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6 Effective Ways To Become A Well Known Authority In Any Niche

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Brian Horn How To Become An Authority Expert In Any Niche

Best-selling author and Authority Expert “Brian Horn” helps entrepreneurs and celebrities leverage their knowledge to gain authority status in their industry. Brian is a pro at amplifying his clients message and shows them how to convert their new audience into high paying customers.

Brian has been profiled and featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Forbes, Advertising Age and Inc Magazine named Brian an “emerging business leader to watch.”

The Wall Street Journal said:
“Horn’s ability to make a client into the Google Authority of their niche is simply remarkable.”

I was fortunate enough to have the chance to interview the main man “Brian Horn” to discuss the many different ways that people can better position themselves to become a force to be reckoned with and an Authority in their niche’.

So let’s read on, as Brian shares his 6 Ways to become a well-known Authority in any field.

 

6 Ways To Become An Authority

 

1. Position yourself

Don’t just focus on getting more traffic, or getting more sales. Take it back a few steps. Instead, start positioning yourself as the educator and advocate for the success of your prospects and customers. So now and then, go back to that one statement and ask yourself “Am I educating my prospects and customers? Am I advocating for their successes?”

A great example of an authority would be “Richard Simmons“, he’s been active since the 70’s as a health and fitness personality. You see him online and on TV Infomercials, and sure he is funny and sometimes over the top but let’s look at 2 things that he does to position himself as the authority in his field:

– He is an educator: He puts out daily content in the form of e-mails and messages on his site, videos on a regular basis and he’s always cranking out new DVD’s.

– He is also an advocate: Unlike all the other fitness products that are usually showing fit people working out, Richard will spend a lot of his time sitting at the bed side of people who are so morbidly obese that they can’t get out of bed and he’s crying with them, showing them he understands what they are going through. He tells them that he was also a heavy guy before and he shows them he really cares about them by putting himself in their position.

 

2. Micro-specialize

You really need to refine what you’re offering. Get super specific about what you are offering, and who you are offering it to. That way you will also have less competition. Instead of offering, let’s say “Marketing Services” where you will be competing against the likes of Seth Godin and everybody else that is really well-known and big in that field, you specify that you, for example, will just help Small Businesses in the Health Care industry with their Facebook promotion. With something that specific, you have very little competition. You can become really good at it, you learn more and more about Facebook, how people in the Health Care industry talk, how they think, what their pains are and what makes them successful.

You have micro specialized yourself to be the expert for their needs.

 

3. Know that people don’t care how smart you are

A lot of people think they have to be smart to be an authority. People will try to impress others with their knowledge, when most people couldn’t care less about how smart you are. I do a lot of authority building with Dentists and Dr’s and one of the things I tell them is that “people do not care about the diploma on your wall, you need to get that completely out of your head.” Nobody calls the dentist’s office and says “Well…. what does his diploma say?“.

If people have paid a lot of money for education, events and info products, I’m all for that, that’s great but at the end of the day people just want to know whether or not you can help them.

 

4. Know your type

There are 4 different Authority types that we use to help people position themselves:

1. The Mr. Joe Every Man Type: The “I can do it, you can do it!” type of person.

2. The Cowboy: Someone like Gary Vaynerchuk. A little over the top, calls out, is controversial and likes to curse a lot.

3. The Soldier: A protector type of person. This works great within Financial industries and is represented through a Dave Ramsey or a Suze Orman personality. They appeal to people who have been beaten down by a situation and they are there to protect them. So a Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey type of person would say “The credit card industries are evil, they have ben praying on you but follow this simple advice and you will be protected from those bad guys“.

4. The Wizard: Someone who has a very specific type of knowledge that doesn’t try to push-off on other people or make them just like they are, they try to help others to become a little more like them.

Tony Robbins is like a wizard. Tony doesn’t say “Hey come to my events and you will be just like me“, there’s no way you are going to be like Tony, but you can use his teachings to be a little bit more like him, and a little bit of that rubs off on you to want to be better.

 

5. Quit buying lots of products

I see people all the time that say “Ok, I’m just going to read one more book, I am going to one more seminar“, just because they get that hit of Dopamine, they think they are doing something better.

It is much more effective to focus on your mindset, focus on getting a good strategy down that is repeatable and that you can expand with instead of buying all the products ‘YOU THINK YOU NEED’ before you can start.

 

6. Know that people love people with flaws

So we do this in two ways. 1. Is with back stories. So if you are a Mr.Joe Every Man Authority, you would be someone who has lost a lot of weight and is now a fitness advice person who says “Hey, I lost 300 pounds, now I’m fit and you can do it too“, or “Hey I was broke, living in my truck so I learned how to invest in Real Estate and now I’m a millionaire“. Those back stories work great because they show that they were a failure before and it resonates with a lot of people.

The 2nd way is by poking fun at your self and showing a little self-deprecation. Someone who is a great example of this is Oprah Winfrey, with her weight struggles. Oprah does a really good job at this, she talks very openly and honestly about it. She doesn’t try and hide it or tell people not to talk about it. People love that about her.

 

If you want to hear more great advice by Brian Horn on how to master the art of Authority then tune in to his podcast shows with Jack Mize, an Online Media Marketing Strategists for small business owners and local marketing consultants.

Authority Alchemy - How to Be An Authority In Your Industry

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Leopoldo

    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web site, because i
    wish for enjoyment, for the reason that this this web page
    conations really pleasant funny information too.

  2. My BIG problem in the past has been what Brian mentions in #5,… buying too much.

    By keeping up with the most recent product launch promotions, one ends up simply (AND ONLY) chasing the next shiny object, which, in the long run, makes one just spin their wheels, leaving them unproductive and without focus.

    Without focus, you end up NOT being able to do #2 – micro-specialize. Sure, you’ll have a smaller audience, but MUCH more responsive and receptive to what your business (goals, messages, promotions, etc.) should be about – serving your clients, making them awesomer!

  3. LM Smith

    Apr 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Great Post. Brian you are setting a tone for Professionals to listen to and take notice. Looking forward to the Movement!

  4. David Taylor

    Apr 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Great tips for building success

  5. Kreedos

    Apr 15, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Excellent article. I find that exposing ones flaws shows humility and makes you more attractive.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks man! I totally agree. Huge part of being relatable is opening talking about your flaws.

  6. victor

    Apr 14, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Finding your niche can sometimes be hard to see and feel, as they say you can see the forest but not the trees. Many people don’t like being seen when we get that pat on the back specially in Australia. But the majority of us secretly inside want to be recognized by our peers. this is a hurdle we have to jump over.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      I’m from Texas, the Australia of the US. 🙂 Same way here Victor.

      The bigger issue is people not believing they are worthy or every ready to be seen as a top expert.

      But once they realize that they ARE ready…right now, and then hit that level…they see its not so mysterious and unattainable.

  7. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Brian,

    Great post. It’s given me a few amazing ideas.

    I really liked “#6 Know that people love people with flaws”

    For me, It’s important I connect with my customers on a personal level. I want them to be able to relate to me. I don’t want them feeling intimidated and therefore i’m unapproachable.

    After all, we were all beginnings at some point.

    naomi

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks Naomi! Personal connections are the most important.

  8. Ani

    Apr 14, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Just in time, as I am making my first steps in becoming online entrepreneur 🙂

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Good to hear Ani!

      Create it and do it. Best thing in the world…

  9. Stewart A. Alexander

    Apr 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Brian, you’re an ambassador for the authority marketing industry, it’s great being part of the same movement. Really good interview, filled with fundamental principles that will never age.

    Thank you.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Glad to have you on board Stewart. You’re doing it right.

  10. james simwanza

    Apr 14, 2014 at 8:23 am

    wonderful

  11. Donna

    Apr 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I don’t think this really applies to women. Women are judged differently than men are.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

      There are a lot of women entrepreneurs, leaders and top experts.

      While, unfortunately, many times women are judged differently than men…these methods work for both genders.

    • James

      Apr 17, 2014 at 5:15 am

      Thats a pretty weak excuse and you did not Favors for all females writing this.
      BTW My Director is a female and writes for many top tier websites and magazines and would never settle for that excuse.

      Maybe you should read some perspective articles.

      All the best.

  12. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Great reminders in this post. Thank you for reinforcing #2 on micro-specialize. I have found that to be very helpful in getting my message across.

    Combined with #6 of exposing my flaws and my old “baggage” and how I went from point A to point B helps people to understand why I do what I do.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Emily!

      Microspecialization has been a key for me too.

      …and I love when people expose their old baggage and tell the story of their rise. Good stuff.

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Startups

3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

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startup failure

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Powerful Ways to Stay Motivated While Building Your Startup

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building a startup

I hear one particular story being repeated over and over again in the startup world. See if you’ve heard it before. A friend tells me how excited he is about a new business idea. He’s talked to several potential customers who seem really interested, and he’s even contracted folks in the industry to help him build a prototype.

Two months later, I meet with him again. He’s still very excited, working hard at all hours of the day, and he says that they’re actually about to release the prototype. Another 2 or 3 months go by and I check in to ask him how everything is going.

Glumly, he tells me, “Well, we released the prototype to a couple of early adopters, but we didn’t find they were using it on a daily basis.” Or, “We spent like $50 on Facebook ads to spread the word, but nobody signed up.” And on and on it goes.

Just like that, another wantrepreneur’s dreams are crushed. “Maybe this entrepreneurship thing just isn’t for me,” he says. Sound familiar? It happens to all of us. We have that initial burst of excitement and we get super motivated to pursue our business idea, but then when reality hits and things don’t go as planned, we lose that spark and our motivation hits rock bottom.

People don’t realize that building a startup is like a roller coaster – one day you’re on top of the world and the next you’re having the worst day ever. Motivation is like the fuel in your car, when you run out, your company stalls and comes to a complete stop.

People always ask me how I maintain my motivation throughout the ups and downs of startup life. Like any other positive habit, you have to train yourself and you need a few techniques in your back pocket to help you get out of that rut when you (inevitably) fall into it.

Here are a few things that have helped me stay motivated while building my business:

1. Listen to or Read Something Motivational Each Day

This is actually one of my main sources of motivation. Every day, I listen to an entrepreneurship podcast and learn something new.

When you hear an interview with a successful founder, and he says he wakes up every day at 4AM to spend 2 hours writing a chapter of his book before heading into work, it makes you think “Wow! I thought I was working hard!”

I’ll listen to an owner talk about how he lost everything and managed to bring himself back from ruins. That kind of story can motivate anybody to push through the rough times in their own life and business endeavors.

When I hear these types of inspirational interviews during my morning walk, I go home eager to start work for the day!

“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.”  – Ryan Freitas

2. Have a Learning Mindset

No matter how excited you are about your startup idea, remember that it’s a learning experience. A year from now, you may end up developing something totally different based on feedback you get from customers. If your first prototype doesn’t get the traction or results you were hoping for, then learn why that is.

Did it not solve the customer’s pain point? Were you solving the wrong problem? Call up the users and ask them why are they’re not using or buying your product! Brice McBeth in his book ‘Salon Chairs Don’t Sell Themselves’, shares his experience with the launch of an e-commerce website that he was trying to promote.

He found that potential customers were just not signing up, even though his team built a visually stunning website. It wasn’t until after he called several customers that he learned they felt the website looked too fancy for them.

They weren’t signing up because they thought the product was too expensive even though they hadn’t even looked at the pricing page. They based their assumption purely on the landing page. He changed the website and the product took off. So don’t get discouraged if your first launch fails. Go out and ask for feedback and correct your mistakes!

3. Sign Up Real Customers

The biggest motivating factor for me so far has been signing up our startup’s first real customers. Not a friend and not someone I met at a networking event who was doing me a favor. A complete stranger who found us on the web and wanted to sign up because she was interested in the product.

When I talked to this customer on the phone, she had no idea we were a startup in the beta stage. She was an office manager of a landscape and lawn service company who was looking for a time tracking software. Having a “real” customer using our application and depending on us to process payroll was a huge responsibility, but it was also motivation for us because we didn’t want to let a customer down.

I’ve found the wantrepreneurs of the world are a little intimidated by the important step of accumulating real customers. When beta customers sign up, they expect to have some issues with the product or software, but when a real, expectant, interested customer signs up and hands over their hard-earned money, it’s a whole different ball game.

But don’t be intimidated! The key is providing excellent customer service. Then your customers will stay with you even if your product is basic and buggy, because they know you will fix it and take care of them down the road. Trust me, waking up every morning knowing people are depending on you is the biggest motivation of all!

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison

Maintaining motivation while you’re working on your startup, especially at the beginning, is like anything else important in your life – you have to work at it! Listen to or read something inspirational every day, maintain the mindset that everything is a learning experience, and take that plunge to find real customers.

Then, use your system to be accountable for your work and provide great service, and you’ll discover the motivation to move forward even in the toughest of times.

How do you stay motivated while building your startup or running your business? Comment below!

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3 Highly Successful Startups and the Lessons You Can Learn From Them

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successful startups

To get success in life, it doesn’t always about having a university degree with top class. These days, successful businesses and entrepreneurs come from different walks of life.

When you will consider some of the successful startups of the world and entrepreneurs, who lead them, you can notice that they can also represent varied products, brands, generations, industries, and cultures.

Keeping aside diversity and backgrounds, successful entrepreneurs, businessmen and leaders have at least one thing in common, and that is the wide learning curves that they have had to undergo along the way on the road to their success.

However, the way to startup success is not always a predictable one because only 30% of seeded startups are securing some additional funding. In order to know why some of the startups thrive or some stagnate or fail, it is important to examine successful startups and different lessons to learn from them.

Here are 3 Successful Startups & Lessons That Can be Learnt From Them

1. Airbnb – Build a Product or Service That Customers Fall in love With

One of the leading American startups, Airbnb offers an online marketplace and hospitality service for people worldwide to lease or rent short-term lodging, including hostel beds, holiday cottages and apartments through its application. When the company was struggling in its initial stage in 2008, Paul Graham, a founder of the well-known incubator startup, Y Combinator, gave  advice to the CEO of Airbnb.

The CEO of Y Combinator asked Brian Chesky to focus on building a product that people fall-in-love with. Instead of building a product that people like, you should give attention to building a product that people truly love.

If most people are loving your product rather than liking it, they will recommend it to their friends and relatives. The word of mouth marketing for your product or service will play a more important role than any other marketing ways. With word of mouth marketing, it is enough to propel most businesses to new heights.

Lesson to learn: It would be a great choice to develop a product or service that people love instead of liking it. Your potential customers will indirectly help to get many new customers and expand your business.

“Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.” – Michael Dell

2. Uber – Always Think of Solving a Problem  

To achieve vivid success like Uber, it is a must that you think for one such service or product that gives a solution to your customers’ problem. Let’s consider Uber, a leading on-demand taxi booking app service provider, delivering on-demand taxi services to people worldwide, ensuring that they do not have to wait too long for a taxi.

Likewise, Uber has solved a problem of people that they were facing while hiring a taxi. Even it could start with just one problem and probably, your startup could deliver a holistic solution. So, whenever you get an idea, ensure that you start analyzing the idea and think about how it can solve a problem of people.

Lesson to Learn: Always think of your customers’ problems and try to solve it through your services or products. Give them a reliable solution that makes their daily life easier.

3. Atlassian – Have a Mission-driven Company Culture

Atlassian Corporation is an enterprise software company that is well-known for making business software, helping different teams of all sizes work faster and better together. A highly popular creator or products like Jiri and Confluence among others.

The company announced that they had spent $425 million to purchase another business-software company called Trello in early 2017. It is one of the biggest lessons that startups can learn from Atlassian as they have a mission-driven company culture.

Lesson to Learn: Do you know that the right culture can lead your company to success? You can realize the significant performance improvements. Build a culture, where people just love to work, expanding your business from one level to next.

“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh

These are three highly successful startups and different lessons that can be learnt from them. These above-mentioned startups have a different success story, however, an organization that mainly focuses on customer-centric and mission-driven culture along with delivering a world-class product, tend to be successful.

Moreover, the companies that found solutions to customers’ problems and improve their daily lives, can lead to success. So, follow the hard-earned lessons that I mentioned above and it may help you to join the ranks of the unicorns.

What are some of your favorite & successful startups? Comment below!

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The 5 Most Common Myths Associated With Starting a Business

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business myths

We live in a world of opportunities. I can remember growing up and always dreaming of wearing a suit and tie to work. It was my absolute dream. I was maybe 14 years old at the time and my grades in school were awful and I didn’t exactly have the brightest future ahead of me. I always had these misconceptions about success and what it took to achieve it.

After almost a decade of putting my head down and investing the time, I can finally say I have a profitable business. However, this isn’t about me and my business. This is about the myths that most people are allowing to rule their lives and hold them back from their greatness.

Running a business isn’t about making millions of dollars. When you own a business you’re making the world a better place. You’re providing a solution to a problem. You’re giving others an opportunity to earn money by becoming an employee. You’re doing so much more than making money. It’s good for the economy. So don’t let these common myths about starting a business fool you.

Here are 5 common myths you need to let go of once and for all:

1. You must be intelligent and good in school

Have you ever thought that it’s a basic requirement to graduate college with a business degree? It makes sense if you look at it from a distance. You go to school. You learn how to run a business. You start a business.

The flip side? Business school doesn’t teach you how to handle failure. School will never teach you how to adapt to the market place and make split second decisions that could impact millions of people’s daily lives. School can’t teach you to be you. Although school may not hurt, it’s 100% not required to run a successful business.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

2. You need money

Almost everyone I’ve asked about starting a business has brought up the concept of needing money to get started. I’m here to tell you that you can start thousands of different businesses without money. The most practical piece of advice I can give here is to go out and sell your service, collect the money, then invest a portion or all of that money into the tools needed to complete the job.

If you’re dead set on a business model that requires a lot of cash upfront, use resources like kickstarter or angel investors to get going. You personally don’t need to have any money to start any business ever. You just have to be willing to get creative when it comes to finding the necessary money required.

3. You need experience

As entrepreneurs, we are actually innovators. A lot of the things we are doing have never been done before. We’re constantly experimenting with new ideas and that comes with a lot of failures. You gain the necessary experience needed to run a business while you run your business. You’ll never learn everything you need to know and not a single day will go by where you don’t gain more experience. So dive in, have fun, and don’t give up.

4. You need a following

With all of these mega influencers on social media, it can be challenging to believe you can do anything without a massive following. This isn’t true at all. Everyone on this planet starts with the same following. ZERO. No one knows who you are until you put yourself out there.

Sure you may not have thousands of subscribers, you may not even have ten subscribers. The point is that if you put out good content and provide a service or product that actually helps make the world a better place and solves a problem for your customer, you will win. Just keep putting in the time and energy.

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

5. There’s too much competition

Everyday you wait there will be more and more competition. If it was easy everyone would be doing it right? Your product or service is the difference. If you provide a better experience you will win. If you put in the work for the long haul and ignore the short term gains, you will win. Business is a massive competition and if you’re doing it right your competitors will become your friends, mentors, and possibly customers.

This article was written specifically for you. To help you overcome some of the fears of taking that leap of becoming an entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging. However, if you truly believe in your idea, there should be nothing on this planet that can stop you from bringing it to life.

What tips have you used to start your business? Comment below!

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The 4 Difficult Lessons Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Learn

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entrepreneurship

Successful entrepreneurs are born learners, but often they focus on the wrong lessons. Yes, learning about financing, staff management, selling, marketing, product innovation, decision-making and risk taking are vital. However, there are other lessons that are just as important to the future of your business. (more…)

Sharon Fishburne is CEO of the Sharon Fishburne Consultancy, which provides startups and SMEs with strategic marketing advice to take their businesses to the next level. An expert at marketing strategy, Sharon previously worked at number of the biggest global consultancies, including PwC, advising multinationals on their expansion strategy.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Leopoldo

    Jan 24, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web site, because i
    wish for enjoyment, for the reason that this this web page
    conations really pleasant funny information too.

  2. My BIG problem in the past has been what Brian mentions in #5,… buying too much.

    By keeping up with the most recent product launch promotions, one ends up simply (AND ONLY) chasing the next shiny object, which, in the long run, makes one just spin their wheels, leaving them unproductive and without focus.

    Without focus, you end up NOT being able to do #2 – micro-specialize. Sure, you’ll have a smaller audience, but MUCH more responsive and receptive to what your business (goals, messages, promotions, etc.) should be about – serving your clients, making them awesomer!

  3. LM Smith

    Apr 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Great Post. Brian you are setting a tone for Professionals to listen to and take notice. Looking forward to the Movement!

  4. David Taylor

    Apr 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Great tips for building success

  5. Kreedos

    Apr 15, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Excellent article. I find that exposing ones flaws shows humility and makes you more attractive.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks man! I totally agree. Huge part of being relatable is opening talking about your flaws.

  6. victor

    Apr 14, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Finding your niche can sometimes be hard to see and feel, as they say you can see the forest but not the trees. Many people don’t like being seen when we get that pat on the back specially in Australia. But the majority of us secretly inside want to be recognized by our peers. this is a hurdle we have to jump over.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      I’m from Texas, the Australia of the US. 🙂 Same way here Victor.

      The bigger issue is people not believing they are worthy or every ready to be seen as a top expert.

      But once they realize that they ARE ready…right now, and then hit that level…they see its not so mysterious and unattainable.

  7. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Brian,

    Great post. It’s given me a few amazing ideas.

    I really liked “#6 Know that people love people with flaws”

    For me, It’s important I connect with my customers on a personal level. I want them to be able to relate to me. I don’t want them feeling intimidated and therefore i’m unapproachable.

    After all, we were all beginnings at some point.

    naomi

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks Naomi! Personal connections are the most important.

  8. Ani

    Apr 14, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Just in time, as I am making my first steps in becoming online entrepreneur 🙂

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Good to hear Ani!

      Create it and do it. Best thing in the world…

  9. Stewart A. Alexander

    Apr 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Brian, you’re an ambassador for the authority marketing industry, it’s great being part of the same movement. Really good interview, filled with fundamental principles that will never age.

    Thank you.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Glad to have you on board Stewart. You’re doing it right.

  10. james simwanza

    Apr 14, 2014 at 8:23 am

    wonderful

  11. Donna

    Apr 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I don’t think this really applies to women. Women are judged differently than men are.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

      There are a lot of women entrepreneurs, leaders and top experts.

      While, unfortunately, many times women are judged differently than men…these methods work for both genders.

    • James

      Apr 17, 2014 at 5:15 am

      Thats a pretty weak excuse and you did not Favors for all females writing this.
      BTW My Director is a female and writes for many top tier websites and magazines and would never settle for that excuse.

      Maybe you should read some perspective articles.

      All the best.

  12. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Great reminders in this post. Thank you for reinforcing #2 on micro-specialize. I have found that to be very helpful in getting my message across.

    Combined with #6 of exposing my flaws and my old “baggage” and how I went from point A to point B helps people to understand why I do what I do.

    • Brian Horn

      Apr 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Emily!

      Microspecialization has been a key for me too.

      …and I love when people expose their old baggage and tell the story of their rise. Good stuff.

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Startups

3 Reasons Why It’s a Good Thing Your First Startup Failed

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startup failure

Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.

As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.

As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.

Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:

1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on

It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.

However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.

This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.

“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” –  Idowu Koyenikan

2. You know what did go right

Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.

All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.

There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.

The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.

3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience

Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”

This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.

Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.

The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.

All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.  

What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Powerful Ways to Stay Motivated While Building Your Startup

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building a startup

I hear one particular story being repeated over and over again in the startup world. See if you’ve heard it before. A friend tells me how excited he is about a new business idea. He’s talked to several potential customers who seem really interested, and he’s even contracted folks in the industry to help him build a prototype.

Two months later, I meet with him again. He’s still very excited, working hard at all hours of the day, and he says that they’re actually about to release the prototype. Another 2 or 3 months go by and I check in to ask him how everything is going.

Glumly, he tells me, “Well, we released the prototype to a couple of early adopters, but we didn’t find they were using it on a daily basis.” Or, “We spent like $50 on Facebook ads to spread the word, but nobody signed up.” And on and on it goes.

Just like that, another wantrepreneur’s dreams are crushed. “Maybe this entrepreneurship thing just isn’t for me,” he says. Sound familiar? It happens to all of us. We have that initial burst of excitement and we get super motivated to pursue our business idea, but then when reality hits and things don’t go as planned, we lose that spark and our motivation hits rock bottom.

People don’t realize that building a startup is like a roller coaster – one day you’re on top of the world and the next you’re having the worst day ever. Motivation is like the fuel in your car, when you run out, your company stalls and comes to a complete stop.

People always ask me how I maintain my motivation throughout the ups and downs of startup life. Like any other positive habit, you have to train yourself and you need a few techniques in your back pocket to help you get out of that rut when you (inevitably) fall into it.

Here are a few things that have helped me stay motivated while building my business:

1. Listen to or Read Something Motivational Each Day

This is actually one of my main sources of motivation. Every day, I listen to an entrepreneurship podcast and learn something new.

When you hear an interview with a successful founder, and he says he wakes up every day at 4AM to spend 2 hours writing a chapter of his book before heading into work, it makes you think “Wow! I thought I was working hard!”

I’ll listen to an owner talk about how he lost everything and managed to bring himself back from ruins. That kind of story can motivate anybody to push through the rough times in their own life and business endeavors.

When I hear these types of inspirational interviews during my morning walk, I go home eager to start work for the day!

“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.”  – Ryan Freitas

2. Have a Learning Mindset

No matter how excited you are about your startup idea, remember that it’s a learning experience. A year from now, you may end up developing something totally different based on feedback you get from customers. If your first prototype doesn’t get the traction or results you were hoping for, then learn why that is.

Did it not solve the customer’s pain point? Were you solving the wrong problem? Call up the users and ask them why are they’re not using or buying your product! Brice McBeth in his book ‘Salon Chairs Don’t Sell Themselves’, shares his experience with the launch of an e-commerce website that he was trying to promote.

He found that potential customers were just not signing up, even though his team built a visually stunning website. It wasn’t until after he called several customers that he learned they felt the website looked too fancy for them.

They weren’t signing up because they thought the product was too expensive even though they hadn’t even looked at the pricing page. They based their assumption purely on the landing page. He changed the website and the product took off. So don’t get discouraged if your first launch fails. Go out and ask for feedback and correct your mistakes!

3. Sign Up Real Customers

The biggest motivating factor for me so far has been signing up our startup’s first real customers. Not a friend and not someone I met at a networking event who was doing me a favor. A complete stranger who found us on the web and wanted to sign up because she was interested in the product.

When I talked to this customer on the phone, she had no idea we were a startup in the beta stage. She was an office manager of a landscape and lawn service company who was looking for a time tracking software. Having a “real” customer using our application and depending on us to process payroll was a huge responsibility, but it was also motivation for us because we didn’t want to let a customer down.

I’ve found the wantrepreneurs of the world are a little intimidated by the important step of accumulating real customers. When beta customers sign up, they expect to have some issues with the product or software, but when a real, expectant, interested customer signs up and hands over their hard-earned money, it’s a whole different ball game.

But don’t be intimidated! The key is providing excellent customer service. Then your customers will stay with you even if your product is basic and buggy, because they know you will fix it and take care of them down the road. Trust me, waking up every morning knowing people are depending on you is the biggest motivation of all!

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison

Maintaining motivation while you’re working on your startup, especially at the beginning, is like anything else important in your life – you have to work at it! Listen to or read something inspirational every day, maintain the mindset that everything is a learning experience, and take that plunge to find real customers.

Then, use your system to be accountable for your work and provide great service, and you’ll discover the motivation to move forward even in the toughest of times.

How do you stay motivated while building your startup or running your business? Comment below!

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3 Highly Successful Startups and the Lessons You Can Learn From Them

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successful startups

To get success in life, it doesn’t always about having a university degree with top class. These days, successful businesses and entrepreneurs come from different walks of life.

When you will consider some of the successful startups of the world and entrepreneurs, who lead them, you can notice that they can also represent varied products, brands, generations, industries, and cultures.

Keeping aside diversity and backgrounds, successful entrepreneurs, businessmen and leaders have at least one thing in common, and that is the wide learning curves that they have had to undergo along the way on the road to their success.

However, the way to startup success is not always a predictable one because only 30% of seeded startups are securing some additional funding. In order to know why some of the startups thrive or some stagnate or fail, it is important to examine successful startups and different lessons to learn from them.

Here are 3 Successful Startups & Lessons That Can be Learnt From Them

1. Airbnb – Build a Product or Service That Customers Fall in love With

One of the leading American startups, Airbnb offers an online marketplace and hospitality service for people worldwide to lease or rent short-term lodging, including hostel beds, holiday cottages and apartments through its application. When the company was struggling in its initial stage in 2008, Paul Graham, a founder of the well-known incubator startup, Y Combinator, gave  advice to the CEO of Airbnb.

The CEO of Y Combinator asked Brian Chesky to focus on building a product that people fall-in-love with. Instead of building a product that people like, you should give attention to building a product that people truly love.

If most people are loving your product rather than liking it, they will recommend it to their friends and relatives. The word of mouth marketing for your product or service will play a more important role than any other marketing ways. With word of mouth marketing, it is enough to propel most businesses to new heights.

Lesson to learn: It would be a great choice to develop a product or service that people love instead of liking it. Your potential customers will indirectly help to get many new customers and expand your business.

“Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.” – Michael Dell

2. Uber – Always Think of Solving a Problem  

To achieve vivid success like Uber, it is a must that you think for one such service or product that gives a solution to your customers’ problem. Let’s consider Uber, a leading on-demand taxi booking app service provider, delivering on-demand taxi services to people worldwide, ensuring that they do not have to wait too long for a taxi.

Likewise, Uber has solved a problem of people that they were facing while hiring a taxi. Even it could start with just one problem and probably, your startup could deliver a holistic solution. So, whenever you get an idea, ensure that you start analyzing the idea and think about how it can solve a problem of people.

Lesson to Learn: Always think of your customers’ problems and try to solve it through your services or products. Give them a reliable solution that makes their daily life easier.

3. Atlassian – Have a Mission-driven Company Culture

Atlassian Corporation is an enterprise software company that is well-known for making business software, helping different teams of all sizes work faster and better together. A highly popular creator or products like Jiri and Confluence among others.

The company announced that they had spent $425 million to purchase another business-software company called Trello in early 2017. It is one of the biggest lessons that startups can learn from Atlassian as they have a mission-driven company culture.

Lesson to Learn: Do you know that the right culture can lead your company to success? You can realize the significant performance improvements. Build a culture, where people just love to work, expanding your business from one level to next.

“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh

These are three highly successful startups and different lessons that can be learnt from them. These above-mentioned startups have a different success story, however, an organization that mainly focuses on customer-centric and mission-driven culture along with delivering a world-class product, tend to be successful.

Moreover, the companies that found solutions to customers’ problems and improve their daily lives, can lead to success. So, follow the hard-earned lessons that I mentioned above and it may help you to join the ranks of the unicorns.

What are some of your favorite & successful startups? Comment below!

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The 5 Most Common Myths Associated With Starting a Business

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business myths

We live in a world of opportunities. I can remember growing up and always dreaming of wearing a suit and tie to work. It was my absolute dream. I was maybe 14 years old at the time and my grades in school were awful and I didn’t exactly have the brightest future ahead of me. I always had these misconceptions about success and what it took to achieve it.

After almost a decade of putting my head down and investing the time, I can finally say I have a profitable business. However, this isn’t about me and my business. This is about the myths that most people are allowing to rule their lives and hold them back from their greatness.

Running a business isn’t about making millions of dollars. When you own a business you’re making the world a better place. You’re providing a solution to a problem. You’re giving others an opportunity to earn money by becoming an employee. You’re doing so much more than making money. It’s good for the economy. So don’t let these common myths about starting a business fool you.

Here are 5 common myths you need to let go of once and for all:

1. You must be intelligent and good in school

Have you ever thought that it’s a basic requirement to graduate college with a business degree? It makes sense if you look at it from a distance. You go to school. You learn how to run a business. You start a business.

The flip side? Business school doesn’t teach you how to handle failure. School will never teach you how to adapt to the market place and make split second decisions that could impact millions of people’s daily lives. School can’t teach you to be you. Although school may not hurt, it’s 100% not required to run a successful business.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

2. You need money

Almost everyone I’ve asked about starting a business has brought up the concept of needing money to get started. I’m here to tell you that you can start thousands of different businesses without money. The most practical piece of advice I can give here is to go out and sell your service, collect the money, then invest a portion or all of that money into the tools needed to complete the job.

If you’re dead set on a business model that requires a lot of cash upfront, use resources like kickstarter or angel investors to get going. You personally don’t need to have any money to start any business ever. You just have to be willing to get creative when it comes to finding the necessary money required.

3. You need experience

As entrepreneurs, we are actually innovators. A lot of the things we are doing have never been done before. We’re constantly experimenting with new ideas and that comes with a lot of failures. You gain the necessary experience needed to run a business while you run your business. You’ll never learn everything you need to know and not a single day will go by where you don’t gain more experience. So dive in, have fun, and don’t give up.

4. You need a following

With all of these mega influencers on social media, it can be challenging to believe you can do anything without a massive following. This isn’t true at all. Everyone on this planet starts with the same following. ZERO. No one knows who you are until you put yourself out there.

Sure you may not have thousands of subscribers, you may not even have ten subscribers. The point is that if you put out good content and provide a service or product that actually helps make the world a better place and solves a problem for your customer, you will win. Just keep putting in the time and energy.

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

5. There’s too much competition

Everyday you wait there will be more and more competition. If it was easy everyone would be doing it right? Your product or service is the difference. If you provide a better experience you will win. If you put in the work for the long haul and ignore the short term gains, you will win. Business is a massive competition and if you’re doing it right your competitors will become your friends, mentors, and possibly customers.

This article was written specifically for you. To help you overcome some of the fears of taking that leap of becoming an entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging. However, if you truly believe in your idea, there should be nothing on this planet that can stop you from bringing it to life.

What tips have you used to start your business? Comment below!

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