One of the most important pieces of advice I ever received was that my ‘net worth is my network,’ meaning that the larger and deeper my pool of relationships, the better I’ll do financially. I believed the person that told me this because she knew a lot of people and had done very well at both maintaining relationships and making them mutually beneficial from a financial standpoint.

A few years later I was looking at purchasing an investment property and it felt like everyone ‘knew’ what I should be doing…even those who had never owned an investment property, or in may cases, a property at all. They were good people with good intentions but if I’m being told how to fly a plane I’d rather the person explaining it was a pilot.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and we should always be grateful for it, but it’s also important to know what to ignore and what to take on board.

In the digital age we even receive advice without a conversation taking place as algorithms use our browsing history to present us with content that we may be interested in, direct to our screen. This advice is not vetted and the only requirement is a bit of cash. Companies often position themselves as experts but do nothing to prove it.

I took this lesson on when I ventured into self-employment. It was important for me, as a writer, to show that I can write rather than just asking people to believe me. It’s my belief that we are lumped with too many promises each day and not enough evidence.

Well meaning people are to be commended, but if you’re like me and get a heap of sales pitches without a lot of substance, I think it’s a valuable business tool to develop a ‘selective ear,’ and to act like me at a clothing store – know what you want, go and buy it and then walk out again.