Greetings folks! For this week’s blog posting, I wanted to address something I get many questions about from clients and different people when it comes to who and what they should invest in to help them grow their businesses and “fix their lives”. In a follow up blog post, I am going to give you some tips on how to conduct some due diligence before you fork over your hard earned dollars, but for today I am going to lay some ground work for that blog post with my observations on the “Myth of the Expert”. Please note that this blog post is not directed at those of us who actually know what we are doing. This blog post is my attempt to share an observation of how marketing and social media are changing the game for all of us who are in the business of helping others.
Now for the #whitemeatoftruth: We live in the age of the “expert” or what I like to call the “Instaguru” and it is starting to cause challenges in how many people are getting work done and are relating to their lives. This is especially true in the follow your passion, live your dream world of coaching. There used to be a time when consumers were more diligent with whom they gave their time, money and attention to. But now with all of this emphasis on “living our best lives” “profiting from our passions”, “cashing in on our callings” and all of the other motivational, inspirational and aspirational messages out there- many of us are being blinded by smoke and mirrors. At best- people are getting side-eye worthy advice. At worst- people are putting themselves of the path of no return by following an “expert’s” misguided advice.
There are too many people running around out here in these streets calling themselves experts when in reality, what they have is great training (on how to market and brand themselves as a personality) and a good strategy (on how to appear competent, authentic and resonant via their website copy). Some “experts” think that this work, along with just their own personal success makes them qualified enough to help others through major life and business issues and charge big bucks to do so.
We are so enamored by the pretty packaging we are not fully paying attention to what’s actually coming out of the mouths of some of these guru’s that we fancy. And we damn sure aren’t paying attention to whether or not the content that they are selling is actually good or useful. Sometimes we are so in love with what they virtually represent, we refuse to verify the “knowledge” and the “wisdom” that they are actually sharing (sidebar: I have seen some amazing fuckshit on social media). Pretty packaging has swooned us so that we are losing our good minds and our good money (that we don’t have) buying programs, services and experiences that promise the stars but really yield nothing more than dusty ass hope and chicken coop wisdom.
One of the main reasons why everyone is now an expert is because somebody told us that we all have expertise to sell. I’m not sure who that somebody is but I’d like to have a chat with them. Another reason can be attributed to the sorcery of online marketers and their own expert use (or manipulation) of psychology, pull marketing tactics, behavioral economics and social media. Their client-attraction tactics work smashingly because they appeal to the aspects of us that want to be successful, known, connected, prosperous and abundant so we buy into their programs to help us “market our expertise. This is all fine and well but the problem arises when their client the “expert” – whose heart may be in the right place- doesn’t have much to offer in the form of actual expertise in a subject.
The personal branding tactics taught by marketers work so well that they magically turn any dullard into a “digital aficionado” or the person with a drive to “do good” into a “life strategy expert” who can help you go from “broke to blessed in 90 days or less”. When other “experts” start to see the success of that other person they decide to sign up for the “make me an expert” program and round and round we go. This is not to say that all online marketers are terrible (because I’m sure there are some good ones out there), and that anyone who calls themselves an “expert” is a liar- it’s just that too many of the marketers who are training other people to be perceived as “experts” are not ensuring that the people they are helping are actually good at what they do.
And let’s not even talk about the experts who came to form because of their pontification skills across different social media outlets.
I am not here to knock anyone’s hustle. Hell, I have a hustle of my own. What I am not here for are people charging mega money for programs that do not deliver the results promised. For the most part- I don’t think this is intentional. I think that what has happened is that many “experts” have spent so much money and time on the image- that they have perhaps not invested as much time in making sure that their content was good and that they are credible. And then again there are just some folks out here in this business world who are scammers, but that’s another post for another day.
This phenomenon used to get me so hot because I’ve been took for my ends and I have spent a lot of time consoling and helping people who have lost time, money, and faith from being burnt by the pretty one to many times. It was only recently that I decided to stop being irritated and start doing something about it by sharing good, truthful and actionable information with folks and making it accessible- hence this series of blog posts.
When it comes to your sanity, time and money, you don’t want to be taking advice from Ramen Noodle Experts (no offense to Ramen). Here are some questions to ask yourself before you take the advice or counsel of an expert:
- What are their qualifications and credentials- for real? Many people are calling themselves Dr, but Dr of what is the question.
- Who have they actually helped that is not a close friend or relative?
- How much experience do they have in what they are claiming expertise in? I am a firm believer that we all have to start somewhere (I did and so did you)- but if both the qualifications and experience are slim, it’s probably not the best idea to pay top $$ for that person’s expertise. I could be wrong though.
- Is their advice/counsel relevant to you and actionable for you?
- Do they follow their own words of wisdom most of the time?
- And if all else fails- ask yourself either internally or out loud “does this make sense”? If your answer is “this shit don’t make any sense”– you are to run in the other direction as fast as you can.
This about sums it up for now. In my next blog post, I will share the series of questions that I have now started to ask myself before I invest in any time of business building or life affirming program.