So, You Want to Be an Authority?


If you’re an online marketer who wishes to break into a certain market, one approach is to establish yourself as an authority on the given subject.

One of the best methods is to start a blog and share your expertise and experience on the given subject. Once you have established yourself, your followers will become faithful customers who may also spread the gospel of your message.

Okay, so what’s a good route for establishing yourself as an authority if you’re not super experienced in your chosen market? For many it’s tempting to ‘fake it ’till you make it’ by exaggerating your knowledge set to your prospects.

Well, that might work at first, and you might think that it will draw more followers, but sooner or later someone is going to corner you on something.

I remember way back in the early 90’s, I went to a computer expo in Miami with a friend along with another acquaintance who were both computer geeks. At the time, I didn’t know squat about computers, but I was rapidly getting interested in them, so I went along on the trip.

When we first arrived, I wandered off by myself to look at all the cool stuff. I could hear others all around me chattering the latest tech-speak. They might just as well have been speaking Greek, because that’s about how well I understood it all.

Within the first few minutes, a group of about 5 well dressed gentlemen approached me and struck up a conversation. I was a little surprised that they wanted to chat with me so I decided to have a little fun with them, and prop myself up into their league.  I was too proud to admit that I was a computer ignoramus and a newbie to the game (lol!).

The conversation went something like this:

Business Man: Hello.

Me: Hello, an interesting expo, isn’t it?

Another Business dude: Yes it is. Where are you from?

Me: Fort Myers… and you?

Business dude: Miami. Do you have a company?

Me: Ah.. Yes, I have small company. (Actually, I was managing a TV repair shop, and freelancing at the time).

Business dude: Are you in hardware, or software?

Me: (Thinking, hmmm, which is better?) Ah, It’s a software company. (I was lying like a dog in July!).

Now I had peaked all of their attention.

Business dude: What type of software?

Me: Ahhh, business software. I help provide businesses with customized programs to help their accounting. (Man I’m good, I’m impressing the heck out of these guys.  This is hilarious!).

One of the other Business dudes: Do you have a development team?

Me: Yes I do. (Oh, the B.S. is getting deeper by the syllable!).

Other business dude: How many in your team?

Me: Ah, It’s a small team, only 10 people at the moment. (Starting to sweat a little now because the conversation is progressing farther than I’d like it to).

Still another business dude: What’s your IPO?

Me: (Thinking to myself – WTF is an IPO?!!!!)

The room temperature is suddenly getting much hotter.

Me: Ahh… IPO?… Oh… well actually I don’t need one. I just prefer to work without ’em… um, but I’ll consider getting one someday! (…d’oh!)

At that instance, they all did a 180 degree turn in perfect unison and immediately walked away. I had totally PWNED myself!!! They had my number, and they weren’t going to waste another second of their time on me.

Not only was it embarrassing as heck, but I lost all credibility. Suppose I would have pulled something like this on the internet and got busted? My credibility would be lost forever!

I walked away, a little hot and sweaty and I’m sure my face was red as a beet with embarrassment. Aside from continuing to ask myself “WTF is an IPO?!”, I learned an important lesson.

If you want to network with people and learn from them, be yourself! If I would have just been upfront with them and let them know that I was here to learn more about the computer business, who knows how I could have benefited from the conversation.

Perhaps our encounter would have led to an entirely new and interesting opportunity at some point. At the very least, they might have given me some great pointers at learning the ropes, and where I should focus my resources.

At the time, they were way out of my league and I thought for a moment that I could run with them just by blowing a little smoke up their patootie-holes.

If you’re a beginner, let your audience know that you are.  Don’t act like an immature moron like I did!

For example, with internet business you could frame your own blog as a ‘learning together’ experience where you share your ups and downs on the journey so that others can learn with you.

You’d be surprised at where that will take you. No web of white lies to keep track of, and you’ll go very far, very quickly.

You’ll develop great relationships with your followers who will also be happy to share their experiences as well. People love to see how others can go from nothing to success.

Being honest with your audience will ultimately give you an iron-clad authority as time goes on.

Building a strong foundation in honesty and credibility is absolutely priceless for both you and your followers.

Blazing a trail to prosperity that others can follow, and sharing it with them along the way. Now that’s a legacy worth leaving!

2 thoughts on “So, You Want to Be an Authority?”

  1. Hey Jack,

    Great story and solid advice! Did you eventually work out the meaning of IPO? I found this online “Independent Pharmacists of Ontario” but that doesn’t quite fit with the context of the question the business men were asking 🙂

    You’ve simplified your blog theme a bit since my last visit. I’m currently writing a post on choosing your blog theme. What was your decision making process for arriving at this current format? I might include it in the post and link to your site as an example if it fits with the theme of the post.

    Cheers, Michael

  2. Hi Michael, thanks for the comment. Yes, I did work that out in time, LOL! The IPO that he was referring to was an Initial Public Offering. This is something one would do if they wanted to take their company public and enter the stock market.

    Apparently the gentleman either assumed that I was going or had gone public, and / or was inquiring about my status (public or private). 😛

    As embarrassing as it was, I now look back and get quite a chuckle out of how silly I was. 😀

    Regarding the twenty eleven theme, I noticed it one day after a wordpress upgrade and was really impressed with the nice clean look that it had.

    The black and white contrast as well as the clean coding under the hood really impressed me. It was one of those themes that made me feel good just looking at it.

    I have to admit, I was surprised to see such a nice look in a default theme set. I could tell right away that this theme would be easy to tweak and customize with little effort.

    I did just notice that my customized header, footer, and stylesheet was overwritten in the last upgrade, so I had to re-up them from my backup. Be sure to back up any changes for this reason, or you’ll find yourself having to redo all your tweaks.

    The use of color is magnificent in this theme. Granted the default colors only range from white to grays, to black, but the shading tends to progress in a perfect key of steps, much like the way musical notes work together to form a chord.

    Now you can tweak the color scheme from the back-end as well.

    To me, this theme makes me feel like that I have a well oiled machine that’s not only a nice ride, but a joy to look at. 🙂


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