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“Be careful who you listen to…” You might have heard that when you were a kid – well, it’s true for adults too! I remembered it recently when I heard a major influencer giving bad business advice. 

Just because someone has a lot of followers – doesn’t mean their advice will necessarily work for you…

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86 Replies to “Bad Influence”

  1. Thank you for that information Jeff…but it’s quite difficult sometimes to know who’s on the level and who isn’t…I tend to trust people like yourself who’ve been in the business for a long time. Even then I get vibes, after wasting my time, but luckily before I invest my money.
    Love your easy non pushy way you conduct your business…always interesting and motivating.

  2. Aviva Yoselis


    Thanks for this. Definitely true and always good to be reminded of this.

  3. Adrian Massey


    So true Jeff – it’s more important who you learn from than what you learn many times. Thank you making people aware – we have to use our own judgements based on what information we hear/read.

  4. Quite right Jeff,
    I see all kinds of advice doing the rounds, lots of money is involved in this industry, and there are a lot of inexperienced digitally speaking(!) that are vulnerable to influence out there.
    I think your advice is always pretty sound, and freely given which is refreshing mate!
    My own attainments are not impressive when compared to your own, but I have worked with IT and the web for quite a while, I know when information is good.

  5. Gary V Carter


    Really good advice – and restraint. (It ought to be self-evident that the cost of paid traffic for a $20 book can never work unless the book is a surefire hook to something much bigger.) But how is the “newbie” able to discern who “paid for their platform” and thus are not the ones to listen to? Everyone says, “I was once in your shoes.” Or, “I know how you feel.”

    • Quite right Gary. I have launched three books, in Brazil, and a sucessful career as an artist. I never had to pay for any promotion, because, when one has something valuable and new to say, one is valuable for the news networks (TV, newspapers, magazines, etc.) and valuable for people on the social networks. That is why they will promote one for free. And what one has to know is how to reach either the journalists or your potential readers on the social networks. And just as an example of how this actually works, my first exhibition, as an unknown, sold out on opening night and was in all the principle papers being reviewed, and my first book had its first edition sold out in a week – that in a country where reading is not so hot. It really makes me rant, probably more than Jeff, that some influencer will give such terrible advice!!!!

    • Hi Gary. I’m new to digital marketing and it’s been quite a learning curve. I’m glad I found Jeff and PLF. It’s a challenge to market ethically. I always want to be “the real deal” and it’s a challenge sometimes when you don’t want to disappoint people and manage their expectations.

      BTW, I’ve read two of your books including “How to Talk to Strangers in Church”. Such great advice. It’s so cool to cross paths with you here. I love growing my church, too. You can read more about my work at Best of luck to you!

  6. Be a doer, That is the most important aspect of being an Entrepreneur. In the earlier stages of learning,
    ii is fair to say , we are learning from our mentors. Online business needs to be taught.

  7. Thanks Jeff, great advice – and it didn’t sound like a rant to me!

    I was particularly struck by your idea of ‘go with people who’ve been where you are’. It really speaks to being understanding, authentic, and transparent, which is so, so important in building trust with your audience. Trainers can learns as much from that as trainees.

  8. I don’t know who you’re talking about (and it really doesn’t a matter) but for what I understand, he is recommending to send paid traffic to a book when he is making money selling the book. I know it’s different than the phylosofy you’re teaching, which i subscribe but, maybe he is making even a big money in the upsell.
    Do you do paid traffic?

  9. Thank you, Jeff. I too have heard some dangerous advice from a couple of big influencers. I think sometimes they’ve grown so much that they forget where some people are starting from. And just because they want to sell above all else. We all have to walk that fine line of stepping out of our comfort zones and not losing everything.

  10. Steve Lanning


    Whew! Thanks, Jeff, for voicing something that was ‘gnawing’ inside me as I canceled my account with this ‘influencer’ even before I see your ‘gentle rant.’ It just did not feel right to me. And as a fellow alum of the same university of this influencer–maybe 35 years earlier–I was an easy sale!

    I readily confess that am a digital newbie. Probably in the 2-3% percentile of the Jeff Walker followers when it comes to money earned from digital! I have a desire to learn. Clients love me for my ideas–thank the Lord–not my digital prowess.

    Why digital has not rubbed off on me I don’t know as I was a very big participant in the direct mail world in the 1970s to the early 90s. But I’ve always had a nice Rolodex of talent I could rely on to meet client digital needs. I do see many of this influencer’s points–as to “A confused mind always says no,” in giving one pitch to one target and ask for a decision.

    But I do like the promise and potential of the system. Maybe I should just find a ‘digital for old guys’ course! Ha!

    • Jeff, I’m interested in a funnel offer specifically designed for the Facebook platform, but in the first instance, generating revenue for an initial book offer helping businesses drive traffic to their own site. And pushed to me by a BIG influencer. I about to spend HARD EARNED MONEY on this. If you can, without compromising yourself give me a YES… if it’s the same one…NO if not, that would do be so much appreciated. If you can’t, I understand.

  11. Thanks for caring enough to speak up, Jeff. Your leadership continues to be one I want to model.

  12. Andrew Sweeney


    I agree with you Jeff. Another issue I have with a lot of the influences is the way they present success, the way they show student X who never released a product and went on to make a trillion dollars on their first launch. Great to have stories to inspire for sure, but on the flip side they are also used as a measuring stick by everyone else, it’s so easy when they don’t hit a home run first time to feel they have failed and it’s never going to work for them; how depressing that feels ( been there ). It’s OK to fail, fail is a means to learn, everyone who’s made it as also at some point failed at it. I created a very profitable company before selling it to a large media company, on my journey I failed many times – fortunately I only had to succeed once Be good to see influences mixing in a little bit of realistic expectations with the motivation

  13. Excellent advice, Jeff! This also a good reminder for all us who have followers, even if it’s only hundreds or thousands of people, not yet millions, to be careful how we wield our influence.

  14. Thank you! I’m leaning and hear who created a way to sell online is very nice.

  15. Excellent advice Jeff! The message that came through loud and clear for me is that we all need to practice critical THINKING! Learn to think for yourself.

  16. Dorinda Wolfe Murray


    Really good advice Jeff! And not just for this particular ‘rant’. In the current situation many people are desperate to find solutions that they can hang their hat on – and when that happens we tend to forget about using our brains/experience to check things out. A timely reminder – and many thanks.

  17. Such wise words. Definitely not a rant and one we have to remember. As a leader, we have to be responsible for the message and the influence we deliver.

  18. Good solid advice Jeff. There is an old saying that goes like this – cut your coat according to your cloth. For someone with deep pockets it is advice you can follow but for someone battling to buildup there business it is disastrous advice.

    A suggestion Jeff, this was a nice opportunity to turn this situation into a good didactic moment – with out a back-end and with a loss leader front-end offer.

    Jeff you did sidestep the rant (focus negative) and reached middle ground or neutral ground. Walking the views through the “why – the numbers” would put it in very positive territory. Rant mode vs rescue mode – energetically and educationally.

    Good advice and common sense is hard to find across the internet sprawl. Jeff you are always rock solid and reliable – Thanks for being you.

  19. The second video about spectator v’s player one is such a good analogy. As a coach, I am neither the player not the spectator, I am encouraging the individual to become a player in a bigger game. And going back to the first video, as the coach I must be responsible for the challenges I set the coaches, they need to stretch them BUT the MUST be within their reach or else I will cause damage. A fine balance

  20. Allen D’Angelo


    It was way back in early 2000s, in the early days, when you were in the financial newsletter business, that we spoke very briefly by phone about book publishing as I was working in that industry then. This was many moons before Launch. What stuck with me me was the way you carried inside yourself such a deep concern for your clients, as I recall you mentioned helping them steer clear of some of the bad advice out there at that time. Thank you for the consistency of purpose in so sincerely caring, clarifying and steering those you lead in the right direction — Your messages are always like breathing fresh oxygen Jeff!

  21. Aleta Schulz


    I think you gave good advice and successfully managed to express it without an all out rant.

  22. I could not agree more and appreciate the honesty. I call this advisor whiplash (can’t remember where I got that phrase) and in my early years as a founder, writer, I listened to others advice instead of trusting myself. This sent me in the wrong direction 2-3 different years, slowing us down over the long run. When I finally stopped trusting others more than myself, things started going in the right direction. It feels good and right too. Experience is a good thing. Thanks Jeff.

  23. Thank you Jeff! Well said. Be careful who you listen to and who you invest your time and money to other. Trust people who have been where you are and can take you to the next level. 🙏🏻💯🙌🏼

  24. Agree wholeheartedly Jeff! Well done in not calling the person out or throwing them under the bus.

    It breaks my heart and pisses me off to see so many entrepreneurs get bad advice and more shiny objects to distract them from the business fundamentals.

    Discernment is key which reminds me of the quote.

    “Experience is not the best teacher. It’s the only teacher.”

    Be discerning to get advice from those who have walked the road before us because they have the compassion of knowing where what we are experiencing, lessons to overcome obstacles, and with compassion & lessons have the credentials to teach others.

  25. Wow Jeff. Such great advice. Wish I would’ve known this just last year when I got involved with people that fell in that category.

    But I took a step back, reflected and now moving on. Thanks so much!


  26. for those who are looking to invest in as a coach /mentor how do we know who are good talkers and who are great coach/mentor and really teach what they do, because they really care about the success of others people successful business……

  27. Trevor Maurice


    That’s why we respect and admire you, Jeff! You CARE, and you give us the TRUTH! Much appreciated, and honestly, THAT’S why you do so well 🙂

  28. Thanks for your “rant”!! I would like to see a vídeo by you about how to identify what is valuable and what is not. I see that many people don´t check a person’s credentials, and by credentials, I don’t mean diplomas or certificates, but, mainly, results. When is a person’s visibility on the web and the capacity to influence merely a result of great marketing and when it is a result of actually doing something great and, especially, in helping others get great results? How to differentiate between a great teacher – the teacher for each one of us at a given time – and, well, a great “influencer”?

  29. Rant away, Jeff. I need all the protection that I can get. I would have loved to know more specifics so that I could better assimilate your warning. However, I can also appreciate that you wanted to show restraint and not call someone out in public. I get that. Being in Healthcare, I see things all the time that are flat-out wrong and can hurt people really bad and that makes me crazy. So, I guess I’ll just fall back on what I already know, which is, follow the money … always follow the money and look for any ulterior motives. I’ll try to be extra cautious now as I get closer to launch, and make sure I’m making evidence-based decisions and double checking all my facts. So, thanks for looking out for us. I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know. Cheers.

  30. Thank you I am a 56 year young lady in Memphis Tennessee needing to hear the truth I have lost all I have except wisdom and my life from family members either way I need help with website’s building my way of a brand etc again I am praying 🧎‍♂️ yet I was led to read & listen to you today as I sit here on my bed !!!!!

  31. Thank you Jeff.
    Good reminder to follow those whose experience & expertise relates to where we are and where we want to be.

    Dawn Barron-Bommarito

  32. “When you see a buddha coming down the road, kill him”

    If you want to get anywhere, you need to trust your own instincts; others can share ideas and experience but you must take control of your own success,

    Thank you, Jeff, You are a teacher who resonates with my inner gut check

  33. Well said. Versions of my book are reasonably popular due to some industry purchases, however I have found that few paid book promotions were profitable. Considering that the paperback versions earn a little more than $4.00 royalties. (KDP of course much less). Private sales earn less than $9.00 per copy.

  34. Alexandre Gomes


    Jeff, muito obrigado pelas palavras, quero lhe dizer que aqui no Brasil acontece a mesma coisa com influenciadores sem reputação, o que esta afetando as pessoas que enregam bons conteudos. Estou lendo seu livro em português e estou enriquecendo meus conhecimentos em lançamento.

  35. Really well done and needed. Only you can pull off a laid back rant 🙂

    I’d like to pass on a philosophy from someone in finance that I’ve been following since 2006. Jeff, you may know who I am talking about. He tells his audience on a regular basis “I want to give you the information that I would want if our positions were reversed”.

    I love that philosophy and have used it in my business (oral-systemic health). When I interview real (not talking heads) experts, I try to ask questions from the perspective of our audience. What would THEY want to know? What would be of the greatest value to THEM and their family?

    Those of us who are fortunate enough to have an audience (no matter what size) have a responsibility to respect that audience and, to quote a (very) early “influencer”; “First, do no harm”.

  36. Nicole C Jackson



    Awesome advice. Everyone is not for you. Especially when it comes to living a full life. God sees, hears and watches everything. Have a great day and blessed week. I received all of your emails. Thank you . I really appreciate it. Be safe to you and your family.

    Nicole C Jackson

  37. Mark Raphael


    You bring up so many good points.

    The question regarding influencers always comes down to, “How do IMers find one or a couple influencers to follow that they can trust? ”

    I’m a big believer in paid marketing done right. It took awhile for me to find the influencers that I believe are trustworthy.

    Shiny object syndrome for many is a big problem. In many cases it’s much better to dig one 1000 foot hole rather than digging 1000 one foot holes But where do you decide to dig the 1000 foot hole if you’re searching for success when every influencer on the internet is saying “Pick me. Pick me”?

    Time is a huge factor in IM success because time is an extremely valuable commodity. A trainer of mine always told me , “You can make more friends. You can make more money. But you can’t make more time.” Once you spend your time, you can’t get it back for a do over. I think its important that IMers take a close look at the business process in any IM model to determine how much time and money it will take to do a minimum viability test case to limit their risk as a basis to make decisions from.

    I’m very grateful for IM influencers like you that are trustworthy and are willing to share and offer guidance based on experience. Thank you.

  38. Carol A Hughes


    Great advice Jeff. Thanks for putting it out there for us to remember.

  39. Ron Skillens


    Wise and prudent advice Jeff! Advice should be put in context of where I am in my business. I appreciate your heart to be responsible with the power you have as an influencer!

  40. First of all would-be entrepreneurs need to remember that building an internet business is work. Its not called the lottery for a reason. Hard to recognize sometimes but I can warn you what to watch out for in an influencer. Beware of the business model that offers you affiliate product after product and package after package before you’ve had a chance to even access the product you just bought. Having had brick and mortar businesses for years, I was able to recognize that crap right away. Lost respect for those influencers who went that route during COVID with all the umemployed newbies stuck at home and desperate. Seek the business model with coaches like Jeff who minimize risk by showing you the COMPLETE system over their shoulder AND who will be there with support for the INEVITABLE questions that you will have. FOCUS on a footprint that works, only buying things from that point on which help you expand the footprint that you built and ignore the rest. Its all about systems and rituals that fit allowing you to help more people. Both models will make money. IMO the negatives of the first one far outweigh the positives.

  41. Dave Ribble


    It is a blessing that you are willing to explain things and look out for our well-being. Thank you, over and over again, Jeff. Please always be there for us.

  42. I agree Jeff, but as a seasoned consultant for 25 years, I think it is also important to identify who is saying what out in the real world. I already am cautious but I need to know who in order to be prepared and have true insight. I hope you will share the important other facts. Appreciate you. Robb

  43. Massi Learn


    Well Jeff, Drinking your kool-aid in your industry is not the norm now is it? The internet Marketing industry has become a joke. All rules, education, experiences are labeled as non-essential. Anyone with a few YouTube, Facebook and alike ads is a self proclaimed millionaire and genius! Wow! All the knowledge, education, relationship building skills are out the door- Social Media is the king, right!
    That may work for the neophytes but seasoned business people look at this and know better.

    Does anyone actually teach anything of value? A few do, the rest are serving a Very Expensive Kool-Aid!
    Anyone looking to sober up should listen to some of the pod-casts from veterans of this industry to see how shallow are some of these characters. There is a guy that claims to be a business coach to all the coaches, he claims that he wants to celebrate his 100 birthday making some Trillion dollars and live to be 150+ years of age. The cool part is that he is in his seventies, he looks it, his voice is horsed from all the smoking that he has done and he is over-weight. I’d say if you have heard of the mortality rate don’t give this kind of characters another second, defiantly do not follow them. You are wasting your life!
    What gives in your industry, what gives?

  44. Really good sensible talk about getting started. This applies across the board not just for marketing. Thank you for your wise words.

  45. Madeleine Innocent


    Not fully understanding what the offensive comment was (you were very careful!), it’s ALWAYS important to follow your own feelings. I find the best way is to have a passion about what you want to do, then sit back and just follow your intuition/feelings. Then it will always be right for you. People are too ready to follow blindly.

  46. I appreciate this. I am struggling with healing from being fleeced for more than $16k from a well known personal development figure. This person has a huge platform and his person’s desire for $ outweighed their desire for integrity and enrolling the right people for their program. Instead they were enrolling everyone and anyone in order to claim “I make a millions of dollars money!!” Thank you for speaking up! I need to see more of this from leaders. I need to believe again that integrity wins over desire for sales at any cost.

  47. Jeff, most likely I’m part of the group in question. The path he took with his book worked well for him. It’s worked for others too.
    The thing is…
    he is bringing in a new audience. An audience of people like me.
    I had a business dream but couldn’t validate my ‘right’ to dream in such a practical way.
    What he has is a movement and if I didn’t get swept up in it I would never have found PLF.
    I plan to stay in both groups because I need both groups.
    I honor both groups and have plenty to learn from both.
    He is bringing in thousands of people who, in my opinion, would not find PLF any other way.

  48. It’s not whether it’s live or not in the second video. It’s whether it’s promoted as being live when it is actually a recording. That’s false advertising.
    if marketers want their followers to believe in them, then they should come from a position of integrity.

  49. Jeff your words are so true. It’s important to research who you follow and listen to. Everybody doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Thanks for the reminder.

  50. Many thanks Jeff, yes about time some one stool up to those who are the (greedy) internet marketing “gurus”, they should know that in these times when people are counting and trying save their money all they care about is selling us a high end product that we already have.
    most of us have seen and paid for the courses and yes one course does cover all.
    just common sense.
    all they do is rinse and repeat i see that every year, now online bootcamps, they dont advertise it that way, but watch and see.if person number 1 has taught about facebook traffic then seller number 1000 the tricks are all the same.if their product is any good then a refund policy will be in place, be very careful not just to buy a job.

  51. Jorge Ordonez


    Hello Jeff, much appreciate it your advise. Indeed one can easily fall into temptation to waist a lot money pursuing our goal for nothing. It’s great to have you!
    Thanks again!

  52. It would be helpful to know what the advice was that you think we should not listen to. There is so much out there and the newbie gets lost in all the expert advice.

  53. Melissa Overman


    Have been thinking this same thing as I look around at those in my niche and wondering how best to address it – for myself and for my clients. Thanks for putting this out there, Jeff. Valuable in so many ways.

  54. Bad influencing, is called manipulating. Influence someone = two winners. Menipulate someone = two loosers !
    Thank you, Jeff Walker !

  55. Christine Stelmack


    Jeff, I guess I am the only outlier here. Or perhaps I misunderstood your “almost rant” in the video, or have taken it out of context. BUT, I find nothing wrong with doing PPC advertising (paid per click) for any product or service you’re selling or wishing to promote. In fact, I couldn’t survive without it.

    Yes, USE IT WISELY. But your example of the influencer who said everyone should use PPC to drive business for a new book (eBook on website? Or self-published book on Amazon?), and that advice drove you mad, WHY?

    I wouldn’t have grown a successful service business these past 19-years, if I didn’t use PPC and 95% of the time (with my unique niche, brand and competitors.) And when I tried FBA on Amazon a few years back (for a side “product business” with daily residual income), PPC is what brought me consistent, new business. Make no mistake, building a solid in-house list is HUGE advantage, but I find the most successful small businesses do both (email marketing to their list/s and PPC.)

    There is an influencer I have followed before, who is quite popular (I won’t say his name), who pretty much teaches use PPC for almost everything (and mail to your lists, too, if you have lists); but for those just starting out with no list and with a nominal budget, start at $5.00 a day as he suggests. Set your campaign settings at around $.10 per click (depending on what you’re selling, you can always raise or lower later), and make sure you enter good keywords.

    Using above example, you should receive 50 clicks for $5.00. Maybe you get a sale, maybe you don’t. If you don’t get a sale, your ego may be bruised (smile), but you have not broken the bank. But if you get even one sale, and you’re selling a $20.00 book, well now you earned $15.00 (minus your $5.00 ad cost for the day.) $15.00 is better than zero dollars. And maybe you find you get two sales with your $5.00 ad cost, so now you earned $40.00 – $5.00 ad cost = $35.00 profit for the day.

    But the whole time, you’re carefully monitoring your ad campaign results. If no sales after a couple $5.00 days, maybe it’s your ad headline that needs changing, or your ad copy needs to be tweaked, or price is too high or too low, or you’ve chosen poor keywords, etc. But you never have to break the bank with PPC – and it’s a wonderful way to start out slowly. If you’re getting the components right, you will start making sales and profitably.

    I have to admit that I have been using AdWords for at least 15-years now, and while I’m not an expert, I would say getting close. That was learning through the school-of-hard-knocks and also calling Google ad reps many times over the years to seek help or advice. It can be a big learning curve and on some level still is, as they’re always introducing new tools to help the advertiser (but keep up and you’ll do fine.) I will say now more than ever, Google ads interface is 1000% more user friendly today, than when I started using their platform around 2005. Setting up your campaign properly and using tools wisely that Google has to offer, PPC can make or break a business. For me, it has always made the business, mistakes and all included.

    I am “Google platform” savvy, and rather dislike Facebook ads, but the influencer I referred to earlier loves using Facebook ads (to each his own), and in fact, I am also the outlier using Google ads, as it is considered the more “difficult” platform – but I find it easier than FB for some reason.

    My experience and my 2 cents.

    Jeff, I bought PLF several weeks ago, starting Module 7 this week – so I am pro-Jeff Walker all the way. I was just very surprised by your “rant” regarding PPC, especially since I wouldn’t ever not use it. I agree if used irresponsibly (i.e. spending money you don’t have), but everyone has $5.00, i.e. $50.00 to $100 budget for 5 to 14 days, tweaking along the way. If set up properly and monitored (and making any necessary campaign/ad changes along the way) you will get sales :-))

    And now I guess I ranted a little about your almost rant video, lol – but with deep respect for all you do and all you have accomplished.

  56. Avoid external criticism

    Listen to yourself.

    Be self critical

    Be like water.

  57. Colin Daggitt


    Agree, though it’s not always obvious who is good or otherwise.
    BTW, just finished “Launch” [as recommenced by Parker Walbeck: a smart guy I trust]
    Thanks. Particularly loved the final 3 chapters.

  58. Timothy W. O.


    Of course, it is great advice as a reminder. However, without giving away which influencer it was, would you mind sharing what NOT TO DO? That seems like it would be more of an actionable caution, that such a general WATCH OUT warning. Maybe it was too specific? I’m still in the dark.

  59. I agree! In fact I’m a skeptic for a long time before I invest in anything. The Internet is full of what people have termed “contrepreneurs” (con artist entrepreneurs).
    It’s sad but it makes things more difficult for genuine entrepreneurs

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