Ep. 237 Stop following the gurus


In this week’s episode, Anna warns against following all the different ‘gurus’ in your space.

There is so much free information out there, and so many well-intentioned people trying to offer their advice as to what strategy you should be following. It can be inspiring and very informative to consume this kind of content when you’re first starting out.

However, following all these different experts can actually be quite damaging to your business. In this week’s episode, we are looking at how…

• The strategy that worked for today’s industry leaders when they were starting out 10 years ago – or the one that they are using at their more advanced level today – is likely not going to be the right one for you in your business today.

• Creating a patchwork strategy for your own business based on a mix of other people’s approaches is not going to be effective.

• You will become completely overwhelmed if you try to do *all the things* early on.

Have a listen to this week’s podcast episode for more on why you might not want to keep following all those gurus going forwards.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The Outsiders Business Academy – A self-paced course for you to work through in your own time, to learn – and implement – the foundations of building a profitable business that lets you escape the 9 to 5. onestepoutside.com/course

Following the gurus

Hello, hello, I have a controversial one for you today. That’s not like me, I’m usually pretty vanilla. So I’m being pretty provocative today. But hopefully when you’ve listened to the episode, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. And you’ll agree with me. So let’s see.

So stop following those gurus is the headline.

Now, you know who I’m talking about, I’m not going to name them and shame them. Because first of all, they’re hugely successful, incredible people, I admire them, they’re doing an amazing job. This is not a personal attack, we’re talking about the big names in the business that have been around for 1015 20 years as the start of blogging, businesses, they’ve got huge followings, you know, massive networks and fan bases, even names for their fans and books and, and all these things, right. Hugely inspirational. We love to share quotes from them, they’ve probably got TED Talks and all sorts. So okay, what’s the issue? Where Why am I saying that we shouldn’t be following these people. Now? A few different things, right. One is, and I’ve talked about this before, if you’re interested in it, do search for that episode, I think it’s called a can paranoia. So comparison syndrome will come paranoia, you’re comparing yourself and your own fledgling business. I am assuming you haven’t been in business for 20 years with their pretty much 20 years of effort and success, right? They started in different time to you, they started long time ago. And you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg of what they’ve done to get there. And so I think even if it’s subconscious, you feel, and I’ll say, I’ll use I hear I feel, Oh, I wish I could be like that person, or oh, why am I not as successful as them? You know, they’re saying similar things to me, maybe, you know, I’ve got so much value to bring. And that’s just unnecessary stress. And it’s an unfair comparison.

So can paranoia is one problem with following all these gurus. A second consequence of that, I think, is that you tried to emulate them. So they have all these diverse income streams, they interview all these big name people on their podcast, they have low priced courses, they share inspirational quotes on social media, in fact, they’ve got lots of different programs, right. And those things are just not effective. When you’re just starting out, when you’re starting out, you need to focus on getting one income stream working. low priced courses are never going to be effective. When you have a low small audience, you’re just not going to make any money. Sharing vague inspirational quotes on social media isn’t going to make you into a thought leader, unfortunately. So if you’re trying to copy what they’re doing, now, at this stage of their business, I don’t think in fact, I can pretty much guarantee that’s not going to work for you when you’re just starting out. Related to that they have by now a team, right? They have admin assistants, PR, legal content creators, above all, and maybe for you, it’s probably just you and maybe an assistant, right? I have a social media assistant, I haven’t a podcast editor, thank you so much. And so I can’t possibly, and I create a lot of content.

So apologies if you feel overwhelmed or intimidated, or I’m doing too, but again, I’ve built that up over now, what eight years, I think since I started with a newsletter, and I laid on a Facebook group and a higher frequency of email. And then I added the different social channels and the YouTube and the podcast and the books and so on. Right? So they have people who can repurpose, who can you they’ve got incredible production of their videos and things. They’re doing video and audio, and it’s all being edited and captions and slides and music and headings and stuff. And that’s just not possible, we’re going to burn out if we even try to do a fraction of that. Crucially, dramatic pause, I fear that they forgotten what it was like not to have what they have now, not to have an email list of 100,000 people not to have millions of followers, and all these influential friends with podcasts and affiliate programs and things, there seems to be this inner circle of gurus who met at some conference like 1015 years ago.

And when one of them has a book out. And I don’t mean this to be in any way. What’s the word, tinted with any kind of malice, I just, I’m just observing, and I’m admiring them again, they’ve built this incredible network good for them, which is really powerful. So whenever they’re launching a book or whatever they can easily go on when I say easily, it’s still very hard work. But they have this network of influential people who can recommend them who can you know, push their programs as affiliate who can have them on the podcast and so on. So I think unfortunately, as much as they can say, Oh, this is what you need to do when you’re first starting out, I just think they’re so far removed from what it took when you when you started. And look, I’m by no means a guru. I don’t have these huge followings and so on. But actually, I hope that’s an advantage. Because for me, I can build a personal brand and a profitable business model without having those 1000s of millions of followers and of course, I don’t have the seven eight figure success that they have. But I hope it’s sufficiently aspirational to you to be still within reach. Right? It’s inspiring. It’s a few steps. ahead of you, and that’s what you want. So, in a nutshell, I really feel that what they’re doing. And unfortunately, what they’re advising you to do, is most likely not what you need to be doing at this stage of your business. So a few more practical examples, I often see people share, oh, the mindset shifts, you need to get from six to seven figures, the CEO mindset, you know, you’ve got to elevate from being an employee, to a CEO and of your business and so on. And I love the intent of that. And it’s definitely true. And of course, I believe that that’s what’s necessary at a higher level.

But that’s not going to get your first paying clients, me acting like a seven figure, billionaire entrepreneur right now.

I don’t think I could be wrong, you try it and let me know, it’s going to get me my sold out. individual coaching clients and get me those corporate gigs. And you know, all these things, right. So right now, whether it’s your first client or your 50th client, I don’t think that mindset shift is going to get you to where you want to be. When they talk about team and operations, again, so important at that higher level, elevating beyond being the employee, and so on. It’s not relevant for you when you’re just starting out. Now in my programs, my pillars, I do talk about outsourcing, whether it’s an assistant, you know, whether it’s someone on Fiverr, or freelancer helping you out and so on having systems automating using technology, and so on. But I’m not talking about managing a team of salespeople who are selling for you, having all these operational people having team calls every day, to keep you know, to be coaching them and so on, is just not something you can do and need to be doing at this level.

Most importantly, any guru of any size. And I use guru lightly.

And in fact, when I Googled guru, of course, I got more the traditional Indian guru, which is where it comes from, but I think in this marketing space, and in fact, of course, Tony Robbins, if you’re familiar with him has the I think the Netflix film that was I’m not your guru or something like that, which of course, it’s a bit of a double irony. But most importantly, any leader, mentor, influential figure, public figure, has a vision of success and a way that they’ve got there, that will be different to your vision of success and to your path. So again, they started out at a very different time. You know, it could be to pull a few examples that at the time, there weren’t. And in fact, this is true, there weren’t that many mentors and gurus and so on. They weren’t that many websites and having a blog that was search optimized, would actually help you get to the top of Google, right, or having a TED talk was incredible.

Now everybody has a TEDx talk, I don’t, so I’m very inferior. But if it was something I want to do, I’m sure I could work towards that goal. But my vision of success, perhaps is similar to yours. And that’s why you’re you’re following me and listening, and so on this idea of freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment, and the kind of lifestyle business and managing alongside family and travel and living by the sea, and only working three days a week, and so on. But still, even if you aspire to similar things, ethical marketing, and all these things we talk about, your vision of success is very personal to you, and will be different to mine to all these gurus. And again, certainly the path that they’ve taken will not be the path you take. So that’s why when I teach and the coach and mentor, I’m not saying this is the exact blueprint, you need to follow, which unfortunately, a lot of people do say that was all very well, if it’s for a very specific thing, like turning your whatever group program into this evergreen format or whatever, there might be certain concrete things you can do. But if it’s the whole business strategies that work when you’re six, seven figures got a team got a huge following.

You know, if I have a following of an email list of 100,000 people, if I send out an offer, probably a few people will buy, you’d have got 100 people, even 1000 people, the conversion, I think in the past, they said there’s a commercial like 2%, right, so out of 102 people buying that’s pretty good. But it depends on the offer. And if we’re early on, we might not have really effective copy, we might not be super confident with our results and how we’re pitching ourselves and so on our conversion will probably be lower. And so this is just your little health warning. If you’re feeling bad, and yeah, this goes for everything right, I’ve got a lot of body positivity. Now in my Instagram, I unfollowed quite a few business mentors and people who you might argue are competitors or inspirational or peers or whatever you want to call them. Now and then I’ll dip in to see kind of what people doing but then I withdraw.

And I don’t come off social into you know, completely. Some people do have a complete sort of one year off Instagram one month, which is amazing. But I will then focus on what I’m doing. Okay, this is kind of what people are doing at the moment. I like this. I don’t like that. But ideally, I’d be really focusing on Hey, this is what I think is the most valuable for my type of clients. This is what’s ethical and genuine and authentic. Tip to me, and that will then over the long term helped me stand out. So I won’t jump on Oh, everyone’s doing reels right now or because the for that’s a funny example because Instagram was pushing reels and everyone’s doing the pointy fingers and I had a go at that too.

Then I withdrew to sort of more educational instructional videos just me talking to camera, which fits better with me. And now recently Instagram said, Oh, we’re going back a bit more to graphics and so on, you know. So rather than trying to flip flop and follow latest trend, just do Do you Bay, as they say, probably shouldn’t say that myself. And and find what’s authentic to you what’s genuinely helping your audience, what you can show up and do consistently, and so on. And then again, find a mentor who’s a couple of steps ahead of you, not a gazillion light years away. Sometimes you’re at that pivotal moment. And to be honest, I’m a little bit at that moment. Now, when I feel like actually, I want to make a big step change. I know all the stuff that like the sort of similar mentors and so on are helped me Of course, it’s always valuable to have someone to support you. But you know, that’s been the journey I’ve had when I first started, I had peer coaches and my coaching program, I didn’t pay them, they didn’t pay me.

And I still got huge value. But they weren’t mentoring me. They hadn’t had a successful business, it was more about pure coaching, which is incredibly powerful and doesn’t require non coaching expertise and knowledge. In fact, I then let me think it through and I think I met a girl who, whose message really resonated with me at a conference that we were both speaking at in Greece and I then worked with her not super expensive, but my first time of paying someone, then I upgraded to a business mentor who was further ahead of me, she’s now gone way far ahead of me. And now I’m at this moment when actually if I wanted to really up level, I don’t want to dabble anymore.

I don’t want to work with people who are sort of just a couple of steps ahead of me, I want to find someone who may be and I need to then be clear on my next vision are quite a bit ahead of me who can look down, look down on me generously and say, Look, these are things you need to do to get to where you want to be.

So that’s it again, as ever a caveat. But if you’re feeling bad if you’re feeling overwhelmed, achy or intimidated, or you’re desperately trying to copy everything that they’re saying and doing and so on. Maybe try unfollowing them find someone who’s more in your sphere, and and get the guidance that you need right now for your business, right, not for someone who’s at a very, very different stage. So that was useful. And looking forward to your thoughts on this one. And and you know where I am if you want my support. So thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.


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