Sam Ovens or Scam Ovens: A deep dive into the Consulting.com accelerator
If you have been browsing Facebook or YouTube over the course of the past year or so, you have likely run across an ad from this guy: Sam Ovens.
Mr. Ovens has developed a super effective marketing funnel that is built on top of Facebook advertising and custom targeting. Devon Hennig has an excellent article explaining and detailing his funnel as well as how it works if you’re into that kind of stuff.
He advertises on both platforms relentlessly. In fact, in six months, Mr. Ovens spent almost $2 million on Facebook ads alone but is what he’s selling real, a scam, or a pipe dream? That’s what we’re going to examine in this article.
I spent some time looking into Mr. Ovens and his company, Consulting.com–but before I get into the findings and my analysis, here’s what you need to know about Mr. Ovens and his background.
Who is Sam Ovens?
Sam Ovens is an entrepreneur from New Zealand, though, he has since relocated to Manhattan, who, if you listen to him tell the story, started his career by building products no one really needed from his parents garage (see below). After not finding much success with his ventures, he eventually redefined his business strategy to focus more on consulting.
According to Mr. Ovens in the first year of consulting he made $100,000, the second year, $500,000, the third, $1.2 million, and a cool $20 million in the fourth year.
As research for this article I signed up for his webinar (which runs 2.5 hours) along with almost 500 other people. Listening to Mr. Ovens tell his story certainly will strike a chord with many people. He talks about how the desks seen in the picture above are propped up by cinder blocks and how the table part of the desk is recycled wood he got from his father’s construction job. It’s a classic rags to riches story–you can’t help but cheer for him.
What exactly is Sam Ovens selling?
In the most simplistic of terms, Mr. Ovens is selling a course or as he calls it, an accelerator program that will help you (his customer) either start or improve your existing consulting business.
Sitting through his 2.5 hour webinar, it’s easy to forget that. After he hooks you in with his impressive success story, Mr. Ovens then starts touting success stories from his course, and then follows up by explaining how working with him will change your life. He’s selling a dream of what could be. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, I wish I could have spoken to him about the actual success rate numbers of his course and his students/customers. Mr. Ovens was unavailable for comment for this article–he’s too busy “focusing on creating new and improved content for our programs,” I was told by a Consulting.com spokesperson.
More specifically (or perhaps, more realistically), he’s selling a six week course for a one-time fee of $2,000 that will teach you how to change your mindset (if necessary), how to find the perfect niche for your consultancy, and how to build out a Facebook marketing campaign. Plus, Mr. Ovens includes access to sales scripts and the Consulting.com community.
Mr. Ovens claims to have helped create more than 20 millionaires from his course and have more than 3,000 success stories. While I certainly don’t want to diminish that accomplishment it would be nice to have some context around those numbers.
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Examining the numbers
If you attend the webinar, Mr. Ovens will highlight lots of numbers to give off the impression of incredible success.
The first one that sent up a red flag to me was when he talks about how Forbes estimates his net worth at $65 million (which he references a few times over the course of a couple minutes), however, he never actually states that his net worth is $65 million–he simply reiterates that Forbes estimates it as $65 million.
Wouldn’t he know better than Forbes? If it’s actually $65 million why not come out and say it? He’s beating around the bush, likely because it’s not even close to $65 million.
Revenues aren’t profits
Since we really have self-reported numbers to go off of when it comes to Mr. Ovens, let’s take a look at that year four number: $20 million. Based on the pricing we know for his course ($2,000), he would have had to sell 10,000 courses to hit that $20 million mark, but that number is strictly revenue–it doesn’t take into account any Facebook or YouTube ad spend that was required to generate the sales. It also doesn’t take into account any other business expenses including office space, employees/salaries, travel, etc.
This is a side note but Mr. Ovens talks about loving running a consulting business because margins are very fat–that’s certainly true, but it seems the business he’s currently building requires a lot of capital up front which will absolutely eat in to margins. In the webinar he talks about how he moved to NYC and bought office space on Madison Avenue for $10 million.
My point is, from a business perspective, he could be generating a lot of revenues but still losing money or making very little profit. We honestly don’t know because he hasn’t been forthright with this information which makes me hesitant.
Success rate numbers
Going back to the success rate of his students (customers), let’s take that $20 million revenue number again, again, which means 10,000 sales. Now, by Mr. Ovens’ own admission, he’s had more than 3,000 success stories since starting this venture: that’s a 30% success rate. Not great at all. If a teacher in high school only had 30% of his or her class pass that wouldn’t look good at all for the school and/or the teacher.
So what’s the bottom line?
Is the Sam Ovens consulting accelerator a scam? In the strictest definition of the word scam: no. Mr. Ovens is providing real value–a real course, with a real educational aspect to it, and valuable materials (e.g. the sales scripts, etc). However, based on my research and in my opinion, it’s a bit of a pipe dream for the majority of people out there.
Mr. Ovens is a great salesman–there’s no doubt, I bet he could sell ice to an eskimo. He’s also a really great copywriter, if you read some of his long form ads on Facebook they will suck you in and make you want to buy into what he’s saying.
That being said, I can’t help but think that most of the people who he is likely targeting with his ads will not be able to successfully complete his six-week course and implement the business strategies he’s providing to them.
No matter how you slice it, running a business of any kind is hard work. I’ll give credit to Mr. Ovens for stating early on in his webinar that this is not a get rich quick scheme and that you will have to work for it. However, immediately following that is 2.5 hours of Mr. Ovens’ carefully crafted pitch enticing people to buy into a lifestyle concept that (according to him) literally anyone can achieve. And that’s just not the case. The numbers don’t lie.
If you have a business background or are currently run a consulting business, Mr. Ovens consulting accelerator may be a viable option for you to learn how to focus your business and how to close more deals. Otherwise, I’d steer clear.