Authority… is this something you have an issue with? Something that you push back against? Something that you stand in? Are you even crystal clear on what authority means in the online business world? These are all questions that I've been asking myself lately because time and time again I have seen authority be abused, especially when bro marketing tactics are used.
I remember when I first started my business, I struggled to find my authority and be confident in it. I often compared myself to other leaders in my industry until I was able to lean on my experience, my education, and the credibility that I created throughout the years.
So how can you find your unique authority to have a thriving business? Ask these 5 questions
- What education and formal training do you have?
- What are some of the amazing things that you have already created?
- Where has your work been featured?
- What skills and experiences do you have that make your work unique?
- What about your personality makes you unique?
Authority doesn't have to feel like a scam.
Listen in or read through the transcript below:
Resources mentioned in this episode
Hey rebel. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to how authority is abused in the online world. Now, authority is one of the weapons of influence that Robert Cialdini talks about in his book. Influence and authority is particularly potent because our brains are trained to obey those in authority.
I know we are rebels and we're supposed to question everything, but do we? I mean, honestly, do we?
I was teaching the Bro Marketing Overthrow Workshop this past week and one of the things I was telling my students is that once you have your ethical principles in place, you can go through the courses that you've signed up for (and probably paid thousands of dollars for) and decide for yourself what techniques and tactics and strategies actually meet your ethical principles.
Then if they don't meet your ethical principles, don't do that strategy. Don't use that swipe file or revise that swipe file and truly they were blown away by the fact that you could just disregard what this authority is telling you to do.
I remember when I first got started in online business, I signed up for a launch from a very popular bro marketer and in the first video training. He told us all, hey, don't worry about establishing your expertise. Don't worry if you're not an authority, you can tell a story about how you were down on your luck but now you have a thriving business to establish your authority. I was like, what he heck, man? That is not actual authority.
So authority is this influential trigger that helps us make a decision about whether we should buy from someone or not.
So how do you establish your own authority without the bro marketing manipulation?
As I've mentioned, I've been diving back into the work of Robert Cialdini, especially his book Influence, which has become the bro marketing bible.
The way this book is written, I'm 100% sure that Robert Cialdini did not intend for that because he talks about these psychological triggers, like authority, as weapons of influence because they're extremely powerful, extremely potent in our brains.
This begs the question of how is authority established?
Well, the research shows that authority can be signaled through trappings, right? So things like a doctor wearing a white coat. So if we see someone wearing a white coat, we immediately ascribe to them a level of authority. They're a doctor. They know what they're doing.
In the online business world, we see people signaling their authority through showing the super nice homes by the beach and their Teslas. Butere's the deal, a white coat does not mean that that person is a doctor, a nice home, a fancy car that you see on Instagram does not mean that person is an actual authority because authority is so easily manipulated.
You and I both want to know that the people we choose to hire and choose to hire us are actually authorities.
So how do we claim this and establish ourselves as an authority without being manipulative, without using these trappings of authority?
The first step in this is realizing that authority is an inside job.
You have to claim it for yourself first believe it or not. This really hits home for me.
I was having a conversation with Sue B Zimmerman, who is the Instagram expert and she was telling us about a time when she was first starting out in her business and she went out into the woods with her dog, Cody, and she set up her camera and said, “I am going to be the Instagram expert. I'm going to be the leading educator on Instagram. And I am claiming that for myself here and now.” And the video is super cute because her dog, Cody, jump into her arms at the end.
There's a power behind saying to yourself first, I am the expert here.
For years, I had this weird hangup about Donald Miller building a StoryBrand and StoryBrand is still hailed as like the messaging framework that everyone should know about. I love parts of that messaging framework and have problems with other parts of it, which is okay.
But I realized that his messaging framework is great for your run of the mill businesses, like people who, you know, are cleaning pools or doing accounting. The thing that I'm an expert at is helping those people who are innovative, who are doing things differently. I am the messaging expert for them. I am an expert in ethical persuasion and I'm an expert in marketing for those people.
I claim that for myself, that is how I am different from Donald Miller. But I had to feel that for myself before I could actually show up as an authority on this podcast. In, you know, sales conversations on Instagram. Authority is an inside job.
But what if you're just not feeling it?
What if you're sitting there right now thinking, ah, but I don't know if I'm that expert in what I do.
This is when it becomes important to revisit an exercise I've talked about on this show before in an episode called How to Stop Doubting Yourself Once and For All with a Very Simple Exercise.
This exercise is called I am the One Who Knocks because it is based off of a very famous scene in Breaking Bad where Walter White fully claims his authority.
Part of this exercise is writing down all the ways that you are an authority. So think about what's your education and credentials. And even if it's not in a directly related field, having education or a certification tells me something about you and how you show up in the world.
You can also think about your experience. What's your experience in work and life that you bring into the work that you do?
Another great place to look is what have you created? Have you created blog posts, put on podcasts interviews, written a book, created a speech? All of those things speak to your authority. So think about what you've created.
Number four is what are your strengths and skills? I always recommend people take Strengths Finder test if they don't know what their strengths are, because that can make you feel super powerful and aligned with what you're doing, because I bet what you're doing in your business is very similar to what your top strengths are.
You can also look at your skills. Are you a great listener? That is a skill that is honed over the years. Do you ask excellent questions? Are you always curious? All of those are skills that you bring to your work that establish your authority.
Also think about where has your work been featured? Have you been on some podcasts? Have you been in Fast Company or Entrepreneur or been a part of a conference? All of those things.
Also, establishing your authority once you know what your authority is, and you can feel the power of that. You won't need any rags to riches story because you're the freaking expert, my friend, then in your next webinar or on your Instagram bio on your about page, you can list.
Confidently list your experience, your education .This is the one thing I always do when I tell people about myself. On my credibility slide, where most people tell some kind of story about their business. Nope. I bullet point why I'm qualified. PhD in communication, over 25 years of experience, worked with fortune 500 companies on marketing.
I have the credibility. I am the expert and you are too. So just claim it, claim it for yourself first, then you'll feel so powerful and so confident that you're going to be able to share it with the world, and that's what we need. We need more amazing business owners sharing why they have the credibility.
Finally, once you claim your authority, realize that it is this inside job, then it is about the outward expression.
It's about sharing content and a message based on your authority and staying focused on that message and that content so that people know what you're about.
So what you want to do is start creating that content because we establish our authority by helping and serving people. Your message is the way you claim your authority, your Instagram bio establishes your authority. In this world, your about page does the same thing.
And you know what else also establishes your authority? And this is the final piece of it having a solution that helps people that you sell.
Yes, my friends, making offers for the amazing work that you're doing makes you an authority.
So let's take a moment to reflect before you go on your Merry way. The first question I want you to think about is have you claimed your authority for yourself that you are an expert?
If yes, I am sending you virtual high-fives right now. And if no, you're not there yet. Do the exercise above. It will make you feel like a powerful badass.
The second point of reflection is really more of a challenge, it is a mission, i you choose to accept it -- do one thing that establishes your authority. Maybe you tell your Instagram following about your experience or your education that makes you uniquely qualified to do the work you do. Or if you really want to take a big challenge, make an offer to your email list. Put out what you do and how you help into the world. No matter what you do. I would love for you to slip into my DMS on Instagram and tell me the action that you took.
If you're feeling ready to claim your authority through a message that demands attention, a message that you want to show up for and share every day, so that clients clamor to work with you even faster than before. I'd love to have a conversation with you about the 3 Word Rebellion Messaging Intensive. I'm on a mission to help more amazing business owners who do transformative work, spread the word about that work so that they can sell and serve more.
So let's have a conversation. Let's talk to see if I can help you with your message and your ethical marketing. You can get all the details about how I work with people. So book a chat with me.
Until next time, claim your authority. I know you're an expert now you just gotta own it.
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