We all love our business gurus. I’m the same as any entrepreneur, I regularly keep up-to-date with blogs, read Kindles and listen to podcasts from successful and internet-famous business types.
And, why not? These people would charge a small fortune for business coaching but you can get the benefit of their knowledge online for free.
Except sometimes the advice they give isn’t the best. It may be good for those like them but it might not be for the rest of us.
Why? Well, what is a “business guru”? A business guru is someone who has gone further in a shorter amount of time than we have. And, sometimes for that reason, their understanding of the challenges we face is limited.
1. “Niche down”
We’re sometimes told to “niche down” or pick a small market to dominate rather than to be too generalist. (And we’re usually told this by someone who has very broad appeal). Every time I’ve niched down it’s been a disaster and every time I “follow my bliss” and do what I want (write about anything and everything here on the blog, for example) I’ve seen my greatest successes.
I tried to niche down in my ill-fated podcast to solo web designer/business owners looking for clients and I was bored out of my mind after episode 9.
My advice: create a business around what makes you happy, that’s your niche.
2. Create an Avatar
An avatar is your ideal customer. You’re meant to spend ages thinking about their age, sex, job, town they live in (hint, it’s in the US), and likes/dislikes. I’ve always thought this was a complete waste of time.
I’m so delighted that my products are sold all over the world and are popular in countries like India and the Philippines. Would that have happened if I created them whilst thinking about Jimmy, 32, a carpenter from Boise, Idaho, who likes baseball?
My advice: start creating content that interests you and, if people like it, there are your avatars.
3. Get a visual brand
I see a lot of people struggling with this. People think they need the perfect brand with the perfect logo before they start something. This is the worst advice ever.
You will never get things perfect so you should never wait for perfection with your brand (either brand name, logo or, even, domain name).
My advice: just get started with your name (firstnamelastname.com) or any domain. Build your brand by creating great products or services and worry about perfecting the visual brand later.
4. Charge monthly recurring not one-off payments
In terms of online business, monthly recurring revenue is sometimes seen as the holy grail. I was seduced into this way of thinking during my membership site launch where my monthly membership level was instantly unpopular with my customers.
My advice: You have to provide monthly recurring value if you want to charge monthly recurring fees. If you can’t continually provide value and your product is a video course, for example, then a one-off payment may be a better bet.
5. Continual launches
A lot of internet marketers’ income comes from launches. Launches involve a lot of work, constant product creation and can cause “launch fatigue” amongst the audience.
Often the seemingly most successful internet marketers appear to be launching their latest product almost every month. For me, they seem too desperate and lack credibility as a result of continual launches.
My advice: put your products on Udemy where you can receive monthly recurring passive income and not have to bother with continual launches (or marketing or anything else, for that matter).
6. Avoid Udemy
I’ve almost given up on this one. Internet marketers will tell people to avoid Udemy because “they sell courses for $10”. For starters, you can opt your courses out of the $10 offers and the same internet marketers won’t blink when they tell you to put your best video content on YouTube for free.
My advice: Put good stuff on Udemy where you have an audience of 6 million, a finely-tuned marketing machine to do the promotion and constant launching (in a way that won’t induce “launch fatigue”). Put great stuff exclusively on your site to sell at high prices. But, hey, if you don’t want to listen to me, that’s fine!
Outsourcing and building a team is essential to growing an online business but it is often portrayed as the silver bullet by internet marketers.
My advice: Don’t outsource until you’ve started making money with your business. And, even then, proceed with caution because outsourcing is a skill and, like any other skill, it takes practice to master.
Don’t get me wrong!
As I said in the beginning, I avidly follow advice given by people who’re doing better than me in business.
But, remember, the best advice comes from your peers that are a little further along the path than you rather than from the over-achievers.
You can do it
Don’t let the over-achievers dash your self confidence. Everybody loves to say that they’re right and you’re wrong. They may not always be right.
You can do what you want and be successful on your own terms as long as you question everything that you are told.