It’s a dirty one alright. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free Are you ready for it? They work. What?!! Yep, I said it. The guru programs work. Despite people’s skepticism, despite the negative reviews online, and despite the cost of the programs, the guru programs actually do work… …if you work them right. Why Guru Programs Don’t Work for Most People If I say they work, how come they don’t seem to or why do they get knocked so hard? Because most people who go to them don’t work them right (hence my follow-up statement a minute ago). How do they not work them right? It can be any of the following, and maybe even some others I’m not thinking of: They sign up for a guru program because of the false impression (or not false at all, depending on the marketing of the program) that their life can be transformed immediately once they know all of the information that will be presented in the program. Then after the program, they are ticked their lives haven’t changed and they write a bad review. They go through the program and then feel like it didn’t solve all of their problems or give all of the answers, even if it did touch on some, and they just kind of give up thinking they didn’t get everything they needed and end up forgetting a lot of what they learned. Especially relevant to real estate investing guru programs, they pick a niche they think fits them and will be fun and great, but the reality is it’s just not who they are. Wholesaling and flipping sounds amaaaazing to people and evvvvveryone wants to do it. So they think they can do too, they sign up for the guru program that teaches them how to do it, and boom they’re hosed (unless they’re in the minority that really have wholesaling or flipping in their blood). Why No Guru Program Can Transform You Overnight Let me explain a little bit about why success in general doesn’t happen overnight, much less a guru program. You know I love explaining in visuals! What people don’t realize, including the gurus themselves usually, is that a person doesn’t come up with one piece of winning advice out of nowhere. That winning advice is founded on other ideas. That ‘one really cool piece of guru advice’ did not just one day jump up and smack the guru in the face. Well, actually it probably did, but not before the guru had learned several other key things that led up to it- we’ll call those pieces “misc info”. In reality, there are way more than four pieces of misc info that leads to each big piece of advice. Related: The 4 Levels of Learning in Real Estate Investment How many? who knows. The point is, amazing ideas don’t just come out of nowhere. And while piecing together several big pieces of advice to make something work, you won’t truly succeed or go that far without also having misc info under your belt. A guru can’t give you this. He doubtfully even remembers what all of the misc info that led to him figuring out the big picture even was. You have to gain and build your own misc info. You have to build your own empire and that empire will be different from anyone else’s empire. Even if the end result is similar, your journey to that end result will always be different. If that is true, how could you expect to only listen to one person and gain all the answers? You can’t. We all have our own brains. It’s a bit worthless to not use them and instead hope that someone else out there will give us all the answers. Instead of relying on the end-game advice of the guru, use what he teaches you to formulate you own misc info so you can then put it all together to formulate your own guru advice. Trust me, you can become your own guru. How to Make Guru Programs Work for You My personal advice? Don’t completely rule out gurus. Surprisingly, most of them actually do know what they are talking about. People can say what they will about Robert Kiyosaki and the Rich Dad programs, but I can promise you if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Not even close! Does that mean I only take advice from him? No way. I’ve read books from several authors, I’ve taken online courses, I follow blogs of several different people, and I am open to any new guru advice that I find fitting to my goals and to my life and can help me along (I’ve never understood the mentality of letting your ego stop you from taking advice from people around you. I think it’s much quicker to let people give me options on how to succeed.Why figure it all out by myself? Seems a bit limiting, don’t you think?). Related: 7 Real Estate Investing Lessons We Can Learn From Tony Robbins As far as the high-dollar guru programs, I won’t rule them out but it will take a lot more for me to go that route. Those expensive programs are usually tailored to one specific avenue and I learned a long time ago that I do better with taking pieces of advice from several people in order to concoct my own solution. But you may not be like me and those programs could be what sends you to the top. I actually do recommend them for some fields. Regardless, here are my own pieces of advice about the guru programs for you to leave with: Start slowly. Understand that sales are part of the program. Instead of whining about it, just ignore it (if you don’t want what they are selling) and focus on the rest of the content. Basically, get over it. Research programs related to your interests and the skills you think you need. Use your own judgment as to the worth of it. Stick with the gurus that resonate with you. Not all of them will. Not all advice given in this world will work for you but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else, so rather than bashing them, just focus on finding who you like. If you read reviews of a guru or a particular program, focus on the objective reviews rather than emotional-based reviews. If a program is free, take it. If a program is cheap (yes, $495 is considered cheap in my book), try it out. Trust me, you can learn something that is worth more than $495. If a program costs $5,000 or more, hold off until you know for certain that exact program is exactly what you need and by taking it, you can definitely earn multiples of that amount in income thanks to the program. With any program or guru, use your brain and if the advice seems off, then just don’t take it. Never leave a program (whether online, DVDs, in-person seminar, whatever) without one or two major takeaways. That’s how you make the money worth it. Maybe it’s not even something the guru says specifically, but maybe it’s something the guru triggered you to think of yourself. Have you ever taken a “guru course”? Share your thoughts below! Note from BiggerPockets Founder, Joshua Dorkin: BiggerPockets was founded because I STRONGLY believe that there are far better alternatives to learning about real estate investing than spending your hard earned money on a traveling education salesman (guru). Any information you can pay hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars for from a guru can be found from a local mentor of through various other means (including our site) for free. While I’m staunchly against the promises made by the seminars, bootcamps, and other programs offered by these individuals, I do appreciate that some people find them to have value and as such, I thought it important to allow this opinion piece and others like it to be shared here on the site. If you’re going to spend your money on gurus, do your homework — research, ask your peers, and before you give them your money, know that no guru is going to make you a success — that job is up to you.