I’m following an enlightening post on consultants having success in a level lower than the particular clients eyeballing the service. It’s a frequent topic b/c we’re all bombarded by ads from everyone and their mom with webinars, courses and opt-ins. I’m sure if Oprah saw most of our social numbers and looked at us teaching any course or social media, content, or broadcasting, she could technically say, “Who are they to teach that? I’m more successful.”

In reality, the course just isn’t for her. She needs someone that has exceeded her success to mentor or inspire her. The other great point on the thread was that it’s often the inspiration that’s the product, as in the case of a basketball coach that’s a loser that inspires winning teams. I have not known Tony Robbins to give sales and marketing strategy (he might but I don’t follow him like that), but he will awaken the giant within. So there’s that.

I know in this day and age, many are skeptical, and they really should be. Five different folks say they have a surefire way to do things. The gag is there is no surefire way. That is ad copy. They have tested, bombed and did a lot of stuff to try to figure out how to get stuff to work and it only works for their specific circumstances, product, audience and timing.

I hate that folks keep using “exact blueprint” in their copy (it works and that’s what people are looking for so I know that’s why it’s used) b/c they are talking about concrete steps they took but not external things that impact sales and marketing. A lot of the time clients don’t know ANY way so the consultants one way is better than nothing but there are so many other ways to do it, none of which is sure in every individuals case. But outside of the startup space, no one really openly says “Look, I can only show you what worked for me and this may not really do anything for you, regardless of how much money and effort you put into it.”

So, I feel like this:

1. Don’t knock or look down on a consultant who is teaching something that on the surface appears like it won’t be of value. It may or may not be, because there are more than one way to do things. I’ve been surprised plenty of times by people and courses from folks who I felt weren’t where I was.

2. On the flip, don’t be stupid. Read between the lines and do your due diligence. Define key performance indicators for how you’ll define whether something is worth buying into.

3. Ask for the right things though b/c my friends do laugh at people when we get asked for the wrong receipts in an effort to vet. Asking for a resume from a 20 year TV veteran with media placements and social proof on their effectiveness teaching media is laughable. But in all seriousness, it’s often an uninformed effort to vet and that can’t be knocked.

Just make sure your KPI matches the work they will do for you and what you want. Plus, money isn’t always the end result so don’t ask a designer how much money they’ve made their client…please. Many times we don’t go back and ask for income statements, and especially not ever from a design client. Maybe we should but most times we don’t.

4. The level of cynicism I see is disheartening. I get it but I also don’t get it. No one wants to waste money. I got mad the other day because a girl forgot to give me my corn grits when I paid for them. However, the shade I see thrown on other people on if they should be teaching or that their course could’ve been Googled or if they are really making the money they claim is mind boggling. Some people lie about income, I get that. (I actually HATE income reports b/c in the hood you don’t show how much you make lest you get robbed and my mom always said it was rude to ask how much money someone makes. especially since I have an HR background). I understand social proof, accounting and all that. But on both ends, folks are tripping.

5. #1 biz is NOT a sure thing. I’m sorry. I know folks say if you believe it you can achieve it but that is not true with every business, product or market. So if after working with someone you are not instantly rich, it don’t work like that. The profitable consultant has been successful but to my earlier point, it is not surefire 100% of the time and that’s not because they didn’t deliver value. Things outside of information and steps impact success. The best thing to do if your money allows it is learn, do, test, iterate and scale. Most businesses fail because the cash ran out, not because they couldn’t work. So it could very well be that the course (or service) you think wasn’t valuable was but that you ran out of money before you could fully optimize what you learned.

All in all, we all gotta do what’s best for us. But make sure that while your mindset protects you that it doesn’t keep you from things that could actually help you if you weren’t looking at things from a financially traumatized lens

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