I’ve noticed something in many of the folks who come to me for help. It’s a new phenomenon that I’m adding to my list of “entrepreneurial illnesses,” something I call “Expert ADD.” In today’s article, I’ll explain what Expert ADD is, tell you why it’s a problem, and show you how to avoid it.
When new entrepreneurs or struggling business owners become aware that they need help growing their businesses, they usually start with a Google search. Before long, they have a list of folks who claim they can help, and most likely, have signed up for a wealth of e-mail newsletters and e-zines, hoping that someone, anyone, will have the magic bullet – that one thing, that one answer, that will give them the clarity they need and solve all of their business problems.
Soon, the e-mails start coming in. Suddenly, there are too many answers. I’ve had clients come to me with a list of “to dos” so long and so diverse, they’d need a full team and a full year to get just half of the list done.
Here’s what happens: most “experts” and “gurus” have specialties. They focus on e-zines or public speaking or viral videos or internet marketing or sales…the point is, they focus on a specific part of the marketing or business process. Each expert says you should be doing whatever it is that they focus on. So you’ve got an e-zine specialist telling you that to grow your business, you need to focus on e-zines. And a social media expert tells you the best way to market your business is to put all of your energies into social media. And so on.
The result is “Expert ADD” (referring, of course, to “attention deficit disorder”), where you’re reading so many experts’ opinions that you think you have to be putting effort into all of these things to grow your business. This creates overwhelm and confusion.
When I begin working with a new client, one of the first things I ask of them is that they “turn off” their “guru” e-mails for awhile. The reason is that our first goal is to create clarity and a manageable plan. If you’re still getting pulled in ten or twenty different directions, then achieving real clarity and developing a plan that rids your life of the overwhelm will be difficult.
I can always tell when a client hasn’t turned off the e-mails. Instead of doing their “homework” and making regular, methodical progress toward their goals, our weekly sessions usually include conversations about new directions and ideas. Instead of helping them make progress, paying attention to too many “gurus” actually gets in the way of them achieving success.
So how do you avoid “Expert ADD?”
First, take inventory of the experts you’ve been following and start paring down to only those who are authentic, honest, and truly have your best interests at heart. I’ve heard from a lot of folks that even if they decide to stop following someone, they keep reading their e-mails to learn what not to do. I actually did that myself, for awhile, but quickly learned that it didn’t serve me to maintain any ties with someone I didn’t respect and didn’t think I could learn from. So pare down, but really pare down.
Second, when you choose to work with a business coach or consultant, allow them to guide you so that you can make progress toward your goals. Why hire someone if you’re not going to let them help you?
Finally, remember that you don’t need to do everything for your business to grow. Choose one or two avenues to focus on and put your attention there for awhile. Measure your results and see which marketing strategies are most effective for you, before adding more to the mix.
“Expert ADD” can be a huge obstacle, if you let it. Instead, protect yourself by taking in just the information you need, and discarding the rest, so you stay away from that paralyzing overwhelm and confusion and maintain a positive, motivated, and organized perspective.