How to Avoid Bad Business Advice

how to avoid bad business advice
how to avoid bad business advice

Has someone ever told you, with conviction “Oh, you HAVE to do public speaking to market your life coaching business, it’s the ONLY WAY.”

Or “I did Facebook groups and you should too! That’s how I got my first coaching clients.”

Or “Have you gotten on Instagram? It’s worked for me to get clients!”

And it sounds so so good!

So you instantly leap into action, only to find yourself running in about 1,000 directions, trying all these new things and feeling overwhelmed?

And still nothing seems to be working? (why??? How!@@#??).

It seemed so promising but you STILL don’t have any results in the form of people paying you for coaching.


(Here’s an article on that shiny-object-syndrome mentality, you need to read it immediately if not sooner).

Here’s the thing: You, my friend, may have taken bad business advice…for you.

How do I know?

Great question!

I know because you didn’t ask any follow up questions or really dig into the advice you received.

Follow up questions like: “You got your first few clients from Facebook? Awesome! How many clients exactly? How much did they pay you? How did you sell them on coaching? How many do you get now? How much time do you spend on FB marketing to get these clients? Do you feel like it’s a good ROI on your time?”

See? You are making a business decision without all of the facts, and the facts are revealing.

Most of the free and friendly advice you receive is from people who honestly don’t know what they are doing. They also don’t know you or your business, so they don’t know if what works for them will really work for you (even while they are telling you that YOU MUST do it).

For instance: Me telling you that you ABSOLUTELY NEED to public speak as it’s the ONLY WAY doesn’t necessarily take into account that you hate talking to people and would rather die. Therefore this is not helpful advice for you.

And when you dig in and start asking questions, you discover that these people may have gotten two free clients and only 1 paying client from their free Facebook group, after spending 100 hours in there trying to market it. That’s not a real business.

Or maybe they did one speaking gig and got one client. Not a real business.

Or you find out that “worked for me on Instagram” means a couple of paying clients, but again, NOT a real business.

Or even NO paying clients at all, just a bunch of likes and effort.

To be clear: I’m not saying these people are bad or you should immediately toss their advice, I’m just saying…

Don’t take action without understanding the real context.

If I tell you not to start a Facebook group, ASK ME QUESTIONS about it. Don’t just take my word, understand what drove me to tell you this.

(Or better yet, read this blog where I detailed what I did to build a group of thousands of people, and why it didn’t work for me and my business, and things you should keep in mind when you make your own decision).

If I tell you public speaking is helpful and a way to get clients, push me on that information. Ask me how I did it (speaking at free events that catered to my demographic), why I think it works (because personal sells faster and is harder to ignore) and how much money I made from doing that (that was how I made my first 6 figures years ago), and of course, what I would recommend about what works and what doesn’t work (read that here).

And then think about if my answers make sense for YOUR business and your personal style.

We are different, what works for me may not always work for you, and that’s okay. Just be informed so you can make smart decisions.

Coaches are optimistic, and that is our flaw.

No matter how experienced you are, asking for context around advice is hugely important.

In fact, I almost fell prey to this VERY problem of bad business advice about 5 seconds ago. Which is frustrating to admit, because I’d like to think I’ve gotten better about this.

Sigh. Apparently not.

I was trying to make a big decision on marketing and ad dollars for Coach Pony, and I had what I thought was a good idea. I did in-depth research, thought and planned, and finally started to ask for advice as my final bit of research/validation before deciding.

I asked someone I deeply respect and admire to share her experience with me on this particular idea and she said “Oh it’s terrible. Don’t do it. It totally didn’t work for me and my business.”

I asked a follow up question or two about how she approached things and if she did some best practices I researched and she said “Of course! I did abc and xyz and it STILL didn’t work.”

So I was deflated.

My genius idea …. was unworkable.

I was back to the drawing board, started unwrapping some stress chocolate, and then…

I asked someone else with a slightly different background.

And she was like “Oh, this totally works.”

So I said “But X told me it didn’t and went into a lot of detail as to why.”

And she said “Oh yeah. I know about that – X actually only did 40% of what she needed to do. She never actually did the other 60%…” and then she went into more detail on why she said that, what exactly X did, and why it didn’t work, and of course, how she knew.

As she shared, I realized I had forgotten to ask X a few crucial questions, and if I had, the reasons for her bad results would have been so much more clear to me.

Getting more details and context allowed me to make a far more informed decision on where to spend the precious time and resources I have as a coach.

Advice in many cases is neutral, it’s up to us to dig in and figure out if it’s going to be helpful to us, as life coaches.

Wondering what to ask? No worries!

Here’s a question starter list to help you dig deeper so you get good advice:

1) Thanks for your recommendation! Tell me more: How many clients did this get you?

2) What did you do exactly to get those clients? Walk me through it!

3) How much time did this effort cost you? How much time do you spend on this?

4) How many clients is this getting you now, does it still work for you?

5) What are you charging – is this approach allowing you to charge a profitable rate?

6) How long have you been doing this? Is this a new thing you are trying or do you have plenty of experience with it? Did you get any help or training with this or are you self-taught? (This is a good one to ask when people tell you NOT to do something because it didn’t work for them).

7) Why do you think this worked for you?/Why do you think this DIDN’T work for you? Tell me more!

8) How many clients do you expect to get in the future from doing this? How did you get to that number?

You’ve got this! Go out there and get the advice and help you need, just make sure to dig a little deeper, okay?

Here’s one more thing to know IMMEDIATELY

Lots of advice can lead to lots of shiny objects and overwhelm. THERE’S SO MUCH TO DO.

If you are feeling that way, here’s some help to cut through the crap and get you focused on what’s really important: How to get paying clients for your coaching business.

Click here  – no opt-in required! You can just read this and immediately feel better 🙂 .