YouTube creator Jake Paul seems to be back to his old, shady ways. Last year, he (along with other popular YouTubers) came under fire for promoting a site called "Mystery Brand," which steered his young fanbase to gamble money in exchange for "loot boxes" that touted prizes like iPhones and Rolls Royces. Not surprisingly, those sponsored videos turned out to be a scam, and Paul eventually was forced to tweet "kids just a reminder.. don’t gamble!"
But now Paul, who recently took on a boxing career, has a new venture: the "Financial Freedom Movement," a $20-per-month subscription service that promises to teach people how to "achieve financial freedom on your terms." On Twitter last week, Paul said "our education system is worthless i'm fed up [sic]," adding that "if I die i want to die having made a REAL difference on the world." His solution is an online course that includes a set of videos focused around three main areas: "How to live life on your terms," "Achieve your dream goals," and "Have financial freedom."
A spin on a pyramid scheme — While Paul certainly makes some valid arguments as to why he wants to fix this problem (he points to the trillion-dollar student loan debt in the U.S.) encouraging his fans to quit their jobs and school doesn't exactly seem like the brightest idea — especially when he's trying to profit from them. And no matter what Paul says, there's no guarantee to YouTube or internet success; there's no secret formula that he and his crew can pass on to their fans, no matter how successful they are.
"They say we're entitled and lazy. They tell us to go to college, get a job, retire at 65. How's that working out for us?" Paul said in a promo video for the Financial Freedom Movement, which presumably refers to parents and any other old, boring people who want the best for you as the "they" in this scenario. "Learn from me and a dozen other experts and millionaires on how to break free from the normal 9 to 5 and live life on your terms by achieving financial freedom."
Not worth it. Shocker. — This is probably going to come as a surprise to no one but, apparently, the Financial Freedom Movement lessons just aren't that great. BuzzFeed News reporter Lauren Strapagiel wrote that the FFM's offerings are "deeply underwhelming," noting that some of the courses are only made up of a short video featuring Paul. In one course, Strapagiel said, Paul starts with an introduction that tells viewers to "quit your job and fire your boss, or quit school because you’ve been lied to."
There's also a nearly two-hour lesson that suggests you can climb to fame and success by simply "hustling" and "putting yourself out there," though unfortunately the advice seems to lack much substance beyond that. "His advice is mostly limp rhetoric about working hard and he fails to give any actual specifics about how to do anything," Strapagiel wrote. "Mostly he stares dead-eyed at the ground, offers vague catchphrases, then gives an anecdote about someone he knows who made it big."
Elsewhere, in a "rally" Paul hosted to kick off his Financial Freedom Movement, he doubled down on how he believes school is a scam (ironic, huh). "I learned the periodic table but not how to do my taxes. Not awesome! Pi = 3.14 but how do I start a renters [sic] lease," Paul said, according to Variety. "School sucks start a YouTube channel today."
There's probably a better way — As I mentioned earlier, I do think Paul makes a great point about how our education system is broken, but his Financial Freedom Movement seems more like a marketing gimmick than anything else. It's another way for him to chase clout, the online relevance he and his brother Logan Paul always seem to be craving. And he's going to try to get that at his fan's expense, whatever the cost may be, which in this case is $20 a month for lessons that you can probably get for free on YouTube.