m really happy with my conversions and I know I have a course I can use to help me throughout my growth.

FAQ

Pros:

  1. Lifetime access. You can buy the course and go through it right away, or put it down and come back to it later.
  2. High quality. The video, audio and overall feel of the course is really high quality. The content itself is also really high.
  3. Multifaceted approach. From audio, to visual to case studies…there were many different learning styles that they took into account when creating this course.

Cons:

  1. Community is hard to engage with. The course does have a comment section but the space is limited to actually comment (300 characters) and you really don’t know if someone comments back to you unless you go in repeatedly to check.
  2. Table of contents is not thorough. A couple of times I wanted to find something really quickly, but found the table of contents didn’t really identify something I knew was in one of the Modules.

Who is this course great for?

If you’re someone who already has experience with running an online business but aren’t sure exactly how to create your opt-in so it converts, this would be a great course for you. If you know you need to set up a funnel and need specific help with exactly what to say and how to say it, this course would be great for you. If your sales pages need an overhaul…this course would be great for you.

Also great for people who are self-starters and can stay on task. Doing a self-study course takes discipline, so you need to be able to stay focused without someone keeping you on task.

Who is this course NOT great for?

I’d say this course might seem a bit too detailed if you’re unfamiliar with the basics of running an online business or are technologically stuck with no support. This course isn’t exactly about the nuts and bolts of running an online business, but more so how to communicate that business in the most persuasive way possible so people buy your product or service.

This course is not great for you if you’ve taken a bunch of online courses but failed to implement what you learned unless you just like collecting courses…which hey, perhaps you do. If you need a community to engage with or a person to really hand hold you (which is totally fine if that’s your style) you may find those aspects lacking here.

How would I compare Call to Action to other courses?

I’m a Marie Forleo BSchool and RHH Live alumni dating back to 2010, you can say I’ve had my share of online marketing courses. I even did something with Ali Brown in 2009 or 2010…so I know the nuts and bolts of online marketing.

The thing with CTA in comparison to courses that teach online marketing is this: once you learn how to pick your niche, set up your opt-in, have a grasp on how to set up a funnel and convert prospects…if you’re struggling at that point you might need to look at your copy.

I also log in to the course site REGULARLY (several times a week) whereas other courses I rarely go into to pull info from. To me, this is a sign of an awesome course.

This course is about how to exactly position all that stuff in a way that is really easy for people to resonate with. The reason I chose this course over Marie and Laura’s Copywriting course is because I wanted to expand my horizons and hear a different voice.

I love Marie and Laura…just wanted to see what Ramit’s paid content was like.

Fun Discovery: Ramit’s stuff is best in class when it comes to course material and content.

You’re ready to buy, what should you do to prepare?

Well, be prepared to work. This is hard work. Ramit’s standards for blogging and sending emails are high. You’re not going to learn how to write a quick 300-word blog post that will convert 50 people. His philosophy is to write exceptional blog posts and emails so that you set yourself apart from your competition and solve problems that your prospects have that no one else is able to solve or able to articulate.

In conclusion: I’m really happy I FINALLY invested in an IWT course. 2015 was a life changing year for me. In the midst of it all, I wanted to finally get paid for being a writer. And guess what? I did that. CTA was a catalyst for so much growth around my writing and how I can better serve my clients.

Around Good Friday of this year (I know this because I was off work that day), I got an email that all CTA students also received inviting me to share my results with Ramit and team for a chance to win a day long intensive with him. It was based on writing improvement and actual numbers. I knew I didn’t have the kind of results that I imagine some people had. This was a feature for students in the first round of CTA.

Since I wanted to follow through on the whole course, I looked at this application sharing my results for a chance to win this weekend, as a part of the course. So, I dedicated a few hours to the application and applied. I didn’t apologize for my results or try and sugar coat anything. I felt really proud of how much my writing had improved and I applied more to prove to myself that I was still really serious about my writing.

I was then invited to share my story in an interview for some sales material and/or GrowthLab. This was such a fun experience. Again, I wouldn’t have done that had I not been a Student For Life. Over the years I’ve seen how important it is to continually put myself out there in a high quality way because most people won’t even do that. So, simply participating can set you apart from the riff raff.

This course was a reminder of staying focused on what I want to do. Getting insight into how other small-business owners grew their businesses was motivation to keep going. I’m so happy Ramit called me out about how I phrased my questions because it forced me to look at my own communication style and make changes to the things I have control over and let the rest go.

If you have any questions I haven’t addressed in this post, comment below or feel free to email me. alisonhummel@gmail.com

Thx!
Alison

 

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Penelope August 2, 2016, 10:11 am

    Building biceps and an online business. I agree that’s intriguing! 🙂

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