Can YOU Actually Become an Authority Online?

Last Update: Oct 16, 2018

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There is often a concern when someone new to the online world enters a niche, either one they know something about, or something they are interested in learning. The typical question goes something like this: "Can I actually become an authority in my niche? "

I mean, there are already other experts in the niche, is there going to be enough room for you to actually make a presence (and earn a significant income) online? I completely get the rationale, but the problem with this thinking is that it is rooted in the conventional type of thinking.

A Story of a Shoemaker

There is a shoe repairman named "Chet" that I have gone to several times over the years, a local shoemaker. Every time I go to him, within our small jurisdiction of around 30,000 people he literally has 100 pairs of shoes that he is working on at any given time.

He is very successful. He runs a little niche business and he earns enough to live a good lifestyle. He is a very hard worker though and dedicates a great deal of his day to helping people with their shoes. That is how successful businesses are run, by working hard and helping people.

This particular Shoemaker is not privy of the opportunity online. The interesting part about the online world is that we are nearing 3.9 BILLION active users. If there are this many people that need help with their shoes in a small little town, could you imagine how many people need help online?

Let's extrapolate that data.

If I live in a location that has 30,000 people, there are surely people with shoes and that need a shoemaker worldwide. People are going online for everything, not only to purchase shoes, but help for various aspects. Fixing their shoes, replacing parts of their shoes, laces, making them more comfortable, changing out heels, finding an online shoemaker etc.

So if there are 3.9 BILLION people online, there is room for 130,000 authorities in the world. Many of which can be within the online space.

So even if you see 100 other shoemaker websites online, there is going to be room and opportunity for MANY more to be very successful within the same space. It is not a matter of sharing the niche with them, the reality is that they are not covering the entire niche in a way that reveals even a percentage of the "real" opportunity.

And this is just discussing the shoe making element.

This is not to mention that the average man owns 12 pairs of shoes, the average woman owns 27 pairs of shoes. I personally own 100+...but I certainly have a shoe addiction. This data point alone should get your wheels churning as to how vast the shoe industry is and how lucrative it can be. Zappos knows this very well, they created a shoe website and ended up being purchased by Amazon for $1.2 BILLION dollars. One of 1,000's of shoe websites, and there are room for 1,000's more online (hint).

Look at Electric Cars.

Elon Musk. He started what is now one of the biggest payment processing companies in the world. Was he from a background relevant to this? No. He was a computer programmer that put his focus into something that he became very passionate about. He sold PayPal for several billion dollars. Now he is most well-known for Tesla, the company that is ubiquitous for their electric cars. Similar to how people think "phones" when they hear the term Apple, people think electric cars when they hear the term Tesla.

Musk wasn't an electric car expert before he started dedicating his time, energy, and thought into electric cars. That is the reality. What we view as the most prolific electric car company in this day and age, their CEO was once in a position where he knew nothing about electric cars.

And this could be said about any authority, in any industry.

And of Course, Lets Look at Wealthy Affiliate.

WA is no different. Carson and I at one point had zero knowledge of affiliate marketing, of the internet marketing space, or technology. We both went to school for computer science back in 2002, which is when we both independently started our affiliate marketing businesses.

Here we are 16 years on being full time online. It is pretty crazy looking back, and I am still learning new things each and every day (as you do within any business...or you are not evolving).

Our expertise and our authority has been established over time and working with others. We put people first, we help others, we are constantly engaged with our niche and our audience. That is exactly how authority and expertise will naturally happen within any niche.

Us creating success with Wealthy Affiliate was not circumstance and it wasn't a fluke. It was a consistent focus on being great and working hard at one thing.

The 10,000 Hour Rule is Changing.

There is a conventional idea that was brought into the populous by one of my favourite authors, Malcolm Gladwell several years back within one of this most ingenious books, Outliers. Within it, he indicates that "you needed 10,000 hours to become a phenom (world-class) in a particular trade.". This idea originated by K. Anders Ericsson.

That is probably quite true within the online world. If I want to become the best Shoemaker, I probably need 10,000 hours of dedicated time to that niche to really become a true phenom in that space. I would need to comprehend everything about the process in such an intimate detail, to the point of it being second nature to create and fix anything to do with any type of shoe. Not only that, but to be able to creatively think of new solutions.

My argument, and one that stems from a great deal of experience indicates something much different. YOU can become an authority and world-class at something with MUCH more efficiency than 10,000's hours. In particular if you are targeting a specific niche and operating within the online world, you can speed this up by 3-5x in my opinion.

A few years back I wrote an article about Organic Milk and the benefits to children. I was doing this for a case study, and I didn't really know much about it.

Within a day, I had written an article that showcased expertise in this area and that still ranks to this day. People have gotten a lot of value out of this article, I have helped 1,000's of people over the years with this information. The crazy part is it was articulated in ONE day with a bit of research, a bit of thought, and bit of content creation.

The same can go for you, any niche, whether you know something about that niche or not. Feel confident that you can and WILL become an authority within the online world if you retain focus, actively work hard to help others, and are constantly engaged in learning more about your audience. Authority awaits YOU.

I would love to hear your feedback, questions, or experiences with authority or becoming an expert within the online world.



PS. If you haven't already checked out Jay's hour long live class on Authority, I recommend you do so here:

WATCH LIVE CLASS: Advancing Your Authority in Any Niche

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Recent Comments


Great article, Kyle. As always you are good at conveying the most complicated thing in a simplistic language. Everything new takes time to make it your own.

Excellent article Kyle. I am with wealthy affiliate about two months now. I started getting indexed just the other day. Focus and working on your content helps. I was getting a bit worried that it was never going to get indexed but it did. I think what might of helped too was I went back over content, and fixed up some published posts. I think you have conveyed the potential to succeed really well in this post.

Hi Kyle
When I 1st started out as an Entertainer- Singer/Songwriter I started at the bottom and because I worked hard, learned new skills and worked on voice training, I soon became an authority within the music industry and my career spanned for many years because of this knowledge
Also, when I started here in Wa 4 months ago I knew nothing about affiliate marketing, creating and building a website or anything relative to owning an online business and once again through studying everything I can and learning new skills I am learning to become an authority in my niche

You and Carson are doing a tremendous job here within WA and I am always amazed at the commitment you both continue to have growing a better place for everyone to build and grow online

Thanks, heaps for this awesome share today and go easy

Thanks for your kind words Vicki and really nice to hear about your experience and journey thus far. It is amazing what we can accomplish and learn in 4 months, what you have learned and built in 4 months likely took me 8 (or more) when starting out.

Being educated by someone or several people who have already become an authority within their trade, written books, etc...can speed up your path to authority drastically.

Reading and learning are beautiful things and can truly take us so far within the business world.

Absolutely Kyle and Yes, I have worked extremely hard as I move forward and I will continue to do this as I really love this industry and all it brings
Reading is a must and I read 1 book per week to keep me learning ore strategies to help me grow
Thanks for your quick reply today
You rock

"consistent focus on being great and working hard at one thing."

Those words reflect perfectly what you and Carson have created, and it's also exactly what is taught here at WA.

The best part is that it is also a constant learning experience for us too.

We humans tend to be very impatient, it's in our nature. Not being ready to wait the time needed to get to our goal is one of our biggest mistake.

In order to move forward, we have to look at the big picture and keep on seeing all the small victories as another step towards our ultimate goal.

By helping others we help ourselves, and eventually we will become an authority by being recognized as a go-to person in our respective niches.

That is something that I touched on last week in a question I asked and also answered. People get shiny object syndrome when it comes to their business and niche.

The problem with this is that they end up spending a few months on one niche, then jump to the next. Consequently they never give themselves enough time to nurture ONE particular niche and be successful within that.

I see it all the time. I actually read a similar comment today from someone working on two websites after being a member for about 3 months and wondering why there was nothing going on yet...

If I learned one thing here is to take it one thing at a time and one step at a time.

Some people will achieve their goals faster than others for various reasons, but ultimately anyone who truly believes in what they do will eventually reach that point where they can say "I did it!!" 😁

Hi Kyle,
To become an authority in a niche you will need time and a lot of passion for what you are doing. You will need passion because surely hard days will await you. Many leave for different reasons. It is necessary to fall many times to get up again. It's all constantly learning. I became a producer and exporter of blueberries in Argentina, hence my user is "pasionazul". With Affiliate Marketing I also feel that special attraction, it's costing me a lot, I get up again, I will continue learning, I intend to continue with WA until I achieve my maximum goal. Achieve an economic well-being that allows me to enjoy more of this beautiful life that God has given me. I always read Kyle all your posts are inspiring!

Passion definitely helps within any niche, often times the passion itself is building a successful business and that can more than suffice to drive a long term business.

Not every great restaurant owner was passionate about being a chef or food itself, some are passionate about the process and deliver of an excellent ambiance, service, and experience.

Surely though, being passionate about the specific niche can lead to a much more exciting journey.

Great article. Reminded me of a young man who was a member of our church who went on to start a business of selling one shoe, either right or left to people who only needed one shoe (amputees, crippled etc.) and had to buy pairs in order to get the one they needed. Talk about a niche! He sells his shoes online. I don't know how successful he has been with this business.

Yeah, very interesting concept. There is a niche everywhere we look and that is one facet and opportunity within the broader shoe category that I wouldn't have thought of (but is probably a massive niche).

Thanks for sharing, Kyle.

No problem. :)

Thanks Kyle. The speed of change in the internet world and the access to instant learning may have contributed to bringing the 10k down.Good article.

Absolutely, the 10K hours is coming down, but if you invest 10K into building a business particular niche there is almost a guarantee that you will be very successful within that space.

Bloody Great Stuff Kyle. Thanks bro always brilliant. I am working on an organic milk local biz, would love to see that article.?
As for Authority, I would like to share that this can come from ANYWHERE, and even as a surprise. Like you I wrote an article on a play around blog regarding my engineering related job a few years back. Never went back!
NOW I have been approached by one of NZ's biggest Biz Authority's who want to feature my content. which in tern will turn that blog into an overnight authority with the likely hood of rippling effect. :) I 'm excited, blown away, and overwhelmed. Much planning to do.. FYI praying to get my hundred out of the 85k subs to come over and shower y'all with my kiwi love.

Here is the link to the original article on organic milk:

Over 6 years later, after publishing that article it is #2 in Google. I would try to take me out on this search term:

"organic milk benefits for children"

If you target that keyword, you are likely to assume a good positioning in particular if your website is relevant to this niche.

It sounds like you have a real good handle on your niche and you are truly starting to gain authority in that space. Kudos to you and your hard work.

Remember that your authority is only as good as your sources. If you are getting your information from other bloggers that may not know anything about a topic, you are not doing anyone any favors by simply passing along bad information.

The same way that Wikipedia is not considered an academic source when writing an academic paper, you need to make sure that your sources for information are truly sources that are reputable and reliable.

I just did a post regarding therapy lights for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I realized that I was basing all of my "authority" upon the claims made by the product manufacturers. That just doesn't float. I actually took a dive into scientific studies so I understood the research that's been done on SAD, and the different types of light therapies that are effective, as opposed to those that are just the result of bad science and fads. I needed to know if LED lights were just as effective as fluorescent lights. That required research at the National Institute of Health website. I spent two full days reading scientific data, but as a result, I developed my own criteria for evaluating SAD lamps, and feel good about the recommendations that I'm making.

Agree, and part of the research process is moving through the wheat and the chaff. If you see a product making erroneous claims, then I would avoid promoting it. If you do, it will absolutely hurt your authority as people are going to be unhappy by your recommendations.

Sounds like you have a good handle on the SAD niche as well, living on the west coast of Canada where we get lots of rain, they are very popular here. ;)

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