Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it. – Benjamin Franklin
Far too many clients come to me with the same problem - they've tried all the online advice out there and ended up confused, tired and pissed off. They haven't achieved the six figure business in 10 easy steps, or the 10x growth with one simple webinar, they haven't been able to apply the advice that sounded so simple when it was offered to them, and they can't work out why. On top of that, the reason they bought into the advice in the first place was because 100's if not 1,000s of happy customers had already seen amazing results so on top of being pissed off, they're also very frustrated with themselves.
I've been there myself, in the very early days of running my business I took advice from someone who I thought was where I wanted to be. It turned out that although she was where I wanted to be in confidence terms (and ostensibly income and lifestyle terms too), her business was based on an entirely different values set than my own. So after a very painful 6 weeks of trying to be someone I wasn't and tipping my entire business idea and any momentum that went with it down the drain, I learned a very important lesson. Don't trust anyone!
Only kidding... you can trust people, but make sure you read this first...
The internet is the ultimate tool for small business owners. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking I could genuinely spend all day indulging my curiosity and falling down rabbit holes in this information wonderland. No piece of information is ever more than a couple of taps away. I remain convinced that it would have been impossible to do this whole ‘business thing’ without it and I really don’t know what people did before. My mum had an incredibly successful business in the 80s and all I can assume is that she started with the phone book and THAT beige BT desk phone - and probably cried every day!
For all the obvious upsides though, there are just as many downsides. As most people do, when I get stuck, I still often look outside of myself for answers. Those couple of taps can take me to a whole world of advice and information on whatever I’m struggling with. I can get free guides, ask questions in online forums, read blogs, and probably find at least one if not several experts on my exact issue.
The result is often a tidal wave of information to sift through. The irony is that this process of sifting creates even more ideas. I often end up feeling overwhelmed with all the things I should be doing in addition to what I was trying to do in the first place. Not to mention all the new ideas that get sparked.
As if that’s not enough to deal with, the people giving that advice are often doing it because they’ve already been successful in the thing I’m struggling with so not only do I feel overwhelmed I also end up feeling inadequate too…
Do you see where I’m going with this? Too much of a good thing is sometimes a bad thing, especially when you look for it online.
Take on too much advice and you end up trying to be someone you’re not. You lose yourself and in doing that, you lose your energy and your authenticity. Do that, and you also start to lose the one thing the right clients buy from you – you. For all those people selling this, sometimes extortionate, advice on the internet, one thing is true, their advice has worked for them, and their customers and in their business - but remember it is as yet, untested in yours.
As with anything, to overcome a problem you frequently encounter you need a simple strategy. So here’s mine - From now on I’m going to approach advice like I would trying on clothes. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t come home with me. If I’m going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe to go with it, it’s not for me. And if I’m looking for a new red dress, I won’t try and buy 10.
In other words, be judicious about the advice you take on board. Breathe, and do a quick assessment of any advice you're going to try and implement. In other words, cherry pick. If it doesn’t feel right, it could be the source is wrong and not aligned to your business or values. It could be the wrong time. Don’t try and implement advice that’s wrong for you in the same way you wouldn’t buy an outfit that didn’t fit or a two seater car when you have 3 kids.
To help you get the right advice, before you seek it out, do a little audit of your problem to make sure you’re clear. Ask yourself where you’re trying to get to, work out what your SPECIFIC issue is and decide what information or knowledge will help you move forward. Some advice is so compelling, especially if the person giving it seems successful and accomplished but for advice to be good it has to be relevant, actionable and specific. Advice tends to be based on what’s worked for the person giving it. Don’t forget that what’s worked for them, won’t necessarily work for you.
Once you’ve got some advice that feels like a fit be critical, evaluate it and apply some thought. Does if feel like something you can implement? Does it fix the problem you set out to solve? And don’t forget it’s absolutely your choice to accept or decline any advice you’re offered and if it’s what you thought anyway, then go for it!