In my post The Frustration of Trying to Make Money Online, item # 3 on my list is “Take Advice with a Grain of Salt” and item #4 is “Follow the Path of a Leader, Not Forum Junkies”. In this article, I’ll cover those two items in more depth.
I like working on cars. I prefer to fix my own vs. taking it somewhere, because I enjoy it, and I do a better job than most places I’ve ever taken a car to have it repaired.
There’s a lot of similarity with getting advice on creating a successful internet business and asking advice about a problem with your car. It’s just like going down to the local auto parts store to get some part you need to fix your car and making the mistake of asking a question that’s a little deeper than “Do you have such and such in stock”, you’re going to get a wide variety of answers, some wrong, some close to right, and maybe one correct answer (if you’re lucky). There are usually a few people standing around willing to offer their opinions too.
I remember a time several months ago when my wife’s van had a problem with the battery not staying charged. I suspected the alternator, but wanted to drop by a parts store and get them to hook it up to their battery tester and make sure that the battery was good. Well I got stuck with the guy who “knows” everything but couldn’t make it as a mechanic. He couldn’t make it through rolling the cart out to the van and hooking up the test leads to the battery terminals without lighting a cigarette and scratching a few places I’d just as soon not see him scratch. My wife and youngest son were waiting in the van during this. He proceeded to find the need to explain to me what a diode was and how it worked and that the problem was probably a bad diode. Now I know what a diode is and how you configure four of them to create a rectifier to change alternating current into direct current. Listening to his explanation was humorous in a sad, sick kind of way: not completely wrong and definitely not right either. Plus, even if that was the problem, you can’t replace the rectifier on new alternators easily, it’s better to just get a new or rebuilt unit. To someone who didn’t know better, this guys advice would have sounded good: it was filled with bits and pieces of actual knowledge, but would have resulted in more running around and more trouble than necessary, and still may not have solved the problem.
The point to all this: if you don’t know the source well enough to know that they do, in fact, know what they’re talking about, then you’re taking a big risk following their advice.
If, instead of an automotive parts question, I’d been searching for answers to my business issues, and, If I’d read this guy’s advice in an internet forum and followed it, I might be in trouble. Maybe I would have just made some simple mistakes, perhaps I would have lost thousands of dollars, or missed making thousands in missed sales. If, I thought this guy was the King of Making Money on the Internet and paid him thousands of dollars for coaching or for products, I’d still be just as lost.
How much does bad advice costs, who can say, you can’t usually take both paths (taking the advice vs. not taking the advice), you can only make sure the path you’re following was made by someone whose knowledge is accurate AND whose morals and methods are above reproach. Read this post Internet Business Ethics 101 – Eric Graham Rip Off Scam for more information on an actual scam complete with bad advice.
For good advice, check out my Insiders Guide to Promoting Your Business Online!
Until next time,