Some people gain authority by virtue of a position. Such individuals do not always have authority in and of themselves but receive it due to a title. I consider this type of authority “paper authority” as it comes because of a person’s job or political status and is bestowed “on paper.”
Others gain authority by virtue of their skill, persistence, and integrity within their chosen field. I consider this “acquired authority” as it is developed one step at a time as an individual consistently proves their worth to those around them. It is about obtaining this type of authority which I would like to speak today. There are four specific points that deserve focus.
Don’t Wear a Badge, Have a Mission
Labels, slogans, and mottos may be catchy or clever, but beware. Sometimes these have the ability to force you into a pigeon-hole from which you can’t return. Like an actor who becomes type-cast early on his career, a slogan or motto can place you forever in only one niche in the minds of your clients. Not only can mottos be stale and boring they can be harmful to your brand’s growth.
Instead of setting yourself up for such binding limitations, have a mission, a purpose for your brand instead. It shouldn’t be generic and it definitely shouldn’t reside only within your mind. Share it! Tell your clients about it then live it. Wake up every morning with the desire and fire to accomplish your mission.
Prove Your Value and Expertise
You know the saying that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet? The same goes for what you read in marketing. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry with more than a year in their industry can market themselves as an “expert” and wait for the clients to come flocking. But marketing yourself as an “expert” isn’t enough. You need to prove to your clients that your knowledge provides them with built-in value.
Doing this can be a little tougher than it seems; in order to become a true expert you have to gain the experience that makes you one. That kind of experience rarely accumulates over a year. It takes time, effort, diligence, and dedication to really fine-tune your expertise in your field. Put your head down, work hard, and commit to being the best you can be at every undertaking and you’ll be on your way to making yourself a true expert.
Let Your Clients Market Your Work for You
This may sound strange at first but it’s really very simple. Be so great at whatever it is that you do that your clients tell everyone about your work. That’s it.
We’re all naturally suspicious of the guy that can’t stop talking about how good he is at his job. It makes us wonder if he’s trying to convince us or himself. Don’t fall into that trap. Let your quality of work and your client referrals speak for you instead.
Don’t Just Be a Contributor, Be a Maker
What is a Maker? It’s someone who starts the conversation, someone who creates the product, someone who designs the technology. It’s the person who makes the waves and gets everyone talking. It’s good to participate in ideas, conversations, and methods that are already happening but don’t become the person that never does anything else. Strive to be noticed for something that has originated with you.
Sure, being a Maker can be uncomfortable or even down-right scary. It can be hard to put yourself out there when you have no idea how you’ll be received. But that comes with the territory. If you never get out in front of the crowd, you’ll never have a chance to stand out.
Our goal at Outlier is to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and scale their businesses. One of the key ways this is accomplished is by building acquired authority. I hope this brief list helps starts you on the path to your goal.