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  • Diana Schneidman

Who is successful enough to teach and coach others?

Who is successful enough to coach others or even to write about marketing and business development for freelancers and consultants?

I’ve seen quite a few articles arguing that you should never learn from someone who isn’t already a tremendous success. After all, those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.

Makes sense, at least on first hearing it.

The internet world being what it is and widely admiring of those who earn very large incomes, it appears that “six figures,” or in other words, at least $100,000, is entry-level success and seven figures is the next step along the path, following close behind.

By this definition, I may not meet your standards of success.

However, I meet my own standard of success. I write and teach about how to get the kinds of clients you want. And I myself have landed desirable clients . . . repeatedly.

The marketing techniques that I recommend work. If implemented consistently over time—and paired with high-quality services to clients, they may help you become very successful over time. However, I don’t claim to teach people specifically how to get rich.

Anytime I have wanted freelance writing assignments, I have managed to get something going using the techniques I teach. At times, work and money fall from the sky like those cheesy photos on marketing websites of people sitting cross legged in front of their computers while paper money rains down on them.

But sometimes it has taken quite awhile . . . in fact, a distressingly long period of time. (But honestly, I can get distressed pretty darn quickly.)

I tell myself that enduring these periods enables me to advise others. If everything goes super smooth, then you haven’t wrestled any of the demons that torment the self-employed. You can’t encourage others to keep the faith and keep going if everything happens just right for you every time, I self-talk.

I’ve read an awful lot of experts who claim that they teach others so you won’t make the same mistakes they made. However, I believe that it can take time to find what works for us.

That doesn’t mean we aren’t getting assignments along the way. Learning and finding work take place as part of a process that lasts throughout our careers.

The most important thing in finding an expert to study or to work with is to understand which activities they recommend. It seems that many people invest considerable sums in educating themselves but they fail to follow through by taking action. Sometimes they fail even to unwrap the book or CD they have purchased.

Many experts are selling the sizzle rather than the steak and their fans like it just fine that way. They are buying the dream rather than the work plan.

Originally posted 2-24-13

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