I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of rants on this topic lately from people in lots of industries, but especially from and about people in the online coaching world, so I thought it may be time to add my two cents.
There are a lot of so-called “Experts” out there in the world, offering get-rich-quick-schemes …
“It’s easy to make your first 6 figures! Join my program and I’ll show you how!”
“Make your first $Million in your online business! Pay to sign up and I’ll share with you the exact secrets I used to make my first million dollars in under 18 months! Hint: NO ONE else out there is doing it this way!”
Ok, just reading that makes me feel kind of icky.
While there are plenty of legitimately great programs and trainers and coaches out there (some that I would even highly recommend), the fields of training, consulting, and coaching are feeling awfully watered down by a lot of hype without a lot of substance. And it could be argued that those people who’ve jumped in to chase a quick buck – trying to distract us with empty promises and shiny objects – are diluting what could otherwise be known as a rich and dynamic and powerful industry offering invaluable services from respectable sources. But such is the nature of capitalism and free markets! Similar things have happened in every fast-growing market since the beginning. So, let’s not be shocked. This is nothing new.
But, how can we avoid being SOLD? And how do we avoid sounding like skeezy used-car salesmen if we really do have a product or service that is designed to help others? First, let me say a few things about the reality of this situation as I see it:
No Shortcuts to Success
Being an entrepreneur, starting a business is HARD. I don’t care how you spin it. It takes grit and determination and fierce management of your own mind. It brings up fears and doubts in the most fearless among us. And there are no shortcuts to success. You MUST DO THE WORK to succeed.
“Positioning” is Not Everything
The advice many coaches and “experts” are giving is that all you have to do is “position yourself as an expert” and then you can get followers and people to buy from you. TRUTH: Positioning yourself as anything you’re not is inauthentic and will come back to bite you!
But, You Can Still Show Up with Confidence (Even as a Relative Beginner)
Just because you don’t have a ton of experience doing something, doesn’t mean you don’t know how to do it. Just because you don’t have a ton of results to show, doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have enough to get started. And, it doesn’t mean you can’t still show up with confidence and instill trust in people. The difference is in what you actually say, and how you say it.
Here are some suggestions to help you boost your natural confidence and avoid being fake:
- Take a look at who you really are. What are your values? Do you see yourself in service of others? That’s what you need to focus on – not hype or grand claims.
- Spend your time actually helping people versus marketing. Maybe you have a skillset, but you’re a little light in the experience or results department – take a time out to get some real results before you try to tell everyone how great you are. (I don’t advocate doing a lot of work for free, but this is one area where volunteering your time or finding volunteers to help is a good idea!)
- Get a mentor! Study under someone who does have the results you’re after – again, you have to put in your time before you can claim anything.
- Focus on those end results. What do you want to help people with to get those results? Once you’ve narrowed that down, the marketing language will flow more easily, and it will feel far more authentic and believable, not just to you, but to your potential clients.
More people are showing up wanting help from coaches, trainers and advisors than ever before, and that’s great news! When you have a system for getting other people results, you feel empowered to go take that message out to more people and because it’s real, you will exude the confidence you need to earn trust.
If you’re shopping for a coach or advisor, just being aware of these things can help you, too! As you’re building your business, getting training in the areas where you are weakest (or outsourcing), is incredibly valuable. So, at some point, you will inevitably find yourself shopping for these kinds of services online. And, as I say, every great coach has a coach of their own (or two or three.) If you don’t, please go out and get one ASAP!
Anyway, here are a couple of additional things to consider:
- Are they promising a get-rich-quick scheme? Or, are they focused on helping people and making a difference?
- What are your values? Do they align with the values, either stated or implied by the actions of this person?
- Look at the kinds of results the service provider or product is offering. Consider what your own end game is, and whether it aligns with the results they have gotten with other clients, or for themselves.
- Is there a lot of hype? Are they making grand claims? If yes, proceed with extreme caution.
When you’re putting yourself out there in the early days of your business, showing up with confidence, even when you don’t have much experience is still possible. Just don’t fake it. Be genuine. Be truthful. Play the long game and get the experience. As they say, there’s no price tag on dignity.
If you truly are just trying to get rich quick, well, good luck to you. There’s nothing wrong with marketing – we all have to do it to get clients, but marketers who use coaching for financial gains without concern for the kinds of results their clients are actually getting won’t last long.
When you’re being true to who you are and legitimately aiming to serve people by helping them solve a real problem, you will naturally exude confidence and find it easier to attract the right clients to you. That is my intention for all of you!
Have you seen any outrageous offers or promises out there recently that make your skin crawl? I’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments below!