Are You A Guru Groupie?

Recently one of my clients asked if I thought her working with a specific individual would be a good investment.  My client is a dentist who would like to try her hand at putting on women’s events (birthed out of some personal issues that she has overcome).  I didn’t know much about the person to whom they were referring so I decided to do a little research.  One of the first things that jumped out at me when I went to the website was there was no “business” correlation between my client and the person (a clothing boutique owner) they were indecisive about working with.  If my client had said, I’m looking for someone to help “dress” me for my events, I would have said, “hey go for it!”  But the boutique owner was not offering to help with my clients look, but actually offering event planning and marketing services.  My first thought was maybe she has another website or did event planning and marketing at a different stage in her life.  So I clicked to read the bio of boutique owner.  It boasts of “working more than 15 years for a retail giant” which I later uncovered was a toy store.

The boutique owner had done a great job of gathering photographs of herself and some pretty prominent people.  Impressive, right?  Well not exactly.  See, the VERY FIRST  first photo on boutique owner’s website is a group photo of  people among the ranks of Ali Brown, Gail King, Suze Orman and a few others, but the boutique owner was not a part of the photo – –  and from what I gathered, none of those people in the photo are clients of the boutique owner either.   The next thing I noticed was the boutique owner had a blog.   Many of the blog posts included photos of her and prominent people (but it was clear these photos were all taken at the same event).  Much of the blog posts talked about “being in the audience” and how she was inspired by “listening to a certain guru speak”. This seemed to play out over and over throughout various blogs on the website.   As I combed through the pages of the website one thing became very apparent to me.  The boutique owner was a guru groupie!

When I hear the word groupie, I tend to think of, “a young person, especially a teenage girl, who is an ardent admirer of  musicians and may follow them on tour”.  Yes of course, there are people that I clear my schedule for to glean from their success, but  I think this is an apple from a different cart.  From what I can tell, THIS boutique owner is making  a “business” of paying money to be in the company of popular guru’s to boost her brand.  Don’t get me wrong, they say a picture is worth 1,000 words; but those photos do not equate to the $1000 she was asking my client to invest.  I searched to try to find a “business” correlation between the needs of my client and boutique owner, I simply could not.  My client WAS NOT looking for a new wardrobe or a stylist.  So, in my professional opinion, I don’t see where or how my client should be investing in any “event and marketing services” from the boutique owner.   I’m not sure how the boutique owners experience will help my client, a dentist, with the goal of hosting women’s events.

Oh I can hear someone saying, “why you hating on that girl trying to make some money!” Aren’t you the queen of career who advocates creating multiple streams of incomes?”  Well, yes, I am a huge proponent of having multiple streams of income, but not at the expense of ripping people off because they are clueless.

Let me explain my position….

Part of my responsibility as a human resources professional in Corporate was to recruit the best talent (employee) who could help the organization meet their overall goals.  While filtering through hundreds of resumes in search for the perfect candidate, one of the first “skills” I  picked up in my line of work spotting red flags.  You know, people jumping from office clerk to human resources manager in less than a year.  People who are “Executive” assistants, but do not support and have never supported an executive.  Oddly enough, I even uncovered an engineer with a drinking problem (he just couldn’t accept our no telecommuting policy).   My point is, over the years, I  have this keen ability to sense when something in the water is not clean and I use that skill everyday in my  line of business.  This has been both a blessing and a curse.  The blessing is I have saved myself and my clients a ton of heartache  and money by simply pointing out some “areas of concern” and leaving the final choice to them.  Most take my advice and others come back and say, “yea you were right”.  It could also be a curse because to some it may be seen as being “critical” of others.  But that is simply not the case.  I just see things from a different point of view because in human resources I had to find a reason to “disqualify” candidates before “qualifying”.

Why I wrote this blog…

Being a new business owner well over 10 years ago, there were many things that I did not know about “running a business” and trust me, I’m still learning.  However, one thing I learned in business is people can spot desperation anywhere and they will charge you whatever they can if you don’t know any better.  I remember paying someone $250 to turn a word file into a pdf.  YES! $250… My computer was old and I didn’t have the updated software that simply gave the file save as option and I paid for it – – -more than once!

As a business coach, it’s my responsibility to makes sure my clients reach their goals without being gullible and prevent them from making the same mistakes I made.  In other words, my goal is to be the coach, I didn’t have 20 years ago.

p.s. I read this to my 14 year and while I had to “explain” groupie to her…she totally got this blog!  And she said, “big deal, you took a photo with Oprah, how does that help me?”   ding ding ding!

This article was written by

Stephanie C. Harper, PHR, CCP, CHRM is a certified human resources professional by trade with more than 20 years experience in the field. An author, career expert, speaker and radio host she is also the Founder and Publisher of CAREER Magazine. She has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Greater Diversity News, Trinity Broadcasting Network and the Steve Harvey TV Show (to name a few).

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