Rebel Uprising Podcast

A Crisis of Trust: Why You Are Skeptical of Online Businesses


“I’ve been burned before.”

I’ve heard those four words more this year than in any other year I’ve been in business.

Potential clients who fill out my intake form tell me about another “messaging coach” who didn’t deliver on their promises, or the person who they hired created messaging that was unusable in the client’s marketing, or they didn’t see how the message was ever going to bring in clients.

In response to a survey I sent out to my email community, people talked about being burned by various service providers and programs–coaches, courses, etc–that promised everything and delivered nothing.

When it happens to you, it sucks.

And we need to talk about it. When you get burned, it violates your trust and makes it harder for all of us who are doing business the right way to earn our clients’ trust.

So for all of November, we’re going to talk about the crisis of trust in the online business space. But first, let’s define terms.

What is trust and how do you earn it from your clients?



In this episode:

  • How trust requires us to make what we value vulnerable to the actions of others
  • Four factors that build trust
  • How the mega launches and overblown promises of online businesses violate trust
  • How to communicate the reliability and competence that are essential to real trust

Learn more about Michelle Mazur:



Listen on your favorite podcast player or read the Transcript below:


Dr. Michelle (00:00): I've been burned before. I've heard those four words more this year than any other year I've been in business. Potential clients who fill out my intake form tell me about another "messaging coach" who didn't deliver on what was promised. Or the person that was hired created messaging that was unusable in the client's marketing and they didn't actually see how the message that was created related to getting them clients. And in a survey I sent out to my email community, people talk about being burned by a variety of business coaches and other service providers and programs and courses who all promised the world and delivered a big nothing.

(00:55): When that happens to you, it sucks, and I am so sorry that happened. It is the elephant in the room that we all need to be talking about because when you are burned, it violates your trust and shit like this makes it harder for all of us who do good business to earn our clients' trust. There is a crisis of trust in the online space and in the month of November we are going to talk about that. But before we do, what is trust and how do you earn it from your clients? That's exactly what we're going to tackle on today's pod. Let's do it.

(01:52): Get ready for the Rebel Uprising podcast, the only podcast dedicated to business owners who feel overlooked for their expertise, skills and experience. Let's claim your expertise and turn your complex ideas into unmistakable messaging that grows your business. I am your host, Dr. Michelle Mazer, the author of The 3 Word Rebellion and your Rebel Truth Telling Guide to Building a Business that Gets Noticed.

(02:23): What is trust? It's a word that is thrown around a lot. We hear that we need to build the [inaudible 00:02:31] and trust factor in our business with our message and our marketing. But what does it mean to trust? The best definition of the word trust that I have found comes from the book, The Thin Book of Trust by Charles Feldman. He defines trust as choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person's actions. If you think about it, every time we invest in our business, this is the exact risk. We are making our business, which we value vulnerable to another person's thoughts and ideas and process. And when we hire someone, you're saying, "I trust you to help me fix this problem I am having."

(03:29): And according to Feldman, distrust is essentially the opposite of trust in that it is a choice not to make yourself vulnerable to another person's actions. It is a general assessment that what is important to me is not safe with the person in this situation or any situation. And when there's a violation of our trust, we feel duped, tricked, and it can make us doubt ourselves and our judgment. So any violation of trust can make us be distrustful of yes, the person we hired, but also of anyone else who does the work we do. It's hard to build trust. So how do we go about doing it? So again, let's turn to Feldman's book. He says there are four factors that create trust and as I just said, if you violate one of the factors, you cause distrust. And those four factors are care, sincerity, reliability, and competence.

(04:50): Let's look at how each of these show up in online business and how they either build trust or foster distrust. Care is the first factor of trust and according to Feldman care is the assessment that you have the other person's interest in mind as well as your own when you make decisions and actions. Now, this aspect of trust is old school. Aristotle talked about it. He talked about having another person's best interests at heart. When I think about care, I think about it as giving a damn about the person I work with. I've created a client guide. When someone first signs up with me, they get a guide. And one of the principles I talk about is that I care about their success. I care about the work we're going to do together and I want them to use it and be successful with it.

(05:58): And even though I have never met you, I approach every podcast episode with care because I do care about your success. I care that people find you and your expertise so they can benefit from it. I care and I bet you care about your clients too and their success, and I bet it breaks your heart when you see them duped by a nefarious service provider. And care is often too quickly violated in the online space because if you think about it, a lot of the big name programs, those big launches that rake in seven figures and a thousand students join it. Those really lack in caring. It's impossible for the person you gave your money to, to care about you or to care about your business. You put your trust in them. You said, "Hey, I'm giving you this valuable asset of my business." Or for some coaches like my mind, they don't know you exist beyond your credit card number or a profile pic in a Facebook group. And so when things don't work out, it feels like a violation of trust because it is the caring wasn't built in.

(07:25): And in the next couple of episodes, we will talk about how you can cultivate caring in to your business to really demonstrate it to your clients and customers. The second factor of trust is sincerity. Feldman says, This is the assessment that you are honest, that you say what you mean and you mean what you say and you can be believed and taken seriously. A lot of the times when we purchase a course or a program or we hire a specific service provider or we believe they are sincere, their marketing seems sincere, but there's some serious puckery going on with sincerity in online business. So for instance, the overblown promises that we see on sales pages, "Add six figures of revenue in this next year without burning yourself out."

(08:26): Oh my gosh, there is no way any service provider or business coach can actually control that. That is an overblown promise that most likely will not be delivered on. It feels great in the moment like, "Oh yeah, this is the thing that's going to take me to the next level of my business or catapult me to seven figures," or whatever the promise is. But when it doesn't work out, we realized that person wasn't being sincere. They were lying to you. I also see this with the bait and switch where you're sold a program or a course where there's this charismatic leader that you think you're going to be interacting with, but then you get in there and it's somebody else completely and that person never shows up to the call.

(09:22): That's an issue of sincerity and oh my god, this is starting to feel like an episode of Duped. But you can see how sincerity is consistently violated. So when people promise something that they don't keep, it violates trust. And frankly, it pisses me off from a messaging perspective because you can be successful without making overblown promises. I know that's what online business teaches you. You don't have to do it.

(09:58): If you are listening to this podcast and realizing that, "Hey, you know what? I'm not having the sales that I want to have. My business isn't generating the revenue it should be generating." Then it might be time for you to work on your message and figure out that comprehensive strategy for how to build that argument for your work and turn people who don't know you at all into people who are ready and willing to sign up to work with you. And this is exactly the work we do in the 3 Word Rebellion messaging intensive. So if you're digging this episode and you're thinking, "Yes, this is my next step," or, "It could be my next step," then I encourage you to go to, the number three, wr, that's and apply for a free consultation call. That way, you and I can discuss if messaging is the right move for your business. Now, back to the show.

(11:17): All right, the third factor is reliability, which Feldman says is the assessment that you meet the commitments you make, and that you keep your promise. You can be believed and taken seriously. Basically, deliver what you say you are going to deliver. Show up to the calls on time. I feel like this one isn't hard, but I have heard so many people this year who have paid for deliverables from a service provider and didn't receive them. This feels like a business basic. Like, "Hey, if you say you're going to deliver me a website, I expect to see a website at the end," right? That is the deliverable. "If you tell me I'm going to get six coaching sessions, I want you to show up for those six coaching sessions and I would like for you to be prepared." It's funny, in my own business, I take reliability very seriously, even to a point where I will let my clients know if I'm going to even be a few minutes late to a session.

(12:25): Like the other day, I went out for a walk and I got back five minutes before my client's session and I went to my desk and my cat had thrown up all over it. And the first thing I did, well, the first thing I did was move my mouse and my keyboard so they wouldn't be ruined forever. But the second thing I did was email the client to let her know I was running late because I want to be taken seriously. I want to do what I say that I'm going to do, right? And then the final factor of trust is competence, which Feldman argues is the assessment that you have the ability to do what you are doing or propose to do. In the workplace, this usually means others believe you have the requisite capacity, skill, knowledge, and resources to do a particular task or job.

(13:22): Now, I've seen a real lack of competence from service providers, coaches and consultants. Here's the deal. We think when someone hangs their shingle out on the Internet to solve a specific problem, it means they have some competence, some capacity, skill, knowledge to solve the problem, to do the job. But there are so many people who have great marketing and lack competence. We hear things like, "You just have to be one step ahead of your client," or, "Be 10% further along in your journey than your clients." Or, "If I can do it for myself, I can do it for you." And that's not actual competence. Expertise, experience, practice, skill, knowledge is competence. And this is why I'm adamant that your about page is about you. If you want to assess someone's competence, check out their about page. I'll be talking more about that in the next podcast and be about page should be highlighting what makes you credible.

(14:37): It's not some overcoming story rags to riches B ass that shows your relatable and successful. By the way, those should be huge red flags when you see those on an about page. This is why I am so passionate about you owning your expertise because there are so many people who lack competence that you have. And next week, I'm going to talk more specifically about how to vet consultants and programs with a specific emphasis on knowing who to trust. So what does all of this mean for you? Number one, I hope you see why it's so easy to be burned in online business. And if you're listening and you've been duped and feel burned, I'm sorry that it happened. I wish this industry was more reputable and I truly believe together, we can make it more reputable.

(15:43): The second implication is that as business owners, we have to build trust that was violated and we weren't the ones who caused the distrust. But we have to be aware that more and more of the people who decide to hire us have been burned before and message to that accordingly. Number three, and I feel like this is the most important one, your industry urgently needs you to be seen and heard through your messaging and marketing. Reputable expert business owners should be the ones being hired, not the slick girl, boss marketers who are all sizzle and charisma and no substance. This crisis of trust is solved by getting your work seen and heard. That means messaging so you can effectively market your business.

(16:47): If the Rebel Uprising Podcast is helping you claim and communicate your expertise so that your clients can find and hire you, please share the show with a friend. The easiest way to do that is through pod link. You can find the show at, and that page will allow anyone you share the show with to subscribe and start listening in their favorite podcast player. That's The Rebel Uprising podcast is a production of Yellow House Media. Our production coordinator is Lou Blazer. Our production assistant is Emily Kilda. The podcast is edited by Steven Mills. Our executive producers are Sean and Tara McMullen. The Rebel Uprising podcast is recorded on the unseated traditional land of the coast, Salish Peoples, specifically the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish people, original stewards of the land past and present the.

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