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THE BOOM OF THE INSTAGRAM GURU and what to look out for!

We are in an interesting time in our world, and it scares me. I have been doing business coaching for over 18 years, and I have never dealt with clients who are so anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, and confused.

It's become harder than ever to build, run, and grow a successful and thriving business. The scary part is that the increase in the number of people struggling in business, combined with the oversaturation of the marketplace, has paved the way for a new kind of snake oil salesman: the business "guru."

Every time you scroll on social media, there is someone else claiming to have the answer to all of your problems. You read their posts, and everything they say sounds so appealing. Maybe they DO have the answer? Maybe they are my only hope?

They make it sound so easy. I can do this!

A client recently approached me, asking for advice on whether she should purchase a specific course she had found online. I struggled with the answer because I didn't want to discourage her from seeking answers and gaining knowledge that could help her with her business. But, I also didn't want to see her waste her money or be disappointed.

I am sure many of you are facing the same dilemma.

There are some amazing coaches out there, and some of them are popular on Instagram. But not every business coach is created equal. In this post, I want to give you some tips for buying a course or hiring a coach, as well as some things to look out for to help you separate the true business coaches who understand the nitty-gritty of how business works from the "gurus" who have figured out how to capitalize on the desperation of small business owners.


#1 Don't Buy a Course From Or Hire Someone You Haven't Personally Interacted With

If you have personally worked with a business coach you trust, and they also happen to offer online programs or courses, then by all means, this is likely worth the investment and risk.

If you have attended a free workshop, class, or course from someone (either in-person or online) and felt you received valuable information that you could immediately implement in your business, it may be worth considering buying their course.

If you have had a free consultation with a coach and 90% of the call was them giving you personalized, real-world advice (as opposed to just trying to sell their product), then they may be someone who will offer valuable information.

#2 Don't Spend Money That You Can't Afford to Lose

The course my client was considering purchasing was around $800. This isn't a huge amount, but for many people, $800 isn't something they can afford to lose. If you happen to be in a fortunate position where spending $800 (or $300, or $1,200, or whatever the cost may be) won't affect you in any way and your goal is to simply seek all the information available, then sure, go for it. Why not?

On the other hand, if you are scraping together funds, going into debt, or having to do without to buy a program, hoping it will FINALLY be the answer you're looking for, I would hold off and look for other solutions.

#3 Don't Buy a Course or Hire a Coach Until You've Read These Four Books

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 and dove in headfirst.

We are in a world overflowing with information, and much of it can be found for the cost of a paperback on Amazon or for free on YouTube. Here are four books you should read before spending money on a course or coach:

CLICK HERE for more information and a rundown of these four books.

There are many other great business books out there, but these are the four that had the greatest impact on me and are perfect to start with. If you need recommendations on others, please feel free to reach out.


#1 They Elude To (or Straight Up Tell You) How Easy It Is

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 you will be successful if you just follow their advice or buy their program 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 to work.

#2 They Make It Seem as Though They Have the Answer That No One Else Knows

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 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 U.S. Department of Commerce, only 7.2% of all solo entrepreneurs ever achieve six-figure business success, only 0.1% ever achieve seven-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, 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 takes 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 "guru" that infuriated me and 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, 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 will have you closing your doors.

Of course, you have to work on your mindset. We all have limiting beliefs that hold 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, the same conclusion arises: 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 affect your business's success.

A good business coach will 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 when their program or course doesn'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!

Don't get me wrong; mindset is a VERY important part of creating a successful business. But that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about making you believe that ALL it takes to create a successful business is shifting your mindset.

#5 The Talk A Lot About Manifesting

This goes hand in hand with the mindset reasoning: you just have to manifest your successful business (or your ideal partner, 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 the credit for that.


The bottom line is you have to 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, keep seeking, and keep trying until you find the answers that resonate and make sense to you.

I'll 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 okay 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 that the next time you are lying in bed at night feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, or the next time you are scrolling on Instagram, you 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 okay. It just means it's time to roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work until you do!

Need some more guidance? Check out these additional blog posts:



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