I think it was Woody Allen who said, “80% of success is showing up.” That statement has always made me smile, but when it comes to being able to build authority as a business owner, the showing up part is what matters most.
Anyone who sets out to build a small business struggles with the fear of looking foolish or being revealed as a fraud merely because they’re the new kid on the block. It’s intimidating, and it has the power to stop you in your tracks before you even get started.
Talk about not showing up.
To Build Authority, You Have To Start Somewhere
It’s scary starting any new venture, much less a new business when being able to earn an income is such an integral part of the equation. You wonder whether you’ll be able to do it. You worry about the risks and what’s at stake if you fail.
You fear no one will take you seriously.
After all, when you first start a business, any business, stumbling is inevitable, mistakes are a given, and challenges numerous.
How, you ask yourself, will you put yourself out there — much less build authority — when there are already so many doing what you want to do — who have established themselves as industry leaders.
Why, you wonder, should anyone follow you?
I get it. Totally.
But it may help to remember that every successful person out there had to start somewhere. Chances are good they had the same fears when they began.
But to build authority, like anything else, it all starts with showing up.
Taking That First Step
It might reassure you to know that it’s not as hard as you may think to build authority. Once you understand and adopt these six simple concepts, your newbie fears will fade away and off you’ll go.
1) You know more than you realize.
The fact that you’ve even considered starting your business proves you possess at least some knowledge in your field.
After all, it’s doubtful you’d launch a music business without some level of skill or experience, or even interest, in being a musician. The very idea is ludicrous.
Oh sure, we all have fantasies of lives we think we’d love. Mine is dancing.
Every time I see anyone dancing professionally, I wonder why I never even gave it a try. It always looks like it would have been the perfect life for me.
But that’s all it is — a fantasy. As much as I love the idea of dancing, I would never consider becoming a dancer.
Instead, I chose a business more in line with my interests and skills. Being a reasonably skilled writer who enjoys writing, a freelance writing business was a logical choice for me.
And yes, when I first started, I felt like a total newbie. A small fish in a huge pond. If I’m honest, I still feel that way sometimes.
Because let’s face it. There will always be people out there already doing what you’re doing, and doing it well.
But — and here’s the nugget you need to take from this — there are people out there who aren’t where you are yet. You’re more experienced, more skilled, and more proficient than many others in your field.
So don’t let the fact that you’re just starting out scare you. You know things you can teach others that will help them get started and become successful.
You have value to offer, and that’s your jump-off point.
2) Just get started.
Take Woody’s advice and just show up. Do something — anything — to get started.
A good place to start is to begin creating content. You will need content for your audience, and there’s no time like the present to start content creation.
Of course, this presumes that you’ve already decided what your business is going to be and who it will serve. Obviously, this step is critical. For our purposes in this post, we’re assuming you’ve done this part.
But you must show up, sooner or later, if you hope to start building anything, much less build authority. So commit to starting, even with the smallest of first steps.
Begin creating content for your audience and sharing it. Start conversations, via social media or otherwise.
Decide on and claim a domain name for your eventual website. Start thinking about how your site will look and what it will offer.
Every new business starts this way. The simple act of doing something will break the ice and get you moving.
3) Start where you are and work with what you have.
Don’t worry about whether you know everything. In fact, I may as well break it to you now: you’ll never know everything. And that’s okay. Every small business owner, new or long-standing, is in a constant state of learning.
Your skills will develop and improve as you go. Your content will become better and better. You’ll try things; some will work, some will not.
Running a small business is a perpetual state of trial and error.
But you come into your new venture with existing knowledge and a history of mistakes made and corrected, along with experiences you can use to simplify the path for others.
That’s where you start. Just begin sharing what you know. Soon you’ll learn more, and you’ll share that. And on it goes.
4) Simplify for your audience.
Since you have authority from the day you begin — yes, you do. Trust me — you can take complicated concepts and tasks and simplify them for your audience.
Turn complex books into simplified steps that those just starting out can easily understand. If you once grappled with some new skill or concept and mastered it, boil it down to brass tacks for your audience.
If you can make complicated things easier, people will find tremendous value in that knowledge and look to you for help.
5) Learn by teaching others.
I’ve talked about this many times before. The very act of teaching something to someone else has the delightful effect of increasing your knowledge.
There are always people who don’t yet know what you know, on just about any subject. Teach those newbies how to get started, how to find the basics, and you’ll find your level of knowledge will exponentially increase right along with theirs.
I’ve always found teaching to be a great way to build my own skill level and confidence. There’s no better feeling than realizing you do know more than you thought you did and that people look to you for advice.
That’s how you begin to build authority in your field. It’s pretty much inevitable.
6) Be ready and willing to help others.
I can’t think of many businesses that exist not to help people. Who in the world would care about a business whose sole reason for existing was to benefit the business owner?
Of course, any successful business reaps rewards — monetary and otherwise — as they provide value to others.
But make no mistake. If you’re aren’t committed to helping others, lack a sincere desire to add value to others, your business will never get out of the starting gate.
Commit now to providing high-level value to your audience.
You’re In The People Business
To build authority as a business owner, you begin by building relationships. You’re in the relationship building business, no matter what your business name may be. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then you won’t get very far.
A sincere desire to help others will be among your most valuable assets, and will play a significant role in your efforts to build authority.
There are plenty of self-interested people out there, who loudly proclaim authority they don’t possess. They’re likely doomed to failure, sooner or later.
People love to work with people they believe in and trust.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the utmost authority in your field. As long as you inject your personality into your efforts and genuinely care about those you serve, you’ll quickly build authority.
You’ll build loyalty. And trust.
And you’ll build success.
And it all starts with just showing up.
Just ask Woody.