The Expert’s Conceit

“Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!“

— P.T. Barnum

The same scene in my life has played out for about 20 years: an expert at one thing or another says, “I need you to handle the sales and marketing of my stuff so I can do my thing, and I’ll give you part of the proceeds.”

Depending on my mood at the time, I either get out of that conversation gracefully or not. Either way, the topic is built on a faulty premise…

Many up-and-coming experts (who want to be an Authority or Thought Leader) have this delusion that they’ll be able to sit atop their high tower and produce some kind of information product and they can have someone else do all their sales and marketing for them, leaving them to only focus on their expertise.

Here’s the thing:

That literally never happens. Ever.

It’s not just the expert who falls for this delusion. Same for the restaurant or bar owner who wants to stand behind the counter like Sam from “Cheers” and have all their friends pay to come in and hang out. They don’t realize that the marketing is the business.

If you want to make the move from anonymous expert to respected Authority, you’ve got to focus on something else beyond the comfort zone of your expertise. Lots of people will tell you it’s marketing, and they’re not wrong, but there’s a better answer: your status.

The rarified air of the high-status Authority or Thought Leader is where 99% of the impact, legacy, and reward is found. Are you ready to do that work?