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Telling the Truth on what’s working (and not working) in online marketing and business NOW

For coaches, healers, artists, authors, business owners and online marketers of all stripes, here’s my unfiltered bare-all report on the what’s working and not working in online marketing and business right now:

I just returned from my 7th annual Transformational Leaders Retreat in Santa Cruz with a good chunk of the personal development world’s most successful coaches and online marketers. Lots of multi-7 figure businesses in that room. Some have been my coaches. I’ve been a coach to quite a number of them, too.

My agenda is always primarily social: I go to reconnect with friends and to make new friends when I connect with someone who shares my (save the world!) values.

It’s also my chance to hear what’s really going on with my peers… behind the hype and the public personas.

Since a lot of my readers have or are taking classes with people at that retreat–cause most of the best and biggest trainers were in that room–I want to give you an HONEST update about our industry, so you can calibrate your expectations.


First, the online marketing “bad” news:

  • Email open rates and conversion are DOWN.
  • Live event attendance is DOWN.
  • The effectiveness of Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula is DOWN.
  • Telesummit attendance and engagement is so down we’ve almost in China.

Ten years ago I could send out one email one time and get HUNDREDS of people to show up for my audio-class.

That has been declining dramatically for the last 5 years.

Friends who were whipping out multi-million dollar launches several times a year are scrambling to find new strategies to respond to a shifting, more skeptical market.

This doesn’t mean emails, live events. PLF launches, or telesummits don’t work at all. They just don’t work nearly as well as they used to. Some of the people who made their fortunes with these models struggled to pay their employee salaries this year.

What’s going on? Market maturation. You and your people have been mailed soooooooo many cookie-cutter promotions from so many sources that audiences are turning off, burning out, or at least becoming savvier. And then there’s the universal Law of Entropy: the tendency for things to work really well until they don’t. (Remember “MySpace”?)

If you’ve been beating yourself up because what you’ve been learning from your coach or your program isn’t working as easily and instantly and magically as you expected… give yourself a bigger break. It’s not working as easily and instantly and magically for your coach either!


The Good News:

While most people are doing stuff that isn’t working well, lots of experimentation and innovation happens.

I see opportunity for newer businesses to leap frog ahead of older dinosaurs that are stuck in their ways.


Here’s what I see IS working:

1) personal touch–the more personal the better!
2) providing an experience instead of an information dump.
3) tell stories and build relationship — I heard some great strategies from a teacher who focuses on FB Live: she says you should come up with 20 things to talk about that have nothing to do with your business. What a relief! That sounds so much more fun, doesn’t it?
4) deliver better products/programs with better success rates.
5) being different, personal, real, and interesting matters more than ever. Don’t be afraid to be weird or controversial. Let your freak flag fly!


If I were to boil all this down to one big idea: SIMPLIFY.

  • Focus on getting 1:1 clients before groups, before “leveraging.”  1:1 is the quickest way to the cash… until you hit your ceiling for time/energy/income, and THEN leverage.
  • Keep your business small enough to be able to really serve your people, and charge enough to live well. For example: you can make $10,000 by having 100 clients at $100 or one client at $10,000. Is it easier to make one person happy or a hundred? (And by the way, your $100 clients want to be treated like your $10,000 clients, and why wouldn’t they? We all want to be treated like treasured, valued human beings.)  And YES, you can totally make multiple 6 figures and more this way, with less headache and more client happiness.
  • While I still believe 100% in growing and nurturing an email list, I also recommend you set a budget (time/attention/money) to explore other communication options. For example I just purchased a program on “online challenges” because I think that strategy has at least one more year of being effective before it gets too saturated. A couple of years ago I invested in a smartphone/tablet/laptop Money Honey app. I’m also looking at FB Live programs, FB messenger bots, communicating with my Money Honey App, and maybe doing a radio show. But FIRST I’ll be focusing on learning, mastering, and testing Online Challenges before I add more to to my plate.  #babysteps
  • A lot of the things that my Results Accelerator program is based on — engagement, gamification, support, relationship, accountability — is the cutting edge of where the online coaching/training industry is headed.


Big Take Aways:

1) Last years’ business models (JV launches, email marketing) have taken a nose-dive across the industry.
2) The innovators who provide the most personal experiences are on the upswing.
3) One more thing, that I didn’t cover above: focus on FUN!  The more you have the courage to swing out and get weird and create your fantasy of the kind of program YOU would love to do, the more attractive your offer will be to others. (Need proof? My Money Goddess retreats.)

I’d love to read your comments, questions, and aha moments below!



  1. Suzy McCalley says:

    Great article Morgana! Thank you for being so generous with all your new learnings! You rock at fun, weird, innovative and personal – all the things that matter in a maturing market. Love you!

    1. Morgana says:

      So do you, Suzy. It’s so exciting to see what you’re creating!

      Love you. <3

  2. Kamala says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Be different! Have Fun! Experience Africa?!
    People are opening their Hearts to more Love and Magic!
    You lead by living what ya teach!
    I Am Grateful for your guidance!
    I Love ya so much Gorgeous Goddess!

    1. Morgana says:

      I love you too, Kamala Kat Goddess! <3

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