Why you should always sniff your experts

Would you eat regurgitated fish? Are you a penguin?

Sometimes I think the business world is just filled with baby penguins, gorging on regurgitated information. 

Photograph of an Emperor penguin and its baby.

Don’t just swallow the regurgitated business advice provided by so-called experts.

Information that was useful and interesting, once… but now it’s like chewed-over fish, vomited out by self-professed “experts” who don’t really understand it.

It’s easy to fall for it, too, because it’s all wrapped up in a nice shiny package with a pretty bow.

But if you get close enough, it smells a bit fishy.

Here are the signs:

  • They’re what Ben Settle calls “fluffpreneurs” — you only ever get sickly-sweet motivational crap from them, never any true value or hard truths that’ll truly prepare people for the harsh world of business
  • All their marketing is all about them: their stories only ever have one star of the show, and it’s not their clients
  • They have no real-world experience to share — they keep churning out the same old worn-out ideas, never seeming to learn anything new or put their own slant on things
  • They don’t invest in their own learning and development, exhibiting their scarcity mindset
  • You never hear them say, “I don’t know” because they’re too insecure
  • They never offer anything without wanting something in return — real experts don’t give away the farm for free, but they often give insights and support
  • They fall to pieces when their plans turn to crap — improvising is beyond them, because they only have surface knowledge
  • They target total newbies and people in true financial dire straits with super-expensive products and services that don’t even break the surface

I’m not slinging blame around here: new business owners, especially those in the marketing industry, are constantly told they have to start selling super-high ticket stuff right away — even if they don’t have the deep understanding or experience they need to do so.

And so of course the n00bs do as they’re told. They set up their stall with expensive trinkets, not realising they’re doing anything wrong.

But that’s all they’re selling: trinkets.

It’s easy to get sucked in by people who might mean well, but have no real understanding of what they’re selling. They don’t mean to do harm, but they do harm anyway. When you have limited money and even less time, you can’t afford to chuck it away on surface level crap.

If you’re completely skint, do what I did: start with a few good books. Everyone can afford a book.

(I started with Scientific Advertising, Dan Kennedy’s Ultimate Sales Letter, and Drayton Bird’s How to Write Sales Letters That Sell — plus his emails. Then after a few years’ hard slogging, I wrote my own book about what it’s really like starting and running a business, and what I found to work.)

Anyway, my point is: don’t throw money away on expensive stuff you can’t afford. And especially not on stuff that’s just made of spiderwebs and unicorn glitter.

If you’ve read my book and my 49 Ideas, you have more than enough to get started and make you a little cash to reinvest.

Not done that yet? Get signed up to my 49 Ideas.

There’s no fluff: guaranteed. Only stuff I know works — for me, for my clients, and for the guest experts I bring in when I don’t have the answers.

Find it here:




Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

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