Starting your own business comes with its share of challenges. You will make plenty of mistakes along the way. One way to minimize the number of missteps is to find a good mentor or coach to help you. But every time I open my email, I have a message from some new "expert" ready to share his wisdom - and latest product - with me, for a price. It seems the internet is overflowing with experts. How do you know who to believe? In an earlier post, I provided a list of my top 10 favorite "gurus". These are the individuals whose advice helped me get started and I highly recommend each and every one of them. They worked for me. I own many of their products and books. But that doesn't mean they will work for you. How do you choose?
Whether hiring a coach, purchasing a product, signing up for a seminar, or simply subscribing to a newsletter, there are certain things to look for to help you make the right choice. Following these steps will help you succeed faster, and keep you from spending money on books and seminars you won't ever use or having an inbox full of newsletters you never read.
1. Does the information offered fill your needs? When I started, I needed to know how to build a website, where to find products, and how to get online. A course on teleseminars or posting videos, while good information, was not what I needed at the moment. Your guru should be an expert in the area you need at the time. Example - Ken Evoy (SiteBuildIt!) for web design or Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) for creating an online presence through blogging.
2. Do they actually provide good information? As I stated earlier, I get hundreds of emails every day and many of them are from the latest expert "sharing" the latest tip, trick, or trend to grow my business. But many times, further reading of their email or website reveals very little useful information and lots of self-promotion. I realize that we are all in business to make money but the best gurus aren't afraid to provide useful information to anyone - for free! Think Ken McArthur or Allan Gardyne.
3. Do they tell the truth? If you are being promised riches overnight (or in a week or even a month) with no effort, no investment, no skills, and no knowledge. you are being lied to. There are many ways to make money online. But they all require work or the money to hire someone to do it for you. They require the skill and knowledge to create a business plan - or the money to hire someone to do it for you. You will need to build websites, market your products or services, deliver your goods to your customers - or find someone to do it for you. And beware the gurus who spend all their time "proving" how much money they made. Anyone can photoshop bank statements or checks showing millions in income - even me (and I'm technologically challenged!). The real experts don't have to convince you they make money. They are to busy running their businesses and showing others how to build theirs.
4. Can you do what they do? A multi-level marketing expert I used to follow suggested the way to build my network marketing business was by purchasing leads and then calling these people every day and making my pitch. She sure was successful, but I hate cold-calling with a passion! Although these were "qualified" leads, the thought of calling someone I didn't know and trying to interest them in my business made me absolutely nauseous. Needless to say, we soon parted professional company.
5. Can they teach? Just because someone is an expert in their field does not mean they know how to share that knowledge with others in a way that is understandable to you.
6. Do they run in the right circles? And by that I don't necessarily mean the "in" crowd. I mean do they know other experts they can introduce you to. The best example I can give of this is Ken McArthur and his jvAlert events. I've had the pleasure of attending a couple of these and it's a veritable "who's who" of internet marketing experts. Ken knows his stuff, and what he doesn't know - well he knows the people who do.
7. Are you comfortable with them? This is an important consideration. Recently, I was going to start working with a new coach. I liked his program. He was recommended by many of my friends. But after talking to him on the phone, I realized I didn't like him! He had a way of speaking that made me feel like I was just the latest check mark towards his quota of new clients for the week. Perhaps it would have changed if I had actually started working with him. But I just couldn't get past that first impression. You must be comfortable with your coach or mentor or you will just be wasting your time.
Finding your guru can take some time and effort, but it is worth it. Do your homework. Ask for recommendations. Check them out. Choose the one that's right for you.