Becoming an authority
I built a multi-million dollar company in my living room and became an expert in software development. Why would anyone listen to me? I was an authority in the tech space. A minor tech celebrity. But I wasn't always.
It's the last day of my first corporate job out of college. I left a high-powered position to venture out on my own. Yet… the next day I was a nobody. I made a huge mistake!
I had a lot of tech experience and nobody knew it. I totally screwed up the rest of my professional life and I'll never get another job again!
We're surrounded by never-ending massive amounts of information that's constantly expanding by the second (like this one right now!). It's human to be overwhelmed by the never-ending flow.
Not only that but there is too much stuff to wade through to be interesting. Heck, I can't even find an email in my inbox that I need for my job. Can you?
How did I become a stand-out in the world of software engineering when there is already so much information available? How can you?
After I left my job, I volunteered to teach people who were learning how to program.
I learned there are people who wanted to learn something I knew how to do without thinking about it. These students, these people wanted to know how to build complex web applications.
To help my students out, I set out to write down step-by-step instructions on how to start writing a web application. I thought I would whip up a very quick tutorial that would maybe be 30-pages long… at most.
650 pages later, I self-published my first book, ng-book,the Complete Book on AngularJS.
It turned me from a nobody to a world-renowned expert in technology around the world, from Moscow to Beijing and many places in-between (I hope to teach some penguins in Antarctica one day… bucket-list). I even signed my book translated into Mandarin in Beijing after giving a keynote (crossed that off my bucket list).
I built this company in my living room with no money, no job, and no direction.
How? How did I become an expert?
Just because you call yourself an expert doesn't mean you are. The only way you are an expert is through others calling you an expert.
No matter how many times you say you're an expert at X or an expert at Y, you're just a person yelling from the top of their soapbox hoping someone will listen.
It doesn't matter if you're better than the next shmoe in what you can do, if you're unknown, you're just another schmoe. What does it mean to be loud about your expertise?
Take a minute and think about who the experts are in your industry. How do you know about them?
What do you get the people of the Internet to stop and actually notice you between all the rest of the junk they are reading thanks to the “algorithms?”
Give them something that is relevant and useful.
Throughout the process of writing my first book, I listened to the feedback I was getting as I started to share what I was writing online. My students weren't the only ones who were interested in my little project. People around the world wanted to learn what I was writing about. Instead of keeping my ng-book secret, I shared. I shared almost everything I was writing.
I was sharing openly and in public.
If you ignore everything else, the most important thing to remember is Teach to be an Authority. As you build and write, you'll build your own audience. The more you write, the more you'll become one of those authority figures in your space.
"But... Ari, what do want to read that I'd write?"
Take a moment and think about the skills you have. Do you know how to garden herbs? Have you raised a kid? Can you write code?
If you're struggling to identify things you're really great at, think about what people ask for your help with. Do you set up web pages? Give great travel tips? Fix their printer?
With the list of things you know how to do, remember that you were once a person who didn't know how to do what you're working on. That younger version of you isn't the only one who is there... there are other people who either dream about doing what you do, do what you do, and want to be better at doing it.
Write to your younger self. What are things you wished you knew when you were first starting out? Start writing that. The people who want to know what you know might find it organically, but as you share, your content library will grow.
If you are just a few steps ahead of someone else, you're already an authoritative figure in your space. That's it.
Start sharing. As you do write, you'll find folks engaging with your content.
You are taking the first step to becoming your own millionaire and on the right track to create your own Little Empire.
Learn and publish in public