How to Handle Bad Advice (And How to Know When You Receive It)
Everyone is an expert or a guru these days and they want to make sure you know it. Bad advice is rampant with the internet. While the web has valuable information, much of it is garbage and not worthy of attention, let alone following advice given. How do you handle bad advice (and how to know when your receive it)?
This article is not about advice given by people you talk to at your office or your family. It's more about the advice self-proclaimed gurus offer and try to make money from that advice. After all, this website is about how to get paid. I think limitingi the discussion will make the article manageable and readable. Otherwise, I'll probably go off on a tangeant - that's still possible, by the way 🙂
We can likely break this process down into a few steps. Here are the steps I came up with, followed by an explanation for each. For those visiting who are skimmers, I'll consider your needs as well as those who want a bit more substance.
Steps for Evaluating Advice:
The Person as the Source of the Advice
Who is giving the advice? Does this person have a website that is related to the advice given? This is a big clue. What is the quality of the website?
The References Given by the Source
Authoritative people know where to find information in their fields. They also know the best resources. These will be more complete than what you'd find from a standard search engine search. Otherwise, why would you need the experts?
The Reason for the Advice
Did you receive a random email from someone offering advice? Perhaps it was a phone call. The point is, you weren't thinking about the advice before you received it.
The Advice Benefits the Adviser Alone
What's in it for you? If you can't find anything that seems to indicate you'll receive benefit from the advice, this is a good clue that you are being sold on something that isn't going to work, or worse, is a scam.
How Plausible Is the Advice Given?
Is the advice shrouded in mystery, or is it straightforward? Sales techniques try and push your buttons, which mean they'll be plenty of information that isn't given with the initial advice. Does this mean all sales pitches are bad? Not necessarily. But, you have to be selective and discerning.
Is the Advice for Something Too Good to Be True?
If the advice you receive sounds too good to be true, then the likelihood of it being bad advice is high. Sometimes, gurus will try to rope you in with enticing offers for small amounts of money. But, you can't get access to the true "secret sauce" unless you're willing to pay thousands of dollars.
It's Conventional Wisdom. It Has to be True!
We rely on conventional wisdom and gurus focus on this. An example is if you work hard, you'll get ahead in life. However, working hard doing the wrong activities, you'll end up wasting time and money. This doesn't mean you should slack off. But, finding the right techniques will get you further ahead and you won't have to work as hard.
The rest of this article goes into greater details the items listed above. This is for readers who want more depth. Skimmers can jump directly to a system that delivers on advice that is worthy of your attention.
Evaluating Advice (More Detail)
1. The Person as the Source of the Advice
The internet is a bit of a double-edged sword for advice givers. While some people can be fooled, the web is a dead giveaway for verifying information for those willing to put in the effort.
Check the advice giver's website (if they even have one). Does it seem credible? Do they have a lot of content as it relates to the advice they are giving? If the website contains personal pictures and recipes but the advice is about making money online, there's a disconnect.
An example of this is suppose someone is selling you information on how to be a bestselling author on Amazon. Did you know that many people won't even check whether this author has a bestselling book on Amazon? If someone is trying to sell me on how to become a bestselling author, you can bet that I am going to look to see their statistics on being an author. You should do the same.
The quality of the content that exists on the website is important to evaluate, too. Plenty of bloggers will copy content from others, or they'll take content and spin it. When you read through the information, you can't even make sense of it. This is a red flag!
People can set up a website in less than a day. Therefore, you have to be extremely critical when using someone's website as a factor for evaluation. The website of the adviser should contain helpful resources and articles,etc.
It's okay if the website sells products and services. People have the right to make money from their efforts. But, selling should not be the only aspect of a website. There should be an overwhelming amount of useful, and free information. For someone to be authoritative, they must develop trust. The only way to do that is by creating goodwill on the web. The internet is all about sharing!
2. What References Are Given for the Advice?
Anyone can do a simple Google search. You'd be amazed at how many people pass themselves off as authoritative and their primary source of information is a standard Google search. They learn a few good techniques on copywriting, and their off to the races.
Check the sources. If someone offers you advice, do a simple Google search to see if that advice appears on page 1. Advice from authorities comes from deeper sources. They have done their homework and convey this with the quality resources they include.
Caveat: it's not necessary for all advice to come with resources. However, in most cases, this can solidify the position of the authority advice giver.
3. What Is the Reason for Receiving this Advice?
If you were cold called with advice, then you have to ask yourself why suddenly you need this advice. Before the cold call, it didn't even impact your life. The adiser is trying to create a need in you (pushing your buttons). Sales copy is known for this. The seller tries to get you to relate to a problem that exists (even if you haven't experienced it but could someday!) It's better to be prepared, right?
Insurance companies are notorious for this tactic. Let's scare the pants off them so they whip out their checkbooks! It's selling 101!
I am not going to argue the merits of having insurance. In many cases you need it for certain activities, but insurance companies become stingy the minute a claim is made. They'll refer you to the terms of service which they know is never read by anyone.
You just need to be aware of this and remember that five minutes before you received the advice, you never heard about it before. Of course, if you are looking for a solutions to some problem, then this does not apply as much.
4. What's In It for You?
If the person offering advice is hell bent on getting you to sign up based on incomplete information, take a step back and ask what you get out of it. If they are getting you to pay money or sign up to a newletter (only to get bombarded with ads), then you should get something in return.
If the advice giver is looking out only for himself and all he wants is your money, this will become obvious as you ask more questions.
As an example, I recently got hacked on Facebook (hard to imagine, right?) and someone posing as one of my friends tried to sell me on this organization that gives tens of thousands of dollars to individuals to help them pay bills. It thought it rather strange of this friend to carry on in this manner, so I started asking questions about our friendship.
Suffice it to say, I figured out he wasn't who is was supposed to be. After I changed my password, I contacted my friend to have him change his.
The joker (hacker) kept trying to pressure me to sign up which the more aggressive he got, the more questions I asked that he couldn't or wouldn't answer. Don't let people pressure you with the guise of providing you incomplete advice. Ask a bunch of questions and the truth will reveal itself.
By the way, legitimate sellers will have no problem answering quetions and telling you how you'll benefit. You'll have to decide whether it is worth it, though.
5. Is the Advice Given Plausible?
Can you take the advice you were given and do something with it? Or, is what you need to do seem unplausible? Sometimes, gurus will give you partial advice and when you unravel the layers, you're spending a lot of money on tools or resources you don't need.
The guru collects affiliate commissions for each of these tools you sign up for. It's not a scam, necessarily, it's just not something that is likely to make you a lot of money. In fact, you'll spend a lot. These tools can add up to hundreds of dollars per month. You'll be so overwhelmed by the tools and by the time you figure out they aren't working, you've spend several thousands of dollars.
The above scenario (not the only one, mind you) is a big reason to ask serious questions. What will be expected of you? How much extra money will you be dishing out? What is the purpose of these tools that they recommend? Can you get along without them? And so on.
6. Does It Sound Too Good to Be True?
This adage is true today as it ever was before. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. When the Facebook hacker posing as my friend told me he received $90,000 to help pay his bills, this falls under the category of too good to be true. I even asked what the catch was and what's in it for me. He just kept pressuring me to sign up.
Red flag - Red Flag - Red Flag!
7. It's Conventional Wisdom. It Must Be True!
We don't challenge enough the information we are given. We take it at face value. We could speculate for months about why this is, but it is true. The example I gave in the short version is about working hard. Again, you can work hard but get nowhere. We're also told to work smart, but are never truly told what that means, either. It's better to work smarter than harder. Great! But, how do you do that?
Another favorite is you need to spend money to make money. There is some truth to this, but not for every occasion. And, people often don't know what to spend money on. It gives them a false sense of security by equating spending with an increased chance of success. "Well, I am spending money, so that is the secret to success." Yeah, but what are you spending your money on? Senseless spending will lead you to the poorhouse!
You may have heard the term fake it until you make it. Basically, this entails lying to people. You are pretending to be an expert in something and trying to fool a bunch of people. If that isn't a textbook definition of risky, I don't know what is. It only takes one person to discover you don't know what you are talking about and they will spread that fact to thousands. Try to recover from that negative PR!
My Advice to You
I am going to advise you on how to get started on creating an online business. Now, you may be thinking why is my advice good, and doesn't follow all the bad points in this article.
That's a fair question, but one I can answer easily.
I have been working with online businesses for several years now and have had ups and downs. The main reason why I started Get Paid Boot Camp (this website) was to help others by transferring the knowledge from my experiences. I am experienced in creating websites, marketing them, writing blog posts, writing eBooks, PPC advertising, Adsense ads, and a host of other topics too numerous to mention.
I have made money online and still do. I generate a steady income from my websites. It's not enough to retire yet, but it is growing, although it's not always an uphill growth. Online business are subject to peaks and valleys just like any other business. But, this is all part of the experiences that I share here on this website.
Here's the advice: if you want to earn money, you need a business concept that works. You need training, along with coaching to keep you on track. This is advice you can take to the bank!