What’s one thing that you are constantly seeing on the web? Especially if you are on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube?
Come on, take a guess…
No, I am not talking about people taking half-naked selfies of themselves or posting their lunches. I’m talking about people showing off. From taking pictures of their cars or money and even their homes to standing in front of private jets and yachts.
You know… one of those images like the one above. And if you are wondering, that isn’t my car. A friend took that picture of me when I was at the race track… heck I don’t even drive anymore (or have any more hair!).
But do you want to know a little secret?
The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room
Now, I didn’t come up with that quote. It’s from the movie American Gangster that stars Denzel Washington.
But sadly, that doesn’t stop people from taking advice from all of the “loud” marketers our there showing off.
But I’ll let you on in a little secret…
People who really have money don’t need to run ads showing off how much cash they have and they surely don’t care what others think about them.
I learned this from my parents, as well as a few other valuable things.
So what did my parents teach me?
I didn’t grow up with money, and I didn’t have rich parents. My first job was picking up trash, cleaning restrooms, and sweeping up vomit at a theme park.
And I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me either. My life wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t grow up poor either.
My parents worked really hard as immigrants and eventually, they were able to provide a middle-class lifestyle for me and my sister.
But as I was growing up, my parents taught me that showing off only draws more attention and causes problems.
That’s why I don’t have “lifestyle” photos of myself. Heck, I don’t really even talk much about my personal life as I prefer to keep things private… as much as possible at least. That’s the main reason I don’t use Instagram.
See, when I was growing up, I was thankful for whatever I had.
When I was growing up, that’s the car my parents gave me to drive. Luckily for me, my parents were generous enough not to make me pay for the car or even the gas.
Sure, the car had a sticker in the back window promoting my mom’s daycare business at the time, but I didn’t mind. When I would go to business meetings people would make fun of me but that didn’t bother me either.
Want to know why? I had a free car. 🙂
I took a business meeting in Bel Air once, which was a far drive from my parents’ house. When the meeting ended, I was one of the first people to give the valet my ticket. I remember people kept coming after me with their ticket and everyone got their cars before me.
I get it… I was driving a beat-up Honda Civic with a “Tina’s Day Care” sticker on the back.
This experience, as well as a few more similar ones, taught me that people make assumptions based on appearances.
And that’s what you are doing when it comes to getting marketing and entrepreneurship advice.
Don’t believe me?
I know what you are thinking… “no Neil, I don’t believe those ads on YouTube of people showing off their homes and fancy cars.”
And I know you don’t believe them because they are running ads or selling get rich quick products. But let me ask you a question.
Who would you rather take advice from?
A random kid who does magic tricks for fun, barely has any money, and is telling you how to grow your website traffic…
Someone who lives in a multi-million-dollar house, drives a Ferrari, and is wearing a $20,000 watch.
I bet you are going to take advice from the person with a fancy car over the kid. And that’s where a lot of marketers and entrepreneurs go wrong.
In an ideal world, you should hear both of them out and pick the advice that’s most relevant to you.
Just like how I met up with the kid who does magic tricks because he was an up and coming SEO and there’s always a chance that he can teach me something new.
The big mistake people make is that they only listen to rich people. Just because someone has money, it doesn’t mean they know what’s best for you.
In many cases, the person who is rich may not know your space well. For example, two friends of mine, Matt and Tom, have done well in the financial space and they have a blog called Signals Matter.
Just because Matt and Tom have done well, I would never take advice from them about marketing.
Sure, I listen to them about business and financial advice, but I know when to listen and when to stop. At the same time, Matt and Tom are humble, they never show off, they don’t talk about their success, and they don’t ever try to give me advice on things they aren’t experts on… such as marketing.
So, what’s the point I am trying to make?
Know your audience. Just because someone looks successful, and maybe even potentially is, it doesn’t mean you should go to them for all sorts of advice. Know what they are really good at, pick their brain, and get advice related to what they know well and that’s it.
So, should you ignore these flashy people on Instagram and YouTube?
Funny enough, I know a lot about them. And similar to the advice I gave you above, I look at them from a different perspective.
I don’t care about their ads or their products. But what I focus on is how they do their own marketing.
How are they building up their following? What are they doing to get such high engagement?
I believe that you can learn from everyone. Instead of looking at the bad, focus on what you can learn from them and use it to grow your own business.
For example, a lot of the info marketers sell aggressively, but the tactics they use, such as selling through webinars are great. And instead of just ignoring them, I’ve taken their strategies and applied some of them to my own companies.
And now I am able to generate 3.6 sales at $997 for every 100 webinar registrations. That’s not too shabby… $3,589 in revenue for 100 webinar registrations.
In other words, always look for opportunities to learn from.
As a teacher, my mom taught me that you can learn something from everyone… you just have to be willing to listen.
It’s up to you to listen and decide what advice to follow.
So what else did my parents teach me?
There’s probably a bit too much to break down, but sticking with the theme of the loudest person in the room is the weakest, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Respect is earned, not bought – sure, people will look up to you if you show off your wealth. But you build fake friends who only care for one thing… your money. Real respect is earned by your actions, your knowledge, your accomplishments… not how much money you have in the bank account.
- Knowledge is power – value knowledge more than wealth. Successful people don’t care to only hang around with other rich people. They thrive to learn more and be around smart people. Never stop learning and always have a thirst for knowledge.
- Wealth is built, not spent – you won’t build wealth if you burn your money on fancy cars or showing off. You’ll build wealth by reinvesting and putting your money to work. The last thing you want to do is tie up your cash in assets that don’t produce any income. If you ever get to a point in life where you have more money than you know what do with, then, by all means, go buy whatever makes you happy.
- Think before you talk – when things start going well, showing off and talking about how well you are doing won’t help. All it will do is create more competition. The last thing you want is other people copying you because it will slow down your growth and potentially cause you to earn less. So, think twice before telling people how well you are doing.
- Life isn’t that bad – entrepreneurship is like a rollercoaster. There are good moments as well as bad ones, happy ones, and even scary ones. You need to stay level headed and be logical at all times. An easy way to do this is to always remember that when things are going well for you, there is always someone else out there who has it better. And when things are getting bad, remember, there is always someone out there who has it much worse than you.
- Arrogance will kill you – don’t think you are better than other people because you are not. Sure, you might be a good person, but money doesn’t make you better than everyone else. And not having money doesn’t make you worse than everyone else. Find your place in life and do what fulfills you. I know it sounds cheesy, but it is true.
- Optimize for contentment – people strive to be happy, but why? Happiness is an emotion and it doesn’t last forever. People aren’t happy 24/7, so don’t optimize for it. It’s just unrealistic. Instead, optimize for contentment.
There will always be people that are going to show off. Just remember, the loudest person in the room is typically the weakest.
People who have real wealth in most cases have nice things, but they know not to rub them in your face and show off.
The moment someone shows off their wealth, it typically means they don’t really have it. It’s what they call 6-figure millionaires, in which people spend all of their money creating the illusion of wealth.
So, when you see these people or even people with real wealth, don’t focus on what they have. Focus on how some may be trying to scam you for your money with their get rich quick schemes.
You are too smart for that anyway.
Instead, I want you to focus on what you can learn from them. For example, a lot of those Instagrammers who are flashy understand marketing concepts that have helped them build an engaged community. Learn from that and use the tactics that work for you.
A lot of those YouTube and Facebook advertisers might be selling products you don’t approve of but some of their ads are really clever. Again, learn from them. Look at their ads, their copy, their landing pages… see if you can adapt any of their strategies and apply them to your business in an ethical way.
So what do you think about all of the people who show off?