You won’t like what I’m about to tell you. Maybe you’ll feel I’m attacking you. Maybe I am.
People I respect told me not to share this. That it might hurt my brand. That this post will downright upset many of you.
Despite that, I’m going to do it anyway. Why?
- I’m tired of somewhat successful entrepreneurs crying about their unprofitable businesses while chasing “new shiny objects” instead of dealing with the real problems they’ll do anything to avoid
- I’m committed to truth, and it’s bigger than my need to be liked
Consider that fair warning. If you’re still here, then this is why investing in yourself is causing you to fail as an entrepreneur.
Before you read on, know this:
If you read this, you’ll witness many of your long-held beliefs go to slaughter here today. You’ll also need to look in the mirror and be OK with who you see staring back at you once you know the truth.
It might be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. If you’re cool with that and ready to face reality, truth awaits you.
Here’s why I stopped investing in my myself and you should too.
#1 - You think you can buy your way out of your problems
Investing in yourself sounds like a smart thing to do.
But be honest, what have you got to show for the stacks of cash “invested”? I’ll bet it’s almost zero.
- How many PDFs have you downloaded but not even opened?
- How many courses did you start but never complete?
- What good came from all the books you half-read but failed to implement?
In the finance world, investments that don’t generate a return get cut. In mine, founders pull out their already loaded credit cards and make “just one more purchase” that will “change everything.”
One more course. One more coach. One more “A-player” on the team. Except it won’t change a thing.
Want to know why?
#2 - You believe there’s some revolutionary new tactic that will make all your problems go away
I’m fed up with founders always searching for the next “game changer strategy” or “little known secret” that’s going to transform their fortunes.
NEWSFLASH: IT DOESN’T EXIST.
You don’t need more strategies.
You’re stuck because you keep cycling through courses, mentors and coaches in the pursuit of the holy grail. No matter who you hire or what you buy, it won’t solve your problems because you are still the same.
It’s time to get honest with yourself and realise that you are the common denominator.
The way you are leading your team hasn’t changed. You’ve just tried different strategies, hoping one of them will work.
You’re nothing more than a gambler who hit the number at the casino once. Now you’re back at the table every night chasing that elusive high again.
At least at the casino, the croupiers feel sorry for you and quietly tell you to call it a day because they know you can’t win.
In business, no one tells you that.
Well, today, I’m that person who will tell you what your team, friends, and family are afraid to say.
#3 - You’re looking for a saviour
You already know what to do, you’re just not doing it because it’s hard.
Instead of looking inside yourself and asking what needs to change within, you search for a saviour.
Maybe it’s a coach, maybe it’s a course. Whatever it is, they’ll need to pull the genius out of you, not put more strategies into you. They need to work within you, not give you more stuff to keep you busy.
Sometimes it’s as simple as calling you out when you’re not doing the basics.
The point is this: By focusing outside of yourself, all you do is sidestep the work that needs to be done.
You don’t want to hear this, but you are the problem.
Until you accept that the work to be done lies within, you’re deluding yourself about where you’re going and leading your team on a wild goose chase.
#4 - They don’t tell you their success rate for a reason
Before you buy the next course, ask them what the success rate is?
They won’t tell you because they don’t even track that metric. Shouldn’t that be a red flag?
Instead of being honest and admitting the success rate is negligible, they’ll share case studies of the over-performing outliers and use that as proof their thing works.
Except for the vast majority, it doesn’t.
In fairness, it’s not all on them. If you don’t pull off the shrink wrap and crack it open, it’s your fault. The real question is this: Why do people who follow the program to the letter still not get results?
Don’t let your ego trick you into thinking you’ll be in the 1% who gets outrageous results. Chances are you won’t be.
#5 - They make their money selling courses, not using the strategies they sell you
The courses you’re buying don’t sell because they work, but because of the intoxicating combination of:
- Incredible marketing
- Charismatic instructors
- A sense of community for the lonely founder
Appealing, yes, but not what you need. How do I know that?
I’ve been behind the curtain with many super successful and well-known entrepreneurs who sell courses. Some of them making over $10m a year doing it. As the guy responsible for their strategy, I learned two shocking things:
- The content you get is just repackaged versions of what’s already accessible for free online
- They’re not even using the same strategies to scale their businesses
You are being sold something created to appeal to you, formulated to convert prospects into profits, but not designed to grow your business.
#6 They offer little to no help with implementation
Being behind the scenes gave me access to off-limits stuff. The “Area 51” of online course businesses, if you like.
I had logins to the Stripe accounts and profit-and-loss statements. And boy, did they give me a unique insight into how online course businesses work.
From everything I found, this made me the most uncomfortable:
They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on Facebook ads getting sales, but only a fraction of that helping students get results.
Ask yourself why they’re always running launches and welcoming new students. It’s because they set up their entire business to keep getting new customers.
That’s fine, but why don’t they sell more products to the customers they already have? Any good business person knows it costs more to win a new customer than to sell again to an existing one. So why don’t they?
Perhaps it's because after someone buys for the first time, they realise it didn’t work and don’t want to buy more.
#7 - There’s no consideration about how well they fit your business
During the sales process, you’ll never hear them ask questions to see if the product can indeed help you.
They’ll tell you “we need to see if we’re a good fit”, but surprise, surprise, every prospect is a good fit. As long as they have a fat credit limit for them to run up.
I’m not knocking the “see if we’re a good fit” thing. I do the same. But when it’s employed as a scarcity tactic instead of a genuine desire to make sure you can get results with them, beware.
How do you know? Ask them if they guarantee results. They won’t.
When it’s just about making money, they’ll take anyone and guarantee nothing.
What you need to do instead
Despite what I’ve said in this post, I do still believe in investing in coaches, mentors and even some courses.
But understand that when I say invest, I mean that.
Most courses, software and coaches only add to your expenses and never impact your income column.
Because the cost is rather small, you almost don’t notice. Buying feels good and the pain of the wasted money is little, so you keep doing it.
And you get caught in the “Problem > Pain > Purchase > Pleasure > Procrastination.” cycle forever.
So what's the solution?
Who you are in your business needs to change
Accept that your business reflects you
If your business is chaotic, chances are so is your internal state. What happens on the inside manifests outside.
Forget the pixel-perfect Instagram image you project to the world. Chaos inside your business means there’s some chaos inside you that needs to be tamed.
What is the source of the disorder? It’s simple:
- Your current result is what you have.
- You have that because of what you do (your actions)
- Your actions are dictated by who you are. Your being.
Or put another way:
Who you are being = what you are doing = the result you are having
How can that be?
- Being = Your mindset and awareness
- Do = Your actions and behaviours
- Have = Outcomes and results
Is your mindset like a CEO or are you still the “hustle and pull it up by its bootstraps entrepreneur?”
Are you aware of how well you lead your team? How effective are you are at getting results through your people instead of you doing everything? Are you doing the mundane but essential stuff or chasing new shiny objects hoping to stumble across a miracle?
If so, there are only two choices left for you:
- Shift to operating as a CEO
- Get out of business
If you’re tired of the treadmill, this is it. If you’re ready to maximise profitability and eager to re-design your business, so it moves your life to where you want to go, this is it.