BY TJ Walker
I have to be careful here to not sound like a great big hypocrite (since I am a part of the guru industry), but in general I believe you should be very careful in parting with your money toward anyone who proclaims to be a guru to aspiring gurus. In my experience, most of them don’t have anything that will really help you. As I mentioned to you before, you can and should have people you look up to as mentors. But you can get so much great content for free just by signing up for their newsletters. The lowest cost, greatest value medium I find is a book. I’d urge you to buy the book of anyone you think is smart and has something unique to offer. If you are on a budget, it will always be cheapest for you to buy a book rather than buy the DVD series or attend the workshop.
But, but, but…be careful of gurus, coaches, experts and other potentates who are trying to sell you a rather high-priced product or service and who promise that you will quickly and easily be making big money as a speaker, trainer or consultant. These people, by and large, are charlatans. If you have an option of going to a $5000 “millionaire weekend retreat with a bunch of Amazon best-selling authors versus spending that $5000 on a new video camera, editing equipment, and a laptop to do daily videos, I’d recommend that you invest in the equipment.
Find gurus who can help you with the specific needs you have. For example, when aspiring gurus come to me for media training because they are going to be doing TV and radio interviews to promote their book, I make sure to let them know that I am not going to make them rich or even moderately successful. I can only do one thing for them: help them communicate effectively when they are speaking to live audiences or the media. But if they have no business model behind them, all I am doing is helping them create a few vanity home movies because that’s all their TV interview clips will be worth to them in the long run.
The most successful gurus and the ones you can learn the most from aren’t in the business of selling insights to aspiring gurus. These gurus are too busy reaching bigger, broader and more lucrative audiences. But there is nothing stopping you from learning from these masters. I have bought very little of Martha Steward over the years, but I do occasionally watch her TV show, read her books, listen to her on the radio, watch her when she is a guest on other TV shows, and follow every quote she gives to the press. I don’t do this because I want to be a homemaking guru or because I want to hire Martha to consult me one day. I follow her because I want to learn form a master who has already built a billion dollar business as a guru in a specific niche.
So be careful of Internet pitches, spam email and billionaire weekends that are guaranteed to make you fast money as an expert so that you can make $10,000 an hour while sitting in your pajamas. Real gurus don’t prey upon the vanity of misguided, lost people. Listen to everyone. Read every pitch. Study every sales letter. But be very stingy with your research and development money as you begin your guru quest or you will soon be back at the back as a teller or in the welfare bread lines.