How I Went from Nobody to Industry Expert

There are going to be many of you that don’t know me or haven’t heard of me outside this niche. However, I’m also very active in the internet marketing industry (for now) and even have my own limited company which allows me to offer services for clients. At 17 I was doing work for some of the biggest companies in the world and if you Google by name you’ll see that I’m recognised as one of the experts in this niche. With this post I wanted to share the core principles that you can replicate that helped me get to this stage. This post isn’t about showing off my achievements; in fact it is quite the opposite. I don’t think of my achievements as anything special because everybody can do it. It is the ‘anyone can do it’ mindset that prompted me to write this blog post. First of all, I’m going to share my own journey, and then all the principles and concepts I’ve learned along the way that you can apply to areas of your life. I truly believe that if you apply any of these methods or ideas then your status and career opportunities will benefit from it.

My Story

At 15 I was very into computers and ended up building a tech website using Lycos Tripod, I had a friend who had similar interests and he ended up creating one for our local sports team. While the site didn’t amount to much, I started wondering how I could drive more website traffic. After a lot of research I ended up discovering Search Engine Optimisation, which is basically things you can do to a website both on and off-site to increase rankings on search engines. For example, if you type in ‘credit cards’ in Google, have you never wondered why certain sites rank higher than others? Well, that was my fascination and I started building some very popular sites that were receiving a lot of search engine traffic. At 17 I was doing so well with my sites that I decided I was going to offer services to help others. One big thing about the SEO industry is that there are so many scam artists and people to watch out for and so if you can become an ethical and trusted face, you are ahead of most of the pack. I ended up building ViperChill and had a site where I showed:
  • Services offered
  • Success with other clients
  • An About & Contact Page
  • A blog where I could share all my learning & discoveries
I think all of these are essential if you are going to start a website for your business. Once I had the site going I was able to get a few clients from friends. This was making me about $1000-2000 per month but it wasn’t great. However, I’ve ended up being seen as one of the top internet marketers in the world. I’ve had clients who are worth millions of pounds paying me (a 17yr old in my bedroom) great money to do help increase their website traffic, I’ve also had countless interviews with others in the industry. Not only that, but this status landed me a dream job doing internet marketing for Fortune 100 companies over here in South Africa. So, how did I do it all and how can you replicate it in any niche?

My Steps to ‘Expertdom’

I can’t use specific examples for every single niche, but if I mention something that you can’t see how it applies to you specifically, please think a little outside of the box. I’ll try to incorporate ideas that will fit everyone but I’m sure some will slip through the cracks. If you want some help with this feel free to leave a comment at the end and I’ll see what we can do. I had a Medium I love Steve Pavlina’s simple message that blogging is his medium and not his message, in this case, blogging was my medium as well. A medium serves the purpose of allowing you to communicate to your audience and share your authority status. You can’t be seen as an expert on a subject unless you actually are an expert. The medium you use should be relevant to your audience i.e. don’t do public speaking to promote your hearing aid company and your medium should have one specific requirement. Which is that you are willing to share your best knowledge, because those who share the most are often seen as the most knowledgeable. There are multiple mediums you can use such as:
  • Blogging
  • Writing articles for article sites
  • Starting a niche podcast
  • Speaking at industry events
  • Creating an online forum in your niche
If people are going to think of you as an expert they have to know who you are. Therefore, having a medium to spread your message is a must. I had a message As I briefly stated, you aren’t going to become an expert in the eyes of others unless you have the knowledge of being an expert. That’s actually only partly true, I’m sure I could fake it in some niches after a few weeks of research but generally, you should know your stuff. The main thing that you have to be willing to do is give away information that nobody else is giving. I’ve given away information that others wouldn’t write about because I had a lot of experience on the topic but I also didn’t mind if a lot of people started using the same tactics. The price to pay for losing one of my best strategies / tactics is worth it if I increase my following and increase awareness of who I am. In the internet marketing niche, I even went as far to share detailed stats about users in two of the top social media websites:
  • Analysis: StumbleUpon’s Top 50 Stumblers – Over 100,000 pageviews
  • Analysis: Top 100 Digg Users – Made the Digg Homepage
Both of these were very time consuming but definitely worth the work involved. Based on the success of these, I was asked by a lot more people to see if I would do their social media marketing for them as it was clear I was interested in this topic and knew more than most. Use your medium to share your remarkable message. I was consistent Do you know the old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well, the path from nobody to expert is very similar; it isn’t going to happen overnight. I’ve blogged about internet marketing semi-consistently for around 2 years now so it has taken time for people to recognise me and for me to build my audience. Because I was mostly focused on using the internet to build my status, I made sure that I was blogging on a regular basis and consistently sharing good information. No matter who you are, if you go off the radar, people are going to start forgetting about you and moving on to someone else. I spent time learning, sharing and the following point (networking), over a long period of time. If you are trying to become an expert in an industry you naturally love then this is not going to be difficult for you because you are likely to be learning and networking with others all the time. Don’t let a lack of instant results or audience get you down, it’s going to take hard work and consistent output for you to build up your expert foundations in the eyes of the world. I networked Networking was definitely a crucial key to my success, in fact it was just as important as any of my other 3 points but they all must work together. I honestly believe it is possible for somebody in any industry to build their status online, for example:
  • Upcoming doctors can post in health forums
  • Trainee lawyers can blog about certain cases
  • Chef’s can create videos of new recipes and add them to Youtube
  • etc etc.
There are so many ways to get involved online that you have no excuse not to be able to network. I spent a lot of time sharing quality information through my blog, writing on marketing forums, commenting on other blogs and even answering emails. I started to receive more emails as my popularity grew, but some of these led to nice results such as an interview or a popular blog mention. Using these four steps:
  1. Having a medium
  2. Having a message
  3. Being consistent
  4. Networking
I managed to go from nobody 16 year old to an 18 year old that people recognise as one of the best in the industry. This has benefited my greatly both in a financial and maturity sense. There’s probably a lot more I could share on this topic but I don’t want to scare anybody away. Keep to these four points and you’ll be getting interview requests in no time.

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