Start and Scale Review: Gretta Van Riel Course Worth The Wait?

This is a long overdue post that's been requested by many of my readers. Like you might be, I got stuck on the wait list for the latest course which doesn't look like it's coming back any time soon.

Currently you cannot sign up for this course, you just have to join the waiting list until she's ready to make more money and open the doors again.

So once I finally got access through one of my awesome readers, I decided to do this review and show you exactly what you get and whether it's worth the hefty price tag or not.

The course originally cost $547 and it's highly likely this price will be far higher when it relaunches.

The Annoying Factor

Now the first annoying thing is how long you need to wait just to join the course. If like most of my readers you're itching to start your drop shipping business then there's many other courses out there that will teach you the exact same thing.

During this waitlist period, you get sent lots of offers from Foundr and you can't block them unless you want to forego your position in line.

*June 19 - I've now seen you can get retargeted with a webinar on Instagram which allows you to sign up.

Who is Gretta Van Riel?

Gretta Van Riel is a female entrepreneur from Australia who claims to be a social media marketing expert who owns her own Influencer platform called Hey Influencers.

It's slightly unclear then why someone who has all this experience with social media and creating startups, is launching an eCommerce course with no experience actually running one.

One of the biggest red flags I have before we even get into the content is that Gretta made a bold claim that she started with $20. When you start watching the content you quickly realise that she says she started by paying people to design her logo and other designs which ended up costing thousands of dollars.

Telling you what you want to here, with this story on the sales page is unconvincing and it's clear you need money to make money online, don't be fooled by this.

Start and Scale Review

start and scale review

The course is split across six modules and includes 38 video lessons with Gretta personally doing the training.

You also get access to 16 workbooks which are summaries of the video training series.

You also get access to expert coaches although it's limited information and lastly you get access to the Facebook mastermind group.

You also get access to some exclusive discount codes, they are pretty much affiliate links for her.

Course Content

The platform is built on the Clickfunnels platform so videos look great on all devices including mobile, tablet and desktop.

If you buy the course during the initial launch you only get one module per week, which means you can be waiting up to 6 weeks for the entire course to be delivered. Given there's only 38 videos in the course this is annoying especially if you want to start your store right now!

Module 1: Find your niche

The first module of the course includes five video lessons on reaching products to sell.

It's fairly basic stuff and doesn't include any of these premium tools that you can use to find winning products.

The videos show you how to come up with an idea, test and confirm your idea works and then develop a customer profile and validate whether it's a good idea or not.

It's a pretty basic introduction into niche selection and very short in my opinion.

Module 2: Million dollar branding

Personally I disagree with the next module being about branding. You haven't even tested your idea yet so building a brand from the start is a bad idea. You should be building a brand once you've found winning products.

This is why you see so many guru's suggesting you start a one product or general store first, test the market and find winning products before converting your store into a brand and scaling.

It's easier to sell a course around branding as most beginners believe it's the best way forward but most people then wonder why they haven't made a dime online but they have the best looking brand in their market.

You'll watch videos on choosing a brand name, creating a logo, buying and linking a domain name and finally over the shoulder training on creating your store.

Module 3: Idea to inventory

Next in start and scale, you've got your brand and store foundations so you'll want to find suppliers.

Unlike some other courses Gretta covers local and international suppliers. Although Gretta is based in Australia, you get a recommendation for China and the USA for suppliers so it's a course that can be applied to many geographical locations.

You'll learn how to find and negotiate from buyers, how to place your orders with them, how to deal with packaging and delivery. You also learn how to drop ship products, how to price your products on your own store (including margins etc) and how to create your own products.

It's a fairly basic module and could offer atleast double the videos in my opinion.

Module 4: Build an audience of buyers

This module is funny because one of the stand out videos is how to create a waitlist to create a buzz around your product and then cash in on one day when it goes live. We've seen that Gretta is a master of this technique from the waiting list on her own course.

Personally I've never heard of anyone making serious money with a waiting list on an eCommerce store unless they are a huge brand such as Nike releasing limited edition sneakers.

You also get videos on how to prepare for launch, working with Influencers and basic social media marketing.

Module 5: Launch your store to sales

This module is a follow on from module four which shows you how to accept credit card and Paypal payments, how to setup a customer help desk and how to use virtual assistants to automate the processes of your business so you can focus on scaling your store.

Gretta provided a check list for your launch which she claims will help your store.

Module 6: How to scale your store

The last module is all about scaling your store and further optimisation. Facebook Ads finally gets a mention in the course which is pretty unbelievable as there's no mention of any paid traffic modules anywhere else in the course and you'll learn retargeting.

You also get a video on warehousing but most of you will not need to worry about this for a few years at least.

Start and Scale Bonuses

The bonus section is one of those sections which claims to be worth thousands but it's probably all self valued and could be picked up in other courses for free.

The first is a video of an interview with Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic of HiSmile. I'm sure you've seen them promoting their brand on Instagram. Anyway you get an interview with them on how they built their own brand from the ground up.

The second bonus is some copy and paste scripts to contact Influencers. You also get email marketing campaign scripts and cart recovery email sequences that you can use. Remember, you probably don't want to use the same as every one else. Use some initiative and customize them to your own style.

Next is a mini course that's been thrown in on Facebook and Instagram Ads. As I mentioned before there's no mention of these two platforms or any other paid traffic methods and it's obvious this section is very limited and you won't learn much.

Related: Best Google Ads Courses

Lastly is a voucher for a friend, relative or business partner to join the Facebook group. If everyone used this, it means the Facebook group should probably be half the number of members. It's a good marketing tactic to make the group more popular than it is.

Facebook Mastermind Group

The Start and Scale Facebook mastermind group currently has 5225 members since 2017.

There's an average of 9 posts made per day which is fairly active.

Refund Policy

Unlike some questionable eCommerce courses out there, the refund policy requires you to show that you've followed the training and if it hasn't worked out for you within the first 60 days you're entitled to a full refund. It's unclear if this refund will be the same during the relaunch.

Final Verdict

The course talks a big game and they have a flashy sales page but honestly I was pretty disappointed with the content. There's only 38 videos across six relatively broad modules.

If you've read some of my other reviews, you'll know most courses have at least 50-60 videos with the popular courses offering 150-250. Given these courses also cost much less than start and scale it's quite expensive in my opinion.

The biggest problem for me was the lack of traffic generation. You can have the best damn brand in the world but without traffic you don't have a business. Gretta seems to have skimmed over this section and threw in a mini Facebook Ads course in at the end to please people.

I've watched courses with over 5 hours of Facebook and Google Ads training and there was so much more that she could have shown her students.

The other drawback for me was the lack of product research and the decision to tell you to build a brand from the start. I'm sure you've been to a retail store and seen them trying to flog a bunch of products and you think to yourself, who on earth would buy that?

That's exactly how you should feel when picking a product. You should find people to buy it, prove it's a product people will buy and then build your brand around that.

It happens on Shark Tank all the time. The investors hate the brand and ask them to rebrand before they will invest. Don't be fooled into thinking you need to buy a course that focuses on branding, that can come after you're making money!

Given the problems I see in this course and the huge price, I'd recommend a smaller, more content filled and rounded course called eCom Elites (read review) which is by a successful New Zealand businessman who gives 175+ videos on building a real eCommerce business.

Remember, buying an expensive course might appear great but you still need to spend money to make money after learning the content.


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32 thoughts on “Start and Scale Review: Gretta Van Riel Course Worth The Wait?”

  1. Thanks so much for the candid and pretty comprehensive feedback. Initially I have to say that I was tempted to invest in the course but having read this, I am now having second thoughts. Cheers, Jay

  2. I have just watched an interview with Gretta and the guy who is I think a CEO of Foundr. She gives some good advice during the interview, but doesn’t go into much detail. And of course at the end of the interview they promote the course itself. The whole course is $997, which is just insane I think. To get you into spending your money on it they lure you with the offer saying that normally the price is $1997 and the offer is only valid for 1 hour. Seems like such a scam to me and a waste of money after reading your review. She claims she started with only $20, but she expects people to spend £997… What if I only have $20 too? She should be willing to help people like her, when she first started out instead of making them pay enormous amount of money on not even a great course. She’s not a genuine influencer or whatever you may call her, just hungry for some more money.

    • I agree with you! It’s insane how these influencers forgot where they came from. I came across her from a Youtube add and when I heard about their course, I thought there’s no way I’d be able to afford it. In a time like this everyone is desperate for some type of income.

  3. she talks about how her course is different than other dropshipping courses and she says that she doesn’t recommend dropshipping. eCom Elites is marketing his course as the No.1 Dropshipping course. can you please explain why is she saying that and in which way is her course different when it comes to dropshipping?

    • She focuses on using local suppliers so your customers get their orders faster. It’s still dropshipping so unsure why she’s saying that.
      I assume she must be importing the goods, storing them in a warehouse and then selling them, which comes with extreme risk for a beginner.. what if they don’t sell? You’ve lost a fortune.

  4. I have watched videos on YouTube of a guy who sells in the exact same manner as Gretta. So imo she has duplicated him and is trying to rip people off. $997 is a joke. I can’t find any hard evidence of her success so I will give her a miss.
    Plenty of good info on YouTube and plenty of other courses from people who are actually doing what she says she has done.

  5. Hey guys – was looking for a place to leave a nasty review of their service so here it goes: DO NOT BUY THEIR TRAINING PROGRAMS without first reading their extremely lengthy Refund conditions…they will hold you hostage if you don’t undergo exactly what they want even if you are 1000% dissatisfied with their program. Also note they’ll have you take an “exit survey” before they process your refund – THIS IS A TRAP. They’ll email you back with a reply saying you don’t qualify for a refund because you didn’t complete the course, etc. They should offer prompt, money back refunds or at least tell you up front their are serious strings attached to their refunds….and for the record – their Start and Scale program is extremely over priced for what you get. Give it a google and you’ll find a wealth more than what they can provide. The fact that their refunds clause is a mile long should tell you how many people what the heck out of their crap programs. Good riddance.

  6. She setup skinny tea and the 5th watches which is a massive watch band. Surprised that wasn’t mentioned in the course. The 5th watches had this clever marketing method where they only sold watches on the 5th of each month, the rest of the time they built a waiting list using Instagram influencers.

    Her main skill is in leveraging instagram to build huge audiences does she go into any detail on how she did this on the course Imy?

    My gut tells me she got in early on instagram inlfeuncers when they were all free and made a goldmine. That can’t be done anymore so she’s now cashing in on selling courses instead.

    • That’s what I was thinking too. Instagram is not as easy as it was anymore. It’s a lot harder to gain followers as well. Not impossible but certainly not as easy as it was back in 2014 when she started.

  7. She claims she was involved in the 5th but on the net its all some Alex guy who owns it .

    This foundr guy is just trying to sell courses/ coaching….he is now invovoled with that subi guy, just terrible.

  8. I’m so glad I read these reviews as was getting quite whooped up watching the videos! I have had a business over 20 years selling my interior textile products ( only online for the past 10 years) And can tell you managing suppliers, shipping, warehousing, margins, staff etc is a MASSIVE headache in any business so to try & say ‘anyone’ can run an e-commerce business simply isn’t true. She says in her blurb at the beginning that this can help people with existing businesses which is why I was tempted, but I see the reality is that it’s only about selling products that are trending and probably have the word ‘skinny’ in it or some other B.S .

  9. One third of the insufferable social-spam fraternity – the others being Nathan Chan and Sabri Suby. Had some wins selling trash product culture, now hugging each other in a terrifyingly calculated circular funnel infrastructure (why is it just these three that are each quoted on each others product platforms?).

    Insects – avoid.

  10. Hi. Thank you for writing this review. It saved us a lot of time and money. Please advise of what course or route you would suggest to the most updated and concise way to start an online shop today. Thanks for your attention to this matter.

    Kind Regards,

  11. Hi, thank you fo this review. REally helpful. Could you please provide guidance on an updated information to start a online business . Thanks for your attention to this matter.

    Kind Regards,

    I found out about this course through Instagram ad for a free master training video. The promotional video is extremely misleading because Gretta says she started Skinnyme tea with $30 something in her account but in the course, she talks more about Drop Bottle, for which she clearly had enough money to invest. She says we need to hire a industrial designer to get a product rendering, get samples from manufacturers, get a rendering for the package, work with influencers, etc. which all obviously require hundreds and thousands of dollars. And for these modules, her examples are dropbottle and 5th, not Skinnyme. Using SkinnyMe, which she claims to have started with basically no money, to promote the course and using other businesses (by the time she started these businesses, she probably had at least some capital from SkinnyMe) is extremly misleading and shady.

    • A lot of info she offers can be found for free on the internet if you try enough.
      The facebook group is not helpful either. All posts in the group are from people who are basically as lost as you are, asking to validate their ideas. Imo validation through the group is not too useful because people in the group are not necessarily your target market. On top of the misleading ad and content definitely not worth thousands of dollars, they make the refund process extremely hard and make you jump through hoops. I would not recommend this course to anyone.

  13. wow thats insane.
    im so happy i read these reviews .. i was debating if it was worth it but also found it bizzare how she started with 20$ and i have to start at 1000 just learn. also the money is in US dollars that means id have to convert that to canadian dollars !

    thank you for taking the time to break down the courses and your opinions.

  14. If you are reading this please be careful. If only person is saved from all these vultures then my job is done. Backstory and most of the content used to push this as a good idea is all fabrication. Just use Similarweb to check how much traffic she is getting to her so called brands. Next to nothing for an ecommerce store can’t see how she is making an money without customers. They are fronts to help sell courses

  15. Thank you all and to Rhys Dale specially,
    The only objective review I found till now (Other reviews push you to buy it).

    Running an eCom biz for 3 years and almost bought it.. What I’m was thinking???
    Never learn from “Sellers” who sold something with “TOX”…

    I already took a course for building my shop, same price(2k$) but it’s 10 times bigger.
    The thing got me and I hoped was the core of Gretta’s course is the influencers traffic, but it’s “nothing” there according to the reviews.

    To contribute a little from my humble experience:
    1. Start FBA and validate your product better in US. By the way you are a “BRAND” from the minute you decided so. Only after validation and sufficient earnings you register for a Trademark and do branding. The best courses for this is free, search “1m dollar case study” on YouTube.
    2. Take a course on building a profitable store
    3. Build a store
    4. Create E-mail sequences and prepare for collecting email before any traffic campaigns (it will be 30%-50% of your income)
    5. Generate traffic
    a. google product ads will be first and most profitable (then same in bing, regular google ads)
    b. remarketin/retargeting
    c. SEO (hard, long term but 30% of the income)
    d. Facebook Ads for most of the products will not be profitable as hard sale, specially with 20$ products like “skinny tea” (maybe that is why Gretta “hide” the facebook ads mini course)
    e. sell on other marketplaces like ebay, etsy, Walmart, target

    Never quit!!!


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