#NACTour: The Nightmare Scam in Nashville, TN
We spent $100 to be sold to.
Yep. Me and Addison bought tickets for the National Achievers Congress in Nashville, TN from May 2-3, 2019 and literally all they did was sell to us from the stage.
Along with 1,000 other entrepreneurs who took 2 days off work, the #NACTour is the biggest scam to hit Nashville.
Now, let me backup and explain…
A few months ago, I’d say in February or March, I saw an Instagram ad with a picture of Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk in an arena full of people with the words “WE’RE COMING TO NASHVILLE!” in the center.
>>Friends, I. was. STOKED. about this.<<
I hopped on the website and there was pretty limited information--it basically just said National Achievers Congress travels worldwide with world-class speakers, the dates and location (an auditorium downtown), the same picture of Tony Robbins and Gary Vee, and a link to purchase tickets.
I thought, These tickets have GOT to be outrageous.
I clicked the link and was immediately confused. There were different tiers of seating options of various price ranges like there would be at a rock concert, but it seemed that the lower priced tickets were in a better section than higher ones. On one page it would say each ticket was $100 and then on the next it said they were 2 for $100. Overall it was just a shit show that didn’t really make much sense.
Finally, I got to the “add to cart” section, and it said that I was purchasing 2 tickets for $100. I was ECSTATIC, you guys. Literally so excited.
I called Addison, he was hanging out with some of his guy friends, and I’m like “Babe, Gary Vee and Tony Robbins… They’re coming to Nashville,” I’m literally breathless, “The tickets are 2 for $100. Let’s go!” He goes “Wow, that’s a good deal, yea okay I’m in. Talk to you later.”
Now I’m really excited--cheap tickets AND I got Addison to go! He’s not super into personal development like I am, so I knew it was a stretch to get him to agree to something like this. I figured that this would be a great entry into my world, a cheap ticket for him to see why I am constantly investing in self-education, listening to podcasts and reading books. He’d finally get it.
Next, I text the link to a good friend of mine Lindsey who, by the way, takes most of the awesome shots on my Instagram in case you’re local and need a photographer #shamelessplugformyfriend.
Anyway, I say to her in the text, “Addison and I just got tickets. You in?”
She immediately calls me and, like schoolgirls who just heard that Johnny like likes Olivia, we excitedly chat about how awesome it is that a cool conference like this is coming to our town, and we can’t believe how cheap it is.
Guys, that was SO. cheap. to see some of the biggest names in the industry!--Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Daymond John, Dean Graziosi… They were all going to be there to share their wisdom on a 2-for-$100 deal. And that was red flag #1.
Also over the phone, we’re saying how great it is that we don’t have to get a hotel or have to incur any other normal conference fees, we’ll just have to Uber to avoid parking downtown, stuff like that.
Have you guys ever been so excited about something that you’re legit coming up with unnecessarily logistics months in advance?? Yea, that was us.
So, she buys her ticket, we clear our schedules for 2 days months in advance, and we get to waiting.
>>We had NO idea we were being scammed.<<
Fast forward to about a week or two before the conference. Lindsey and I are hanging out and she’s like, “Did you ever get an actual ticket for this thing?” I say, “No, but we have confirmation emails so I’m sure it won’t be a problem.” We move on, but little did we know that was red flag #2.
A few days later, I start thinking: The conference is from 8AM to 6PM. I wonder if they allow re-entry into the auditorium so we can go out for lunch. My confirmation email said no outside food or drinks allowed--again, not totally weird, it was like a concert--but I knew we needed to eat. I decided to email the support team whose information was in the confirmation email. I ask them if there will be concessions open for lunch and to this day, I never received a response. Red flag #3.
Then, 2 days before the conference I start getting texts and emails from Success Resources America who puts on the National Achievers Congress, saying, “Don’t forget to save your seat for the Millionaire Mind Intensive!” I click on it because I’m curious, and it’s ANOTHER 3-day conference in Nashville a few weeks later for $97 per person.
There was no further information, nothing to tell us what that would include, and no one to ask questions to. Just a simple “add to cart” button for you to give them your credit card.
>>Needless to say, there was NO way I was investing in that.<<
One of the ticket options did say it included lunch though, and I remember thinking, If this is how they’re planning on baiting us to give them more money when we’re trapped in the auditorium and really hungry tomorrow, I’m going to be pissed. I had no idea then that I wouldn’t even make it to lunch… Red flag #4.
Before we get to what we experienced on the first conference day, I’m sure you know where this is going because I gave the punchline away right in the beginning of the post: We spent $100 just to be sold to. I’m going to explain exactly what it was like in a few minutes, but let me just recap the 4 red flags so far.
Red flag #1: The tickets were ridiculously cheap.
Red flag #2: We never received actual e-tickets as promised.
Red flag #3: There was no customer support.
Red flag #4: Before we got there, we were already being upsold on something else.
There are two more red flags we experience at the conference, so let’s get into Day 1: May 2, 2019 at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
Addison and I woke up a little late and ordered a Lyft, but traffic was crazy. Not only were there 1,000 people on their way to this conference, but it’s also 8AM rush hour in a major city, plus there’s a car show going on at Nissan stadium. We arrived at 8:30, and Lindsey had saved us seats in the balcony even though it wasn’t necessary… There were plenty.
We went through metal detectors, received a booklet, and they put wristbands on our wrists. I asked if these meant we were allowed re-entry into the auditorium, and the woman at registration kindly said, “No.” I responded, “Well, are there concessions open for lunch?” Yes, there was. More on that later...
We quickly found our seats near Lindsey just as Dean Graziosi was headed onto the stage for a 20-minute pump-up chat from 8:40-9AM. He was excellent, honestly--Lindsey and I both had notebooks out and were taking notes, and I learned a cool tactic to discovering your “why” behind what you do which I’ll probably do a future episode about. Addison was into it too, and after he left the stage the three of us were hopeful for the next few speakers.
>>Unfortunately, the 20 minutes Dean spent on stage were the best 20 minutes we saw of the entire conference.<<
Next, some guy named Wayne Gray (who is hardly a Google-able name, might I add) got up on stage and started asking who wants to make more money. Obviously we’re all raising our hands, but my BS-meter is already going off. It was totally right.
He starts talking about how everyone knows there is a lot of money to be made in real estate, and how his company helps people get rich with the “snap-flip” tactic… Where his investors front the money, take a percentage of the home sale, and you get the rest. He talked about this for almost a FULL. HOUR.
We did not at ANY point learn something valuable about the real estate industry, something we could take away and apply immediately… All he did was sell his own company and convince us that you can’t succeed in flipping houses without him.
At the end of the talk, he says that the only way you can have access to the amazing people who work at his company is if you attend a live 3-day workshop in Nashville in a few weeks. “There are only 195 seats,” he said, “So if you want to make the best decision you ever make in your life, walk to the tables on either side of the stage and put down your $997 workshop fee today.”
>>We felt like we were in the freaking Twilight Zone.<<
During a 10-minute break while 100 people are purchasing Wayne Gray’s bull, a woman comes out on stage. I honestly don’t know her name, but she was blonde and her microphone was turned SO loud that we had to cover our ears.
Addison does live sound in Music City himself, and he was furious watching the sound guy lazily sit in his chair, oblivious to the fact that he was making 1,000 pairs of ears bleed. It was actually horrible, and this really was the worst part of the conference for him, understandably!
Anyway, this chick is bringing men up on stage (that she probably thinks are hot), and asks them to dance for a prize. So, we’re literally watching middle-aged men shake their asses to receive a signed copy of Millionaire Success Habits, Dean Graziosi’s best-seller. That was a scene I wish I could get out of my head.
Meanwhile, Addison went to the concessions stand to get a hot dog and a water bottle, and this snack cost $10. Seriously—$5 for a Dasani water bottle! We were furious, but we had no choice. We were trapped and hungry!
After the break, another suited man named Steven Sitkowski walked onto the stage and started talking about playing the stock market. He prompted us to raise our hands if we felt like we were uneducated or didn’t have the capital to make money on Wall Street, (which is exactly why ANYone wouldn’t play the stock market… obviously). Then spent 50 minutes showing us complicated bar and line graphs that I’m convinced were just there to show us how much we don’t know.
>>You see, he played on our insecurities and knew he could profit from them.<<
After his talk—which I spent replying to my audience’s DM’s on Instagram, trying to Google the agenda, and just being generally bored—he used the same scare tactic to have a whole bunch of poor souls invest in HIS live workshop to teach them how to play the stock market. He promised a small investment and a huge reward, and it was another $997 offer. Sensing a pattern here?
During the next break, I walked up to one of the event staff members and asked, “What time is Tony Robbins speaking today?” He responded, “This afternoon.” I was like No shit, Sherlock and asked, “What time?” and he goes, “Just sometime this afternoon.” Red flag #5.
Friends, I’ve been to a few conferences and let me tell you something:
>>If they do not give you an AGENDA for the day, you better take your money and run as far away as you can.<<
Recently I invested in Christy Wright’s Business Boutique which is being held in Nashville this October, and the minute-by-minute agenda was literally ON the sales page before I hit “add to cart”!
The agenda is typically a good thing… Unless you’re doing something shady.
Success Resources of America KNEW that if I knew Tony was coming on at 3, I would want to leave, go have lunch and come back at 3. But that would ruin their sales pitches, right? They couldn’t have that! So, they solved that by causing us to leave… For good.
At this point, we’re furious. It’s 11:15, we’ve been here for hours, took 2 full days off work when we could be making MONEY… Just to be sold to. It was awful.
Me, Lindsey, and Addison were gathering our things when the woman with the too-loud microphone announced Daymond John, the billionaire in the fashion industry and co-host of Shark Tank. I said, “Guys, I like Daymond. Let’s just hear the beginning of his talk and see if it’s worth it. This might turn the day around.”
*Narrator: It didn’t.*
We listened for 5 minutes, but they had multiple microphone malfunctions. First, he was too quiet, and he had rap music to play while he talked about his childhood which was too loud and he kept having to yell at the sound guy to turn it down but he barely adjusted the knob. Then, there were extremely loud popping noise so they gave him a hand-held mic to stop them. But then the handheld was making loud feedback noises and they give him another, which quickly turned off completely and left him standing there without a mic for a minute or so.
I know some of you are probably like, “Oh, microphone malfunctions happen.” Sure they do! There’s no one who better understands that than me and Addison who are long-time professional musicians, and Lindsey, who’s husband is the lap steel player for The Cadillac Three. Trust us, we know mic malfunctions happen… But you have to understand this was the icing on the cake.
We had basically watched live infomercials for legitimately HOURS, the female MC’s mic was piercing as she encouraged middle-aged men to dance for a book, and then Daymond came on and God help him, he needed to have blown our freaking minds to get us to stay. And quite simply, he didn’t.
We called a Lyft in the pouring rain, and Googled “National Achievers Congress” all the way home. Do you want to hear the last red flag?
Right now, Google “National Achievers Congress.” On the first page, a few scrolls down, the 9th entry on the FIRST PAGE of Google is an article from 2013 titled: “Reasons NOT To Attend And National Achievers Congress Ever.”
That’s red flag #5, my friends. We should have researched before we went.
Now, you might be wondering why I’m going into such great lengths to tell you how much this conference, quite honestly, sucked. And the truth is, I wasn’t going to.
>>In fact, not only was I not going to tell my audience about this, but I was actually going to keep completely silent. Honestly, I felt embarrassed.<<
I was expecting pump-up music, an exciting energy you only feel in a large room of entrepreneurs, and top-notch motivational speakers. I had business cards to network on breaks, and I was looking forward to receiving tangible, actionable steps I’d start applying in my business immediately.
Of course I wasn’t planning on doing this week’s podcast episode about this… If anything, I would have done one about all the things I had learned! That was how high my hopes were for this thing… I feel naive that I was duped, but this is real life, friends.
So, why did I tell you this? Well, you can thank my mentor Jasmine Star, because in my fury this afternoon, I sent her this Slack message:
And you know what she said? THIS is why this episode and blog post were published today:
And that’s what I’m doing.
Did I stay for Tony Robbins? Nope. Did I see my idol, Gary Vaynerchuk? Unfortunately not. There was not a chance I was going to be able to sit in that room for another 17 hours (literally) being taken advantage of.
>>Honestly, I am insulted, disgusted, and ashamed.<<
The National Achievers Congress, quite frankly, was a joke. But I learned some amazing, valuable lessons from this experience and I hope you did too.
My gut told me many months ago that this conference sounded too good to be true… And it was.
There were red flags all along the way… And I ignored them.
I was naive… But if I had researched, I wouldn’t have been.
>>Friends, hear me when I say this: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.<<
One day, I’ll put on my own personal development conference. I don’t know if that will be 2 years or 20 years from now, but one day I’ll create the best damn conference entrepreneurs have ever seen.
We’ll have an agenda open to everyone to see, the tickets will be well-priced but respectable, not a single person will sell their product or service on stage, and it will be BECAUSE of the National Achievers Congress that it came to be.
Now that I’ve gotten over my initial frustration, I am grateful for this experience because it taught me the value of a truly awesome conference, and showed me that not all events are created equal
>> It was unfortunate we wasted our money and our morning in that auditorium, but I am thankful for what I learned.<<
I hope you know my intention is not to necessarily bash any major big names associated with this conference, but because I feel it is my responsibility to give my community the warning signs of a scam.
I hope that I accomplished what I sent out to achieve. If you’d like to have a conversation with me about it let’s chat over on Instagram, in the 20something squad on Facebook, or the comments section below.
Share this post to warn your friends. As business owners, our investments are valuable and our time is limited… let’s make sure no one else is scammed by the National Achievers Congress again.