Is Go-Giver a Pyramid Scheme? We Investigate

Short Answer: Go-Giver isn’t a pyramid scheme — its certified speakers are paid for speaking engagements, consultation services, and sales commissions. However, the process of becoming a certified speaker can be both time-consuming and costly. Additionally, while the organization, itself, is not a multi-level marketing company, there are several multi-level marketing businesses that use the Go-Giver books as a way to attract recruits. For more about Go-Giver’s certified speaker program, see below.

Is Go-Giver Legit?

Go-Giver, also known as The Go-Giver Movement, is a business coaching and mentorship program based on the Go-Giver books by Bob Burg and John Mann.[1] It offers individuals the opportunity to become licensed speakers and coaches, growing their businesses through its certified speaker program.[2]

The Go-Giver certified speaker program is a legitimate training program that allows individuals to receive the company’s “certification” and use its branding, marketing, and training resources, hold Go-Giver networking events, and use the title of Go-Giver Speaker or Coach.[3]

While legitimate, Go-Giver doesn’t have a profile on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, and the company also doesn’t publish an income disclosure for its certified speakers.

Is Go-Giver a Pyramid Scheme?

If a company offers virtually no way for distributors to earn money through external sales (i.e., the only money coming in is from new distributors buying products to sell) or it does not pay distributors unless they recruit others, it’s considered a pyramid scheme, which is both a scam and an illegal practice (as previously reported). Go-Giver is not a pyramid scheme, and it has no associated filings/lawsuits listed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The company offers multiple ways for certified speakers to earn money, and individual business growth does not rely solely on recruiting new speakers/coaches. Once certified, Go-Giver coaches can earn money in several different ways, including:[3]

  • Training and consulting sessions
  • Speaking engagements
  • Individual and group coaching
  • Selling Go-Giver audio programs and booklets (50% commission)

Certified speakers can also be listed in the Go-Giver online directory for businesses to find and hire for coaching services.[4]

Is Go-Giver an MLM?

By definition, a multi-level marketing (MLM) company requires independent distributors to sell products or services through personal sales. Distributors earn money from their sales and from recruiting new distributors.[5] The Go-Giver certified speaker business model does not, in itself, adhere to this structure. Speakers are not compensated for the recruitment of others.

However, there are numerous online accounts of individuals being recruited by independent consultants/mentors who use the Go-Giver books and framework as a means of attracting new recruits. These individuals are not necessarily Go-Giver certified speakers, but they use the Go-Giver framework to promote their own coaching, business solutions, etc. These individuals are also often part of larger networks and are paid to recruit others, which follows the structure of an MLM.

Go-Giver Speaker Certification

Go-Giver certified speakers must attend the two-day live workshop, which can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 (depending on your desired package), not including lodging and meals.[6] Note that the company typically does not offer refunds for live events or workshops.[7] After attending the workshop, you can apply to the year-long Go-Giver speaker training program, which includes training resources and monthly coaching calls.[6]

Although the Go-Giver speaker certification program allows individuals to start their own legitimate businesses, the process of becoming a certified speaker can take a year or more and can be very costly, with no guaranteed way for new speakers to recoup their initial investment. If you become a certified speaker but cannot book speaking engagements or find clients to hire you for coaching services, you may not be able to recoup the cost of the live workshop or build a profitable business.

A Word of Caution

Several individuals online report being approached by potential mentors promoting “life-changing results,” financial freedom, and other vague promises before revealing the true nature of their proposal (and the level of time and financial commitment required) days or even weeks later, and many of these “mentors” promote the Go-Giver books.

While Go-Giver’s business model does not follow that of a pyramid scheme or MLM, it’s best to be wary of business proposals that promise unreasonably high returns, have extremely complex business models, and require significant buy-in without any demonstrated basis for earning revenue from external sales.[8]

If you suspect you’re being recruited by a company that’s involved in a pyramid scheme or other fraudulent practice, you should report it to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.