The 5 Worst Pieces of Business Advice I Ever Got

by Christine Kane

I’m a perpetual student.  I love to learn, listen and be willing to “not know.”  I believe this is one of the reasons I’ve been able to create so much success in my life. Now, the problem with being this way is that, if you’re not careful, you will get some very bad advice along the way.

Because I had SO much to learn, first, as a professional musician – and then as the owner of a company – I have probably attracted more than my fair share of crappy advice.  Some of it has done some pretty hardcore damage. And in a weird backward sort of way, some of it has helped me become much better as a coach.

Here are the top 5 worst pieces of business advice I ever got…

1 – You’re only as good as your last show [book, talk, year, etc]
Who said it:

This was said to me by a successful Ernest-Hemingway-wanna-be musicians who got a little too strung out on that suck-it-up-and-start-drinking-at-noon-if-you’re-a-real-artist attitudes. I admired him at one point. Hell, I admired that whole mindset at one point. Which is why I actually believed his crappy philosophy for a while.

Why it’s Lame:

So you have a terrible horrible awful show…

…or you give a terrible horrible awful talk…

…or you write a terrible horrible awful book?

(Or even if you’ve had a terrible horrible awful 5 years in your business?)

Guess what?

You just did some mightily important R&D and now you can do it better.  There is no arrival.  If your last attempt sucked, well guess what… it’s not the end of the world, you don’t need to start drinking tequila at noon, and you can do it better next time.

Better Advice:

What the rest of the world calls failure, marketers and business owners call “R&D.”  Use this to get better at what you do.

2 – You have to get good at numbers if you want to be successful.

Who said it:

Pretty much everyone in my life who was ever good at numbers, spreadsheets and other things that were, to them, the heart of any business.  These people always seemed to wear ties and talk to me like I was 17 years old.

Why it’s Lame:

Because you are meant to be good at your genius work. Get better at that thing. Be adept at understanding numbers, yes. But if you waste your time learning something that is the equivalent of physical labor to you, you will not be doing the genius work that makes you money.
Better Advice:

Stop trying to get good at the stuff you were born to suck at.  Hire an awesome bookkeeper. Hire an awesome accountant.  Tell them this is not your strong-suit and make them explain everything like you are on an episode of Sesame Street. Don’t hire anyone who talks down to you or is not willing to help you as a numerically challenged human.

3 – No one wants _XXXXX_____. You have to do __XXXXX________ instead.

Who said it:

A motivational speaker author who often made blanket statements about what works in marketing and business.

Why It’s Lame:

Because blanket statements are crap.

Everything is about testing results.  In this particular case this person told me that I should stop blogging because no one wants “advice” and that I have to do “big trainings” instead if I want to be successful.

That may be true for him. But my ideal client isn’t his ideal client. My metrics tell me that my blog posts do really well for my business. (And my peeps!)

Though his intentions were true, the key thing to understand here is that unless someone can look at your metrics and conversions with you, and unless you have tried something yourself… any kind of “this works/that doesn’t” is bad advice.

Better Advice:

If it’s working, if it gets you clients, keep doing it. If you haven’t tried it but it feels like a good idea, try it.  Be careful of the Bright Shiny Object tendency to ditch your good strategies just because one person doesn’t like them.

4 – Do what you love and the money will follow.
Who said it:

Many people in the spiritual, healing and creativity worlds.

Why it’s Lame:

I actually DO believe in the truth of this statement. I do think that your passion matters. And that when you start to take action, some force field in the universe steps out with a million helping hands and makes things happen.

The problem is that many people take it to mean that their business will just keep working and that they can keep the mindset of “I hate business, I’m no good at business” and they end up having a duct taped business that doesn’t really work very well and leaves them in a state of chaos.

Better Advice:

Do what you love. And if you want to build a business that serves people and sustains your wealth over years and years and years, be willing to use great strategies for helping your clients have a better experience from start to finish with you.

5 -  You’re really smart. You don’t need to spend all that money on a coach.

Who said it:

People who look at me like I’m an idiot every time I get on a plane to take part in my masterminds or work with my coach.

Why it’s Lame:

You may be smart, yes. But you don’t know what you don’t know. And if you’re not careful, you’ll fall into the trap of “trying harder” based on what you don’t know.

Better Advice:

A coach and a mastermind can shave years off your learning curve, can provide a deep foundation for your confidence and will hold you accountable during those times when you are back at #1 and just had a bad book, show, year, etc.  Invest in yourself, and then do the work to get a return on that investment.

Now it’s your turn…Do you remember any bad advice you’ve gotten about business along the way?  Share it here! I want to hear it! Let’s have a good laugh!

Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 32,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a FREE subscription at

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