Advisors: Why Might You Want to Become a Thought Leader
There are many ways to position yourself as a thought leader but before I share one of those with you, let me clarify what the term ‘thought leader’ means. A thought leader is someone who is recognised as an authority in a specialised area.
For example, you may be a thought leader in the area of expatriates returning to Australia or a thought leader in the field of financial advice for divorced women; an area that is narrow in focus.
Why might you want to become a thought leader?
Being recognised as a thought leader can significantly help your advice business because you will be seen as a real expert and someone who knows how to help people [that suit your niche]. People will pay a significant fee for expert advice. If you wish, you can take it further and become a professional speaker, author and much more.
Word of warning – you can’t become a thought leader overnight, well not in the financial advice profession! Like all good things, it takes time, commitment and results.
Assuming you have all the right credentials one of the ways you can help position yourself as a thought leader is through conducting some research. By conducting the research and sharing your findings you show real insights and knowledge.
One of the simplest ways to conduct the research is to ask a question you know others are keen to know the answer of that hasn’t been widely published before. If you already have a defined niche, you could consider conducting the research with your existing clients.
In a profession that is growing and evolving, your ability to stay ahead of the pack is important; becoming a thought leader could be the perfect strategy for you.
I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me
I was talking to my pal “Jonas” who recently decided to freelance (vs building a multi-consultant business) when he left a bigger firm to do his own thing.
Jonas is a global talent guy who works across the planet for some of the world’s most well known companies. He decided his best play—the one that would allow him to focus on what he loves most and live the life he’s planned—is to freelance for other firms.
His plan got off to a bit of a rocky start because—get this—none of the firms he approached believed he’d actually want to “just” freelance. He’d earned his rep by steadily building deep, brand name client relationships, practices and business, not by going off by himself as a solo.
Or as he put it “I have a brand and it haunts me.”
We both had a good belly laugh because he was already rolling in new projects, thrilled with his choice to freelance.
And yet, isn’t that the truth?
Good, bad, indifferent—our brands DO haunt us.
They whisper messages to those in our circle “trust him, he’s the bomb”, “hire her for anything creative as long as your deadline isn’t critical”, “steer clear—he talks a good game but doesn’t deliver”.
And thanks to social media, those messages—good and bad—can accelerate faster than you can imagine. One client, one reader, one buyer can be the pivot point that takes your consulting business to new territory.
So how do you deal with it?
Yep—you go for more of what comes naturally. In Jonas’ case, he stuck with what he’s known for—his work, his relationships, his track record for integrity—and won over any lingering skepticism about his move.
We weather the bumps in the road by staying true to who we are at our core.
So when a potential client says “Sorry, you’re just too expensive for me”, you don’t run out and change your prices. Instead, you listen carefully and realize they aren’t the right fit for your particular brand of expertise and service.
When a social media troll chooses you to lash out at, you ignore them and stay with your true audience—your sweet-spot clients and buyers.
And when your most challenging client tells you it’s time to change your business model to serve them better, you listen closely (there may be some learning here) and—if it doesn’t suit your strengths—you kiss them good-bye.
If your brand isn’t haunting you, is it really much of a brand?
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