Sparkle Class Academy: Beware of scam marketing agencies like this

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I don’t usually write posts like this, but this experience is something that I think some new businesses (life coaches in particular) should be aware of.

To summarise, my wife recently switched careers from being an Optometrist to becoming a Life Coach. As a startup, she had no clients, and she employed a company named Sparkle Class Academy (aka Sally Sparks-Cousins) to help her get going because they focused on this new industry. They were recommended for some reason, but in hindsight, I think this is because there aren’t many of these marketing agencies in Australia yet – it’s a relatively new industry.

Anyway, the experience was an awful waste of money and caused all sorts of stress. They were very disorganised and unprofessional and made my wife cry a few times too many.

Companies like this need to be called out, so I posted a Google Review, which gives you an idea of what happened. You can read it below. It’s also worth mentioning that her Facebook account is plagued with fake reviews and recommendations.

My Google Review of Sparkle Class Academy

My wife signed up with Sparkle Class Academy, a so-called marketing company, expecting to get lots of help starting her coaching business, but it’s been a complete waste of A$26,000. Sparkle Class Academy are very good at talking the talk but have little to no interest once you’ve been captured into their system. They had no idea about my wife’s business and how to promote it – it was like a “one size fits all” approach for them, which, as any good marketing company knows, isn’t how it works.

Sparkle Class Academy were supposed to provide her with everything she needed to get started, including a website and graphics for her promotional campaigns, but instead, what she got were awful Powerpoint style graphics and not even a single web page. So no marketing at all. They say they have a graphic designer and web designer on their books, but as a professional web designer myself, there’s undoubtedly no professional working for them. Ultimately, I had to create all this for her in my own time because what they had provided was embarrassing.

They preach about the tools (Kajabi, Keap and countless others) and software automation they provide, but they don’t want to give any support. I found it very strange why they were setting all this up when my wife didn’t even have a single client. It turns out they are partners with these services, so they get a bit of money, no doubt. Surely the first step is to help build your client list using proven marketing methods and implement the advanced tech automation later?

So, after five months of their service, my wife had:

  • 0 clients
  • 0 website
  • 0 marketing materials
  • 0 support
  • A ridiculous amount of useless, flawed, integrations and automations she didn’t need right now.

There are plenty of marketing companies out there who can offer much, much better quality and support than this bunch for a fraction of the price.

Regarding support: They do not reply to emails, there is no way to contact the owner, Sally “Sparkle”, and everything is done via group Zoom video sessions. There is no one-to-one or private support.

Sparkle Class Academy’s contract is very one-sided. My wife tried to cancel the contract within the 10-day cooling period but couldn’t because of an impossible clause that required her to complete a set amount of work (which would have taken more than 10 days!).

We’ve been unsuccessful in getting our money back to use productively, but Sally declared that “your money has already been spent”. This company is targeting vulnerable women by taking all their money and not giving anything valuable in return – the last thing we want to see is someone’s dreams shot because of this greedy company’s mentality, hence the reason for posting our experience.

Unfortunately, they have the gift of the gab and hook you in by telling you precisely what you want to hear.

A screenshot of the awful design Sparkle Class Academy produced for my wife's business.
A screenshot of one of the awful designs that Sparkle Class Academy produced for us.

The Contract

And, here are sections taken from the contract which indicates how difficult it is to exit.

Your satisfaction with Freedom Funnel Academy is important, yet, because of the extensive time, effort, preparation and care that goes into creating and providing this service to you, there is a NO REFUND policy and you acknowledge that all sales are final and no refunds will be provided at any time.

Don’t expect to get any money back even though they don’t do any of the work for you. I remember my wife having a video meeting with Sally Sparks-Cousins, who was sat on what appeared to be a lounge sofa. How very professional!

10-DAY Money Back Guarantee.
Sparkle Class Academy Guarantees that: The client may for any reason cancel after completion of the first four (4) main tasks of the program which should occur within the first ten (10) days.
For the guarantee to be valid the client must:
Complete the following tasks within ten (10) days of joining the program.
a. Sign the program contract within 24 hours.
b. Complete the intake form in its entirety within 24 hours
c. Schedule and complete your roadmap intake call within the first 10 days with your success
d. Complete and submit your phase 1, 2 & 3 evaluations workbooks
e. Submit in writing that you would like to leave the program and complete an exit survey.

The above section from the contract indicates that the client must have done a load of work before a 10-day money back guarantee can be invoked. The problem here is that (d) requires a fair bit or work, which is difficult to complete within a 10 day timeframe.

So, this is basically a catch to make sure you can’t invoke the guarantee. And, if you fail to sign the contract within 24 hours, you’ve basically lost your rights to any refund.

So, please be aware of what you are getting into with this so-called marketing company, or other online business coaching scams.

An Email I Sent

I also sent this email to Sally, but (unsurprisingly) never got a reply. There’s actually no way of getting direct contact with her which should have got our alarm bells ringing very early on.

Hi Sally

I’m the husband of Sheetal Mistry, who has been your marketing client since November 2022. For the last couple of months, I’ve been sitting in the background, observing and listening to what’s been going on with Sheetal’s project, and I’m extremely unhappy with how things are progressing.

Firstly, Sheetal is new to all of this. She’s switched from being an Optometrist of 20+ years to being a life coach. She has no experience in tech, design, marketing or social media. So, I hope you can appreciate that this is not an easy transition for her.

I’ve worked in several design agencies over the years and have owned two back in the UK, and I’m shocked at how disorganised your project management is. Giving your clients no guidance and support, given their experience, is disgraceful. Sheetal should be preparing for her first sessions starting on the 23rd, but instead, she’s spent days messing about with Kajabi and Keap going around in circles and repeating the same tasks. If you are offering these platforms and services, you should be the ones setting this up and entering the content.All marketers I’ve worked with and employed have always requested content in a Word doc or email from the client. The client was never expected to manage anything that goes out to the public on their own. The designers would mock it all up and get a sign-off from the client.

As a design agency owner who offered marketing services, we did not expect our clients to design their graphics, emails or any other type of branding, especially when they had paid a lot of money for our services.

Here’s a list of what I’m seeing from your team:

  • Disorganised project management with files and notes all over the place. Most importantly, where is the project plan, which defines all phases of the project, including who each task is assigned to, when it’s due…the timeline of events, etc. How is Sheetal supposed to know the project process if she has never worked in this environment before?
  • Platforms are just being thrown at Sheetal as if she knows how to use them. You can’t always learn stuff by watching a video or sitting in a techy zoom group! There need to be clear instructions that are easily accessible and simple to follow.
  • They don’t do graphic design, and any designs I’ve seen look like they have been done by a five-year-old, like Adrenajen’s FB banner. If I gave those to my client, I’d be sacked immediately! Canva is all well and good, but you either have an eye for design or don’t. Your professional graphic designer should be doing these as part of the service. A graphic designer with industry experience would take less than 15 minutes to mockup a Facebook group banner.
  • The funnel emails in Keap are awful and tacky. Their presentation looks unprofessional.
  • No weekly or daily email summary from anybody. How do we know what work has been done at your end? Sheetal seems to be doing an awful lot on her own.
  • No chase-up of outstanding items.
  • No plan of action for the week, month, etc. How does Sheetal know what to do next? What’s been checked by your team?
  • The “Launch Build Checklist” is chaotic and unmanageable. There are no instructions for any of the tasks in the checklist. Why are you not using the Kanban system, such as Trello, for this?
  • There’s no single point of contact. Given Sheetal has paid $18k, who is her account manager?
  • You are the owner, yet you have made yourself unreachable; for example, Sheetal doesn’t even have your email address.

From my point of view, I’m finding the $18k Sheetal paid unjustifiable. You are certainly not offering this level of service or support.

These issues need to be addressed to provide more structure and confidence. I do believe Sheetal isn’t the only one who will benefit from these improvements. I understand this is a “messy” launch, but it shouldn’t be this messy, which sounds very negative considering you have a Mindset Coach. The output should still be of good quality.

I look forward to your positive reply in this matter.

Kind regards


Ketan Mistry
Design Consultant

The Amy Porterfield scam

Sally Sparks-Cousins is also featured on Amy Porterfield’s marketing website as one of her successful disciples. For those who don’t know who Amy is, to quote, “an ex-corporate girl, author, online marketing expert and the host of [a] top-ranked podcast…“.

I reached out to Amy via email regarding Sally Sparks-Cousins and, unsurprisingly, got no response. But, after some additional research, it turns out the web is littered with articles about how Amy Porterfield herself is a scam with outdated, unethical techniques, with only one aim – getting your money.

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