I used to chase influencers. One shot out from Jack Canfield, receiving a testimonial from UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten and landing seven-time New York Times Bestselling author Marianne Williamson as a client, had me hooked. The attention and paychecks felt so good; I made it my mission to meet and befriend as many influencers as possible.  Little did I know, that influencers, like all people, are sometimes good and sometimes bad.

If you’re good at what you do, it’s certain you will be sought after by influencers. If you know what to do, it can change your life for the better, but if you don’t know how to work with influencers, it can leave you drained, taken advantage of, and worst of all, with little to nothing to show for your efforts.

In my case, I had to be taken advantage of many times by influencers before I learned how to spot the bad ones. I can’t count the endless favors I’ve done for influencers because they promised to return the love, but in the end, just disappeared after I gave them free work. Worst of all, which is embarrassing,  I’ve spent well over twenty thousand dollars on influencers I trusted to be loyal friends – but turned out to be wolves in sheepskin.  Now, after all that, I can say I am well seasoned in spotting the warning signs that an influencer is trying to pull the wool over my eyes and take advantage.

If you learn these warning these warning signs, stop chasing influencers, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of working with celebrities in the best way possible.

1. They Try To Get Your Services For Free

When an influencer asks if you can talk and they immediately start bragging about their fame, status, and how great it is to be in their circle – it’s very likely they’re going to try to take advantage of you.

In many cases, right around their corner from their boasts will be a request for you to work for free. Next, they’ll say it will benefit you. Having their testimonial and association will bring you hoards of clients and social proof. They hope you’ll believe them and fall into the trap.

If an influencer asks you for a free service, my advice to you is this: negotiate something so that both of you get something right away and assure it’s something you can get sooner than later (not after the work is done). Very much like Entrepreneur Magazine columnist, Wendy Keller, I believe there’s a time for free and exchanges – but only if the strategy is very clear.

After having given many free services to influencers, I believe there’s a time for exchanges, but most of often I suggest, you run the other way.

2. They Ask For Special Influencer Discount

Asking for a discount in exchange for the chance to work with them is not a good sign either. Every time I’ve interacted with someone making this kind of pitch, I found they’re full of hot air. It never amounted to anything.

Think of it this way – what kind of person tries getting a discount? What kind of person, who is considered successful, would try to get a huge discount? Sadly, most often it’s the kind of person who attempts to do and give back the least.

If you want my advice, don’t discount your services in hopes of landing a big fish. In my experience, the most difficult clients are the ones who pay the least.

3. They Promise You The Moon

Future promises are like hot air and only made to excite you and give you false hope.

If you want a trade with someone to be worthwhile, don’t listen to future promises. Instead, ask for actionable right-now steps. Don’t focus on what you’ll get in the future unless there’s a concrete action plan.

If they say that they’ll invite you to all these fancy events, make all the introductions, and help you get all these advantages, ask for specific details. What events? What dates? How are these promises expected to be upheld? Make concrete plans before you give a discount, give your services, or give away the whole store.

Working with influencers can be helpful. In fact, it can change your life. It can also have a significant impact on your career, but only if you know how to manage and spot a ‘rotten influencer’ before any exchange happens. Follow the tips I’ve shared with you, remember these three warning signs, and stick to your guns because you too are on your way to becoming an influencer.

 

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