I’ve sold over 10 million dollars in digital products online in my career and I couldn’t have done it without sales funnels and various marketing tools. 

  • I need a website builder. 
  • I need something to send emails.
  • I need something to capture emails.
  • I need something to collect payments.
  • I need something to facilitate sales funnels.  

I consider these all to be universal online marketing needs. 

I’m currently happy enough with the stack of tools I use to sell my products online, but given the massive rise of popularity and interest in GoHighLevel (which I will abbreviate often as “GHL” for this article) I felt I owed it to my audience to sign up and run it through some tests. 

What started as a “me too” sales funnel builder that seemed to be a rebound option for entrepreneurs who became tired of the popular sales funnel softwares like ClickFunnels and Kartra, Go High Level has actually taken over market share and is the new big name on the block. 

GoHighLevel vs- ClickfunnelsGoHighLevel vs- Clickfunnels

So much so, in fact, that Clickfunnels (Etison, LLC) has sued them for alleged infringement on their patented concepts. 

GoHighLevel vs- Clickfunnels LawsuitGoHighLevel vs- Clickfunnels Lawsuit

You can read the formal filing against GHL from Clickfunnels here if you’re interested. Long story short, Clickfunnels is losing enough business to GHL that they are attempting to bring them down for knocking off many of their fundamental (or shall we say, funnel-mental) concepts.

I don’t really have a strong opinion on it, the courts can decide that. I do find it ironic that Clickfunnels became famous for endorsing the practice of “funnel hacking” to grow a business but then sue when a company does it to them. 

go high level vs. clickfunnels memego high level vs. clickfunnels meme

This article isn’t about that beef though, so let’s get into the ins and outs of Go High Level in enough detail that you can decide if it’s worth the $97 to $299/month investment.

My First Impression of GoHighLevel

I saw the GoHighLevel sales page way back when it first launched. The first thing I told my marketing buddies in a private chat was “how can they sell a website building software and have such an ugly sales page?”

The page is still up and looks the exact same. Ugly…as…hell. It’s full of amateur design mistakes that drive me nuts. Little things like mismatched font pairings throughout the page.

GHL Sales Page StinksGHL Sales Page Stinks

For most websites, I wouldn’t care much. But this is like going to a dentist who is missing teeth and has bad breath. 

Fortunately, GoHighLevel is customizable, but still, this makes me immediately take them less seriously. 

Signing Up for GoHighLevel

The sign up process was relatively straight forward. I had a few issues with the page glitching out when setting up my password, but nothing too crazy. It very well could have been a temporary connectivity issue or something on my end.

I was mildly surprised at the lack of a sales funnel in the process. The only upsell was a concierge offer where they build out your first website for you for $299. This was a brilliant offer (which I highly recommend most people jump on).

Honestly, I liked it as a consumer and will admit the 8 upsells and down sells you get from services like ClickFunnels are obnoxious. However, that is the nature of sales funnels. They are annoying but can be a “necessary evil.” In some weird way, I was disappointed that they didn’t showcase a deeper funnel.

Who am I? What do I actually want? Sometimes, I’m unsure. But I digress. 

When you sign up for GHL, they prompt you to add some things. One thing that stood out was the “Google My Business” recommendation. The others were your standard things like “Add Users” and a Stripe integration.

GHL Set UpGHL Set Up

I went through and added Stripe to something called “LeadConnector” so I could get started.

That’s kind of the bottleneck of everything. Setting it up was pretty easy and it let me start with an existing Stripe account. It took about 10 minutes total.

I wanted and got started on my first website. 

Within a few minutes of signing up, I got a text message asking me to set up an onboarding call. 

GoHighLevel Onboarding CallGoHighLevel Onboarding Call

I fully expected this since they asked for my phone number. Honestly, I like this. Texts are annoying, but a free onboarding call is pretty great. I always recommend that people take these offers when they get them. Especially if you’re on a free trial and really want to see if a tool is right for you. Spending a little time on an onboarding can save you hours or days of time later. 

However, I did also receive two calls the day I signed up, which I didn’t love. This method clearly works, but I just don’t like it as a consumer. 

GoHighLevel also prompts you to check out their live trainings which they seem to hold regularly. They clearly understand that it doesn’t matter how much their tool does if customers don’t understand how to use it. 

So What Tools Does GoHighLevel Actually Replace?

GoHighLevel went all out in their attempt to be a “one stop shop” for business owners and marketers. They truly wanted to replace everything that people like me use to run online businesses and agencies. 

Here’s a screenshot of the tools that GoHighLevel claims to replace. 

What Tools Does GoHighLevel Replace?What Tools Does GoHighLevel Replace?

I wanted to go through this list and really see how these tools would save me money in my business and how they actually compare to what GoHighLevel is advertising.

My Relatively Hot Take on “Saving” on Tools

I pay over $20,000/year on software products for my business. Hosting, funnel builders, email marketing, etc. Perhaps surprisingly, I rarely ask myself “how can I reduce these costs?” The reason is several fold. 

#1 These Tools Have a Large Collective ROI. $20,000 of tax deductible expenses on tools that save me time, make my business look better, help my customers, and make me more money is something I pay gladly. I understand I am an outlier and many people are still in the early phases of business growth and can’t yet justify that big of an expense. 

#2 “Everything” Usually Means Lower Quality. Would you rather eat at a place that sells every type of food you could want (like a Golden Corral or local buffet) or a place that specializes in a certain type of food (like an expensive steak house)? If you can afford better and specific, you probably would choose that option over the all-in-one option.  

CRM & Pipeline Management

I use this in just one business currently. 

I sell almost all of my products through ThriveCart funnels.

Thrive Themes + WordPress + Hosting

$299/Year for Thrive Themes + $999/Year for WPX Hosting

ThriveCart doesn’t build great front end pages, so I use Thrive Themes and WordPress. This requires paid hosting and WPX is the best option I’ve used.

Although I use Typeforms a lot, I could get away with a free tool like Google Forms if I needed in most cases (and most others could as well).

NOTE: GHL doesn’t include unlimited emails, so this cost is variable. You will pay per email about $0.01 which can add up quickly and take you way beyond the $299/month payment. This is my biggest expense on software but also has the highest ROI. I have over 50,000 subscribers and send a lot of emails, so I gladly pay top dollar for ConvertKit. There are also much more expensive options. 

I don’t do any form of SMS messaging with my clients and customers. 

I rarely use my YouCanBook.Me calendar. I avoid scheduling calls though like the plague. 

If you’re a large agency this is handy, but I have no use for it. These do get pricey though. 

Thrive Apprentice + Skool

I host my courses in Thrive Apprentice (which is included in the Thrive Themes membership I already calculated here) and Skool. I have two Skool communities and each cost $99/month. 

Another feature that is beneficial to agencies and sales teams that I don’t use or need.

Google Analytics and Tag Manager

These are important but they are free. 

Facebook groups free but we added Skool to better control our reach.

Print and Sign or Free Tools as Needed

I rarely need signatures from anyone. If you regularly need them, I can see this being very valuable. 

Customers served!

$
100


Possible Dollars Saved Switching Entirely to GoHighLevel

That’s a nice chunk of change. However, it isn’t totally accurate. Let me explain briefly though why I’m not about to go and cancel everything I’m paying for to switch to GHL today.

GoHighLevel Pricing and Plans

Let me preface by saying that 99% of people won’t benefit from the $97/month plan. It doesn’t give access to the API which is critical to adding things like your email marketing. If you start with that plan, I can almost guarantee that you will end up upgrading or cancelling. 

Unlimited Contacts + Users

Everything in Starter Plan

Agency Plans available for $497 additional per month on top of unlimited plan

Unlimited Contacts + Users

Everything in Starter Plan

Agency Plans available for $497 additional per month on top of unlimited plan

There is a free 14 day trial of GoHighLevel on their website, but I’ve got an extended 30 day trial offer if you use the coupon code below. 

http://GoHighLevel%2030%20Day%20Free%20Trialhttp://GoHighLevel%2030%20Day%20Free%20Trial

Try GoHighLevel for an additional 16 days longer than the default 14 day trial offered on the website!



More
Less

Extended Trial

Doesn’t expire

Also, if you’re sure you’re going to commit to GHL, I highly recommend biting the bullet and purchasing the annual plan. It will save you 20% over the course of the year.

GoHighLevel Variable Costs

As the saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” That is unfortunately the case with GoHighLevel when they claim to replace a few tools. 

#1 GoHighLevel Email Marketing Costs

This is the biggest one. The monthly payment does not include the variable cost of your email broadcasts.

GoHighLevel Email CostsGoHighLevel Email Costs

For me, I’d just integrate my ConvertKit account with their native plugin that pairs it up with GoHighLevel.

GHL Marketplace AppsGHL Marketplace Apps

This is fine, but if I was switching over to GoHighLevel trying to save costs on my email marketing, this would totally negate that. 

#2 GoHighLevel SMS and Phone Call Costs

Obviously, this wasn’t going to be free. Don’t expect this to be covered in your monthly payment. You can see exactly how much more you’d be paying for phone usage on GHL here

#3 WordPress Hosting

You can host websites on GoHighLevel for free BUT they charge $14.99 if you want to use WordPress. 

#4 Various Apps

There are a number of free and paid apps in the GoHighLevel App Marketplace. Some of these, you might wish were just included for free in your plan, but cost extra. 

Building Webpages and Funnels with GoHighLevel

Alright, this was the part I was really excited to test out. How easy was it to make great looking pages for your website with GoHighLevel.

The templates are just so-so. 

GoHighLevel Website TemplatesGoHighLevel Website Templates

The editor feels foreign to me since I’m so used to more robust ones like Thrive Architect, but it offers enough for you to build decently customized pages. 

GHL Drag and Drop EditorGHL Drag and Drop Editor

You can drag and drop elements onto the page and align them, resize, change colors and do all of the basic editing functions you’d expect in any page builder. 

GHL Add ElementsGHL Add Elements

It takes time to get comfortable with any page builder but I can see why some people might struggle for awhile getting used to the GoHighLevel page builder. 

Compared to solutions like Clickfunnels, it is on par in terms of quality and functionality. Other tools though like Thrive Architect are superior for building the best pages possible. 

All in all, this is exactly what I expected the page builder to be like. 

So Is GoHighLevel Legit?

The million dollar (or should we say, $297/month) question. Is GoHighLevel worth it?

For someone like me who has been building websites and sales funnels for over a decade, no. I don’t plan on using GHL after my trial. 

However, for the average business owner, I can absolutely say GoHighLevel can be a great solution for your website, customer management and marketing needs. 

Also, resellers of GoHighLevel can do very, very well with the program. I’ve never seen a program that sets up agency owners for success better than GHL. 

Established business with systems in place that are doing well and earning money. 

Switching to a service, no matter how great it is, is a hassle and rarely worth it from my experience. If you have tools that work and you’re comfortable with, I suggest sticking with them. 

New businesses with no systems in place. 

If I were starting from scratch, I’d absolutely consider GHL. 

Agencies who sell websites and systems to clients

Yes, it’s absolutely worth it. 

The GoHighLevel reseller program is next level. If you’re an agency that offers done for you services for clients that could use GHL, do it. Even if you don’t sell exclusively GHL solutions.

Businesses looking to cut costs.

It depends what your costs are and how many emails or SMS messages you plan on sending. It could end up costing you more to use GHL if you send a lot of messages.

GoHighLevel Affiliate Program

GoHighLevel is growing using a nearly identical affiliate model as Clickfunnels started with.

  • 40% recurring on all plans.
  • 5% recurring payments on 2nd tier commissions for sales from affiliates you refer.
  • A “dream car” program for top affiliates.

Of course, you should sign up for GoHighLevel and try it out before you promote it. 

GoHighLevel Certification

Taking yet another page from the Clickfunnels playbook, GoHighLevel offers a certification program that teaches users the ins and outs of the program. 

Benefits of the certification include…

  • Deep training on GHL and general marketing tactics.
  • It opens the door to exclusive invitations for earning additional skills badges.
  • Being featured in their directory, offering opportunities to mentor, coach, or consult with other HighLevel users. 

It isn’t free. It costs an additional $97/month or $970/year (it is not included in your GHL plan and you will need an active plan to certify). You also need to “re-certify” each year to remain in their directory. 

It takes about 7-10 days at a moderate pace to complete the certification program as well. 

Go High Level Concierge Service

One of the things I really liked (although I didn’t purchase it) was the fact that Go High Level offers a “done with you” set up service. 

GoHighLevel Done with you set upGoHighLevel Done with you set up

The price is very reasonable and since it’s directly serviced by GoHighLevel, the quality will be much more consistent and reliable than finding your own person elsewhere. 

I always recommend buying done for you options for new entrepreneurs who have more money than time. Don’t blindly click no thanks on this offer. Definitely consider it. 

GoHighLevel Partner Network

If you missed the done for you offer, fear not, you can still buy your way out of a lot of the tedious work.

One thing that I loved about GoHighLevel was that they have their own marketplace of freelancers who can help you with anything you need done in your account. 

Many of these people are GHL certified so you can trust that the quality is going to be high level (no pun intended).

GHL Partner ProgramGHL Partner Program

They currently have over 100 folks in their network database that can do a wide range of tasks across various niches. 

There are people who can help you with…

  • Migrating to GoHighLevel from other services like Clickfunnels or Keap.
  • Building your website and sales funnel.
  • And much more

Again, I can’t stress how great it is to pay experts to do things you don’t know how to do or just don’t have the time to do. 

Go High Level Logo TransparentGo High Level Logo Transparent

GoHighLevel Overview

HighLevel is a comprehensive marketing and CRM platform designed primarily for entrepreneurs, digital marketing agencies and consultants. HighLevel includes a wide range of features such as CRM capabilities, pipeline management, automated workflows, social media planning, and a suite of tools for building websites, funnels, and online courses. It also supports extensive API integrations, white labeling, and offers tools for email marketing, SMS communications, and appointment scheduling. HighLevel is praised for its ability to consolidate multiple tools into a single platform, reducing the need for complex integrations and helping agencies streamline their operations and scale their services.

GoHighLevel Is an Alternative To…

GoHighLevel is built as an all-in-one marketing suite of tools, so it is an alternative to many things. 

Other software programs that work in the same “all-in-one” model include ClickFunnels, Kartra and SamCart.

  • All in one solution for marketing needs.
  • Can be cost effective if you choose to only use GHL tools.
  • Done for you option upsell for $299.
  • Mobile app (most programs don’t have anything like this)
  • Zapier integration. This is just a must have in this day and age.
  • Partner program allows you to hire experts to work on your GoHighLevel pages and funnels.
  • Growth focused and constantly making improvements.
  • Has a feedback board for customers to communicate with support and developer team.
  • AI integrations are neat (although not necessarily gamechanging).
  • Cost is somewhat misleading since things like email broadcasts cost per email sent.
  • Expensive if you choose to keep other services and software.
  • All-in-one solutions rarely offer the best solution for each task.
  • No affiliate tracking system.
  • Somewhat aggressive sales pitching after sign up (calls, emails and texts).
  • Can’t use Google Workspaces (no Gmail).
  • High learning curve if you choose to do it yourself.
  • WordPress hosting isn’t free ($14.99/month).
  • Templates are bland and customization options are minimal.

Who Is the Best Fit for GoHighLevel?

There are two groups I recommend GHL to.

  • New entrepreneurs on a budget. If you’re on a budget and want an all in one solution, Go High Level can be that. Yes, even at $297/month, GoHighLevel will save you money if you’re buying all of the tools you really need to make your business work.
  • Agencies that build websites and funnels for clients. This is the heart of GoHighLevel and it is built with these agencies in mind. 

If you tried a tool like Clickfunnels and didn’t like it but still want to get an all-in-one solution a shot, try out GoHighLevel.

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