If you’re anything like me, you love to learn.

In fact, the abilities to listen and “not know” are among the reasons I’ve been able to create so much success in my life.

However, the problem with being a perpetual student is that if you’re not careful, you will get bad advice along the way – the kind that will derail your business, big time.

No question about it. First as a professional musician, and then as the owner of a company, I’ve attracted (and been distracted by) more than my fair share of crappy advice.  Some of it has delivered hardcore damage. But in a weird, backward sort of way, it’s also helped me to improve as a coach.

Here are five pieces of well-intentioned, but seriously misguided, advice that were absolutely meant to be ignored.

1 – “You’re only as good as your last…whatever.”

Who Said It:

A successful ‘Ernest-Hemmingway-wanna-be’ musician, who was a bit too strung out on that “suck it up and start drinking at noon if you’re a real artist” attitude. I admired him at one point. Hell, I admired that whole mindset at one point and actually believed his crappy philosophy for a while.

So what if you…

  • host a terrible horrible awful show?
  • give a terrible horrible awful talk?
  • write a terrible horrible awful book?
  • survive a terrible horrible awful 5 years in business?

Guess what?

There is no arrival.  If your last attempt sucked, it’s not the end of the world. You don’t need to start drinking tequila at noon, and you can do it better next time.

The Upleveled You…

…doesn’t believe in failure.  What others call failure, you call R&D (research and development). Every experience is an opportunity for growth.  (Oh, and there’s no such thing as perfect.)

2 – “You have to get good at numbers if you want to be successful.”

Who Said It:

Pretty much everyone in my life who was ever good at numbers, spreadsheets and the like. They are convinced that these left-brain gems are the only key to business success. (These folks always wore ties and talked to me like I was 17 years old.)

So what if you…

  • would rather poke your eyes out with bicycle spokes than take a QuickBooks class?
  • glaze over when going through statement after statement of profits and losses?
  • can never – no matter how hard you try – keep up the habit of invoicing?

Guess what?

You can choose instead to be really, really good at your genius work. That’s what makes you the money, right?

Sure, become adept at understanding numbers. But do you really want to waste your time learning something that is the equivalent of physical labor to you?

The Upleveled You…

…hires an awesome accountant first. And then hires an awesome bookkeeper.  And tells them the numbers are not your strong suit – and makes them explain everything like you are on an episode of “Sesame Street.”  (NEVER hire anyone who talks down to you, or who is not willing to help you as a numerically challenged human.)

3 – “No one wants THAT. You have to do THIS instead.”

Who Said It:

A motivational-speaker-turned-coach.
Save us all from the motivational speaker who makes blanket statements about what works in marketing and business. In this particular case, the dude told me that I should stop blogging because no one wants “advice” and that I have to do “big trainings” instead if I want to be successful.

So what if you…

  • really love doing the thing that someone tells you to quit doing?
  • get great feedback from the strategy that no one else does anymore?
  • don’t feel aligned with the thing you’re “supposed to” be doing?

Guess what?

I kept writing my blog and posting my articles.

That’s because you should always rely on the measurable results you get instead of gross generalizations that aren’t based on direct experience with your ideal clients. My metrics tell me that my blog posts do really well for my business.

The Upleveled You…

…keeps doing it whatever it is you’re doing if it works and gets you clients. If it feels like a good idea, try it and see. Stay focused on doing what works, and you won’t be distracted by Bright Shiny Objects or ditch your good strategies just because one person second guesses you.

4 – “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

Who Said It: 

A plethora of individuals in the spiritual, healing and creativity worlds.  They borrowed this from the title of a book by Marsha Sinetar meant to steer people toward right livelihood.

The problem is that some folks take it to mean that their business will work even if they hang onto the mindset of “I hate business, I’m no good at business.” They end up having a duct-taped business which leaves them in a state of financial chaos.

So what if you…

  • would rather ignore the word “business” and pretend you don’t have one?
  • recognize that you have created a lot of chaos now that you’ve started doing what you love?
  • are not doing well even though you have lots and lots of passion?

Guess what?

Your passion matters. Doing what you love is truly awesome.   And when you start to take action, some force field in the universe steps out with a million helping hands and makes things happen.

But as I learned, part of the plan is that you will need to understand that you do have a business – and even though you aren’t necessarily great at the left-brain parts of said business, you really must build the capabilities needed to run this thing well.

The Upleveled You…

…does what you love, yes. But also knows that great strategies will help you and your clients have an awesome experience from start to finish.

5 – “You’re really smart. You don’t need to spend all that money on a coach.”

Who Said It:

The non-entrepreneurs in my life who look at me like I’m an idiot every time I get on a plane to go to events or work with my coach. I’ve learned that no matter what, they’re never going to see the value of investing in themselves.  They only think in terms of “spending” money, not investing money in order to get a return.

So what if you…

  • keep telling yourself that you’re smart and should be able to understand business?
  • feel isolated when your spouse doesn’t give you the strategy you most need?
  • feel alone in trying to figure it all out?

Guess what?

You don’t know what you don’t know. Trying harder is a trap, especially when what you need is a different way of working.

The Upleveled You…

…shaves years off your learning curve with a coach and a mastermind, knowing that these investments provide a deep foundation for your confidence. Invest in yourself, then do the work, and be accountable to get a clear return on that investment.

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Have you gotten any off-the-rails advice about business along the way?  Take a sec and share it here…

3 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Fett

    Here’s one of my favorite pieces of bad advice: “The best way to get more business is to lower your prices.” Not so! A much better way to get more business to get clear on who your ideal clients are, and then effectively convey the VALUE of what you do. A little bird named Christine helped me appreciate that! 😉

  • perienne christian

    I absolutely loved this article Christine. The bit about the accountant made me really laugh! Yep, right brained artist here, who just doesn’t get numbers. I think now more than ever before, (the online platforms being particularly noisy), there is conflicting advice coming from left right and centre and it can be easy to become scattered, trying to be too many things at once and not staying true to your course. I’ve certainly been there. Your posts always go right to the core and I learn so much from them, thank you.

  • Bethany Oliver

    This is great advice. As a long time writer and blogger, I’d add NEVER BASE YOUR ASPIRATIONS ON SOMEONE ELSE’S SUCCESS.