Wolves In Wolves Clothing
by Rod Rodrigue
“Fugayzi, fugazi. It’s a whazy. It’s a woozie. It’s fairy dust. it doesn’t exist. It’s never landed. It is no matter. It’s not on the elemental chart. It’s not fucking real.” — Matthew McConaughey, Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Being a Veteran advocate I sincerely want to believe that Veterans mean well and have honorable intentions. That being said, Veterans are also people and as a HUMINT guy my opinion about the best of intentions from the general human population is somewhat low. This is why I get a serious case of “skeptical hippo” eyes when I hear about life coaches, financial consultants, and make money from home schemes.
The issue for me is that often these businesses are dressed up to be Veteran friendly. They’re wearing Veteran apparel like T-Shirts and Hats with military themes, they often talk about their struggle to make it from being a service member to earning 7 figures, or they promise to show you the path to a problem free lifestyle. They manipulate the truth, pictures, and stories to illustrate their “success” on social media. They inflate their numbers with our support and in turn use those numbers to convince others to listen to them. It’s artificial legitimacy.
In all of their products and plans, they all share one major trait. That trait being a lack of “how”. The “how” is the secret behind the magic trick, it’s the thing they want you to break out your credit card for. How will you lead me to personal happiness? How will you coach my life? How will you help me make 7 figures a year? The problem here is that they’re selling information but there is no way to verify the legitimacy of that information without first knowing it. The only way we can try to sift through the nonsense is through that individual’s reputation, and guess what? They’ve literally built their own reputation through purchased social media likes, follower, and cherry picking comments and of course our following as well.
Before you go handing out your credit card to anyone promising you fortune and prosperity, ask yourself what are their qualifications. If the only answer is “I made $X million dollars last year” or “10K followers can’t be wrong”, or my personal favorite “ask (insert notable name), a client of mine” then you’re probably talking to a scam. Credentials matter! Financial consultants should have some type of certifications and affiliations with professional organizations you can confirm. Those million dollar business ideas are 9 times out of 10 pyramid schemes that are now clever disguised as “mulit-level marketing” except that it looks remarkably like a pyramid. If you’re looking for a life coach, chances are you probably need a professional mental health therapist who’s actually been formally educated on how to help you without telling you what to do because at that point you’re just looking for someone to tell you what to do not how to think through your issues. Life coaches are especially worrisome to me because they can purchase $100 online certificate and now you have a 24 year old 4 year military Veteran trying to coach your life for money…as a trained but non-practicing mental health therapist this scares the hell out of me.
Information is not a premium. The internet has become the great equalizer in regards to the power of information. What matters is your willingness to look and apply that information. Want to boost your social media standing for your business? Okay, there companies you can pay and they’ll do it for you but savvy investors and even customers will see right through your artificial ruse and you will not have learned anything about developing content. The same goes for real estate, sales, and just about every potential money making industry. There is a short cut out there, it’ll cost you, and you won’t learn squat from it. In fact in the long run it will probably do more harm than good. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for short cut advice, practical advice seminars, and general advice consultations, you can scour YouTube and I guarantee there’s a reputable person who will bust through bullshit of your industries myths and get to the HOW because they don’t want you to get scammed. The truth sounds a lot like the truth and if you can’t tell the difference maybe you should look into a different industry. That’s not me being a dick, that’s just some honest talk.
Just because it looks like a Veteran and talks like a Veteran doesn’t mean they’re a Veteran. And if they’ve served it doesn’t mean that they’re looking out for Veterans like you. Veterans take pride in their ability to see threats, preparation, and diligence. There are con-artists who will disguise themselves to look and talk like you in order to take your money and your time. They also know you’re less likely to come forward to admit when you’ve been scammed because what proud Veteran wants to admit they’ve been fooled.
Have you noticed some questionable advertisements by “Veterans”? Have you been a victim of fraud from a Veteran company? You don’t have to name any names if you don’t want to but I’d like to hear about your experiences or encounters with fraudsters. Email me your stories at email@example.com
Rod Rodriguez is a 13 year combat Veteran of the US Army. He holds a B.S. in US Intelligence Studies and an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. Rod is also the host of The After Action Review (AAR) Podcast, a show dedicated to Veteran entrepreneurship. Visit the The AAR Podcast Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/theaarpodcast and atwww.theaarpodcast.com