When Dorothy set off on her journey on the Yellow Brick Road, she knew what her end goal was. She knew her quest. She was going to find the Wizard, and use his power to return home to Kansas. It was this knowledge of her quest that kept her pushing on through the roadblocks and the hardships and make it to the end.
The first and most important step of her journey occurred before any physical movement took place. Dorothy knew what she wanted and made the decision to get there, no matter what. The journey to becoming an Influencer is no different. To be successful, you need to know exactly where you want to be, and be absolutely determined to get there.
So why do you want to be an Influencer? Are you sure you want to take that route? What do you want to be the expert at? These are all questions that are vital to know before you can make any meaningful strides toward Influencership.
Before deciding that becoming an influencer is what you really want. It might be helpful to weigh the pros and the cons. Here are some of the major rewards of being an influencer:
The reason it’s called being an influencer is because you can influence decisions. This is possible because people trust your expertise and knowledge enough to base their choices on it. This effectively allows you to attract customers to your brand or a partner’s just because you’re you, and you said so. Basically, you become a magical wizard with the power to change the minds of the people you come in contact with.
This is made evident in a Nielsen study commissioned by InPowered. Some of the findings of the study included:
When put in comparison with both brand content and user-generated content, influencer content had much more profound effects on the customer’s awareness, affinity, and purchase intent:
That kind of influence is what brands drool for. If you have it, there will be no end to the opportunities you will be presented with.
Being an influencer is the ultimate in inbound marketing. Because you’re the expert in what you do, customers flock to you in droves for your advice, thoughts, and (best of all) your services. Gone are the days where you have to look high and low for business opportunities and leads to close. Instead you’ll have to start hiring more warm bodies just to keep your overflowing customer stockpile from suffocating you.
From a purely personal standpoint, being an influencer can be quite lucrative. You’re able to charge top-dollar for your services because the words that come out of your mouth make the same sounds as gold coins clinking together for your partners and customers. That could mean total financial freedom if you save and spend your money wisely, allowing you to do almost anything you want. For those that have other motivations, it doesn’t hurt that you are constantly getting recognition for your work, and that it feels really good to be have the ability to really help people and businesses grow and improve.
Being an influencer is not for the faint of heart. There are definitely some cons associated with that status:
It’s Hard Work
Being an influencer is not an easy thing to do. It requires great determination and self-discipline. The most glaring challenge is the requirement of your time. Not only are you spending tons of it sharing your knowledge through writing and speaking and providing value to anyone who comes asking for it, but you also have to stay up-to-date on your industry, keep gaining more experience through work and practice, and think of new and innovative ideas. As if that’s not enough, you also have to take care of yourself and potentially a family as well. Basically, being an influencer is totally exhausting
It can take a long time to become an influencer in the first place. You can’t just decide to be more influential than other people in your industry. People only trust people who have put in the time and energy to earn the knowledge they have obtained. Now, with the growth of the internet things have sped up a little bit, but becoming an influencer is not a short-term, instant-gratification ordeal. To be successful, you have to be in it for the long haul.
If you’re an influencer, it’s almost like you’re a celebrity in your field. People are always watching you, and will take notice of or even draw attention to your faults or mistakes. They expect something close to perfection from you, because you’re the person they have put their trust in. You don’t get to have off days. You don’t get to half-ass anything. You have to provide your best work at all times. Someone is ALWAYS watching.
If you’ve weighed out the pros and cons and feel like it’s all worth it, you’re going to need to find and fill your own little niche. The more specialized you are, the more likely you are to be able to claim that status of “the world’s expert” at that thing.
To find your niche, you must honestly answer a few probing questions:
What do you love? You will never have the dedication you need to be an influencer if you don’t absolutely love what you do. You can try, but I guarantee you won’t be happy spending so much time on something you only kind of like. Eventually, your influence would fizzle and die.
What are you good at? This is a question that needs to be asked frequently, and the answer isn’t life or death. Luckily, you can become really good at almost anything as long as you put in the work. However, it is much easier to become an expert at something you already have a knack for.
What do you spend your time doing? This is a great question to ask, as you will be spending almost all your time thinking about or doing whatever it is you are the expert at. If you’re already spending a lot of your time doing something, it’s only natural to become an expert in that instead of changing around your entire lifestyle. Plus, chances are the answer to this question is also the answer to the first two questions.
What isn’t already being covered? Whatever answers you get for the first three questions will lead to this fourth. What aspect of your industry isn’t already being covered, or at least covered really well? The answers are the holes in which you can provide the most value, and that you want your influence to fill.
The very first step in your quest to becoming an influencer is to know your quest. You should know it so well that as you progress toward reaching your goal you feel like you’re coming home, and fitting in where you belong. After all, “There’s no place like home.”
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