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Sam Ovens Scam?

Fact-Checking 29 Sam Ovens Claims

sam ovens laser eyes

Is Sam Ovens a scam?

To find out, I recently spent 3 weeks investigating Sam Ovens.

I watched countless hours of video, read scores of articles, researched and communicated with dozens of Sam’s students.

I even coughed up $1497 for Sam’s course and spent 40+ hours going through the training material (full review here).

500+ pages of notes of later, an answer to the question…

Is Sam Ovens a scam?

Sam Ovens has an impressive 3000+ positive student reviews posted on his own website, dozens of which I’ve researched and verified. By comparison, I found very few negative reviews of Sam’s training from verified students.

This would strongly suggest that Sam Ovens is not a scam.

However, it’s also apparent that Sam uses some misleading and questionable marketing tactics, and has a tendency to bend the truth. This is why you’ll hear some people refer to him as a scam.

My take after spending 90+ hours researching Sam Ovens and going through his course:

  • I’m a fan of his training material.
  • But I’m not a fan of his marketing.

If you’re curious about his Consulting Accelerator course, be sure to check out my in-depth review. That will give you a more accurate impression of the program than Sam’s marketing does.

Table Of Contents

Who is Sam Ovens?

Sam Ovens is an entrepreneur from New Zealand who currently lives and works in the USA. Born in 1989, Sam was named to a Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Asia in 2017 after building a multi-million dollar business from scratch in less than 5 years.

sam ovnes new york apartment

I first heard of Sam Ovens in 2012.

Back then he was being promoted as the star graduate of The Foundation, an online course promising to teach students how to build a profitable software business.

Sam started his software business (SnapInspect) from his parents’ garage in New Zealand. He was 21 years old and heavily in debt.

Within two years SnapInspect was reportedly grossing $35,000 per month and Sam was earning about the same amount from a consulting business he started on the side.

Soon after, Sam reported that he’d gone “from broke to $1m profit in 3 years flat”…

Later came recognition from Forbes, a fancy NYC apartment, and an estimated $65 million net worth.

(Check out a more comprehensive timeline of Sam’s journey below)

I’ve found Sam Ovens to be a complex and somewhat controversial character, and this next section may help explain why…

Who is Sam Ovens becoming?

Pay attention to Sam Ovens for a while and you’re likely to notice some contradictions and inconsistencies (examples here). Critics see this as evidence that the man is not to be trusted, while Sam tends to explain it as an inevitable consequence of personal growth.

In a 2017 interview, for example, Sam was reluctant to define himself:

sam ovens becoming
sam ovens who am i becoming
Source: transcript from Mixergy.com

And within Sam’s Consulting Accelerator program (reviewed here), you’ll hear him saying stuff like this…

sam ovens become a new person
Source: transcript for Week 2, Lesson 1 inside Consulting Accelerator
(You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

I’m guessing this is the explanation Sam would give if asked why, for example, he was adamant about NOT offering free trials back in 2017…

sam ovens dont belive in free
Source: transcript for Week 2, Lesson 2 inside Consulting Accelerator

…but then started offering a free trial of his premium training a couple of years later…

sam ovens consulting accelerator free trial

So who is the real Sam Ovens?

  • Critics will say he’s a shady businessman who can’t be trusted.
  • Fans will say he’s a constantly-evolving entrepreneur who provides a ton of value to his students.

Which do you think is closer to the truth?

Let me know in the comments below.

Sam Ovens Timeline

There appear to be two versions of Sam’s success story:

sam ovens journey to success

Here’s Sam’s own version of how he went from broke to millionaire in a few short years:

However, my research reveals that the journey wasn’t so straightforward.

I found many inconsistencies, contradictions, and fuzziness while trying to piece together how Sam actually achieved his success.

Below is my best effort to lay out the real timeline.

1989

  • Born Samuel Leslie Ovens in New Zealand on August 10, 1989.
sam ovens instagram driver licence date of birth
Sam’s date of birth on two old driver licenses (source: instagram.com/sam.ovens)

2010

  • 21 years old
  • Doing a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) at University of Auckland
  • Working an internship at Vodafone in New Zealand
  • $40,000 per year salary
sam ovens vodafone office desk
Sam’s workspace at Vodafone (source: facebook.com/samovensfan)

2011

  • Chance meeting with a rich entrepreneur inspires Sam to quit his job and start a business, working from his parents’ garage.
sam ovens parents garage
Sam’s workspace in his parents’ garage (source: facebook.com/samovensfan)
  • Sam’s first business is a job seeker network called PromoteYourself. He invests several months, spends thousands of dollars, and earns zero revenue.
  • Sam tries launching an office lunch delivery business (ToTheDesk) and a loyalty card app for cafes. Both efforts prove unsuccessful.
  • Sam later reports revenue of $0 for the year, and +$30k of debt.

2012

  • Sam joins a course called The Foundation. Following their training, he starts building SnapInspect, a property inspection app for property management businesses.
  • To help fund the development of SnapInspect, Sam starts offering consulting services to local businesses in New Zealand. His first client is a window tinting business, paying Sam $1000 for website improvements.
  • SnapInspect starts to take off. By August it’s doing about $2,500 in monthly revenue and Sam is interviewed by Andrew Warner on Mixergy.com.
snap inspect homepage 2012
The homepage for SnapInspect in September 2012 (source: Way Back Machine)
  • Sam later reports revenue of $100,000 for the year.

2013

  • Sam starts coaching other students from The Foundation. His first student (Stanley) pays $1000 for several coaching calls and soon closes a $10,000 client.
  • Sam offers his first training program. Students get access to recorded coaching calls with other students, plus 1-on-1 help from Sam. About a dozen people sign up, paying $1000 each.
  • A year after his first appearance, Sam is again interviewed on Mixergy.com. He reports monthly revenue of about $35,000 for both SnapInspect and his coaching/consulting business.
  • Late in the year, Sam launches an online course teaching students how to build a consulting business.
  • Sam later reports revenue of $500,000 for the year.

2014

  • Sam living in his “dream apartment” in Auckland, New Zealand.
sam ovens auckland apartment
Sam’s Auckland apartment (source: facebook.com/samovensfan)
  • Sam later reports revenue of $1.2 million for the year.

2015

  • Sam sells SnapInspect in February and goes all-in on his consulting business.
  • In November, Sam moves to New York.
ashleigh ovens instagram new york apartment
Sam’s partner posting about their move to NYC (source: instagram.com/ashleigh.ovens)
  • Sam later reports revenue of $2.4 million for the year.

2016

  • Sam buys the domain consulting.com, opens an office in Dublin, and hires 40 people in 12 months.
  • Sam later reports revenue of $18.25 million for the year.

2017

  • Revenue for the year unknown.

2018

  • Sam and his wife buy a house in Venice Beach, California and move there from New York.
sam ovens venice beach house
Sam’s house in Venice Beach (source: facebook.com/samovensfan)
  • Sam later reports revenue of ~$30 million for the year.

2019

  • In March, Sam predicts revenue of ~$40 million for the year.
  • In June, Sam shows on YouTube that his business grossed $2,695,935 in revenue in January 2019 (see 1:05 mark of the below video).
  • In August, Sam turns 30 years old.

Why is it so hard to piece together Sam’s story?

Critics will say it’s because Sam tends to bend the truth in order to gain more attention and promote his business. A more generous explanation would be that Sam has poor attention to detail and/or likes to simplify his story for ease of communication.

Sam freely admits that he doesn’t have great attention to detail:

sam ovens grammar mistakes
Source: transcript from Week 2, Lesson 1 inside Consulting Accelerator
(You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

And the video I mentioned earlier is a perfect example of Sam simplifying – some would say over-simplifying – his story:

Sam’s words from that video:

“I wanted to help companies grow, but that wasn’t happening at my current job, so I decided to quit and start my own consulting business.”

This is a tidy narrative, but it doesn’t match the story Sam tells elsewhere.

On his own website, he writes that he endured a couple of business failures after quitting his job and before starting any kind of consulting work…

Sam writes on the same page that he later expanded his consulting business to fund SnapInspect…

sam ovens starting consulting

This kind of thing makes it hard to piece together Sam’s story.

He’ll tell it this way one time, and that way another.

Why he does this is open to interpretation.

(Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments)

💰 MONEY + WEALTH

What is Sam Ovens net worth?

Forbes estimated Sam Ovens’ net worth as $65 million in 2017. Based on earnings and profits reported by Sam since, a conservative estimate for his net worth in 2020 is $105 million.

The $65 million estimate was part of a Forbes profile on Sam when they named him to their 30 Under 30 list for Asia in 2017:

sam ovens forbes net worth
Archive of Sam’s Forbes profile (source: Way Back Machine)

Sam has reported generating revenues of $18.25 million in 2016:

sam ovens revenue
Source: transcript from a 2017 interview on Mixergy.com

I couldn’t find a number for Sam’s 2017 revenue.

Here he is reporting $2.5 million in revenue for July 2018…

In a March 2019 Q&A call with Consulting Accelerator students, Sam reported that his revenue for 2018 was approximately $30 million, and projected revenues of $40 million for 2019…

sam ovens revenue 2018-2019
Source: corrected transcript for the March 2, 2019 Q&A call inside Consulting Accelerator.
(You can see all the Q&A call recordings with a 7-day free trial. Full review here.)

At the start of this video Sam shows almost $2.7 million in revenue for his business in January 2019…

And finally, here’s Sam reporting in 2017 that his business had profit margins of 50-60% at the time… 

sam ovens profit margin
Source: transcript from Week 2, Lesson 2 inside Consulting Accelerator.
(You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

Given all that, it looks like his business was generating revenues of approximately $2.5 million per month through 2018 and 2019.

That works out to about $30 million per year.

With a 50% profit margin, profits would be about $15 million per year.

Back in 2017, Forbes estimated Sam’s net worth as $65 million based on profits of ~$9 million the previous year.

Using the same 7x multiple, a conservative estimate of Sam Ovens’ net worth in 2020 would be $105 million.

But given that Sam seems to have been earning profits of $9 million or more since 2016, his true net worth is likely much higher than that.

(What’s your estimate of Sam’s true net worth? Let me know in the comments below.)

How did Sam Ovens get rich?

Sam’s first big money-maker was SnapInspect, a software business that reportedly went from $0 to $35,000 in monthly revenue in less than two years. To help fund the development of SnapInspect, Sam started a consulting business on the side, which soon became even more profitable and eventually became his primary focus.

The story goes that Sam was 21 years old, heavily in debt, and working from his parents’ garage in New Zealand. 

He’d already tried and failed with a few different business ideas.

Then he started SnapInspect, an app designed for property management companies.

As per CompaniesNZ.com, the business was first registered in January 2012 and Sam cashed out three years later…

sam ovens snap inspect business registration

I haven’t found any reliable report of how much Sam sold SnapInspect for, but he apparently invested the proceeds into growing his consulting business…

Sam revealed in an August 2013 interview on Mixergy.com why he initially started that consulting business:

sam ovnes why started consulting

In the same interview, Sam reported that both businesses – software and consulting – were earning about $35,000 per month at the time:

sam ovens snap inspect revenue august 2013
sam ovens consulting revenue august 2013

After selling SnapInspect and going all-in on consulting, Sam’s wealth seems to have increased quite rapidly.

He tells the story in this video:

Quoting from the 3:45 mark:

“The first year I was in consulting [2011], I made nothing. I was broke, living at home in my parents’ garage.

But the first year I really figured things out [2012], I made $100,000. 

The second [2013], I made $500,000. 

The third [2014], $1.2 million. 

The fourth [2015], $2.4 million. 

Then in the fifth [2016], more than $18 million.”

Then, in 2017, Forbes estimated Sam’s net worth as $65 million:

sam ovens forbes net worth
Archive of Sam’s Forbes profile (source: Way Back Machine)

What cars does Sam Ovens own?

It’s unclear what cars Sam Ovens owns today (if any), but he has said that he owned a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, and a Porsche in the past. He apparently spent more than $100,000 on the Ferrari, and also spent $65,000 on a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

sport car on the side of the street

Sam’s words from inside Consulting Accelerator:

sam ovens sold his ferrari
sam ovens sold his sports cars
Source: transcript for Week 6, Lesson 5 inside Consulting Accelerator

I haven’t been able to find any photos or videos of Sam with such vehicles.

But while living in New York city, Sam famously kept a Harley Davidson motorcycle in his apartment:

sam ovens harley davidson new york aparment

In a September 2017 Facebook post, Sam claimed that the Harley Davidson cost him $65,000:

According to a 2014 feature in Stuff.co.nz, Sam has also owned a 1952 BSA motorcycle:

sam ovens 1922 bsa auckland apartment

Where does Sam Ovens live?

Since 2018, Sam Ovens has been living in Venice Beach, California. Previously he lived in New York City and Auckland, New Zealand.

When Sam started his entrepreneurial journey in 2012, he was living in his parents’ garage in New Zealand:

By 2014, he was living in a trendy apartment in Auckland, New Zealand:

sam ovens auckland apartment
Source: facebook.com/samovensfan. More info on Sam’s Auckland apartment in
this 2014 feature on Stuff.co.nz.

In 2015, Sam moved to the USA and rented an apartment in New York City.

You can see quite a bit of that apartment in this video:

Then, in 2018, Sam announced on Facebook that he was moving to Venice Beach, California and posted several photos.

sam ovens venice beach house
Sam’s house in Venice Beach (source: facebook.com/samovensfan)

Sam’s wife posted on Instagram that they had bought a house in California (presumably the same property):

💼 BUSINESS + MARKETING

What were Sam Ovens’ business failures?

Sam has at different times said he endured 2-3 failed businesses before he found success with SnapInspect and consulting.

He mentions two of those failed business at consulting.com/sam-ovens

sam ovens faild businesses

Inside Consulting Accelerator, he mentions a third:

sam ovens three failed businesses
Source: transcript for Week 1, Lesson 3 inside Consulting Accelerator (You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

It looks like the loyalty card app was never a registered business though, whereas both Promote Yourself and To The Desk are listed as now-dissolved companies on CompaniesNZ.com.

Is Sam Ovens a pyramid scheme / MLM?

Some critics accuse Sam of running a pyramid scheme or MLM. But such accusations don’t fare well upon close inspection.

The pyramid scheme/MLM argument mainly appears on a couple of Reddit threads…

sam ovens reddit pyramid scheme mlm
sam ovens reddit pyramid scheme mlm
Source: reddit.com
sam ovens reddit pyramid scheme mlm 3
sam ovens reddit pyramid scheme mlm
Source: reddit.com

Let’s define some terms.

According to money.howstuffworks.com:

The main characteristic of a pyramid scheme is that participants only make money by recruiting more members.

Investopedia defines MLM like so:

Multilevel marketing is a strategy some direct sales companies use to encourage existing distributors to recruit new distributors who are paid a percentage of their recruits’ sales.

Based on those definitions, two questions we should ask:

  • Do Sam’s students only make money by recruiting other students?
  • And does Sam encourage that recruitment?

The answer to the first is no.

Sam does have a referral program for Consulting Accelerator (more info on that here), but only since 2018, and it’s certainly not the only way – and far from the primary way – his students make money.

According to an info page for Consulting Accelerator, Sam’s students have earned $690 million in revenue:

sam ovens students revenue 690 million

Whereas students earned only $1 million from referrals in the first 18 months the referral program was running:

sam ovens referral commissions
Source: private Facebook group for paid members of Consulting Accelerator

Even if we assume that another $1 million in commissions has been paid out since, students have still earned $688 million MORE than that by other means.

That works out to less than 0.3% of earnings coming from participants recruiting more members.

As for the second question:

  • Does Sam encourage recruitment?

Yes he does, but not heavily.

I’ve seen other courses that constantly push students to recruit more students – Wealthy Affiliate is a prime example, devoting 60% of their core training to that very topic – and Consulting Accelerator comes nowhere close to that.

Not once did I hear Sam mention the referral program throughout the core CA training.

But we can’t let him off the hook just yet, because we still haven’t addressed this criticism:

sam ovens reddit pyramid scheme mlm

Is that all Sam’s business is?

A consultancy that teaches other people to set up consultancies?

I’d have to say yes, that’s a fair description of Sam’s business.

The above post on Reddit seems to suggest there’s something wrong with that.

But lots of legit businesses operate the same way…

  • Teachers and schools that teach people how to teach
  • Salespeople and sales courses that teach people how to sell
  • Sports coaches and academies that teach people how to coach

Furthermore, Sam is very transparent about the evolution of his consulting business. 

It’s one of the first things he covers inside Consulting Accelerator:

sam ovens consulting evolution
sam ovens consulting evolution 2
Source: transcript and video from Week 1, Lesson 3 inside Consulting Accelerator (You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

The goal of Sam’s training programs is to help students rapidly progress through those stages.

His students start off with essentially a freelance business, and ideally end up creating their own online program that can scale almost indefinitely.

Paul Xavier is a prime example of this.

Paul started off using Sam’s training to land more clients for his own photography and video production business.

Eventually, that business evolved into a series of training programs that teach filmmakers how to increase their income.

paul xavier website
Source: mrpaulxavier.com 

To me, that’s not a pyramid scheme or MLM.

That’s strong evidence that Sam’s training works.

To close out this section, here’s a sober response to one of the aforementioned Reddit threads:

reddit sam ovens student sober response
Source: reddit.com

And here’s Sam explaining his business pretty clearly in a 2017 interview:

sam ovens business explanation 2017
Source: mixergy.com

Is Sam Ovens a Fake Guru?

In a September 2019 video debate with a happy student of Sam Ovens, the host – Coffeezilla – labeled Sam a “fake guru.” Going by the given definition of a fake guru, there is some truth to that.

Here’s the video:

Coffeezilla’s definition of a fake guru comes at the 10:15 mark:

“Somebody who is making wild promises that they cannot fulfill to a vulnerable group of people, and purporting themselves to be able to get results in ways they cannot.”

The happy student in the video disagrees that Sam fits that description.

But let’s break it down…

Does Sam Ovens make wild promises that he cannot fulfill?

Sometimes, yes.

In my deep review of Consulting Accelerator program, I wrote a whole section on Sam’s misleading and questionable marketing.

Probably his wildest promise is that the program will help you get your first high value client in only six weeks…

consulting accelerator 42 days 2
Source: consulting.com

As I wrote in my review, that’s a big stretch for students who start the course with no skills or experience…

I’d wager that most students who enter CA with no skills/experience end up feeling like this:

consulting accelerator inexperienced question
Source: private Facebook group for paid members of Consulting Accelerator.
Name and photo blurred for privacy.

Can such students become successful?

Of course they can.

If they keep developing their skills and following the CA training, they should be able to land +$1k/month clients consistently.

But for the vast majority of them, that’s not going to happen within six weeks.

So there is some truth to this part of Coffeezilla’s argument.

But it’s also true that many of Sam’s students HAVE achieved significant results in 42 days or less, even some who started with no skills/experience.

Examples:

consulting accelerator right the bell 3
consulting accelerator ring the bell 4
Source: private Facebook group for paid members of Consulting Accelerator

And Sam does have the standard disclaimer at the bottom of the page with the “42 days” claim…

sam ovens consulting accelerator disclaimer
Source: consulting.com

Still…

I’d much rather Sam NOT use the “42 days” headline, as some people will surely take it as a guarantee even though it’s not.

But this kind of marketing isn’t any different from what you’ll see for some fitness programs…

fitness only 30 minutes 90 days
Get ripped in only 30 minutes a day for 90 days!

Is that possible?

  • Yes

Is it likely?

  • No

Next…

Does Sam Ovens target a vulnerable group of people?

I guess that depends on how you define “vulnerable.”

In one sense, everyone who wants to earn more money could be considered vulnerable.

But I agree that Sam is somewhat guilty here as well.

Because, as noted in my Consulting Accelerator review, Sam actually tells people that it’s fine to borrow money to buy his program…

consulting accelerator cant afford
Source: consulting.com

And says in the same FAQ that you only need two hours per week to go through the training materials:

consulting accelerator faq 2 hours per week

Having gone through the program myself, I can tell you that “2 hours per week” is a ridiculous expectation to set for people.

You need to be putting in at least 10 hours per week to have any hope of success.

All that said, Sam does offer a 7-day free trial of Consulting Accelerator – this is the primary call to action on his homepage – and he makes it clear in the very first core lesson that success doesn’t come easy:

sam ovens not easy do the work

That would be a stupid thing for Sam to say if he were truly targeting vulnerable people.

Because pretty much everyone who signs up for the 7-day free trial will hear that, and know that Sam isn’t promising easy riches.

Next…

Does Sam Ovens purport himself to be able to get results in ways he cannot?

This is the final part of Coffeezilla’s definition of a fake guru:

“Somebody who is making wild promises that they cannot fulfill to a vulnerable group of people, and purporting themselves to be able to get results in ways they cannot.”

And it echoes the first part somewhat, so there’s some truth here as well.

But having spent 90+ hours researching Sam Ovens and going through his course, it’s clear to me that his training material is solid, and that many of his students are getting good results from it.

As noted in my full review of Consulting Accelerator, I looked through and researched a bunch of the student testimonials on Sam’s site…

…and came away satisfied that they’re the real deal (for the most part, see here).

By comparison, I found very few negative reviews of Sam’s training from verified students.

Also, upon joining the private CA Facebook group, I saw that 15 of my friends had also taken the course:

consulting accelerator facebook friends

I reached out to 14 of them – one was an employee of Consulting.com, so I didn’t bother with him – and asked what they thought of CA.

13 replied.

Some noted areas where the course was lacking, and one said they didn’t like it overall, but 12 of the 13 ultimately rated the course positively.

A typical response:

sam ovens facebook friend reveiw 2

Also in the private Facebook group, Sam’s students are encouraged to “ring the bell” when they land a new client, and I found an average of 2 such posts per day in the group.

consulting accelerator ring the bell 7
consulting accelerator ring the bell 9
consulting accelerator ring the bell 2

Given all that, I’m not sure how anyone can argue that Sam Ovens doesn’t get results for his students.

I’ve taken dozens of online courses over the years – I paid as much as $3600 for one of them – and I’ve never seen so many positive reviews or so much proof of student earnings from a single program.

So while I think it’s entirely fair to criticize Sam for using misleading and questionable marketing tactics – I’ve done the same myself – it seems unfair to call his training ineffective.

Because clearly it’s working well for many people.

How much did Sam Ovens pay for the consulting.com domain?

More than $300,000 and less than $1 million.

That’s according to Sam Ovens himself during a 2017 interview on Mixergy.com.

From the transcript:

sam ovens consulting com price

Before buying consulting.com in 2016, Sam’s main web presence was samovens.com. He still has a website there, though it looks to be rarely updated.

consulting com homepage 2016
How consulting.com looked in late 2016, soon after Sam took it over (source: Way Back Machine)

Is Sam Ovens just another Tai Lopez?

In terms of marketing, there have been many similarities between Tai Lopez and Sam Ovens over the years, though Sam seems to have cleaned up his marketing efforts somewhat since 2018. Meanwhile, Sam’s training material tends to beat Tai’s on all levels apart from price.

Here’s a commenter on Reddit claiming that Sam is a “protegee” of Tai Lopez:

sam ovens tai lopez reddit
Source: reddit.com

As far as I’m aware, Sam had no affiliation with Tai Lopez prior 2016, and had apparently earned $2.4 million without Tai’s help in 2015.

I believe the below video was their first collaboration, posted May 2016 to Tai’s YouTube channel:

Later that same year, Sam ran another webinar, apparently at Tai’s urging…

In an interview a few months later, Sam revealed that his partnership with Tai generated $4-6 million in revenue…

sam ovens tai lopez mixergy transcript
Source: mixergy.com

I haven’t seen any collaboration between Tai Lopez and Sam Ovens since then.

And given Sam’s words at the 21-minute mark of this 2019 video…

…it sounds like joint ventures with the likes of Tai Lopez weren’t as effective as promoting his programs via Facebook and Google ads.

But back to the question at hand…

Is Sam Ovens just another Tai Lopez?

I’ve investigated both men at length and published a 9-part series about Tai Lopez.

Here’s a video I put together summarizing my research on Tai:

My take on the Sam/Tai comparison is that Sam was likely trying to mimic Tai’s marketing style for a while.

This video from 2018 is a perfect example:

There you see Sam with the flash car, the private jet, the tropical location, and the simplified narrative.

It’s a video Tai Lopez would be proud of.

But Sam seems to have cleaned up his marketing quite a bit since then.

Devon Hennig posted a solid walkthrough of Sam’s webinar funnel from 2018, and it’s apparent that Sam was using many Tai Lopez-style sales tactics at the time.

By comparison, here’s a typical Facebook ad I’ve seen Sam running in 2020:

While I could quibble with certain aspects of that ad, it’s very different from the Tai Lopez style of marketing Sam regularly employed before.

And most of Sam’s Facebook ads these days link to this 2019 webinar that seems far more focused on delivering value than teasing Sam’s paid training…

That said, there are still some significant issues with how Sam markets his Consulting Accelerator course, as detailed in my full review.

But that’s just the marketing side of things.

What about Tai and Sam’s courses? How do they compare?

I’ve bought and reviewed two of Tai’s courses, and one of Sam’s.

Tai has dozens of courses in his catalog.

Most of them appear to be a collection of video lessons from various topic experts, thrown together in a loose structure.

Tai’s SMMA program, for example, has 30+ different teachers and the content is all over the place.

(It’s still pretty good, provided you buy it on sale)

Meanwhile, Sam only has two courses.

The one I bought and reviewed – Consulting Accelerator – is well structured and all the lessons are taught by Sam.

Most significantly:

  • I’ve seen far more positive reviews and testimonials for Sam’s training, despite Sam having a much smaller audience than Tai.

  • I paid way more money for Sam’s training than I did for Tai’s, but still rate Sam’s training as a better investment overall.

What companies has Sam Ovens done consulting for?

A frequent criticism aimed at Sam: he claims to have worked as a consultant for “some of the fastest growing companies in New Zealand and Australia,” but there’s no evidence of this. Or is there?

Here’s Sam making the claim on samovens.com back in 2015:

And here’s someone calling this claim “dubious” in an online forum:

Rugs Direct (rugdirect.co.nz) is a New Zealand-based business.

If they were clients of Sam at some point, it wouldn’t be a surprise that “other lesser known firms” actually delivered the work. Sam openly advocates using contractors for client projects. It’s a key part of his Consulting Accelerator training, and how he operated himself in the early days:

sam ovens contractors
sam ovens contractors 2
Source: transcript from Week 1, Lesson 3 inside Consulting Accelerator
(You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

But the question remains: what were these “fastest growing companies in New Zealand and Australia” that Sam claimed to have as clients?

It seems Sam has never revealed their identities publicly, leading some to doubt he ever had such clients:

sam ovens critic what clients
Source: email I received from a newsletter subscriber

Sam would freely admit to earning most of his money from selling his course, but he’d likely argue that his course is simply the natural evolution of his consulting business:

sam ovens consulting evolution
sam ovens consulting evolution 2
Source: transcript and video from Week 1, Lesson 3 within Consulting Accelerator (This lesson is viewable with the 7-day free trial. Full review here.)

Personally, I have no issue with someone evolving their business along those lines, and ending up with an online course teaching people how to master the earlier stages.

But only if the person selling the course truly mastered those earlier stages themselves.

Did Sam do that?

Before going on to teach others how to build a consulting business, was he actually earning good money doing consulting for legit companies?

A screenshot Sam posted to his private Facebook group back in 2015 suggests that he was at least securing meetings with companies in New Zealand at the time:

sam ovens 2015 calendar client meetings
Source: private Facebook group for paid members of Consulting Accelerator

I researched the people listed in that screenshot and found relevant info on a few:

  • Leigh Harris is a managing partner at Convergence Communications and Management Ltd. in New Zealand (source)
  • Debra Buckley is the CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Management and Leadership (source)
  • Ashley Horton is the founder of Printable Group in New Zealand (source)
  • Mike Pero is New Zealand-based real estate entrepreneur (source)

I emailed all of them, and the aforementioned Rugs Direct, asking if they’d ever been clients of Sam Ovens.

Four confirmed meeting with Sam, and one confirmed working with him, replying…

sam ovens business client testimonial

So he met with 4 of those businesses and 1 became a client.

Which fits with Sam’s claimed conversion rate inside his Consulting Accelerator program:

sam ovens consulting accelerator conversion
Source: transcript for Week 3 Overview inside Consulting Accelerator.

Still, that’s hardly proof that Sam has worked for “some of the fastest growing companies in New Zealand and Australia.”

Here’s something he shows inside Consulting Accelerator that suggests he was doing pretty well as a consultant before his course took off…

sam ovens strategy sessions income
Source: video from Week 1, Lesson 1 within Consulting Accelerator (This lesson is viewable with the 7-day free trial. Full review here.)

Sam’s words from the video transcript while showing those screenshots:

sam ovens strategy session income 2

That video was uploaded in March 2017, which means the screenshots must be from late 2015 or early 2016.

Judging by the entries shown on Sam’s calendar there, he was at the 1-on-1 coaching stage by this point, so this also can’t be considered proof that he was earning good money as a consultant for big-name companies.

Meanwhile, NBR.co.nz wrote the following about Sam in August 2017:

sam ovens nbr interview clients

Given all that, the skepticism about Sam’s past clients is certainly warranted.

My guess is that he made pretty good money consulting for local businesses in New Zealand – probably in the range of $10-15k per month total – starting in 2012.

Then, by early 2013, he was already coaching others to do the same.

That fits with these words from Sam in a 2017 interview on Mixergy.com:

sam ovens start teaching

As for Sam consulting for some of the fastest growing companies in New Zealand and Australia… 

…until I see better evidence, I reckon that’s yet another example of Sam embellishing the truth.

Is Sam Ovens terrible at sales?

According to an unhappy student of Consulting Accelerator: “Here’s the thing: Sam is terrible at sales. He is awful.” 

But the numbers beg to differ.

You can hear that student diss Sam’s sales skills at the 7:50 mark of this video:

This is a bizarre claim to make considering Sam has sold more than 20,000 people into a course with a minimum price tag of $1,497.

And at the 45:45 mark of this video, Sam shows a 2.7x ROI for a Facebook campaign that he’s spent $2 million on…

And I’m not sure it’s possible to be named to a Forbes 30 Under 30 list with an estimated net worth of $65 million while being awful at sales…

sam ovens forbes net worth
Archive of Sam’s Forbes profile (source: Way Back Machine)

There are some valid criticisms of Sam Ovens out there, but “he’s terrible at sales” ain’t one of them.

Has Sam Ovens actually appeared in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, etc.?

Yes, Sam has been featured or mentioned in many big-name publications.

You’ll find the logos of a few famous publications displayed on the consulting.com homepage, suggesting that Sam or his company have appeared in all of them:

sam ovens media mentions

I checked and found that indeed he has:

Does Sam Ovens get you to enter your credit card info before showing the price?

One YouTuber claims Sam had his order form set up this way back in December 2018, but I wasn’t able to replicate the issue in 2020.

Here’s the YouTube video:

That video is hard to take seriously because it’s full of personal attacks and extreme statements, like this one at about the 4:45 mark:

“Sam Ovens spews bullshit out of his mouth 24/7. Not a single one of his 400 videos is there an ounce of truth or fact.”

But I wanted to address the bit at the 8:00 mark where it shows that Sam asks you to enter your credit card information BEFORE telling you how much you’ll be charged.

When I signed up for the free trial of Consulting Accelerator in 2020, this was not the case.

I was first shown the price…

consulting accelerator sing up step 2

And then, on the next screen, asked to enter my billing info…

consulting accelerator sing up step 3

Maybe it was set up as that YouTuber claimed back in December 2018 – and if so, shame on Sam Ovens – but it certainly isn’t like that now.

Did Sam Ovens really not know what an entrepreneur was?

Sam claims that, when he was about 20 years old and working his corporate job, he didn’t know what an entrepreneur was and had to Google it to find out. It’s a nice story, but it doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s Sam telling the story inside his Consulting Accelerator program:

sam ovens had to google entrepreneur
Source: transcript from Week 2, Lesson 1 inside Consulting Accelerator (You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

He tells the same story in the first 3 minutes of this November 2013 interview:

Sam also says right at the start of the same interview, that before he supposedly discovered what an entrepreneur was, he was finishing up a BCom at the University of Auckland.

Here’s how the University of Auckland website describes their Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) programme:

university of auckland bcom description

I’m not sure how anyone could go through almost an entire program like that and not know what an entrepreneur is.

🤷‍♂️

More likely, this is another case of Sam bending the truth to deliver a more compelling story.

Sam Ovens fake reviews?

Sam is quite famous for having thousands of positive students reviews. Some folks claim that these reviews are fake. But according to my research, the vast majority of them appear to be legit.

Much more on this topic in my full review of Sam’s Consulting Accelerator program.

Including my findings upon digging deeper into the claims made in this infamous video about Dave Rogenmoser:

Here’s my own video response to that:

(Spoiler alert: there’s much more to the Rogenmoser story than what you see in that first video)

🎓 TEACHINGS + PHILOSOPHY

What does Sam Ovens teach?

Sam Ovens teaches people how to start and grow a consulting business. However, his definition of “consulting” is quite broad.

In Week One of Consulting Accelerator, Sam flashes this definition on screen:

consulting definition dictionary

He goes on to say:

consulting definition sam ovens
Source: transcript from Week 1, Lesson 3 inside Consulting Accelerator
(You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial)

According to Sam, that advice can take many forms.

It can range from done-for-you (DFY) client services – eg. running Google Ads for a client – to creating an online course teaching people how to achieve the same results themselves.

Here’s how Sam breaks down “the evolutionary stages of a consultant”…

sam ovens evolutionary stages conultant
Source: video for Week 1, Lesson 3 inside Consulting Accelerator

This is essentially what Sam teaches: how to start off providing a DFY client service, and gradually evolve the business to become more scalable and profitable.

Is Sam’s Consulting Accelerator any good?

Having gone through Consulting Accelerator myself and seen the results students have shared both publicly and privately, I consider it a solid program.

Here are the key points:

Sam Ovens Consulting Accelerator 2.0

  About

A massive online course that promises to help you build a profitable consulting business.

πŸ’°  Price

$1997 or 5 monthly payments of $597 (free trial + discount info)

😍  Pros

Tons of positive student reviews, proven results, excellent sales training, active and helpful community.

😩  Cons

Misleading marketing, some contradictions and inconsistencies, Sam’s bizarre bragging.

  Verdict

A solid investment if you’re willing to work hard and have the right expectations. But it’s not for everyone.

Overall Rating
4.3/5

See my full in-depth review here Β»

Does the Sam Ovens Silence actually work?

The “Sam Ovens Silence” is a technique Sam advises students to use on sales calls, whereby you ask a question, then stay silent to prompt a deeper response from the prospect.

Here’s how Sam describes it:

sam ovens silence description
Source: transcript from Week 3, Lesson 2 inside Consulting Accelerator

(Sam didn’t come up with the name of this technique, btw. His students started calling it the “Sam Ovens Silence” at some point and it stuck.)

An unhappy student criticizes the technique at 10:40 mark of this video:

Quote:

“You state the price. Then you have to stay silent. You have to shut up. And you have to wait for the prospect to say something. Now here’s the problem with that: it’s pretty much a high-pressure technique, okay? 

And if you go to [Sam’s] Consulting Accelerator group, many people will say, ‘the silence went for 3 minutes and eventually the prospect hang up the phone.'”

I have access to the Consulting Accelerator group, so I checked it out and did indeed find a few posts like that:

sam ovens silence student 1
sam ovens silence student 2

But more often I found posts from students saying that the Sam Ovens Silence worked well for them:

sam ovens silence student 3
sam ovens silence student 4
sam ovens silence student 5
sam ovens silence student 6

So clearly this criticism is overblown.

No technique is going to work 100% of the time. 

Seems to me that the Sam Ovens Silence is a high-risk/high-reward kind of thing, but can be very effective if you get comfortable with it.

What do you think of this technique?

Let me know in the comments.

No such thing as luck?

Sam Ovens says luck does not exist. Meanwhile, famous billionaires pay homage to the role of luck in their success.

Sam’s words from one of the lessons in Consulting Accelerator:

sam ovens doesnt belive in luck
Source: transcript from Week 1, Lesson 2 inside Consulting Accelerator (You can access this lesson with the 7-day free trial. Full review here)

Meanwhile, here’s a video of billionaires Warren Buffett and Jay-Z talking about the importance of luck in their lives:

Here’s billionaire Jeff Bezos tipping his hat to luck:

jeff bezos on luck
Source: retail-week.com 

And finally, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging the role of luck in his success:

mark zuckerberg on luck
Source: cnbc.com

🤫 PERSONAL + FAMILY

When is Sam Ovens birthday? How old is Sam Ovens?

Sam Ovens was born on August 10, 1989. 

He is 30 years old since August 2019, and will turn 31 years of age in August 2020.

We know Sam’s date of birth via this photo he posted to Instagram:

Who is Sam Ovens wife?

Sam married his long-term partner Ashleigh in New Zealand in December 2017.

Sam posted a wedding photo to Instagram:

As did Ashleigh:

Ashleigh has a website linked from her Instagram. 

The site features some photography and writing and a short bio that looks like it hasn’t been updated for a while…

Ashleigh ovens website

Where did Sam Ovens work before starting his own business?

Before starting his own business, Sam Ovens worked as an intern for Vodafone in New Zealand.

Here’s Sam reflecting on that experience in a 2018 Facebook post:

“5 years ago” doesn’t sound quite right there though.

Sam writes on Consulting.com that he was only 21 years old while working at Vodafone:

sam ovens working at vodafone 21 years old

And he would have turned 21 in August 2010.

sam ovens vodafone office desk
Sam’s workspace at Vodafone (source: facebook.com/samovensfan)

Where did Sam Ovens go to university?

Sam attended the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He was doing a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) there but never finished.

Sam was noted as a former student on the University of Auckland website back in 2014:

Sam wrote in a 2018 Facebook post that he failed to finish university, and ended up $60,000 in debt:

🧩 ODDS + ENDS

What books does Sam Ovens read?

Sam has publicly recommended several books over the years. He also claims to have read an 844-page book by a German philosopher who died almost 200 years ago.

Sam recommends three books in this 2019 video:

He recommends two more in this 2018 video:

And four more in this 2015 video:

If you’re looking for a challenge, Sam mentioned in a 2017 interview that he got a lot out of reading Hegel’s Science of Logic:

sam ovens hegel book science of logic
Source: mixergy.com

For more book recommendations, check out this list of best business books for online entrepreneurs.

Was Sam Ovens a student of Dane Maxwell and The Foundation?

Yes, back in 2012 Sam joined The Foundation, a course by Dane Maxwell and Andy Drish that promised to help students build a software as a service (SaaS) business.

The Foundation was the course where Sam learned how to build his first successful business (SnapInspect).

Here he is giving credit to Dane Maxwell in a 2012 Mixergy interview:

sam ovens dane maxwell foundation 1

It was actually through Dane and The Foundation that I first heard of Sam Ovens, as he was very much the star student of that course.

Accordingly, The Foundation featured him heavily in their marketing efforts.

Here’s an email I received from Dane back in 2013 linking to a case study about Sam and SnapInspect:

sam ovens dane maxwell foundation 2

However, Sam almost never mentions Dane Maxwell or The Foundation nowadays.

I was surprised to find zero mention of either in Consulting Accelerator 2.0.

Especially given that a significant part of what Sam teaches his own students comes directly from Dane:

sam ovens dane maxwell foundation 3
Source: transcript of a 2017 interview with Sam on Mixergy.com

What do you think: Is Sam Ovens a scam?

Let me know in the comments below.

My take after spending 90+ hours researching Sam and going through his course:

  • I’m a fan of his training material.
  • But I’m not a fan of his marketing.

If you’re curious about his Consulting Accelerator course, be sure to check out my in-depth review. That will give you a more accurate impression of the program than Sam’s marketing does.

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2 Comments

  1. Good review there Niall, especially when you’re doing the real investigation but and checking outside sources. (Quoting him is not that interesting imho)