If you want to have a profitable online business, your audience has got to see you are an expert. No one is going to listen to you, trust you, and eventually buy from you if they don’t think of you as an expert in the marketplace.
There are two ways you can fail at being an expert. The first is failing to recognize that you are an expert. This is the one I see the most as an online business coach. So many people don’t give themselves the credit they deserve. They fail to recognize and value their life experiences. And they think they have to be a household name with a 7 figure bank account to have “expert” status.
The second is failing to recognize you aren’t an expert. This is the one you see most often in your marketplace. Either the “expert” is not practicing what she preaches, or is just giving you theory and possibility rather than practical “how-to” advice. Some of these professed experts are even making money. But it usually doesn’t last long, and never leads to the empire you are looking to build.
What you have to figure out if you want to have a profitable business then, is where the “sweet spot” is. How do you recognize and promote your expertise, without getting in over your head? How do you continuously provide value to your audience, when you can think of ten people off the top of your head that know more than you do about your market?
A lot of time and effort goes into becoming an expert in your market. A real expert who helps others solve problems and become better. There are basically 3 paths you can take. You can take all three of them for maximum effect, but one or two of them will get you there too.
1. Lead By Doing
Possibly the easiest and most effective way of being an expert is to do something that makes you successful in your market, and then teach others how to do it too. A common example of this comes from the weight loss market. If you have “before” and “after” pictures showing your 100 pound weight loss, you can package up the method you used to get there and sell it to the masses.
If you have 20,000 people liking your Facebook page, you can sell a course to a very hungry market about how to grow a wildly popular Facebook page. Just show people how you did it.
2. Lead By Learning
The mistake many people make is in thinking that leading by doing is the only way to be an expert. Let’s face it, most people aren’t wildly successful in their market, yet. That doesn’t mean that you can’t build a profitable online business in that market.
Leading by learning is the best way to do that. You know more about your market than you think. And, you have the opportunity to learn something new every day. When you learn it, teach it to someone else. I guarantee, if you didn’t know it, there are thousands of “someone elses” out there that don’t know it either.
I did this when I first connected my Facebook profile page with my business page by adding it to my “work” section. It wasn’t connecting the way it was suppose to, so I did some research and figured out a work-around. Then I made a video showing others how to do it. I can’t count how many “thank yous” I’ve received for that video. I’m far from a Facebook page expert, but I can teach people as I learn.
You can do this even if you’ve only lost 10 of that 50 pounds you’re looking to lose. You can share new healthy recipes that give you energy and keep you feeling full. Or exercise routines for those who hate to exercise. As you learn things that make losing the weight easier for you, teach them to others.
In many ways, this is the most effective way to be an expert. Most people can relate better to you, who are on the journey of losing a lot of weight, than they can relate to the person who already lost his 100 pounds. What you are doing feels more attainable and real to the weight loss market.
3. Lead By Example
Again, you don’t have to be Richard Branson to teach people how to make money. You can figure out how a certain group of rich people made their money, and teach their method to others. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as long as you genuinely know the path the rich people followed.
The most famous example of this is Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. I can’t count how many people credit much of their financial success to that book. But Napoleon Hill wasn’t rich when he wrote that book. He went out and interviewed a bunch of rich guys about how they did it, and he summarized what he found in his classic book.
Oprah’s Life Class Tour is a good modern-day example of this method. Oprah didn’t travel around the country teaching people life lessons. (And she’s famous enough that people undoubtedly would have listened!) Instead, she enlisted the help of people who make their living teaching life lessons — Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, and Bishop T.D. Jakes. She facilitated their teachings, and added her experiences and wisdom to their expertise.
Maybe you don’t have access to the Tony Robbins of your industry, but that’s okay. You can always identify people who are more recognized experts than you are. And, you can always find experts who are willing to share with you. Because they are good people. And because you are offering them exposure as an expert in their market, which people want no matter how famous they are.
This method of leading will go a long way in helping you establish your expertise. Being associated with other recognized experts in your market automatically gives you credibility. And, you can also teach what you learn from these established experts to your audience, as I just talked about in the “lead by learning” method.
The Cliff Notes
In short, you should be teaching your audience what you’ve done, what you’re successfully doing, and what you can prove works. Nothing more and nothing less. Take care not to go beyond your expertise. But make sure to share what you do know with your audience. Assuming everyone already knows what you know is one of the biggest mistakes I see new online business owners make.
I look forward to hearing about your successes. Please share in the comments if you use other methods for establishing yourself as an expert in your market.