Stop Stroking Your Ego, Start Growing Your Bottom Line

This is slick. Maybe you’ve seen it before, but I hadn’t. Now we are being sent awards of complete irrelevance. I’m a professional speaker on social media, relationship marketing, and strategic business growth. I also speak on life design and success architecture.  While I do coach and consult with business owners on marketing, customer service, and branding, I am not a life coach, never have been, and don’t plan to be. Yet, I’m being allegedly recognized for my “life coaching.” Huh?

REally, last week an email arrived in my inbox with the subject line . . . Melissa Galt, Inc Receives 2011 Best of Atlanta Award. I was dumb founded. I wasn’t aware of having submitted for any award, nor was I aware of anyone else submitting me. I had to open it and found out that for a fee, I could have my very own irrelevant award. This is hilarious on some level. You no longer have to win recognition, instead you can buy your own trophies!

Of course, I’m familiar with the services that call you up after you’ve gotten some nice press and they offer to put it onto a plaque for you, for the Very Special Price of ONLY $197 or something like that. I actually fell for it a time or two until I realized my money was way better invested in reprints of that same press that I then sent out to both existing clients and to prospects.

Ego Driven Marketing, Social Media Speaker, Social Marketing Expert, Melissa Galt, Relationship Marketing Speaker, What to do with PR, Marketing How ToYes, your press isn’t as well used when stroking your ego from the wall. It is much better leveraged when you create reprints and use it as strategic marketing material and credibility builders.

This latest scam is closer to the Who’s Who books that they market. I am embarrassed to admit I fell for one of those some ten years ago. They like to impress you with all their fancy numbers and tell you how you can use it to network and usually the charge is anywhere from $500 to $1500, pretty outrageous really but then ego-driven marketing usually is. (Did I just admit that?)


This is personal branding run amok. Buying credibility does exactly the opposite of what you intend, don’t do it. In fact, I’ll let you in on another little secret that I fell for a few years ago. A local association I belonged to honored me with an award. I admit, it seemed out of the blue and I graciously accepted. Shortly thereafter the head of the association (founder) approached me about doing PR for me. This was clever, I felt somewhat beholden for the award and did hire her. Ironically (or perhaps not) despite a poor reference from a colleague.

Ego Driven Marketing, Social Media Speaker, Social Marketing Expert, Melissa Galt, Relationship Marketing Speaker, What to do with PR, Marketing How To
What was I thinking?

Wow, (insert head slap here), it took me only three months to realize this was a marketing ploy she used and I’d been had. She wasn’t any good at PR, at least not for me nor for the colleague who’d shared the poor reference. Each year, I see this same person sucking in new clients by awarding them, tricky business to say the least. (By the way, this is a local association only, no national affiliation or I might have shared my experience with top management.)

Recognition only builds your credibility when it is real and bonafide and not some ego driven form of personal branding gone awry. Particularly in today’s age of social networking and relationship marketing, there is no need for this form of expensive and ineffective brand boost. Invest your dollars more wisely in forming real connections that count and contributing genuine value to your market as well as your peers. Being a guest blogger on a hot blog in your market, may require effort and focus but the payoff is far greater than anything you could pay your way into.

Be honest, what have you blown money on that stroked your ego instead of built your bottom line. Some of us have to make a few of these mistakes before we have our AHA! moment. Oh and for more on the mistakes I’ve made, lessons I’ve learned so you don’t have to, and in the trenches business growth and social marketing strategies find me online . . . twitter, linkedin, facebook.


    • Melissa Galt says

      Thanks Tricia,

      Know you are more aware than most of us on these pitfalls. And betting you have saved your PR clients a misplaced investment or two . . .

      Hugs, Melissa

  1. says

    I feel your pain Melissa! Years ago, my oldest daughter was accepted into the Junior Beta Club for her grades. I spent around $100 to get “the book” that listed her. It’s kind of like the Who’s Who books.

    I think for me the worst that I’ve fallen for was poor barter arrangements. I don’t mind doing barter on a limited basis, but I’ve been screwed several times on it. Or people who want to hire me to do a project and only pay a % of sales. I lost my butt big time on that once. Won’t do it again!

    The best thing about these mistakes…is that they aren’t really mistakes. They are lessons we have to learn as entrepreneurs. Hopefully others can learn from our mistakes and not lose the money and time that we’ve lost!

    • Melissa Galt says

      Thanks Tracey,

      Definitely lessons learned, albeit expensive ones at times. On some level or every level, it is slippery for these businesses to do what they do . . .

      Hugs and Here’s to a Bright and Brilliant 2012,


  2. says

    Wow, the Who’s Who are back again!
    There are also directories that invite you to join, interview you over the phone and then offer an award or approved badge for a limited time offer. They must be getting desperate, they rang me here in the UK on my cell phone… and I still said no.

    Appreciate your honesty Melissa.

    • Melissa Galt says


      Seems like these folks are in the “anything to make a buck” business. They’ve left the ethics and scruples behind and serve as valuable lessons to many of us. Good on you for sticking to your guns.

      Hugs and Much Happiness in 2012,


  3. Wayne Moritz says

    HI Melissa

    Here are the things I do now. I have beem down those roads too. Selling high end technology solutions used to take 6-12-18 months. Not because the solution would not work but because of the company politics, management silos, turf protection and peter principled out management I would expose with my process.

    SO here is how i operate now

    1) Any deals where i get a piece of revenue or savings – it comes off the Gross. This way i don’t care how many employees or how much overhead they have

    2) I have binding arbitration clauses in my contracts that can be called anytime and we go to arbitration in 15-30 days and yes i have had billion dollar companies sign those too. I had a mufti-billion dollar company paying me 6 figures annually to use my solutions and then then sold the company to another company and they ripped off my work and said sue us we have 3 floors full of attorneys to engage you. They took my work to other software developers and duplicated it. This is a very unethical company anyways they are always getting fined for healthcare cheating and ripping off the government. My lawyers at the time said i would win 100 million but would need 10 million and 5-10 years to battle them in multiple states. So i had to walk away – since i put in arbitration no more issues.

    3) I limit damages that i can be sued for to no more than what the client has paid me. So if something goes majorly wrong it;s on them. I can’t babysit their people and workflows.

    4) I never spend more than 1 month or 4 presentations within 1 month – we either have a deal or I walk away. It’s really funny when you say to the room From my point of view I am taking all the risk and you are getting most of the reward. With the type of deal I am offering you I can’t spend any more time with you – When you realize the incredible value I have offered you and want to take action feel free to contact me and I can see if we can work you in. Wow they hate the walkaway – it makes them feel stupid.

    5) I offer return on Zero Investment – if i save or make you money you give me a piece of it. You don’t need a budget with me you just need to let me loose.. I can’t be turned down for no budget – if i get turned down the mess or corporate theft is off the scales.

    • Melissa Galt says


      And this is why you succeed where others fail! Your model is excellent for you and your services.

      Hugs and Much Happiness in 2012,


  4. says

    Recognition is one of the four major elements of successful teams and individuals. It’s a shame that recognition is so lacking that people have designed businesses to “buy” recognition. I have fell for this scam a time or two myself.

    • Melissa Galt says

      Thanks Kenny,

      Glad to know I’m not alone! And I’ve gotten really good at spotting these (I consider them scams now) a mile away.

      Hugs and Great Prosperity and Team Building Success in 2012.


  5. says

    Hi Melissa,
    Great post, very bold. Thank you for openly sharing your experiences. How timely, as I was almost going to fall prey to the Cambridge publication (similar to the Who’s Who), but kept playing phone tag with the marketer (missing her calls, not ready to give my schpiel)…luckily.

    What really convicted me most in your above post was the quote in the fish bowl image: “The size of your world is inversely proportional to the size of your ego.” What an awesome word-picture. I am going to improve the size of my world in 2012.

    Happy New Year!

    • Melissa Galt says


      So glad I could save you the wasted dollars! And those Cambridge folks get super pushy.

      Yes, that was a lucky find on the fishbowl!

      Hugs, Melissa

    • Melissa Galt says

      Thanks Billy!

      I gladly accept the award for having made costly mistakes and being bold enough to share them to save another.


  6. Kerry says

    What honesty, and very appropriate for me , as I did something silly, and thought there must be lots of successful onliners who have made the odd mistake.. wouldnt it be authentic if they all admitted to something, much more human, and we would all love them more for it. After all, we are all human , living and learning as we go.
    Thanks Melissa

    • Melissa Galt says


      Trust me when I say there are a ton of online and offline marketers making mistakes all over the place. They just don’t often share them. I’ve lots I share and more I will continue to share.

      Hugs, Melissa

  7. says

    Happy New Year M! Glad to read this post. I too just got one of the “award” for best small bizness or something like that and I was like, “huh?” I thought that’s cool, but how. Then I followed it up and researched it to find that there’d been countless articles written by the Better Business Bureau talking about this scam where you pay for your award. So, at least they didn’t catch me falling for this one. On another note I DID fall for a anti-virus warranty recently cause the logo looked legit…and you guessed it….the anti-virus WAS the virus. Boy, that took one whole day to clear up that mess and I’m still having more spam then ever!

    • Melissa Galt says


      Hey, I’ve been overrun on the spam front too since the holidays. Used to be a barely manageable 300 a day, now double that. YIKES! And I didn’t click on any anti-viral anything. EEEK. Glad you didn’t fall for the awards scam.

      Hugs, Melissa

  8. says

    Don’t beat yourself up too bad over this stuff. I was sitting in my lawyer’s office once when he received a package, with a bill. It was a “Best Attorney’s” book with his name listed in it. Hardbound, hefty, but still full of information he could find elsewhere, just as easily.

    I wholly expected him to send it back. He didn’t. Handed the bill to his secretary, and took his book into his office.

    My highly skeptical, on-point attorney had succumbed to the very scam you write of here.

    I didn’t really see him in a different light. But it sure made my day! I was feelin’ pretty good at that point!

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