What do you think of these things:

Sending your clients a book from a “gift recipient” to help make yourself a NY Times Bestselling author.
Creating a mock photoshoot of a packed auditorium so you get professional photos of you “speaking” to an audience.
Paying $5,000+ to contribute a chapter of a book so you can be an author with a best-selling author/big name and you don’t even have to write, a ghost writer takes care of that for you.

These are recent strategies I’ve seen that made me think “hmmm, maybe you CAN buy success.”

Or can you?

I’m opening up another can of worms…

The Photoshoot

I was invited to do the mock photoshoot and didn’t do it because it didn’t feel authentic to me. Taking photos with an “audience” of other people who were just waiting their turn to get their photo taken didn’t feel right. I would much rather be actually speaking to an audience for real and getting photos from that. But that takes a lot more work you see…

AND guess what? It sucks when your event photographer takes photos of you speaking and every single one of the photos come back out of focus or unusable because they aren’t great photos. (Yes that has happened.)

So it’s tempting to get some great photos of me speaking with a mock photoshoot, but nah…it didn’t feel right. I know some great people who are doing the photoshoot and it feels good to them – it’s all good and it’s just not a match for me.

But is this really any different than me getting all glammed up for a photosh

oot when in reality I spend most days in a t-shirt and yoga pants working form my home office? Or photoshopping some of the “wisdom lines” on my face because I can’t possibly look that old under all of that great lighting right?

What would you do? Where do you draw the line in the sand?

The Mystery Book:

When I received a package in the mail a couple months ago I thought “I didn’t order anything…what is this?”

Then I opened the package and found a book inside. I didn’t order the book. The book was given to me by a anonymous “Gift Account.” The next couple of weeks I saw this book was a NY Times Best Seller. To become a best-selling author, it’s simply a math game. You have to sell a certain number of books in a specific time frame to be a best seller.

It’s a clever strategy – buy your own book from a gift account or someone else does that and then send them to your clients. NOTE: I also realize I don’t know the full picture with this strategy. And it feels a little fishy. Maybe that’s why I’m not a NY Times Best Selling author.

I’ve hesitated writing this article for two weeks now…

Why? Because I thought maybe there was something I was missing. Maybe I was the crazy one and I need to lighten up. Maybe I have a fixed belief that success has to be hard and seeing these strategies really pushed that belief of mine.

But the bottom line, is if it’s not authentic I’m not doing it. Period.

There are lots of events and coaches and experts will make you an expert if you pay them enough. Maybe it’s just my style to root for the underdog but there is something magical about actually putting in the effort consistently and creating REAL transformation on this ladder of success.

There is something worthwhile about creating a community and inviting them to buy your book during a specific period of time so you can be an Amazon best seller. A fellow Utah entrepreneur Kim Flynn did this recently and it was damn inspiring. She invited her community that she has spent years making to be a part of her vision and it worked. That following didn’t happen overnight. She has been CONSISTENTLY building her tribe and giving value to that tribe.

There are a lot of places you can invest your dollars to create opportunities.

Here is my rule of thumb about what to invest in:

The Sales Conversation: Truth or Fear?

If the sales tactic is fear-based or promising star status in a very short period of time without even looking at your business, say no. Anyone can take your picture and publish your book, but are they asking the important question: Are you a master at what you do? Master something first, then promote it – that creates something worthwhile that changes the world.

If the sales conversation is about YOU deciding where you want to go and they have done it for other people, AND you are willing to do the work, then yes, it’s likely a good investment. Is that person willing to be honest with you of where you need to improve to really be a MASTER at something? If they are, then you are in good hands.

Guess what? You are a master at your craft and if you stick with it, you’ll become a bigger master of it. Please don’t use this as a reason to not put yourself out there because you “don’t know enough yet.” YOU get the right person on your team and they can extract the genius from you that you think “isn’t a big deal.” Truth Check: you are a big damn deal!

Do the work.

I’ve always been baffled at people who are “authors” but a ghost writer wrote their entire book. Granted, just because I don’t get it doesn’t mean it’s not valid. It’s just not for me and I have the good fortune of being a good writer and I really enjoy it.

So having a ghost writer would definitely be an option for me if I wasn’t a great write but I knew I had a message inside of me that needed to come out.

Either way, do the work. Do it well because you are the kind of person who does an excellent job. Do that quality of work enough and you will create a following and boost your income.

Last week someone asked me “How do you create content so quickly, it’s like you pull it out of thin air?”

My answer: Work your butt off for five years and be willing to make a fool of yourself in an attempt to get 20% of what you do RIGHT. The other 80% are experiments gone bad, but provided some awesome stories and awesome experience of what never to do again.

Some days it’s more like 50/50, but does 100% of what I do works? No. Have I had launches that have totally flopped? Yes. Do I wish I could get a “do-over” for some aspects of events I’ve hosted? You bet.

But all of that has led me to where I am now – I know my content, I know what I’m great at. I know who I am. And I like that woman. A lot. I continue to master my craft.

Be willing to teach the stuff that scares the crap out of you (the stuff you have overcome and learned the hard way).

Are you a highlight or one of many?

Know how you work a room and what energy is authentic to you. I would much rather sponsor a retreat of 30 women where I get to have real conversations rather than pay $15,000 to sponsor a breakout session where I’ll speak to 50 people for 45 minutes. My energy is about having real conversations. I don’t like large events of 1,000 people. (I’m mostly an introvert).

Invest in the opportunities that align with your energy and your personality. And don’t play it too safe – you’ve got to do the things that scare you so you grow.

Above All Else: Your intuition is always right.

Invest in your business with people who GET you. Invest in the opportunities that feel good.

Above all else, use your intuition. It’s always right.