Hey Joe – can you answer this please? I started my own consulting company and want to get my name out there quickly, so I’m not trying to sell myself. How do I brand myself as a successful consultant or expert in the field? I was on a podcast with a bunch of others and every one of them had written a book. They were all talking like they’re super successful. What is the best way to get out there ranked and branded for success and in what order/time frame? Here is what I am thinking about below.
1) Write a book
2) Get on guest podcasts (even though all other hosts and your competition that has more followers will just steal what you say and make it their own)
3) Start my own podcast (but then I’d be interviewing other experts about things I may know better than them)
4) Build a consulting program and cold call businesses. Once I get them as a client, I can take pics about it and post to social media.
5) Write blogs and put on my website
6) Make posts on social media (post on Instagram and LinkedIn and link to my website)
Where do I start if I want to get started quick? I need to be a success!
First, I may say, you’re asking the wrong person. I don’t consider myself a “successful consultant”. Anything you think about whatever perceived “success” you believe I may have achieved, I don’t have it. I have longevity because I’m lucky, have good people around me, and bust my butt. Nothing comes quickly – and for me – the type of success you are talking about (which, let’s face it, is just fame and popularity) is nothing I’ve ever really sought – or had. Nonetheless, while I’m no expert, I’ll do my best to provide a response. We’re friends, and I’m going to use this for my “Ask the Expert” blog because I think you’re going about it all wrong, even the mindset, but I digress, I’ll keep it anonymous. Whatever I answer below is just my opinion. I clearly don’t know the right answer as I am not “ranked and branded for success” myself. Never have been.
So here is the thing about the “rank” you sent me – it is a vicious cycle.
I know that, to get good speaking opportunities, you typically have to submit to speak. People don’t just come to you right off the bat and ask you to speak because they see your Instagram posts. Not as far as I know, anyway. You have to be a known commodity. Same goes for podcast invitations. From what I can see, it helps to have written a book. However, maybe I’d dead wrong. I’ve been speaking for years, and I’ve never written a book. It seems though that writing book allows you to put “Author” in your byline, and some conferences and podcasts like that. However, no one will buy your book and you have no one to market to without a following, so you need people to follow you first. Publishing a book may go completely unnoticed without a following. Moreover, if you start being on podcasts or doing your own podcast, people may look you up. When they get to your site, there needs to be good content there. So keeping blogs and great content on your site is a necessity too. And podcasts you’re on also make great blog posts. Hence, a vicious cycle.
For that reason, here is what I might venture to guess is the RIGHT way to start a consultancy…
First – get clients so you can pay the bills. Then focus all of your energy on taking care of them. That’s it. That’s step 1-10. Do that, and you’ll be a success. Not an overnight success, but you’ll get there. However, if you want to follow your “rank” because those are goals for yourself, here is my guess…
1) Blogs (on your site, LinkedIn, Medium, FB, industry forums, and everywhere else relevant where you can post them)
2) Social media (create an identity for yourself as an authority. No self-promotional, self-aggrandizing bullshit.)
3) Become a frequent podcast guest (make friends with podcasters, keep in touch, weigh in on their topics in the comments)
4) Speaking (submit and speak, submit and speak, submit and speak for as long as it takes until they start reaching out to you to speak, and or compensating you to do so. This doesn’t happen overnight unless you have a HUGE online following).
4) Create your own podcast (Bill and I started one, got 9 episodes in, and never finished the 10th that we said we needed to before we published them. They were not good.)
5) Write a book (I haven’t done this, but I’d like to)
6) Paid speaking (I have done this, and I like doing it. It took a few years speaking at multiple events before my travel/accommodations started being covered, and a few years after that before I began charging a speaker fee.)
Now, if your goal is to just be known and popular and famous for your own senseless validation?
1) Social media (create an identity for yourself as an influencer)
2) Your own podcast (to promote yourself as an influencer)
3) Write a book
4) Paid Speaking
5) Podcast guest, to try and stay relevant
6) Blog to try to be taken seriously as an authority.
This is the best I can tell you. I took the first path, but never launched a podcast or wrote a book. And sometimes I’m paid to speak and sometimes not. I never took the second path because I don’t have the fake-it-till-you-make-it drive to make it work.
As I mentioned, you clearly have a go-get-it attitude, which is great, but nothing comes as simple and easy (and immediate) as you are making it seem. To be a “successful consultant”, you get clients, consult for them, help them achieve greatness (not with the goal of achieving yourself greatness)and you could do well. Best of luck.