Ep 011: Why you should always be careful when taking advice from others

In this episode I’m talking all about the worst advice I’ve ever had. When you start a business everybody has an opinion. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we can feel destabilised because something has maybe not worked. 

In these moments, we have to take advice from others carefully and reflect on how they can be helpful or not for our product/service. 

Here are the highlights from this episode:

{2:34} Why are they giving us this advice?

{8:24} The secret to helping people: empowering them

{10:31} The worst advice I ever had

Check out all episodes and download worksheets – https://dawnmcgruer.com/podcast/

Connect with Dawn:

Instagram @dawnmcgruer and @businessconsort





Web: www.dawnmcgruer.com

Dawn McGruer:

Welcome to Episode 11, Dawn of a New Era, the Podcast – Chronicles of a Serial Entrepreneur, with myself, Dawn McGruer, digital marketing speaker, author, and trainer, and passionate about business and growing and scaling as an entrepreneur and getting to a point where we have a business that we want, not a business that’s driving us.

Now, in this episode, I am going to cover the worst advice I ever had. And this is something that honestly could destroy your whole entrepreneurial journey and something that I feel that I really need to address, because when you start a business, believe me, everybody has an opinion. You’ve probably experienced this yourself, because everybody has their own view. And the thing you’ve got to keep always focusing on is that sometimes people’s views and opinions are not going to be positive for you and your business, because you’ve got to stay in your lane and you’ve got to keep focused because only you know why you started that business and what you wanted to achieve.

And the thing here is that if somebody thinks you’re going the wrong path, someone thinks you’re doing the wrong thing, or they think you need to be marketing this or creating that product service, that’s because that’s what they want. And too often people are steered or they’re rerouted on a journey that’s not even their own path, because everybody is saying to them, “Oh, I think you should create this product.” “Oh, wouldn’t it be great if you did this.” And you get caught up in the moment.

What you need to do is always take stock of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and is it going to work? Because having three, four, ten, fifteen people, even, tell you about a product or service, that’s just a small section. And are these people even your ideal client? If a friend, a family, a colleague, another business team member has an opinion, you’ve got to think, is this the person that you would want to be buying and engaging in your products and services? I guarantee you nine times out of ten, it’s not.

And I’ve had this from so many people, and because we are maybe in a more vulnerable position as an entrepreneur, sometimes you will feel a little bit destabilized, because something has maybe not worked. Those are the times that you can take on board and get the worst advice you’ve ever had, and this could be critical in your journey as a business owner. So what I would always think about is that when people give you advice, that’s great. Some advice will be good. But you’ve got to think about why they’re giving it to you. Is it for them? And what’s in it for you? If you truly believe that this piece of advice is going to get you to reach and attract more of the profitable customers that you want, then great, but you need to go out to a broader reach. Market research was never three family members. Market research was never three customers. Market research has to be geared specifically for your target market, the person that you want to engage in your products and services.

Now the worst advice I’ve ever had, and this is, again, me taking on advice from people who think that it’s the best thing ever. They can be so passionate that you get wrapped up in their journey or the momentum, and it does impact you. So I always say, go away and think about it. And try and think about, why are they giving you this advice, and obviously if it’s going to help you.

Now, one of the stories I want to tell you is about when I started my business. I did not go the traditional route of education, which is quite ironic now because our academy has trained and certified over 28,000 professionals in CIM- accredited, Chartered Institute of Marketing accredited, qualifications, and also we have digital and social media marketing courses. I probably did not enjoy school as much as many. It really wasn’t for me. I found it really quite boring and it was very slow. I went to a school that was fairly formal. I went to a private school. I didn’t not enjoy it. I just felt that I didn’t probably fit in with the regime, and I probably wasn’t the norm. I didn’t maybe respond as well to the strict guidelines and rules.

I was really creative, and art for me was just an absolute passion. I loved writing. I loved drawing. And even my parents say now that when they went and saw my science teachers, they said my drawings were amazing, and I would absolutely get a grade A for those. But my passion really didn’t come out, I suppose, until I got to college and I was studying art and ceramics. And I absolutely loved it, but again, everything was very slow-paced. And maybe I’m just a very impatient person, but I just still felt I hadn’t found me. I hadn’t found where I wanted to be.

And I always felt like the odd person out. Everyone else was enjoying things and doing it, and it just wasn’t resonating with me. I knew it was because I hadn’t really come into my true passion, my true forte. I wasn’t operating in my so-called genius zone. So I decided to leave college. And believe me, I hit so much negativity. I was told I would get to a point where I would hit a glass ceiling and I would not be able to get past that. I would was told that literally, I would only get up a couple of rungs of the ladder and my career would be over. Honestly, I could not believe the negativity that was coming from it.

Now I left college. Didn’t tell my family. I landed myself a really good job. That probably was very lucky because it did boost this jump into a career, and it was a very fast-paced and learning. So I got into working, and then I weirdly got back into education. So it was almost like I wanted to be working and getting the real life hands-on experience while learning. I just didn’t seem to absorb as well without that implementation. And many people are like that, and even students that I teach now.

This is why when we develop training courses, I’m so passionate about the fact that you can’t just teach theory. It has to be case studies. It has to be real-life business-world marketing, and you have to be using tools. You have to be implementing. Even if you’re not in a role, you need to understand it as a practitioner to even be good as a strategic marketer. So I think my journey has geared me in the way that I create things.

And I hit a lot of negativity, and if I’d taken the advice at staying at college, who knows? I have no idea what would have happened, but do you know what? The advice I took then would have been the worst advice ever because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. And do you know what? I am now in a pack where I’ve been through a rocky road. I’ve started my own business. I’ve had my highs, I’ve had my lows, but generally this is something that I followed my path. And from the age of 21, I’m now 41, I’ve had my own business. I’ve had those pressures every day. Yes, it has definitely had its toll on me and my family and I’ve had to make sacrifices, but ultimately it’s what I want to be doing.

And I haven’t built my businesses overnight. It has taken time. But I think this experience makes me a good performance coach, in terms of when I work with clients, I’ve been through it. I can see and feel everything that they’re going through, because I’ve been in it too. I think the only thing that I can give which is different is that because I’ve been through it and I know the pitfalls and challenges, I can probably get people past those quicker or I can get people avoiding them completely and heading them off from the pass.

So when you think about the worst advice you’ve ever had, think about what people have said to you. And even in the past day, week, minutes, whatever, sometimes you are triggered by something that someone says, and it really gets under your skin. And this happens to me quite a lot. Sometimes you’re reading something on social media and you’re thinking, “Are they talking about me?”

Sometimes people will just come back with something and you have to learn that you can’t react and give people advice always because of their own triggers. And this is something that I can’t help myself doing sometimes. I have to really stop. I’m one of these people who wants to fix everything and everybody, and that’s probably something to do with my own control, me being able to control that situation, to help them, because maybe things in my life aren’t as controlled. So it’s me wanting that certainty and stabilization. You often find this with fixers, that it diverts from them. You often find people who are fixers spend less time on themselves than they do helping other people.

What you have to do is empower people to make their own decisions and not be giving people advice all the time. Sometimes we want to be the rescuer. Sometimes we just want to go and help people. But actually by doing that all the time, you’re not enabling that person to go and be free. I remember when I grew up, my mum always wanted me not to do things. She would do things for me. And there was a frustration point because she didn’t want me in the kitchen. She would do that instead. When I moved out and I did all these things, I really felt like I flourished. I felt like because I had maybe been stopped doing these things, that it was only really when I was doing that I was getting confidence, et cetera in myself.

So if you are taking advice or giving advice, think about it before you give it, because some people can react quite vicariously on someone’s advice and you don’t want to get somebody on the path of destruction or something that’s not good for them, and nor do you want to embrace that either. So the worst advice I’ve ever had was not to leave college. I went against that. But then in business I have had some advice, and again I’ve fallen foul of it, because people always want to control other people as well. I think sometimes people have their own vested interests at heart when they’re giving advice too, and you have to be aware of this, because there’s always a balance and there’s a balance with everything.

But the worst advice I ever had is that when I was obviously leaving college, I started my job and then guess what? I decided to leave my job and everybody was telling me, “Oh my goodness, Dawn. What are you doing?” I was about 19, 20 when I’d got into this job, and I wanted to start my own business at 21. So they were saying, “You’ve not got any life experience. You’ve only been in this job a small time.” Honestly, I felt like I had learned so much. I’d been on this massive steep learning curve. There was probably a little bit of arrogance and naivety there thinking that I could go and start my own business. But so many people told me I would fail. So many people. And you know what? I look back and I think, “Well, look at me now.”

If you have ever experienced negativity from loved ones, friends, family, colleagues, whatever, just always go back and think about your successes. Yes, there’s been some epic fails along the way, but do you know what? The worst advice I could have ever taken was not start my own business, because do you know what? As much as it’s been painful and as much as I have probably been through some really difficult times at 21, having a mortgage and starting a business, getting offices and doing all that, that was massively stressful and it does tear you apart a little bit, but it’s also really cathartic and quite character-building, because I have come out of it really strong. I’ve come out of it with a really balanced understanding of life and what’s important in life and what’s not. Because I would never really recognize how good the goods were if I hadn’t had the absolutely abhorrent horribleness.

So I do remember being feast and famine and money and things like that. And I remember at the time thinking, “My God, were these people right? Should I have taken their advice? Have I done the wrong thing?” But honestly, I’m glad I didn’t take their advice, because that would have been the worst advice I’d ever taken, because it wasn’t, again, for me. I did thrive on it, as much as it it was difficult. And I had some great times in business and the people I’ve met has been amazing.

And then I went to the Prince’s Trust because everyone told me, “Dawn, you will not get funding. Dawn, starting a business at 21? You’re kidding. You’re you’re not going to be able to do this.” I went to the Prince’s Trust. I got a £5,000 loan. Not grant or anything like that. I had to pay it back. And that was how I started my first business. I will never forget it. I had to sit in front of a panel. I was 21. I wasn’t massively experienced, but I’d traveled the world a bit. I had had a job and presented everything in the best way I could. And you know what? My passion paid off, because I got this loan against everybody’s advice, against everyone’s thoughts and feelings. I did it and I got it.

And then I went on to grow my business, and there’s so much more that went on past that point. But the hardest thing I had at 21 is going to networking events. I’ll never forget this. I had situations where being female, back then, I walk into a networking event and my age and gender felt like a really, really negative part, because I would go up to shake people’s hands and people will refuse point-blank to shake my hand. And I went to this networking event once, three men just refused to even involve me in the conversation. Two people refused to shake my hands. But do you know what? I kept on going, against all odds. People told me, “I don’t think this networking event is for you.” Well, do you know what? I carried on going. And then I started my own networking event.

So this little networking event of say 20, 25 people. I started my own networking events with 150. And they were in car showrooms, cocktail events. They were brilliant. And still even when I meet people today, they talk about these events. So go against all odds. Do not take people’s advice. People may feel threatened by you. And I always remember someone at this networking van coming over, giving me a drink and just seeing what was going on, and took me under their wing and said, “Do you know what, Dawn? Take it as a compliment. Take it as a compliment, because they clearly feel threatened by you.” And I thought, what a nice way to look at it. And it allowed me to de-position them and get past it and move on.

So everybody’s been through these horrible situations, and thankfully I think we have moved on culturally a little bit since then, but these things still happen. Don’t let it rock you. Don’t let these people take you off your road and your path of what you want to do. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. I just wanted to give you an insight into the fact that it’s not plain sailing and some people have tried to really knock me off the path.

I think I’m going to part with one of the worst stories I’ve ever had. Quite recently, actually, a competitor decided that they really felt that I was a threat and made it their life’s mission to make things difficult. For me, it was really upsetting, incredibly disheartening, but do you know what? I’ve come out so much stronger, because again, I remembered back to that networking event and thinking they are they’re threatened by me. And this was a huge education provider. And one of the nicest things is that I just put all my energy, all my efforts, not into the negative, but into, “I’m just going to do everything I can. I am going to try and shine online. I am just going to try and shine brighter and brighter and brighter and hopefully that will annoy them even more. I need to get past this, but I needed to divert my energy in a really positive way.”

I’m thankful to say that yeah, I now rank higher than them on Google on page one and have managed to push them down about five positions. So that made it feel a little bit better, because getting absorbed into the negativity and people saying to me, “Oh, you don’t want to go up against that person,” that would have been the worst advice I could ever taken. I had to stand strong, I had to stand my ground and I had to move forward. And I just put everything I had into the positive. And the situation has well,, de-geared them.

So if you’ve had a situation like this, please come and share it in the group, and let me know what you think about my podcast. I’d really appreciate if you could head on over to Apple and give me a rate and review, and I will see you on next week’s episode. So hopefully you will have an amazing week and I hope you’ve not experienced any negativity like I have, but I’m sure many of you will and can relate to it. So let’s forge ahead and I will see you on Episode 12. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode and don’t forget I’m going to be with you each and every week. So download and listen on DawnMcGruer.com or on iTunes, and come and join us in our Facebook community too. All the details are on the website and I’ll see you next week.


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Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital Marketing - Helping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.

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