There are so many great resources out there for entrepreneurs it’s like the all-you-can-eat buffet of choices at a new restaurant where you have no idea what to begin with.
Should you avoid the chicken salad (and possible food poisoning)? Should you go for the sizzle and get the steak? Or should you just skip straight to the desserts?
One of the challenges we face in our entrepreneurial ventures is that most of us don’t have degrees in entrepreneurship. No one gave us a syllabus showing which courses we have to begin with, which are required to graduate, and which are electives we can choose to add. It’s up to us to figure out what we need to learn and when.
How to Decide Who to Learn From
These are the filters I use to decide who to learn from and when:
1. It’s the Next Logical Step
Starting with dessert always sounds good to me, but skipping the main course consistently is likely to cause a range of issues from a stomach ache to weight gain and nutritional deficiencies… same goes for your business.
Consider what’s next instead of what’s new. Don’t look for the sizzle. Look for what’s going to work for you and move you forward. If you need to get clear on who you help, or even what services you offer, start there because taking a class about video marketing when you don’t know what you’re marketing or who you’re marketing to isn’t going to get you results.
Identify the correct next step towards your goals. For bloggers, do you need to learn how to setup your blog, how to create content, or how to market your blog? Those are three very different goals and you’ll probably want different resources for each.
There’s a place for growth and stretching. Know where it is for you. Yes, you want to up-level, but not without thinking it through.
2. They Can Credibly Teach What I Want to Learn
I’m not going to learn blogging by following the advice of someone who has no idea what they’re blogging about. If you haven’t done it successfully or helped others do it (whatever “it” is), and you’re not ahead of where I’m at, then I’m not going to be able to leap ahead by learning from you.
If you haven’t successfully blogged consistently, you probably can’t teach me to do it. If you have 100 followers on Twitter, don’t try to get me to pay you to tell me how to get thousands overnight. Be credible and teach what you know and what you can do.
Being new to something doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t teach others though! If you’re ahead of where I’m at, then you can help me — even if you’re not at the “top” or “end” of the journey. If you haven’t done something for yourself but you’ve done it for dozens of clients over the last couple of years, let people know that. Or if you’ve gone through certifications, learned from others and are implementing strategies with success, seeing that it works, then you can share that confidently.
Credibility matters. We need to know why we should learn from you. In other words, don’t just tell me what you can teach me, prove it!
3. I Can Learn From Their Style
No matter how hard we try, we don’t “mesh” well with everyone. There are some teachers (no, I won’t tell you who) that annoy the heck out of me. Not because they’re not smart. Just because my learning style doesn’t work with their teaching style or their personality.
I watch blogs, articles, books, teleseminars, and other information provided by a teacher to find out if I learn well from them before I invest in their products or classes.
4. I Trust their Competence and Ethics
Competence is usually (but not always) obvious. If they’re doing what I want to do, and I’ve already seen the style and quality of their teaching, I can make a judgment call.
Ethics on the other hand can be sticky. I’ve been disappointed by some teachers recommending what I’d call “gray” area strategies. If there’s a chance it could get you in trouble legally, or if it’s intended to deceive your customers, then I’m not interested in the strategy or the teacher sharing it.
What filters do you use to decide who to learn from and when you’re ready to learn something new?