Can you be an authority without titles and formal qualifications?

In my previous article, I discussed the importance of authority when it comes to your online business. To raise your business up to the next level, it is extremely critical that you invest in building up your authority (or your brand’s), preferably right at the beginning. If not, your voice will be drowned out by the multitudes of other attention-seeking businesses on the Internet. When that happens, you have to pay an expensive tax called ‘advertising’ to rise above the sea of noise.

Today, we will look at the cornerstone foundation of authority that is very often overlooked.

But before I go into it, let me ask you a question: how do you feel about the idea of becoming an authority? I know many people will cringe at this idea. They don’t feel comfortable about that because they feel inadequate without the backing of titles and formal qualifications. If you feel this way, I have good news for you. In the context of Internet businesses, people do not buy from you just because you have titles and formal qualifications. They buy from you because they trust you. On the Internet especially, trust is what gives you the authority. Today, trust in authority, institutions and governments are at all-time low. Leadership is in short supply. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 had caught the authorities and experts by surprise, which subsequently showed that they themselves were complicit in the debacle with their vested interests. Nowadays, people are more cynical and do not automatically trust anyone with a title and qualifications—they have to earn it.

John Maxwell, a world-renowned author and authority in leadership put it nicely,

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Now, take careful note of this: To build up your authority online, you have to earn the trust of your potential customers. To earn their trust, you have to show that you genuinely care for them in the subject area that you have the expertise. You can only care in the context of the subject area if you have passion for that subject. Your passion can only be sustained if you have a mission that you believe in.

You can see that we have returned to the theme of your business’s mission. When I enrolled on Rich Dad’s Entrepreneur coaching course, one of the first things they emphasised is my business’s missions. They are your business’s foundation. If you do not define them, you can’t have a truly great business. If you have not already done that, I highly recommend that you take a read at “Rich Dad: A truly great business must have a business and spiritual mission” to learn how to do that. Whatever stage your business is in right now, do not neglect this step.

You will know that you have the right missions when they kindle your passion. Your passion will drive you to care, which in turn will engender trust in you. When you have finally earned the trust of your followers, you (or your brand) become an authority. Once you become an authority, your business is ready to rise to the next level.

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