Instead of asking for a mentor....

by ShayB
33 replies
....volunteer to be an intern.

I have done several unpaid internships in my career. Not just in IM, but in the "real world."

No, they weren't "official" internships. I simply offered my help to people that I wanted to learn from.

Was it glamorous? No. I did the grunt work. I did the stuff that nobody else wanted to do.

But in doing so I learned more in those internships that I had entire time I was in college.

I have had the privilege of learning from some very incredible people. Some of those people that I interned for I developed friendships with.

By humbling myself and offering to help in whatever capacity I could, I got more experience, knowledge, and advice than I ever could have hoped for from a paid mentor.

Figure out what kind of services you can offer to someone. Do some reading. Find people with success on this forum - they aren't hard to find if you do your homework.

Maybe it's writing. Maybe it's graphics. Maybe it's just being a virtual assistant.

Instead of approaching the situation from a point of "I want free help from you, and you should give it to me" - turn things around.

"I want to offer my assistance to you, however you need it, so that I can learn from you."

It is a very significant difference in mindset, attitude, and approach.

Offer something of value - yourself, your skills, and your time - and you will get many times that in return.
#mentor
  • Profile picture of the author tylerherman
    Good idea but I don't know if people would be willing to share anything regarding the way they make money, which is the only thing worth learning from them.
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    • Profile picture of the author WriterWahm
      Originally Posted by tylerherman View Post

      Good idea but I don't know if people would be willing to share anything regarding the way they make money, which is the only thing worth learning from them.
      That's where you're wrong. A lot of people are willing to help and they SHARE. There are some incredible people on this forum that don't just share, they will actually help you work through your vision, develop your business and offer you tools to see you through.

      But like Shay has said; it's not what you can get from them. That's the wrong mentality to have. It is what you can offer.

      So rephrase your post. What are you willing to give in order to learn from those you need to learn from?
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      • Profile picture of the author ShayB
        Originally Posted by tylerherman View Post

        Good idea but I don't know if people would be willing to share anything regarding the way they make money, which is the only thing worth learning from them.
        Here is your first lesson, for free.

        People who truly understand business, wealth, and wealth creation understand that wealth is not a finite resource and that the methods that they use to make money aren't some precious guarded secret.

        You will find that most people who are successful in business all follow some basic principles. The exact methods that they use to make money might be different, but the concepts are similar as far as business organization, outsourcing, etc.

        One of the biggest things that I learned from my business mentor ( different from my internships, because he is my best friend) is that I have the ability to create wealth simply from ideas that I have in my head. The ideas in my head are unique, and no one else can do things exactly the same way that I do - even if they try. So I don't need to worry about people trying to imitate what I do - no one can do things the way that I do.

        The limiting belief that wealth is finite and that people who have created successful businesses are stingy with their knowledge are both myths.

        Most people that I've ever come across that were successful in business were more than happy to share their knowledge with people that they felt were deserving of it.

        People who are deserving of it are not people that come to them wanting handouts or demanding that they get free information. They are people that come to them wanting to offer something of value - whatever it may be - in exchange for the chance to learn from them.

        Once you realize that through wealth is not finite, and that there are ideas for wealth creation all around you, you are well on your way to creating your own wealth.

        Originally Posted by JimWaller View Post

        Isn't that what IM is all about? Helping people. Helping people find solutions to their problems. Helping people find what they are looking for even if they don't know they are looking for it. (and... ahem... helping ourselves to their money. LOL)


        Originally Posted by WriterWahm View Post

        That's where you're wrong. A lot of people are willing to help and they SHARE. There are some incredible people on this forum that don't just share, they will actually help you work through your vision, develop your business and offer you tools to see you through.

        But like Shay has said; it's not what you can get from them. That's the wrong mentality to have. It is what you can offer.

        So rephrase your post. What are you willing to give in order to learn from those you need to learn from?
        Exactly.
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    • Profile picture of the author AustinDigital
      Originally Posted by tylerherman View Post

      Good idea but I don't know if people would be willing to share anything regarding the way they make money, which is the only thing worth learning from them.
      Quite possible, but this little bit of doubt is something that could turn what would have been an awesome choice into a bad one, simply because you didn't think it would work out.

      I prefer to just go by "It can't hurt to try" rather than showing any doubt initially.
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  • I think that is brilliant actually. I recently had someone offer me a great deal on articles, and now I am putting him to work (paid work though) as a V/A.

    Seriously I don't mind sharing how I make money online, and if you have people working for you they are going to have an idea of what you do anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author JimWaller
    Isn't that what IM is all about? Helping people. Helping people find solutions to their problems. Helping people find what they are looking for even if they don't know they are looking for it. (and... ahem... helping ourselves to their money. LOL)
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  • Profile picture of the author sovereignn
    Great post!

    I do have one intern he's a great guy. He works hard for me and in return I help him every way I can
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  • Profile picture of the author SARahman
    Good post, I have been assistant of some great people in real life. Currently I am jobless and much worried about the cash flow. But still I offered my service to a company, I hope they will pay me when they recognize my worth.
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  • Profile picture of the author davejug1
    Definitely a good idea. I pay for services in one of three ways:
    • Money
    • Time (i.e.do it myself)
    • Skill-pooling

    Skill-pooling is great because I don't have to pay. I have also done it from the opposite side, doing some manual work to learn from the person I'm doing it for.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Good post.

      It would be so refreshing to see people offer something in return for getting something rather than expect everything for free.

      The threads that people make to put themselves on a pedestal under the deluded assumption they are more worthy or more "serious" than everyone else are becoming very tiring.



      Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author erichammer
    Personally, the only thing I feel qualified to mentor someone in is writing for the online market (I know SEO and how to build a site in WP and plan to launch businesses in those areas soon as well, but I don't feel I'm enough of an expert to not only sell my services but to also mentor someone who is just learning the ropes).

    The thing is, as a writer, I don't see that an intern would be very helpful to me because my clients pay high rates to get the kind of quality I know how to produce and an intern would simply require my time to fix whatever they wrote up.

    Now, even though my situation may be a little on the unique side, I think that for most of us, an intern would be more trouble than they were worth since the only thing you can hand off without needing to constantly guide them is grunt work.

    If I were an intern, I wouldn't really find that I'm learning a whole lot by getting a list of blogs e-mailed to me and told to go and find posts to comment on and leave a backlink on. I mean that's pretty basic. Not to mention that if you're doing quality SEO where each comment is actually custom written, an intern could easily screw it up by writing poor quality comments which get rejected.

    So what exactly would you all have an intern do which would teach them something valuable, wouldn't take up a great deal of your time to do (if you were training a VA, I could understand, but an intern is there only to learn what you know and will then decide to leave) and wouldn't have you stuck having wasted time teaching them all you know only to see them walk away soon after, leaving you with no value for your time?
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by erichammer View Post

      So what exactly would you all have an intern do which would teach them something valuable, wouldn't take up a great deal of your time to do (if you were training a VA, I could understand, but an intern is there only to learn what you know and will then decide to leave) and wouldn't have you stuck having wasted time teaching them all you know only to see them walk away soon after, leaving you with no value for your time?
      Good question.

      My situation is unique, as is everyone else's, but I will give a few ideas as to how I would personally use interns.

      And let me say also that there would be some kind of a screening process since this is somebody that would be associated with me and my business.
      • helping run my webinars
      • doing work associated with a VA - checking emails, etc.
      • attending mastermind sessions and helping to take notes
      • writing for me - I do not take on clients anymore, so the writing that I would have someone do would be for website material, product material, e-mails, etc.
      • transcriptions of webinars, training sessions, mastermind sessions, etc.
      • Other stuff

      You see, you still have a trading-hours-for-dollars business model. if you took an intern, it's a different situation. As you said, about the only thing you could use an intern for at this point is to write - and your clients are hiring you, not your intern.

      When you have a business model that doesn't have the "trading-hours-for-dollars" aspect to it, it's a different story.

      If you have an intern help you create a product - in any niche, not just an MMO one - they can learn the basics of the process.

      Let's take a non-MMO example.

      Let's say you have a PLR biz. Let's say you have an intern create a pack of PLR articles about weight loss.

      You guide them through the entire process - keyword research, word count guidelines, etc. Then they also see how you market the finished product.

      They also see what kind of a return you get from that few hours of work (that they did).

      Do you think it might be simple for them to repeat that process a couple of times and then be able to go and do it themselves?

      Do you think that would help them a lot more than just buying some kind of PLR MMO WSO?

      Seeing the entire process and being a part of it is a priceless learning experience.

      Are you creating your own competition? Possibly. But then it comes back to the fact that no one can do things exactly the way that you do.

      Does that help clear things up a little bit, I hope?
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      • Profile picture of the author erichammer
        Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

        Good question.

        My situation is unique, as is everyone else's, but I will give a few ideas as to how I would personally use interns.

        And let me say also that there would be some kind of a screening process since this is somebody that would be associated with me and my business.
        • helping run my webinars
        • doing work associated with a VA - checking emails, etc.
        • attending mastermind sessions and helping to take notes
        • writing for me - I do not take on clients anymore, so the writing that I would have someone do would be for website material, product material, e-mails, etc.
        • transcriptions of webinars, training sessions, mastermind sessions, etc.
        • Other stuff

        You see, you still have a trading-hours-for-dollars business model. if you took an intern, it's a different situation. As you said, about the only thing you could use an intern for at this point is to write - and your clients are hiring you, not your intern.

        When you have a business model that doesn't have the "trading-hours-for-dollars" aspect to it, it's a different story.

        If you have an intern help you create a product - in any niche, not just an MMO one - they can learn the basics of the process.

        Let's take a non-MMO example.

        Let's say you have a PLR biz. Let's say you have an intern create a pack of PLR articles about weight loss.

        You guide them through the entire process - keyword research, word count guidelines, etc. Then they also see how you market the finished product.

        They also see what kind of a return you get from that few hours of work (that they did).

        Do you think it might be simple for them to repeat that process a couple of times and then be able to go and do it themselves?

        Do you think that would help them a lot more than just buying some kind of PLR MMO WSO?

        Seeing the entire process and being a part of it is a priceless learning experience.

        Are you creating your own competition? Possibly. But then it comes back to the fact that no one can do things exactly the way that you do.

        Does that help clear things up a little bit, I hope?
        Interesting. I suppose I could use an intern to help run my blogs. Finding some good curation content to add maybe, maybe writing a few pieces for the blogs which are less critical than what I do for my writing clients...

        Yeah, I guess there are some possibilities.
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        • Profile picture of the author ShayB
          Originally Posted by erichammer View Post

          Interesting. I suppose I could use an intern to help run my blogs. Finding some good curation content to add maybe, maybe writing a few pieces for the blogs which are less critical than what I do for my writing clients...

          Yeah, I guess there are some possibilities.
          If you're at a level where someone could benefit from being an intern, sure.

          Please don't misunderstand the point of this thread, though. This isn't about you trying to find people to do grunt work for free.

          It's about someone who seeks a mentor, maybe doesn't have the money for a paid coaching program, and sincerely wants to learn.

          Instead of those people asking for free mentoring, they can offer their time and work - something of value - in exchange for the opportunity to learn.
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          • Profile picture of the author erichammer
            Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

            If you're at a level where someone could benefit from being an intern, sure.

            Please don't misunderstand the point of this thread, though. This isn't about you trying to find people to do grunt work for free.

            It's about someone who seeks a mentor, maybe doesn't have the money for a paid coaching program, and sincerely wants to learn.

            Instead of those people asking for free mentoring, they can offer their time and work - something of value - in exchange for the opportunity to learn.
            Like I said, in writing, I'm 100% confident that I can teach someone things they don't know and offer them a veritable wealth of knowledge (well, I could definitely teach someone who isn't an expert anyway. I don't know if someone like Alexa Smith would have anything to learn from me, but I imagine we'd have an interesting conversation if we ever did speak about writing).

            In site creation and SEO, I know what I'm doing and have done it for myself for long enough that I'm comfortable selling my services, but not quite yet at the point where I feel like I'd want to teach someone the ropes (I feel like dealing with customers in the real world [something I have done for nine years as a writer but have yet to do in SEO or site creation] is a necessary step before you begin teaching someone else how it's done).
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    • Profile picture of the author JimWaller
      Originally Posted by erichammer View Post

      ...I don't feel I'm enough of an expert to not only sell my services but to also mentor someone who is just learning the ropes...
      I've spent many years as a corporate trainer, so I feel qualified to tell you that even if you don't feel like you know enough to teach someone else, you may know the one key piece of information they are missing. A little "secret" I'll let you in on is that as someone who teaches, you learn more than the people being taught.
      Let me give you an example:
      I used to teach an introductory level course on wine. It literally started with the "wine comes from grapes" level. When I first taught the class, the sum total of my "street creds" was that I had drunk wine in the past, and lived in France for a year. That was it!
      In my very first class, I had people who were introductory level sommeliers. (A sommelier is a wine steward, someone who knows about wine and suggesting pairings with food.) How was I supposed to teach them anything? Talk about intimidating.
      But, it was not my first time teaching a class, so I knew how to do things like leverage their knowledge for the benefit of the entire class. (Similar to interviewing an expert for a seminar)
      By the end of class, even they felt like they had learned something new. More importantly, I learned a number of new things that I was able to share with later classes.
      I later went on to get my own introductory level certification as a sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
      I didn't stop there, I got so interested in wine that I made my own. In fact, I made all of the wine that was served at my wedding including a sparkling wine for the toast.
      So now, I have literally hundreds of people who regard me as an authority on wine, I'm certified in wine knowledge, and I can call myself a winemaker all stemming from teaching an introductory level class on the subject. I'll be the first to admit I don't know that much about wine, but I do hold a number of key pieces of information that usually lead to "aha moments" for people I teach.
      When you teach, you learn at the same time.

      One reason masterminds usually work well is that everyone is learning and teaching at the same time. So as an adjunct to ShayRockhold's OP, if you don't feel comfortable mentoring, consider being a part of a mastermind. The intern relationship is similar to a mastermind in that it benefits all parties concerned. Food for thought.
      Thanks for giving me a chance to learn while sharing my own story.

      Jim Waller
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  • Profile picture of the author erob
    Good advice to follow. Thanks for the post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
    Hmmm...I wonder if Frank Kern needs an intern?
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  • Profile picture of the author TryBPO
    We recently went with this model. We opened up applications from around the world and ended up selecting a guy in Michigan. We've since moved him halfway around the world, had him move in with us in the Philippines, taught him our entire business, and he's now adding a TON of value to our organization. We'll definitely be doing this again.

    Our friends from the TropicalMBA turned us onto the model and it's changing our business. They opened up: Tropical Work Force – Find Location Independent Interns and Service Providers to promote the movement and 18 interns have been placed so far. If you take a look right now there's an INSANE position that's opened up in Cebu City, Philippines for Chris Ducker...a serious guy running a serious business here.

    I know of other high-level guys that are considering starting similar opportunities...I'm talking A-listers. Definitely worth checking out. Most of these opportunities aren't sit on your couch and do a little work for someone, though...they require a serious life change and investment of time, effort, and resources. Still...the opportunity to fast-track your learning and experience is pretty awesome, IMO.
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  • Totally agree! Great post. A lot of times people on the WF EXPECT something for nothing. If you offer your help, and you are "trained" to do what needs to be needed to make money, you will pick up on it!. Give and you shall receive! If it's not a win-win situation, it will be hard for anyone to help you. Same thing when you sell something to a customer, it has to be a win-win, or they will not come back. There's a lot of requests for " experienced warriors, please take me under your wing" and not enough, " I'm new here these are my strengths, and what I can do for you, if you will teach me make money online."
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    • I have had the privilege of learning from some very incredible people.
      Well, thank ya Shay! I shore do appreciate that there comment! You were hard folk to get some teachin into but I was finally able to get some learnin into ya!

      Most people that I've ever come across that were successful in business were more than happy to share their knowledge with people that they felt were deserving of it.
      I shore am more likely to share my knowledge that I am to be sharin my... umm... homemade root beer!

      I am lookin for a few interns right now! Ms. Penelope's pen needs to be cleaned regularly and I ain't got the time no more since I became a big name gooroo! My ashilliate marketin business has just skyrocketed an I am makin a good two figger income and livin in high cotton!
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      • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
        That's interesting. I actually worked for someone in this business writing their articles and slowly learned my way around and they ended up helping me get started.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fallen_Angel
    Shay this is a brilliant share. Thank You
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  • Profile picture of the author gonzotrucker
    All of you on this forum are my mentor's. Thank you
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  • Profile picture of the author karoubalou
    ShayRockHold, that is a different approach and to be honest I haven't thought of it. It seems promising and I guess that it worked for you. So, that could work for anybody. We should just pay attention to whom we give our help and ask to learn as an exchange. Thanks for sharing with us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trevor M
    Reminds me of the people who join Warrior Forum and their first contribution to the forum is making a thread to ask for answers on a problem they have.

    People need to remember the old saying 'Give and you shall receive'.
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  • Profile picture of the author Venturetothetop
    I'm currently consulting for a group of innovative startups ....

    Each of which have FREE interns who come and spend weeks creating amazing work for them...

    Why?

    1) You are developing a portfolio for people with influence

    Do not underestimate this. If you do some work for a well known, or influential client (someone who has lots of connections or whose name has some sway) then immediately you open the doors to lots of other opportunities.

    You almost rise a level - people will associate your work with a higher level of marketer and that can be priceless - especially for someone new trying to establish themselves.

    WARNING - Do not simply go out there and intern for just anyone. Make sure they will give you an interesting project you can ten add to your portfolio and try to ensure they at least have some status so that working for them may pay for you in the long term. Working for them in the hope they may employ you is a lot of hit and miss - ensuring you gain at least a better portfolio and a ver useful testimonial/connection makes it a win for you regardless of if they employ you.

    2) You build a relationship with someone who may be able to help open doors.

    Already partly covered but the interns I have seen, have daily access to influential people. People who usually do not have time to spend with random emails, but have all the time for you because you are helping them out. This can be priceless and can help build an amazing relationship.

    The startups i mentioned could not hire the interns ful time but have shown their work to some very high profile companies who may now employ them. A job opportunity which would have been out of their world unless the doors were opened for them.

    3) You learn something

    If you are doing some work for anyone then you learn something about their business.

    If you are a graphic designer then you have an idea of their corporate branding strategy, their new products or event heir marketing strategies (an intern at the startup is creating corporate brochures - but because he has to design the layout he is learning all about strategy and what key messages have to stand out in corporate marketing).

    If you are a text writer then you will help mould marketing strategies which is a very good position to be in. You will have direct access to influential people and learn lots from them.


    Interning is very useful BUT you have to do some due diligence to prevent yourself getting ripped off for your time. Ensure you always gain something from it.

    Lastly, I know many people here only think within the small Internet Marketing bubble, but there are real world companies out there that need your same skills too.


    Don't lock yourself away thinking you only have to intern for an IM'er, because almost every company uses the same tactics that IM'ers believed they had to themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
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    You're right. That's a much better way rather than "I'm looking for a mentor".

    Funnily enough I get mentorship requests all the time. Why I don't know. Its rather flattering but I do wonder why they ask me of all people.

    I don't "mentor" people but I do help wherever I can. However the last guy I took under my wing ended up ripping off several of my clients - which leaves a very sour taste in my mouth.

    If you only knew where I started - as a wet-behind-the-ears 16 year old "Advertising Cadet" for J. Walter Thompson - back then the biggest advertising agency in the world.

    They gave me some glamor gigs - refilling the water coolers...taking out the trash...collecting dirty hand-towels and passing out new ones...collecting sandwiches for Board Room lunches...sitting on Reception all weekend to let the builders in and out...picking up plates from the printers...delivering mail by foot all around the city (Sydney) BUT occasionally I'd get to see what was happening in the "Creative Department" - I was more inspired by seeing the writers and Art Directors working in T-Shirts/jeans/Reeboks than I was by the work.

    But yeah - if someone came to me with "Give me all your crap jobs...I want to learn" I'd be more inclined to give them a start.
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  • Profile picture of the author IMHunter
    Excellent advice. You can learn so much by doing this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gerald Arno
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    Originally Posted by ShayRockhold View Post

    ....volunteer to be an intern.

    I have done several unpaid internships in my career. Not just in IM, but in the "real world."

    No, they weren't "official" internships. I simply offered my help to people that I wanted to learn from.

    Was it glamorous? No. I did the grunt work. I did the stuff that nobody else wanted to do.

    But in doing so I learned more in those internships that I had entire time I was in college.

    I have had the privilege of learning from some very incredible people. Some of those people that I interned for I developed friendships with.

    By humbling myself and offering to help in whatever capacity I could, I got more experience, knowledge, and advice than I ever could have hoped for from a paid mentor.

    Figure out what kind of services you can offer to someone. Do some reading. Find people with success on this forum - they aren't hard to find if you do your homework.

    Maybe it's writing. Maybe it's graphics. Maybe it's just being a virtual assistant.

    Instead of approaching the situation from a point of "I want free help from you, and you should give it to me" - turn things around.

    "I want to offer my assistance to you, however you need it, so that I can learn from you."

    It is a very significant difference in mindset, attitude, and approach.

    Offer something of value - yourself, your skills, and your time - and you will get many times that in return.
    You can definitely benefit a lot from partnerships and client relationships. The key focus should always be on learning and getting good at new things.

    The key advantages of a mentor are the value of information you receive, accessibility, trust, and ROI.

    If you have never benefited from a mentor than you never had a REAL one.

    The biggest problem with most coaches is that they charge for presence (minutes - hours) but not for value.
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  • Profile picture of the author italad
    with so many coaching offers how does this differ from allthe others? also what is the costs involved? does it depend on what method we choose to make money?
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Hansen
    This is a brilliant post. Thank you for the idea you shared.

    Let me know if I can help you Warrior to Warrior.

    Good luck
    Peter
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