If You’ve Got It And It Can Help Others, You Have An Obligation To Make It Available… But Be Truthful. Don’t Embellish

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I don’t normally talk about the things I’ve done, whether it’s the size or the notoriety of the clients I’ve worked with, the results the I’ve gotten for them, the successes of the consultants that I’ve trained, or the number of books, courses, and programs I’ve created.

But the other day in a conversation with someone I respect and occasionally mastermind with, he expressed his amazement with some of my accomplishments and flat-out told me that I’m doing a huge disservice to my clients and those who could benefit from what I’ve done by not sharing these things.

“It’s about self-promotion,” he said. “You’ve got to let people know who you are, what you have to offer, and how it can benefit them. If you don’t, you’re cheating them out of what could be and what should be theirs and it’s a very selfish thing for you to do.”

A Partial Listing of Some of the Books, Products, and Courses I’ve Authored

Book Cover Collage 2

Funny thing… I know that. And I teach it to my consultants and encourage them to help their business owner clients do it for their businesses. But personally… and this is for me and how I operate… I’m not much of a “self-promoter”. I don’t go out of my way to talk about me, what I do, or the accomplishments I’ve had during my more than 47 years in business.

And for me (again, this is “me” speaking about me; I’m not making any judgements about anyone else) I’m not into unsubstantiated, self-proclaimed titles such as “Guru”, “Expert”, “Leading Authority”, or “America’s Foremost Authority”.

If someone truly is a bona fide expert or a recognized authority by a credible source, then I’m all for them using that label or quoting the reference in promoting themselves. The problem that I personally have is when people make up those labels to try and position themselves as someone or something that they really aren’t.

Several years ago, a number of speakers included the title “PhD” after their name in order to give the perception that they had advanced degrees, when in fact, the “degrees” were obtained through mail order or Internet “diploma mills.” So to maintain a certain level of credibility, the National Speakers Association ruled that unless a degree, such as “PhD” was obtained from a recognized, accredited college or institution that a member could not include that credential in their bio in the NSA membership directory.

There are many ways to establish credibility, expert status and authority without having to think of bogus, made-up, or unsubstantiated titles. To be clear, publishing a chapter in an anthology (a book with each chapter contributed by separate person) doesn’t necessarily make one an expert or authority. Neither does having a website, writing a few articles, or having a Kindle book that sells for $2.99 on Amazon.

Claiming “Expert” Status Is Less About Who Or What You Say You Are, And More About What You Do And The Value You Create For Others

One of the best ways to claim expert status is to let your work speak for you. For instance, if you’ve published some books, courses or programs, display those on your website, in your printed materials or in you email signature. You don’t necessarily have to say anything about them, just the pictures of the products will get the point across that you must know something to be able to create them. You can also write blog posts or articles that refer to one or more of your products and how others are using them to improve their businesses, personal lives, relationships, finances. etc.

If you’ve achieved certain levels of recognition, status or accomplishment with a company, association or employer, you can use those things; just make sure they can be corroborated, substantiated or proven, if necessary.

It isn’t necessarily what you say about your self that counts. We all know people who make things up, embellish things, and even downright lie. And when everyone is calling themselves things like, “America’s Top Authority” and “The Nation’s Leading Expert,” those titles start to become hollow and meaningless, and in some cases – especially to people who look at a number of people each year to address their organizations – can even disqualify you for consideration.

Here are a couple of examples of bios where “expert” positioning and credibility are established in a no-bull, non self-aggrandizing manner Note: I have no affiliation with any of these ladies, the products they sell, or the services they offer. In fact, I don’t know any of them personally. I just saw their bios and thought we could all learn something from them.:

Kim Hodous

“As a former high school history teacher, Kim Hodous had zero business experience. However she went on to build a seven-figure business from her kitchen table. Her jewelry pieces have appeared in over 10 million catalogs, and her client list boasts names such as American Greetings, Reader’s Digest, and Nivea Skincare. Her work was recognized in 2007 when she was inducted into the Arkansas Small Business Hall of Fame.” (Is there any doubt that Kim can teach you how to build a kitchen-table business… even if you don’t have any business experience? She’s been there and has done it.)

Get more information about Kim and her programs by clicking here.

Sonja Landis

Sonja Landis says she is an “Author, Artist, Speaker, Entertainer, Entrepreneur, Mom. Self-Proclaimed Comedienne, Self-Proclaimed Superhero. Teller of Stories, Laugher of Jokes, Lover of Carbs, Loser of Keys.” (She obviously doesn’t take herself too seriously… how can you not want to listen to what she has to say and see how you can benefit?)

Learn more about Sonja by clicking here.

Alice Baland

Alice Baland’s books include “Eat Up the Good Life!; Savvy Skills for Pleasurable, Guilt-Free Eating & Living; Catch Your Dreams: Getting What You Want… Now!; Positive Nutrition: The Girls GUIDE to Eating for Energy, Esteem & Excitement; and Positive Nutrition: Top Tips for Healthy Students. [And] she has been interviewed by CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC; the Wall Street Journal; USA Today; and the Dallas Morning News, to name a few. She’s a former spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association… (and it goes on and on).” (Did you notice that there is no “title”? Do you think she knows what she’s talking about? Could you check her and her credentials out if you wanted to?)

Check out Alice’s website by clicking here.

So what about you? How do you promote yourself?

Are you using the same old worn-out titles that everyone else is using? Do you have some undisputed credibility sources that endorse you? Do you have products that you’ve created, books that you’ve written, or courses that you’ve conducted that do the talking for you?

Talk is cheap. Anyone can utter a statement and claim that it’s true. Anyone can create a title and claim that they occupy or even “own” that space. The questions, then, are: How believable is your claim? Can it be proven? Backed up? Substantiated? Who (besides you or your mom) can also say (or has said) it? Given your real-world experience, accomplishments and history, is it even realistic?

As always, I’m very interested in your thoughts and comments. Please let me know what you’re doing… I’d love to pass it on to others if it can help them get better results, generate more income for them, give them more free time, or improve their lives in some way.

Martin Howey, CEO and Founder
TopLine Business Solutions

3 Comments for this entry

  • Cathy paper says:

    Since the first day we spoke I’ve always learned a lot from you about the heart of business and how to create meaningful results. Thanks.

    • Martin Howey says:

      Thank you, Cathy… So nice to hear from you and I appreciate your taking the time to comment here. I have learned a LOT from you as well, and I treasure our friendship more than you know. I hope this year will bring you all the blessings, love, support and success that you want and deserve. Please never stop being who you are and providing such value to all those who follow you!


  • Hi Martin – Excellent (& timely) business tips once again. The tip regarding adding visual content to emails and correspondences seems especially important. Thank You.

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