Last week, I was on the Warrior Forum and came across an intellectually stimulating discussion. Since it was starting to get heated up the mods decided to delete the thread. They didn’t have much choice, I guess. I did bring in some of that heat to it myself, so I hope that the opener accepts my apologies for causing him so much trouble. Anyhow, the guy wants a mentor, but he proposed to pay in monthly installments according to the progress he makes. Needless to say, his reasonable request caused an outrage from all the gurus on the forum. “What? You want to pay for the results? Man, anyone knows that we’ll just give you a pat on the back and you WILL NOT get any results with us! Pay us beforehand a good grand or two. None of us wants to lose our time with ya!” Well, although I used quotation marks, that’s not exactly what they said, but a lot of blah, blah, blah aside, that was the clear and unequivocal message that could be clearly read in between the lines of their responses. To which I replied like this:
Please do not listen to the people who tell you that your request is unreasonable. They are only after your money and you will end up with nothing but a bunch of useless philosophical notions and a lot LESS money in your pockets, if you listen to them. This is not intended as a personal attack against anyone in particular, but as a generalized statement.
They may tell you that they need you to pay beforehand because they don’t “know if you have enough motivation”, or that they can’t be sure that you will be able to implement what they teach. These are all excuses. A good mentor, who knows Internet Marketing and marketers well enough to be worth a dime or two as a coach, should be able to tell in ten seconds whether you have what it takes to make it or not. What you are offering is more than reasonable: a testimonial that will be of great value to them and payment as you progress along!
Think about it: if someone wants you to pay them to help you make money and is telling you that they want the money right away because they think it’s more likely that you won’t make any money at all, thanks to their teachings — do you think that what they offer is really valuable?
IF THEY DON’T TRUST THEIR OWN COACHING SKILLS, WHY SHOULD YOU?
This caused even more outrage from the gurus, one of whom started yelling at me, and another visited my site to vote “loser has no chance” in my poll. The fun thing is that in his response, the user who yelled at me said something like, “Yeah! Of all the people whom I coach, maybe 5% manage to make any money online. See, that’s why I need to be paid beforehand”. I didn’t reply to that but it made me laugh like a lark. I mean, really? These people are so used to take away money from others in exchange for NOTHING that they freely admit to it, and seem proud of their doings??!! Well, enough of that. It’s a great thing that I ignored their attacks and that their rants became so obnoxious that the mods were forced to take the whole thing down. The point is that this whole discussion made me think, if coaches are that useful at all. Some experienced honest Warriors on the forum made some great points to that regard. I kept thinking about their advice for a few days, and I came up with my own conclusion. Is a coach, mentor or teacher needed for an Internet Marketer? The answer is yes and no. It depends. As thinking adults, I don’t think we need teachers especially with the wealth of information on Internet Marketing that is out there. We can learn IM on our own relatively easily. A coach, however, isn’t a teacher strictly speaking. The role of a coach, in most sports, isn’t primarily that of teaching his team how to play, but rather to set goals, plan strategies, apply and identify issues, and help correct them. This is very different from “teaching”, and whether you’re considering coaching someone less knowledgeable than you are, or get coached by a more experienced marketer, it may be worthwhile looking at these stages in more detail.
STAGE I: Set a Goal
The first objective of coaching someone (this someone can be your very own self, as well) should be to identify a goal. This is not as simple as saying “I want to make money online” or “I want to get Samantha to marry me”. A goal needs to have three characteristics:
• Be very specific.
• Be achievable.
• Be defined by quantity and time
An example would be, “I want to make $30 a month through AdSense, in a month’s time from now.” Saying “I want to make money online” is not specific enough. It’s still a goal, but the aim here isn’t just making a wish list, but rather making as clear as possible to ourselves or our pupils the one thing we’re working for. Setting a goal of $300 a month, when you’re making $0 right now, isn’t achievable, and not specifying a time frame will just lead to procrastination. The goal has to be as specific as possible. It’s important to be clear to yourself (or the person you are coaching) what the end result has to be. Of course, the more experience you have the more qualified you will be to judge what is achievable and what isn’t.
STAGE II: Make a Plan
Many people think that this is the toughest part of the whole deal, but with the wealth of free information that is available for free out there, this is really the easiest part of the whole deal! There’s only two steps involved here:
• Acquire knowledge
• Set new goals
Let’s consider the example above again — making $30 with AdSense in a month. Acquiring knowledge would entail taking courses at Lynda.com, using YouTube videos or sites such as this one you’re on right now to learn keyword research, website design and SEO.
Then, it’s a matter of using the newly-acquired knowledge for putting down an action-plan which will help you achieve your goal, keeping in mind the resources that you have at your disposal.
Something like :
– Week 1: Find one profitable keyword and run AdWords test to make sure it works out of $20.
– Week 2: Build a five-paged Site with a budget of $20
– Week 3: Get 20 Links to the Site with a budget of $100
– Week 4: Troubleshooting
Now, notice that we have set four new goals that are specific, achievable and defined clearly with a quantity and a time frame. Making out a plan consists of setting a new set of smaller goals to break up the original one. Each of the four new goals listed above can be broken up into even smaller goals, which in turn can be broken again and again until we reach a very simple set of instructions. It’s as simple as that!
STAGE III: Apply and Identify Issues
This stage involves:
• Taking action based on the plan(s) created in the first two stages.
• Follow through
• Identifying Issues
The first thing to do is to take action. If we’re talking about doing keyword research, this involves learning how to do that and actually going it. For example, getting an application such as Market Samurai and using it, along with your knowledge, to find a good keyword. Then running an AdWords campaign to check if the keyword does indeed get us some clicks.
It’s important to follow through and the best way to do that is to act like a robot! Do not let your emotions overwhelm you. This is where a coach can really help out, as he or she can rationalize the fears that whoever he/she is training may have. Most of the time the idea that “this is not going to work” will come into your head. These ideas should be ignored and the plan carried forward. It will very likely NOT work indeed 99% of the time. But it’s important to carry on with the plan until the end. The aim is to get to the next step, not to have the plan actually succeed!
Once you have carried out the plan and it has failed, it’s time to identify the issues that led to its failure. If we didn’t get enough clicks during the AdWords test, the chances are that the keyword doesn’t have as much traffic as we initially thought or the niche is not very profitable. It’s extremely important to identify the specific cause of the issue – for example, it could well be that people in the niche don’t like clicking on ads that often. A good plan would be to try and gather data about the traffic and SEO value that a keyword should be expected to have in order to return $30 per month of profit. Do a lot of research and find out the specific reason why the plan has failed.
STAGE IV: Correct Problems
Once that’s done go back to stage one. Your new goal has to be overcoming the problem. Make a plan, follow through and if it fails again, identify the problems and repeat, again and again until you get it right. Normally people fail 99% of the time, so it’s likely that this cycle will have to repeat itself like a hundred times before you get it right!
True coaching, as opposed to “guru coaching”, involves having the trainee follow through this cycle again and again until he can get it right. This is what a football coach does, more or less. If a coach is experienced, reliable and knows what he is doing, he will be successful most of the time. Well, there’s always a Barney Gumble or Homer Simpson who may show up from time to time, and in that case even the best coach will not be able to do anything to help out. For the most part, the coach will be able to spot those kind of people right away and avoid dealing with them. My advice to all my readers is to get a good coach who will accept to be paid based on performance. Such a mentor will help them stay focused, follow the plan and be accountable. However, don’t give a cent to the people who want to be paid right away before delivering. That’s a sign that either than don’t trust you or they don’t trust their own coaching skills, and, in both cases, you would be losing your time and money with them!