Entrepreneurship is hot these days. Everyone seems to be an expert. To that I say, “Beware experts who want to sell you something.” Many do have a lot of value to offer, but a lot don’t. It’s tricky knowing which is which.
When I started working for myself in 1995, telling someone you were an entrepreneur was often regarded as code for “unemployed loser.” When young startup founders got VC money, the VCs often wanted to see that one of the founders was a “grey hair,” i.e., someone over 40 who had some experience under their belt. If the startup didn’t have someone with experience, the VCs would assign one of their own grey hairs to watch over the inexperienced youngsters.
A lot has changed since then. Now everyone wants to start a company and it’s easier to try. Everyone has a podcast, ebooks and writes articles and blog posts. Everyone creates content. It’s easy to produce content. This democratization of entrepreneurship is incredible and I support it.
The expert bubble
However, it’s leading to a content bubble and people are wasting a lot of money hiring “experts”.
If you’re active on Twitter you can see it everywhere. If your stream is like mine, it’s full of articles, podcasts and content of all kinds, much of which is good. Some of which is the product of out of control content marketing machines by people calling themselves “experts”, but have little experience.
I’m all too often amused when reading Twitter profiles that list their profession as “Social media expert” and they have 121 followers. One sign of a bubble is when everyone wants to get in on it. Like in the later 90’s when everyone and their grandmothers were giving out stock tips. You knew the bubble was in full swing.
Everyone is a coach
The coaching industry is more than a bubble. Vast hoards of people now call themselves coaches. I really believe in the value of mentors and getting insights, direction and training from experienced people. Many of my friends are coaches and they do a lot of good for people and businesses. The difference between the select good coach and everyone else, however, is experience and qualifications. Far too many people just decide to be coaches and hang out their shingle. Then begin to give business advice without ever having started a business themselves!
I had been building companies for 20 years before I started Invincible Robots. I’ve been through a lot. It wasn’t until I had gone through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, 2 booms and 2 painful busts and recessions that I had the perspective to give any sort of advice.
So word to the wise if you’re thinking about hiring a coach or advisor. That person you met online or at a conference may be a great friend, but make sure they’re qualified before giving them your money and taking their advice.
What are some ways you qualify advisors or consultants you hire?
Related: How to hire the best freelancers