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Are you frustrated by an overload of information? I was too, for a time – one that reminds me of The Simpsons episode in which Mr. Burns’ trademark “Excellent!” offers, but when asked what he meant by that, he replies bluntly, “the opposite of whatever it was.”
That’s how I feel about most business gurus today, and I’m really tired of the amount of nonsense I had to ignore and overcome just so I could find a tiny glint of gold in a pile of dirt.
A few discoveries I made on the way to that realization:
- 1 1. Just because someone is successful doesn’t mean they can teach others to be so
- 2 2. Success rarely comes from following the script of others
- 3 3. The “One Hit Wonder” Guru
- 4 4. Podcast Mirages
- 5 5. What happens without the noise?
- 6 6. Gurus Probably Don’t Know Squat About Your Industry
- 7 Cut your own path
1. Just because someone is successful doesn’t mean they can teach others to be so
I’m not saying all business gurus are bad. Some of them are smart and know what they are talking about, but far too many are just repeating what others have said without understanding the concepts themselves.
Here’s an example: Many people will tell you that you should hire a coach to help you be successful in business. I’ve even seen coaches say this themselves, but let’s think about this for a moment: if you want to learn how to swim, would it make sense for me – someone who knows nothing about swimming – to teach you? Of course not!
This is exactly why so many entrepreneurs hire coaches who have never been in their shoes, only to be disappointed when they don’t know what they are doing. So listening to Tony Robbins or other more lifestyle-oriented experts when the specific need is for advice on how to build a business may not always be the best idea.
2. Success rarely comes from following the script of others
I know this isn’t what most people want to hear – we all want to know what has worked for others and then copy it. It’s tempting to think you’ll get the same results if you do, but here’s the problem with this approach: it doesn’t work.
We’ve all heard stories of success tweaking someone else’s formula until it worked for them, but in reality, these situations are so rare that while they can make for great anecdotes, it’s bad business advice. If you want to become an businesskinda.com or start your own business, there are better ways to get started than simply emulating what worked for someone else, especially if that someone is in a different industry or market.
Related: Take the road less traveled to unlock your full potential
3. The “One Hit Wonder” Guru
I’m sure you’ve seen headlines like, “How I Made $100,000 at 27” or “How I Fired My Boss and Started My Own Business.” These articles can be found everywhere, but are often reports of people who are not really successful and/or written by those who want to be in the spotlight for a while before being forgotten. They want their 15 minutes of fame, but have no real advice to offer.
It probably won’t surprise you, but most of these gurus are also marketers who sell courses or books that explain how to make money. Basically, they have no interest in helping you succeed as long as they can sell you something.
The truth is that most people are not made for running their own businesses — especially if they’re just starting out and don’t have the right skills or experience yet. As a result, you can easily spend thousands of dollars on a course only to find it doesn’t work for you at all.
4. Podcast Mirages
I am a big fan of podcasts, and favorites include The Tim Ferriss Show and The James Altucher Show, but there’s one type of podcast I don’t listen to, and I’m far from alone in that preference. In a Top Rank Marketing overview and analysis of recent surveys, one statistic stood out in particular: only 4% of respondents indicated that they listen to business podcasts.
Why? Because most of them are boring… long, drawn out and full of pointless chatter about the details of running a business. There’s nothing wrong with being passionate about your job, but the resulting accounts aren’t usually exciting to anyone but the entrepreneurs themselves.
Of course there are exceptions: Noah Kagan presents is entertaining because Kagan talks about his personal experiences as an businesskinda.com – telling stories rather than giving advice.
Related: The perfect work-life balance starts with saying no
5. What happens without the noise?
I was a sponge for the wisdom of the world’s best entrepreneurs and business leaders – I would consume every word in their books, blogs, podcasts and videos. I listened to their interviews while I cooked dinner and jogged around the block – even heard them while I was sleeping! But over time, all that listening made me feel like something was missing. It became noise and not a signal – noise from people trying to sell me something or who had a very different perspective from mine. So one day I decided to stop listening to business gurus altogether, and here’s what happened:
• I started to think more clearly about my own goals
• My productivity shot through the roof
• My creativity blossomed
6. Gurus Probably Don’t Know Squat About Your Industry
We’ve all been there: You’re at a conference and are forced to listen to someone talk about how they’ve made millions of dollars selling their product or service. You can’t help but think, “Wow, if I had that idea, I’d be rich.”
The problem is that he or she probably doesn’t know anything about your industry, but instead has a ready-made answer to everything, and that’s because these types are often generalists – they don’t specialize in anything. So why should you listen to them? The answer is that you probably shouldn’t.
And you know what? If it works for them, fine, but it probably won’t work for you because you’re different from them (and everyone else). You have unique challenges and opportunities that require a unique approach that only you can make.
Cut your own path
After years of chasing the advice of experts and pursuing their success, I decided there was a better way to achieve it. By creating your own model, you focus on the only things that really matter: finding your voice, telling your story and making sure your customers know you exist. Focus on these three things, and the rest will come naturally.
Related: How to forge your own path in business
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.