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March 27, 2017

Those Who Do, Teach: Making Sense of Internet Gurus

I am delaying the post I had planned for today, “When It’s Time to Hire a Maid,” to admit my recent change of heart regarding a certain kind of internet entrepreneurship.

I’ve written previously about how multi-level marketing sparked a longing to own a business of my own. In the years since, I have dabbled in private music lessons, worked normal jobs, and even joined a dear friend in getting swindled out of thousands of dollars by a defunct web development company.

It’s only since last summer that I have again taken steps toward self-employment and business ownership, and it’s only in the last two months that I have gotten serious. It looks like writing is quickly becoming a large component of my life and contribution to the world. Things are lining up for me to actually start getting paid to arrange words!

Yet something else is happening that I did not expect (or at least not this soon): People are asking me for advice. In simply starting a consistently updated blog I am doing something that others have considered, and they want to get started – or even relaunch.

I have been regularly showing up even when I am exhausted and tempted to skip out (like tonight when it’s nearing midnight after a wedding). Now I am being asked to teach, even on a small, one-to-one basis.

I love teaching, and I’m thrilled to help answer questions with whatever limited knowledge I have gathered so far, but I can foresee a situation in which there would be too many messages to answer. If I earn enough readers, eventually the people asking for advice or instruction will come from outside my circle of friends. At that point, creating a valuable instructional product is not only an option but perhaps a responsibility to them and to myself and my family.

But I have always been suspicious of many internet “gurus” – the ones that seem to have no real business except helping others with their businesses. Do you know the ones? They’ll write a book about how to write a book. That has often seemed to me like an intellectual pyramid scheme.

My cynicism is now melting away. Dan Miller over at 48days.com maintains that if he gets asked the same question three times, he creates a new product. Someday soon, I may have to follow suit. And maybe if you start the project you’ve been kicking around your idea globe, you may have to do the same thing.

Yes, I would be offering the same content as many others, but my unique presentational style would be imprinted upon the resulting work. This is the beauty of the democratization of influence; there are people that will learn better from you than another person saying the same thing. There is no need to pose or posture as more of an expert than you are. If friends and eventually strangers start asking your opinion, you will know you have value to offer.

I’m going to try to stop being so judgmental. I plan to help others flourish in my own ways, and I hope you do, too. Create, and teach when asked.

* * *

I have a few ideas for big projects to pursue next, and will be honored if you answer a few guiding questions. Will you help me decide?

Please message me or email me (joshuadavidh [at] gmail) to let me know you are willing to help. Thank you!

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