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24. Positioning

At some point in our lives, I have no idea when, we are taught that the experts that we should follow are the ones that puff out their chests and talk about their accomplishments.

While we might look at those people in awe, we can’t really relate to them so we don’t look to them for help.

Instead, we turn to the person that probably hasn’t won many (or any) awards and hates to talk about themselves.

They prefer to talk about you because they can see what you’re going through.

They are able to position themselves as the Guide to follow by doing two simple things:

  1. Express empathy
  2. Demonstrate authority

Let’s look more closely at each one.

Empathy

Yep, we are talking about this again.

The world would be a better place if everyone showed empathy. What is empathy? Here’s another definition:

the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

That’s not the best way to describe it but that is the official official definition.

Empathy essentially means you truly understand why someone is experiencing the emotions they are feeling.

When you can take the time to express empathy for your Hero, they will start to see you have the potential to be their guide because you understand them.

If everything that I taught was laced with things like “it is really not that hard, you just need to put in more effort” then how willing would people be to follow me?

They would wonder why I don’t understand where they are coming from and if I can’t understand that, then how can I understand any future troubles?

Instead, I try my best to express empathy by using the following statements:

  • “I know how hard it is to build a business with a full-time job and family to raise”
  • “I know you can struggle with self-doubt and true belief in whether or not you can make this work”
  • “I understand how it feels to not have any money, hate your job and to be desperate for change”

Simply by saying these things, the Hero perks up their ears and starts to believe that I understand them. I’m just like them.

Do the Opposite

Before anyone knew what I did or realized that I could help them grow an online business, I used to write on a blog about blogging.

That in itself isn’t anything special.

What made it special is that I talked about blogging differently. Instead of making it seem like the easiest thing in the world, I had no problem talking about my struggles with it.

Because of this I made blogging seem more realistic to a lot of people that had doubts about it. Because everyone else was making blogging seem like this magical thing, I decided that I wanted to do the opposite and that helped me stand out from the crowd.

This Handbook will have the same effect.

A good rule of branding is to see what the majority of people do in your industry and examine what the opposite of that would look like.

Authority

A salesman will always tell you that one of the most important characteristics that you can have to make any type of sale is authority.

Unfortunately, I think authority is a scary word for a lot of people because I often hear “I am not an authority on this topic“.

What exactly does that mean?

Do you need to go to school to be an authority on something?

Do you need a special piece of paper to be an authority on something?

In most cases, an authority is simply someone that has experience doing something.

If someone is trying to learn how to change their own oil in their car, I can appear as an authority to them by creating a video showing them how to do it.

They simply think that because I saw this person do it, they know what they are talking about.

Instagram, YouTube, and your own blog are powerful sources of authority because they allow you to show people what you’ve experienced.

If I show people a picture of my shoe collection on Instagram, a lot of people that come across it will automatically label me as an authority on shoes.

If I create a video going over some of my favorite shoes and why I love them then people watching that video will label me as an authority on shoes.

If I write a blog post detailing how to effectively take care of your shoes then people reading that post will label me as an authority on shoes.

Authority does not necessarily mean expert.

Authority simply means someone that has walked the path.

Journeyman or Scholar

Sometimes I’ll get an email from someone asking what they should do about entering a new category where they aren’t really an expert.

For example, they might’ve seen people making clothes so they want to start making clothes and create a blog around it. However, they’re scared nobody will listen to them because they’ve never made clothes before.

This is the perfect opportunity to present yourself as a journeyman.

In my mind, there are two ways to position yourself as an authority.

  1. Journeyman
  2. Scholar

Journeyman

The journeyman is someone that chronicles their journey learning something. The people that first started writing income reports were seen as authorities in the field of how to make money simply because they showed they were walking the path.

That’s all that is needed.

Sure, this means the very first month not many people will pay attention to you because you haven’t done anything but over time as you show more and more examples of how you’re walking the path, more people will begin to follow.

What this means is that there is almost no industry/category/niche that you can’t enter and become successful.

The Journeyman only fails when:

  • They stop walking the path
  • They don’t show they’re making progress along the path
  • They present themselves as a scholar instead

The first two are understandable but what does the last one mean?

Scholar

Sadly in today’s world, most people fake the funk.

The How to Make Money niche is a perfect example. People that enter this industry feel that they need to present themselves as scholars, people that 100% know what they are doing if they want to see any type of success.

Some people fall for it but eventually, people begin to notice that this person isn’t really walking the walk.

It’s okay to say you aren’t an expert and that you’re still learning, but if you really are an expert in something then, by all means, present yourself in that light.

If I ever started a business around soccer I would never pretend to be a journeyman. I’ve played my whole life, got recruited by big Division I schools and have tried out for professional teams.

When it comes to soccer knowledge, I believe I know my stuff.

However, if I start a business around cycling, I can’t pretend to know my stuff. It just won’t be authentic and it will be hard to get the Hero to follow me.

Not About You

Remember, you have to be very careful about making the story not about you. It’s why I’m not a fan of About pages.

Most of them are done wrong because the whole page is about the person that runs the site.

While some people will be curious as to who you are, why should they care about your education, your family or anything else?

It doesn’t help them on their path.

Instead, About pages should be about the Hero, Them.

Let them know how you’re going to help them succeed.

Let them know who you’re going to help them transform into.

I’m not saying you can’t tell your story at all. In fact, if you can tell your story in a way that expresses empathy and demonstrates authority, then you should tell the story.

But until you can do that, the focus is never on you.