We are in an interesting time in our world and it scares me. I have been doing business coaching for over 15 years now and I have never dealt with clients who are so anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated and confused.
I have several theories as to why this may be the case and I don't believe there is one single answer.
I do know that it is easier than ever to throw up a website and say you're a business owner. This is especially true in the wedding industry. "I love to arrange flowers...I'm a floral designer." "I planned my sister's wedding...I'm a wedding planner."
Now look, I'm not saying that you shouldn't follow your dreams and start your own business. What I am saying is that it's not enough that are good at something. This is just one small factor in creating a successful business.
It seems as though Covid sent this surge of new businesses into overdrive and it is oversaturating the market, that's a fact!
I believe that it is harder than ever to build a successful, sustainable business and people are struggling.
Here comes the scary part! With the surge of people struggling in business (some people who have had successful businesses for years) and the oversaturation of the marketplace, has also come the boom of the Instagram Business Guru.
Every time you scroll on social media there is someone else telling you that they have the answer to all of your problems. You read their posts and everything they are saying sounds so appealing. Maybe they are the answer? Maybe they are my only hope?
They make it sound so easy, I can do this!
Maybe some of you have even invested in some of these programs and are still struggling. Now you are even more frustrated and confused.
I am NOT a flashy Instagram coach. I know I "should" do more marketing on social media but I don't feel like I need to at this point in my career and I certainly don't have any desire to become an Instagram Guru.
The Instagram Guru has changed the face of coaching. It's harder than ever to compete as a business coach. Some people may even question whether I am jealous or bitter but that couldn't be farther from the truth.
I am not jealous and bitter, I am angry and sad.
I am angry and sad because I see how the small business owner is struggling. I personally talk to small business owners every day who are feeling hopeless.
I am also sad because I know what a huge impact hiring a business coach can have on a business. How hiring the right coach can take someone from hopeless and struggling to excited and thriving in their business.
There are some amazing coaches out there and some of them are popular on Instagram. But not every business coach is created equal and, in this post, I want to give you some things to look out for to help you separate the true business coach who truly understands the nitty gritty about how business works and the business "guru" who has figured out how to capitalize on the small business owner's desperation.
#1 They make you feel like it is easy OR they come right out and tell you it's easy.
Business is NOT easy and business at this particular point in history is harder than ever. It seems like now more than ever, everyone is looking for a quick fix. Any coach who tells you (or insinuates) that if you just follow their advice or buy their program, you will be successful isn't doing you any favors.
You need to put in the hard work. The sooner you accept this fact, the sooner you can start rolling up your sleeves and getting started.
#2 They tell you that they have "the" answer.
There is no one answer, period!
There are a million moving parts to running and growing a successful business. You need to first understand the intricacies of business and then create a solid step-by-step plan to tackle each one of these intricacies.
The idea that you can just create the right Google ad, optimize your site for SEO or post the right reels on Instagram and, your business will be successful is nonsense.
#3 They promise or suggest crazy success in a short period of time.
Six figures in six months! Create a million-dollar business in a year!
Can this happen? Of course, it's possible.
Is it likely? Probably not.
Is it easy? NO!
According to the Kauffman Foundation, only 6% of all entrepreneurs ever achieve 6-figure business success, only 2% ever achieve 7-figure success and more than 50% of all business owners never exceed $25,000 each year. As hard as this is to swallow, these are the facts!
Another fact is that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
I know, it's depressing. and I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I understand the appeal of the Instagram Business Guru. They get to be your Fairy Godmother, sprinkling you with hope. But, it's false hope.
Hope truly comes from understanding the hard work, resilience and tenacity it takes to succeed. It is what it is and it's your job to decide if you have what it take to go through the fire and come out the other side with a successful, thriving business.
#4 They talk a lot about mindset.
I recently came across an IG post from a Business Guru that infuriated me and it's one of the things that inspired me to write this post.
She said that the first thing she tells ALL of her new clients is to double their prices immediately. Why? Because they deserve it and when they start believing they deserve it is when they will be successful.
What??? This is insanity!
How does she know that every single one of her new clients deserves to double their prices? Maybe they offer an inferior service or product. That kind of entitlement mentality in business is exactly what is going to have you closing your doors.
Of course, you have to work on your mindset. We all have limiting beliefs that are holding us back but to tell people that ALL they need to do is change their mindset and they will be successful is insane and reckless.
My biggest problem with this type of advice is the toll it takes on our emotions and the damage it does to our psyche. All I have to do is change my mindset but I can't stop these negative thoughts from coming. UGH...there must be something wrong with me. It's useless.
I have been working so hard on changing my mindset and staying positive and it's not working, there must be something wrong with me.
Everywhere you turn is the same conclusion. It must be me, there must be something wrong with me.
There is nothing wrong with you! You are human and changing your core limiting beliefs is one of the hardest things you will ever do. It takes time, it takes practice and it is just one of the many factors that can have an effect on your business's success.
A good business coach is going to have empathy and compassion for your struggles and guide you to overcome your negative and limiting beliefs.
What a perfect excuse for the Instagram Guru for why their program or course didn't work for you. It's not my program or course. I guess you just didn't want it bad enough or you let your limiting beliefs get the best of you. Such BS!
#5 They talk a lot about manifesting.
This goes hand in hand with mindset reasoning. You just have to manifest it your successful business (or your mate, or your perfect body) into existence.
Ummm, ok??? I guess you are just doing it wrong. There must be something wrong with you.
I guess the millions of small businesses that struggle and close their doors every year just didn't have strong enough vision boards. Yeah, that must be the reason. INSANITY!
Hey, I love a good vision board but I absolutely guarantee you that my vision board is not what has brought me success over the last 25 years! My resilience, tenacity and hard work get all of the credit on this one.
#6 They are charging for high ticket programs with no face time.
It is crazy to me that someone would spend thousands of dollars (or even hundreds) for a program with no one-on-one face time with a business coach!
There is no "one size fits all" business plan or system. Every person is different and every business is different.
Are there some fundamentals to business success that are important to know? Absolutely. Are they worth thousands of dollars? Absolutely not.
When I started out in business, I was completely clueless and 25 years ago, we didn't have Instagram Gurus. I went out and found every business book I could find and dove in head first.
We are in a world that is overflowing with information and a lot of it can be found for the cost of a paperback on Amazon or for free on YouTube.
Do the work!
Don't know where to start? Seek answers. Try something new and if that doesn't work try something else! Keep going and keep seeking and keep trying until you find the answers that resonate and make sense to you.
I will tell you one thing. If the answer that resonates with you is that you should be able to manifest it or that it should be easy...keep looking or do yourself a favor and throw in the towel now.
I am not your fairy godmother, I will never be an Instagram Guru and I am more than ok with that.
A good coach will be honest with you even if it's not something you want to hear.
A good coach will always have empathy and compassion for you and will be by your side to help you figure it out together.
My hope in writing this post is so the next time you are laying in bed at night feeling frustrated or overwhelmed or the next time you are scrolling on Instagram, I want you to remember that you aren't doing it wrong and there is nothing wrong with you.
You just haven't quite found your way yet and that's ok. It just means that it's time to roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work until you do!
I decided to write this postscript to my blog post when a client recently approached me asking for advice on whether she should purchase a course she had found online. I guess she didn't read my blog post. lol
I struggled with the answer because I don't want to discourage her from seeking answers and gaining knowledge that could help her with her business BUT, I also don't want to see her waste her money or be disappointed.
I am sure that many of you are facing the same dilemma, and even after reading my post, are still considering purchasing online courses or programs.
So, I decided to write a follow-up blog post to answer my client's question and to guide you as well to make the best decision if you are considering purchasing an online business course or program.
Visit my post Don't Buy Another Business Course or Program Until You Read These Four Books for the answer.
Well, I guess part of the answer is in the title of the post, but there's more too, I promise. ;)