5 Ways to Know if a Business / Money Guru is Full of Shit
In this modern era, everyone seems to be a kick-ass serial entrepreneur, a prolific crypto investor and/or a ninja digital media influencer.
The business, entrepreneurship and money landscapes are full of people of all sorts that claim that they have been able to crack the code of becoming wealthy and attaining success.
From “Business Opportunities” (biz ops), to full-blown “Get Rich Quick” schemes, everyone seems to hold the truth of how to make vast amounts of money, sometimes from the comfort of their living room.
Some people claim that you should invest in Real Estate and offer you their latest investing course, others say that betting on cryptocurrencies is the only way to go and invite you to participate into their company’s upcoming ICO.
Some people claim that you should join their network marketing company and start selling products to your peers, other say that you should focus on launching a high-tech startup and raising a boatload of money from dumb investors.
This gets confusing really fast.
As a newbie in the field of making money or building a business, it is very difficult to be able to assess whether or not a specific “guru” is legitimate or not.
The problem of falling for one of the running scams is of course that you lose your precious time and money.
Not only that but, you might also be negatively impacted on a mindset level, believing that it is indeed impossible to become rich. You then revert to “mediocrity-level” thinking and give up.
For this reason, you should always perform a thorough due diligence on any opinion or claim that you hear, especially when it comes over the internet.
The only way to be in a position to read between the lines and determine who is talking in a genuine manner, is to have acquired knowledge and experience in all the related fields.
The best way to do that is of course to devour business and money related books.
In this post, I will be discussing how to tell those signs that betray the fact that a “guru” is actually full of shit.
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1) The “guru” claims to have found the “secret” to riches
When you hear that somebody has discovered the “secret” to become wealthy, you should scream “Fraud” and run the other way.
Anyone that claims that has found a “shortcut” that you can exploit, or a “secret sauce” that you can leverage, or a “weird trick” that you can use to become rich, is full of shit.
Think about it.
If this was true, which it isn’t, and this person has been able to devise a system where you provide an input of X dollars and you get an output of 10X dollars, what would his strategy be?
Would he keep this insanely lucrative secret for himself so that he displaces Jeff Bezos from the throne of the wealthiest man alive, or would he be “selling” this secret on the internet and create competition for himself for the price of only 3 installments of $99?
Well, the answer is obvious.
2) The “guru” doesn’t seem to understand the mechanics of making money
If a business person can’t articulate and verbalize the mechanics of making money, then he is probably full of shit.
If he (or she) talks in abstract, generic terms, instead of using specific, clear-cut arguments, then he (or she) is probably not in a position to offer advice to other people.
You can contrast this with the approach of highly reputable individuals that boast a great track record.
Let’s take Warren Buffett, for example. Buffett offers specific advice in his succinct Shareholder Letters that he publishes on an annual basis.
Investors and business people rush to read them because they offer a ton of advice. They are based on deep analytical thinking and can be valuable to both advanced investors and newbie ones.
On a lower level, check out the videos by entreprepreneur Patrick Bet-David on his Youtube channel called Valuetainment.
Some of his videos are motivational and inspirational, but most of them are actually highly technical, from how to think as a business owner to how to handle your finances.
Finally, on an even lower level, you can check some of my articles that dive deep into a technical issue. Here are some ideas for you:
- 11 Numbers Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Their Business
- Revenue is Vanity. Profit is Sanity. Cash is Reality.
- What is Business Efficiency and Why it is a Matter of Life and Death for your Company
- Cost of Capital: Cash vs. Debt vs. Equity
- Why Cash Conversion Cycle Matters for Your Business
In fact, these articles are the least popular on my website, and this is exactly because they deal with hard and complex ideas and concepts that readers usually shy away from.
So, when you hear somebody talking with generalities like “building a business in an untapped market” or “investing in a terrific opportunity” or “generating passive income” without them providing a thorough analysis, you should steer away from them.
3) The “guru” doesn’t “walk the walk”
If a “guru” doesn’t use the same strategies he preaches to build wealth for himself, then he is probably full of shit.
This is something that I have talked about again in the past, and it basically boils down to finding the answer to one question:
You need to ask, or indirectly discover, how the person sharing advice did actually make his money in the past.
For example, if an author is touting the merits of investing in real estate but has himself become rich by selling books about real estate and not actual real estate, then he is being dishonest and inauthentic.
Similarly, if a person is evangelizing the advantages of building a “lifestyle business” but has not actually started a successful business himself, you should discount his advice accordingly.
When it comes to myself, since I am urging people to start online businesses, I would better have built one of my own, and as a matter of fact, I have!
4) The “guru” focuses on superficial lifestyle instead of substance
When a “guru” tries to grab your attention with extravagant displays of material wealth and conspicuous lifestyle that isn’t backed up by something more substantial, then something smells fishy.
If somebody flashes his Lamborghini without presenting you the struggle that has preceded it and without offering substantial insights on he was able to obtain it, chances are you are being duped.
Sure, focusing on more material things is a great marketing strategy. We humans are inherently attracted to it.
However, the material stuff should then followed by thoughtful advice based on analytical thinking.
Again, I will use an excellent example from Patrick Bet-David. Check out this inspirational video:
Notice that it might feature a freaking Ferrari, but the underlying message is that achieving success is very hard. Here are some actual lines from the video:
“Most people only pay attention to the final product of a successful entrepreneur. They say things like, “I can never be like them” or “they got lucky”. What most don’t see, is what they’ve overcome. All the struggles, the daily rejections, the heart aches…”
Additionally, you might get reeled in with a “motivational” video like that, but if you then follow the channel, you get hit by tons of actionable advice on building a business.
5) The “guru’s” game is 99% marketing and 1% value
This actually is related to the point above but should be explained individually.
If a business or money guru has a super-slick marketing approach while at the same time the content he provides is not that valuable or practical, then he is probably full of shit and just wants your money.
I totally understand that in these years of abundance of information, people need to be clever with their marketing in order to cut through the noise.
Having said that, if somebody’s marketing and sales operations are extremely fine-tuned while at the same time the information they share is of low quality and value, then you are probably looking at someone who is full of shit and you should invest your time, energy and money somewhere else.
In this post, I presented you some tricks on how to evaluate whether an online “guru” is the real thing or is actually hypocritical charlatan.
The overarching theme of the post is that, when it comes to money advice, you should be sceptical. You should double check every claim and dig deep to find what is beneath the surface.
In fact, you should be sceptical of the advice that you hear from me too. You should study my writing, read my articles with a critical mind and cross-check them with the writings of other people that you respect and trust.
As I have mentioned many times, building wealth is hard and take lots of time to manifest. So, if you wish to become rich, you should start the journey as early as possible.