Stop Relying on the Wizard of Oz to Magically Build Your Business

Warning: I'm going to make some enemies on this one, but it needs to be said....
Tonight I sat on a panel of investors, listening to a company pitch their business.  They were basically a content creating business, wanting to get discovered by a national audience.  When asked what they would do with their money, their first response was 'hire an SEO person'.  This was after spending thousands of dollars already on an SEO company, along with $20,000 on a social media company that they didn't see any results from.

My first bit of advice to them was based on the content they were putting out, popping $3-$5K a month on SEO wasn't going to solve their problem.  There are too many other outlets that would do what they needed for their business.

I also want to say that this makes my blood boil!  I was the person who spent $10,000 during my second business for someone to run my PR.  My gut told me not to do it, but I thought it was where I needed to be, so my brain told my gut to shut it.  Long story short, my gut was right.  R.I.P. $10K!

I now feel this need to be an advocate for business owners, to help empower them to make better decisions.  I want you to ask better questions, and to stop settling for really crappy results.  If you're hiring the Wizard of Oz, who just wants to do their thing behind a curtain.  Let's say HIDES behind a curtain and tells you results may not show up, it takes a year to do anything, etc, etc, run like the freaking wind.

I'm also going to back up and go on a rant too.  If you are a coach, consultant, developer, designer, etc, and you have no intention of delivering results, or you have no idea how to deliver results, find another flipping job.  This is someone's livelihood, their business, their dream.  If you can't deliver on what you promise, don't take their money, period!  If you have no experience in business, get out of business coaching.  If you only know Facebook because you mess around on it all day, but now you're a social media consultant, please for the love of God, shut down your consulting business.  If you tell everyone the answer to every single business dream they will ever have are three letters, that involve an S, an E, and an O, move on.  Please move on.

I just want to say again, this is someone's dream, their livelihood, and sometimes the last savings they have to make it happen.

Let me just say this, I'm not anti-SEO.  In fact, I understand SEO, and I've made a lot of money because I understand SEO.  However, SEO isn't the end all, be all that it was five or six years ago.  There are many other outlets out there to be found.   Just like I'm not anti-social media.  Again, social media has been a huge traffic generator for me, and I think it's the best thing since sliced bread.  Nor am I anti-PR.  In fact, I've met some pretty amazing PR people who do their job well.  I just happened to hire someone who didn't.

I'm anti-one size fits all answers, and I'm anti-business robbery.

So to help you make a better decision when pulling in that next consultant, here are a few rules to follow:

  1. There is never a one-size fits all solution, so if someone is trying to sell you that, move along.
  2. There is never a ONE THING that will solve everything.  Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
  3. If they're forcing you into a long term contract, run.  Run like the freaking wind.  Yep, I said it.  They should be able to show you some sort of results or actions on a monthly basis that keeps you coming back for more.
  4. You have every right to ask questions.  Every. Single. Right.  Don't let them bully you, make you feel stupid, or diminish your concerns in any way.  If they're good at their job and confident at what they do, they'll explain what they need to explain and not be annoyed doing so.
  5. Know your expectations, and be very open and very honest with them about those before any contract is signed.  They should be asking you  these, and if they don't, it's another sign to run.  However, it's up to them to let you know if your expectations are unrealistic, etc.  It's up to you at that point, to move on if you choose to, or reset your expectations.  Either way, it's your right, but get them out on the table.
  6. They need to deliver, period.  If they choose to hide behind a curtain and tell you it will take a year to show anything, get out, just get out. They should be showing SOME kind of improvements to you, SOMETHING (even if it's a report on exactly what was done) on a monthly basis.
  7. Remember this is your business, your baby.  No, it's not your job to know everything.  It's impossible, but it's your job to feel good about every decision you make.
  8. If you're not sure what to look for, bring in someone who does to help you with the interviews.  Ask your other entrepreneur friends who have hired these positions and find out what questions they asked.  Find out what results they had, and what made them happy about the process.
  9. Take your time.  We get bullied into making fast hiring decisions because we're reminded again and again that doing it all yourself could ruin your business.  Let me just say hiring the wrong person for your job could ruin your business even faster so choose wisely.

There are many behind the curtain business consulting gigs, and it truly breaks my heart.  I just sat with a client who was pouring through thousands of dollars a month just for them to run his ads and weren't doing basic things, like retargeting.  They were just cashing checks and running a couple of shitty ads.

And always remember your gut and intuition are far more powerful than you think it is.  Never talk yourself into anything.  (This coming from the girl who talked herself into a crappy marriage......that ended four long years later.)

Thank you, I feel much better now!


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