Have you seen….

— A public speaking coach who says umm all the time.
— A motivational speaker who has to pump themselves up every morning.
— A social media marketer who relies upon spamming for business.
— A dating coach who has insane relationship problems.
— A business coach who has never run a business before.

The coaching profession has absolutely exploded.

Now everyone is an author, speaker, and coach.

Take a weekend seminar and hire a ghost writer– that’s all it takes.

Then pay $500 to get yourself “featured” on Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post.

Pay $20 on Fiverr to get 5,000 followers each of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Pay $3,000 to get a blue check mark on Facebook and Twitter.

People want “instant authority”, and the influence peddlers are happy to fill the need.

Why put in the work to develop a real skill or a real business when you can be an “influencer” by checking the boxes above?

I speak at a few dozen conferences a year. So I can tell you that behind the scenes is a lot of fraud by well-intentioned people.

The time it takes to put together a solid presentation, coordinate logistics, travel all over the place, and so forth, means the time that used to be for hands-on execution disappears.

Dunning-Kruger is alive and well- and knowing what that is will change your life.

I’ve not put together a presentation in years.

Instead, I open a web browser and start sharing, going where the audience has questions.

And I’ve cut way back on travel, since the team needs me, my body needs me to treat it with respect, and I need to focus on priorities.

The concept of #LDT is Learn > Do > Teach.

In other words, teach only from your direct, demonstrable, step-by-step experience.

The flood of instant coaches will give way to mentors.

** Mentors share from experience and are motivated by love for their students.

** Fake coaches share vague aphorisms and are motivated by their self-promotion.

** Mentors have systems and clear processes to transparently guide people along the way.

** Fake coaches have speeches and videos that tease you, designed with escalating price tags.

** Mentors have successful students that are living proof of their mission and process.

** Fake coaches have pictures they took with famous people at events, where they stood in line to get their photo.

Next time you hear someone say they are an influencer, replace it with the word “famous”.

Then see how ridiculous this sounds by attempting to introduce yourself, with a straight face, to friends and colleagues as someone who is famous.

Let your students and customers do your promotion for you.

We screen all potential clients and specialists for their goals in what we call a 3×3 Goals Sheet.

Most get rejected because their focus is only on them, instead of service to others.

They want sales and Lamborghini’s (nothing wrong with having money, in itself), but not by creating even greater value to others.

We’ve turned down a lot of really bright, hard-working people because we know their own values will disqualify them later.

And we bring on the earnest, under-privileged unskilled folks who wouldn’t get hired elsewhere, when we see potential and cultural fit.

Your competitive advantage is your people, which stems from your culture.

So your culture is not some inspirational poster on the wall from HR, but something you actively share and live.

Because if you don’t, then you’ll attract the self-promoters in droves, unconsciously incompetent about the Dunning-Kruger that plagues them.

Expect this problem to continue to grow in the future.

Maintain a photo album

If you’re an author, speaker, coach, founder, entrepreneur, or public figure of any sort, you must maintain a primary photo album of your speaking and networking pictures.

These galleries generate the highest authority and engagement for your personal brand at the lowest cost, especially if you boost to audiences of the conferences you’ve spoken at.

When people click into a gallery, you’ll get many other clicks (and often likes), which is why your interactions can be greater than reach sometimes).

And this generates stories, which drive further organic engagement.

Make sure to add descriptions to all photos.

Don’t attempt to sell here– whether promoting your products or services or including links. You’ll get killed algorithmically, and it just makes sense to educate for mid-funnel behavior.

Follow Logan Young here as an example of what anyone can practically accomplish– no matter how “busy” you are, if you don’t have money, or whatever other real or perceived barrier.

If you believe you have a message worth sharing, then you ought to at least be doing this on a public figure page (not a user profile).

Guard your time jealously– it’s okay to charge for it.

Most of the popular speakers, bloggers, podcasters, and other public figures are nearly flat broke, even though they’re ranked #1 in various lists and have huge audiences.

Why? Because they’ve focused on delivering amazing content (in itself not a bad thing), building their network (to bring on good guests to interview), and otherwise being busy in the production and editing of content.

But they don’t treat it like a BUSINESS.

And because they’re not looking at monetizing or perhaps even don’t have a list, they don’t have the funds to hire people to run operations– to build courses, project manage, sell consulting, and so forth.

That’s the chicken-and-egg.

The general public believes these folks to be super rich, since they’re hobnobbing with billionaires and flying all over the planet.

But folks on the inside know the reality– that travel eats up time, that most keynotes cover only travel plus a modest stipend, that there is a lot of free consulting involved.

So the trick is to make more money, as there just isn’t more time to come up with more content. None of us has the time to ideate on starting a new show, to sleep less, to take time away from our families, and to give to the well-deserving startups and entrepreneurs.

Guard your time jealously– it’s okay to charge for it.
That’s why you blog, make videos, post on Facebook, and so forth– the community can consume your KNOWLEDGE for free, without depleting from your precious time.

photo credit: Robert Scoble

If you hear anyone say they they’re an “INFLUENCER”, run.

Anyone who is truly influential won’t ever need to self-proclaim this– their community does it for them.

Substitute the word “influencer” for “famous” to see how silly they sound. Or try words like “expert”, “rich”, or any other superlative.

Better, try saying that you’re influential and famous to other people, while trying to keep a straight face.

Now you see why I don’t say that I’m an influencer?

Why I Am Not an Influencer

You can be influential, but that doesn’t mean you’re an influencer.

If you are an SEO, can I say that I’m a PPC?

If you are an MBA, then can I call any degree or skill I have as my identity?

What you have and who you are aren’t necessarily the same thing.

I am not analysis, optimization, or advertising.
I am a human being who has intrinsic value independent of my skill, job title, and accomplishments.

You, my friend, have immense value even if you don’t have a Ph. D in your email signature line.

And sometimes it’s okay to just sit there and be content– to not have to “hustle” all the time or be guilted into maintaining false appearances.

You have permission to just be.

I’ve done little work the last 3 weeks, and it’s been great. 9 flights over 8 hours each, plus a dozen short ones. No wifi.

I used to joke that I work part-time- just choose which 12 hours of each day.

But now I “work” only 4 hours each day, with learning being the bulk of my time. 2 hours for clients and 2 hours for our team.

I’ve said NO to thousands of requests for meetings with no guilt. And that has pissed off potential clients who weren’t a fit anyway.

Those people expect instant response and for free, who don’t respect your precious time.

Be around those who love you and who you love, independent of your degree, skill, or title.