How much does advice affect your decision-making process?
Are you a serial seeker, do you avoid it entirely or do you take it gracefully and dispose of quietly? Or are you somewhere in between?
As a kid, I tended to avoid asking advice as a way of avoiding a big fat No to whatever mischief I was scheming. If you didn’t ask advice, no one could say no. A certain amount of ownership comes with naughty behaviour.
I thought I was still somewhat advice proof, but now and again I forget to check in with it and ask a few basic questions. Like last month, when I wasted time and energy following advice that didn’t apply to what I was trying to achieve. My fault. I should’ve asked myself these questions!
If you find yourself overwhelmed with too much advice and wondering why you’ve embarked on a specific path, which in retrospect has landed you so far from where you want to be, this blog is for you. We’ve all been there!
Here are five questions to ask yourself when seeking paid for advice.
1. What is it you really want to know?
Are you genuinely seeking the answer to a question or guidance to an area of your life? Or, as we human beings are sometimes want to do, are you just looking for someone to:
a) tell you what you want to hear. Usually that you are great and you should carry on as you are.
b) tell you something to help you avoid making a big decision
c) tell you something you already believe in firming up your conviction that you’re on the right path.
Action — have a conversation with yourself before seeking advice. What is it you are looking for?
2. How prepared are you to take the advice that you receive?
Change is difficult, we all know that, but if you want to grow as a business, writer or as a person, then it is unavoidable. How willing are you to put in the necessary effort? If you’re not up for this, then even perfect advice or £300 marketing package will not solve your problem. The action needs to come from you.
We’d all love to be able to buy a piece of advice that could be laid over our lives like marzipan icing on a Christmas cake, but nothing worthwhile is that easy.
Action: How prepared are you to follow through with difficult advice? Don’t engage a professional unless you are willing to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, looking for the answer. It’s a waste of your money and their time.
3. Are you looking in the right place?
It might seem obvious, but in this age of mass distraction, it is easy to be pulled in multiple directions. The volume of noise out there in the digital ether is deafening and unstoppable.
A $49 deal may seem harmless enough. You’ve bought a virtual training programme on how to grow your Instagram Leads. It comes with an introduction video that’s 15 minutes long and the accompanying two hours-worth of learning. It is Incredible value for good advice it claims. It sounds like a bargain, but what if Instagram isn’t where your clients live? There’s the cost but there’s also a day-long distraction watching the video and doing the accompanying exercises.
You’ve wasted the cost of the course but also the day and any additional time you spend trying to put the advice into practice.
Big note here; resist any hard sale tactics for advice. I’ve had and heard of terrible approaches to selling disguised as advice. If someone is doing the old-fashioned hard sell on you, do they understand business? And if they don’t understand their business, are they likely to follow yours? Don’t be bullied into buying a service. Reach down into your deeper instinct. Is the advice on sale applicable to what it is you are looking for?
4. Who is giving the advice?
Another obvious point, but in writing and business, there are a whole load of people selling advice who haven’t achieved much of what they’re promising to deliver. There are swathes of blanket marketing and consultancy advice out there, but is it coming from a person who you’d like to learn something from because of their outlook or achievements?
Take advice from the best, paid or not, take it from those you know to be in the right place and who give good advice. Don’t settle for anything less.
5. What’s the incentive of the advice-giver?
You know the cost but do you see the value? Again look at the person you are paying for advice. Are they a role model, or are they filling a sales quota? Are they someone who you aspire to and who you trust to turn to for advice?
Someone told me recently of a £300 business consultation they paid for where the only advice was that they needed to spend a further £2k to fix their business.
People don’t always have your best interest at heart, especially where the money is concerned but none of that matters if you know what you’re looking for
I hope this has been helpful. It wasn’t my intention to say that all advice or advice bearers are bad. I’ve had some exceptional guidance in the screenwriting realm, but the key ingredient was a fusion of what I wanted and what I was willing to do for it, and this blog is a reminder to keep those things in mind when seeking paid for advice.
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