Personal confession: I’ve been a guru chaser, particularly when I sense a weakness in myself. (Don’t know how to build that following? Pay this person to coach me–that’s what I did).
I’ve learned that my guru-chasing has cost me much. I’ve (unfortunately) run to people rather than trusting the Holy Spirit’s nudges. I’ve been caught up in the platform-churning machine. I can’t speak for others, but I can say for myself, that machine has, at times, hurt my soul.
This is a simple conundrum for Christian authors. If we want our books to sell, part of honing our craft is to work on our platform and learn from those who have successfully built them. But we must not become so obsessive with our platform that we forsake our core beliefs in that pursuit, or we stop trusting our gut.
I’ll give you an example. Years ago I worked with a well known guru about one aspect of my platform building. He gave me what seemed like wise advise, but in my gut I felt it was a waste of time and money. Still, he was the guru, right? And since I’m trusting and always wanting to do the right thing, I denied my gut and followed his program. This cost me thousands of dollars. Yes, thousands. The lead generation from that expensive effort? Not. one. lead. In the same time period, I ended up garnering several important leads because of my existing relationships.
- Relationships often trump programs.
- Spending a lot of money doesn’t guarantee success.
- Trust your gut.
It’s not wrong to pay experts to help you. Here are some guidelines and questions to ask:
- Vet the expert. Ask around. Had I asked other clients of the guru in the above story, I would not have hired him.
- Ask: Is this a good ROI (return on investment)? In other words, if I spend $400 dollars on this course, will I eventually earn that money back through sales or better standing with my publisher? I have absolutely benefited from several courses and coaching appointments where the ROI was strong.
- Be logical. Will paying a money to learn how to build your instagram account from 100 to 1000 be a good investment? Will 900 more followers make a dent in your bottom line?
- Your best placed money will be with those who have successfully built email lists. Email lists are gold, as they represent wildly enthusiastic fans.
- Pay attention to how the guru you’ve hired makes you feel. I felt bullied and cornered by mine, and when we interacted, I got a stomach ache. I wish I would’ve given my hunches more merit.
- When you’re strapped for cash (as most authors are), find free courses online to fill your expertise gap. There are plenty, as long as you can resist the sales pitch at the end!
- Don’t give into peer pressure. Just because other authors are hiring someone doesn’t mean you should. Certainly, pray about the decision and ask a couple trusted friends or advisors about whether this would be a good avenue to pursue.
- Desperation breeds bad choices. If you’re making a desperate decision, step back. Give it a week. Then make the decision when you’re more level headed.
I hope my own cautionary tale helps prevent you from jumping too quickly onto the guru wagon. As you hire out, may you do so with peace and careful intent.
Q4u: When did hiring a guru go well? Or, When did you regret hiring a guru and why?