Being an entrepreneur who has built successful businesses in three countries, I’ve made some really interesting observations along the way, and my findings seem to be becoming more and more prevalent as new technology prevails. It’s all about becoming highly valued and highly paid, and how industry rewards high performance.
Typically, the income distribution of most industries sees the top 10% earn 80% of the lion’s share. So if you consider the medical industry, for example, the top 10% of doctors are gleaning 80% of income within that profession. They usually earn exponentially more because they do things very differently, and their 10% is often represented by a huge spike at one end of the spectrum.
Now I want you to imagine that it’s not a spike at the end of the spectrum, but at its centre. Imagine that every industry has an inner circle populated by ‘Key People of Influence’ who earn most of the money.
Let’s take a closer look at the way in which most industries work.
On the outer circle, we generally have ‘newbies’ who are new to an industry as the name clearly suggests! They’re usually uber-excited and enthusiastic, albeit not all that functional. They may have entered their chosen field because they focussed upon people within the big spike, but failed to take into account the next category, whom I call the ‘worker-bees’. These folk are extremely functional but may have lost their spark, leaving them feeling slightly dejected. It’s as though they work hard work for little reward. They’re not highly valued, nor highly paid. In fact, they’ve become replaceable, and often feel run down after many years of service.
Conversely, the inner circle is populated by Key People of Influence who actually run industries, make most of the money and have lots of fun. They’re the ones whose names come up in conversation and who take fun trips away. They possess the type of influence that makes an actual difference to an industry. What typically happens is that newbies enter what I call ‘the merry-go-round of opportunity’ where they search for opportunities and become stuck in one territory. Or, instead of pushing through and doing things differently, they go looking at various industries. So they’re running around in circles thinking, ‘Which industry is the best money-spinner for me?’ They might conclude that it’s the stock market, or the property industry or that they’ve got to enter multi-level marketing. They keep searching for the elusive ‘easy’ industry, not realising that each has three areas, as mentioned above.
But I’m here to tell you that the power of influence doesn’t come from running around in search of an easy industry. It actually comes from being visible, credible and connected to the industry that you’re genuinely passionate about, and making it to the inner-circle, also known as the ‘Key Person of Influence Zone’.
Why would you want to do that?
Well, the reasons are many and varied. When you get to the point where you’re highly functional at what you do, you’re usually in an industry that you know a lot about. The further you inch towards your industry’s centre, the more radically your income takes a leap. When you’re not yet there, your income might jump incrementally from, say, $45,000 to $50,000, but you’re not quite a Key Person of Influence.
By tipping into the actual Key Person of Influence Zone, you’ll find that you’re on a whole new trajectory where you’re actually moving up in the income stakes, big time. When you reach the inner circle of your industry – you’re great at what you do, highly functional and an excellent performer – you don’t just earn extra income, but incredible rewards. You’ve got more influence over what’s going on around you and you now get to see the myriad benefits at your disposal.
So the difference between people on the outer circle and those in the inner is the difference between functionality and vitality. The people on the outside are extremely functional but replaceable. The people on the inside are not only great, but in a position where they’re vital to their industry. In fact, it’s very difficult to shake them out of the business! They are industry leaders who are doing things differently.
Here are five things you can do to transition from functional to vital.
If you describe yourself as being functional and replaceable, then you wind up being functional and replaceable. Key People of Influence don’t describe themselves in boring ways. They don’t say, ‘I’m a personal trainer.’ They say, ‘I’m a fitness trainer who specialises in working with people who want to rapidly lose weight and become marathon-ready.’ They usually have a special niche, or a passion that is evident in their pitch. They have the ability to talk about what they do and make it sound incredibly unique, as opposed to functional and ‘beige’.
This could mean authoring a book, which is a great way of separating yourself from the pack and heralding yourself as an authority. You may also write articles and blogs, or provide really great updates or newsletters, the point being that you need to be able to put your ideas down in print. We live in a world where most people are searching for text and tags. Your way of relating to that world must therefore be translated into text.
High performing people completely understand their product. Further, Key People of Influence have a helicopter view of their product strategy and understand why they give certain things away for free or cheaply, and where their core business lies. They know their product mix, or the ecosystem within their industry. So you must know your product. Today we have some really easy ways of understanding such things, the likes of which most small businesses have never seen before.
You’ve got to actually be seen to be a Key Person of Influence. When somebody Googles your name, that first page needs to come up with all the things that you want them to see, i.e. your brand values, thoughts, opinions, and what makes you special. Who Google says you are is your personal brand, so it’s worth Googling yourself and doing an image, video and text search to discern what it’s saying. You must raise your profile and be deliberate about how you do so.
Step five is all about entering joint ventures and partnerships. Key People of Influence are brilliant when it comes to forging strategic alliances, as I’m sure you are too.
You maybe haven’t thought too much about this, but you are already standing on a mountain of value. In Australia, there is a mountain range known as the Glass House Mountains. If you reach the summit of Mount Tibrogargan, the largest of the group, you could be guilty of looking around at all the other mountains and thinking, ‘I’d love to climb those bad boys’ without taking the time to acknowledge your current achievements.
Most people are already standing on a huge mountain, but haven’t learned the art of pitching, writing, forging joint ventures, raising their profile or understanding their product.
Perhaps it’s time for you to acknowledge your mountain of value!
Daniel Priestley is a successful entrepreneur, event producer and author of ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’ –www.keypersonofinfluence.com.au
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