This month I recorded a new video course for LinkedIn’s Lynda.com.
I was employed to create one titled ‘Advanced Google Adwords’, but after my first day I started to have a bad feeling. The truth is this, I’ve been using Adwords with clients since 2003 but it will come as no surprise that it is not ‘my daily job’. Put simply, my job is to build Plus Your Business – to acquire new clients, create a strategic overview of projects we undertake, to put in place a team that performs at an outstanding level etc.
And I blog, create videos, and have podcast interviews that all help people to connect with my authentic voice.
Being blunt, one evening during recording I gave myself a ‘good talking to’ and despite four months of consistent work on the scripts I felt as if I was a fraud. I know there are much more advanced people when it comes to Adwords; after all I call on them to help me out when I get stuck. Jim Banks, for instance, has spent hours in hangouts over the past years helping with both our Analytics and Adwords accounts. There is so much to know, and you have to keep learning to stay on top of your game.
So, what did I do? Well, I approached the person who contracted this course and we discussed moving it from the Advanced category to the Intermediate one. The course I’ve developed is far more advanced than so much material I’ve consumed online, building on years of experience but there are people out there that deserve credit for truly being ‘Advanced’ in this subject.
When I taught windsurfing (during and after University) there was a basic principle we followed: at most, you can teach the level below the one you’ve achieved. Out of 5 levels this meant that a Level 3 person could teach Level 1, and a Level 4 was well positioned to teach Levels 2 and 3.
This sat well with me psychologically, and just as with windsurfing I’ve found your perform your best when you can ‘simply be’ what you are, at that level. If you try and fake it because you want to teach ‘advanced’, those in the know will, well ‘know’.
It is better to be awesome at the level you are at, then try to climb too high too quickly.
Since my start as a blogger and content creator, I’ve always done my best to base what I put out on direct, ‘evidencable’ experience. And now, the way the course is structure with the evidence included, I feel it will be a true asset for those people looking to extend their Adwords skills beyond the basics.
I know people love tips, so let me give you a few that I think could help you find your own voice a little more:
1. Being authentic means not being ‘inauthentic’
This is the most useful starting place. Know what inauthentic looks like and feel like, and you will find it easier to know the alternative.
2. Quote numbers.
It is great to give facts. Revenue is something that really matters, and it is great to have transparency from the crew at Buffer, and John-Lee Dumas too.
One tip though is this:
Don’t say “we are growing 100% a month” as it could mean you went from $100 revenue to $200. As investor Igor Shoifot once said, until you are down the line (e.g. $100,000 a month+), it is a great move to be showing people the figures.
I really respect businesses like Buffer and ConvertKit for their transparency.
You will build a lot of trust by bringing people with you on your journey.
3. Say when you ‘don’t know’ something. It’s ok.
People will help you more when you are truthful
Saying you don’t know something is AOK. No one knows everything.
4. Accept ‘where you are at’
If you are ok with not having to know everything, not being perfect, it is far easier to move forward.
And know when you are pushing things too far, too fast
Even though you may well have to ‘man up’ and face a situation, which may not be comfortable, at least you are taking charge of a situation.
5. Discomfort means ‘something’
When you have a nagging feeling that something ‘is wrong here’, it probably is.
Get used to spotting it early on and you will save yourself having to double back on decisions later.
6. Try to guess where something is going to go wrong.
Then know, it is better to call yourself out, than to have other people do so for you.
For instance, I could see future issues unless I adjusted the course I mentioned to a level that was more appropriate.
7. Seek out five people who will be brutally honest about your weaknesses.
Ask then what they think about what you are doing.
This will help you not only to be authentic, but shape your future.
8. Be kind to yourself.
Beating yourself up is not a good thing.
Instead, practice using your internal dialogue to give yourself a pep talk, focusing as much on the ‘good things’ as to the things you want to change.
9. Blog, do podcasts and create video content.
I’ve left this to the end as this is the expression of everything else outlined above.
You will need to ‘display’ your personality through your content, and by doing so you will find people who are going to relate will relate.
And you need to think about ‘Strategy’ first, then you will be able to align your actions towards it. This will deepen the authenticity you have in your chosen niche for you and your business.
10. Ask people to give you testimonials.
As you take your brand out into the world, there will be temptation to ‘pump yourself up’, this is ok. But is better is when other people say awesome things about you, giving you testimonials. This may well be the most useful of steps to take once you ‘feel ready’, and maybe even just before. They may be from clients, or from peers.