The Thought Leader Formula: Strategically Leverage Your Expertise to Drive Business & Career Goals
By Robin Farmanfarmaian
PEOPLE DON’T PAY FOR CONTENT; THEY PAY FOR PACKAGING. But how do you package yourself in a way that is accessible, relatable, and that will be heard above the noise? You want to expand your career and take your business to the next level.
You’re not sure exactly where to start, but you want to be known. You might have brilliant ideas, but you weren’t born knowing how to sell them. No one is; it takes study, practice, and years of grind.The truth is, there’s no difference between branding a company and branding a person.It takes a shift in mindset: you are the company.
Robin Farmanfarmaian takes you from zero to blastoff. Take a deep dive through the how of thought leadership; learn the foundations that will create an impact; see how Robin transformed herself into a brand; and establish your why—your fundamental truth—to build your launching pad for success.
From the author:
Who Is This Book For?
So, here we are in a new world of work—a world in which people interact with people, not brands. A world in which a startup company with less than one hundred employees can surpass the success of a large corporation. A world in which anyone has the opportunity to influence and impact others.
No matter what position you find yourself in right now, you have a great opportunity to set yourself up for success. Whether you are a corporate executive, employee, entrepreneur, or someone with particular expertise, you will have the power to choose how to progress in your career or business by becoming a thought leader.
Much of my experience is as an entrepreneur and educator working with corporate and startup executives and others who play pivotal roles within an organization. If you are on the C-Suite or have a role at the management level, you are positioned to seamlessly benefit from being seen as an expert in your field.
When it comes to your company’s marketing, people interact with people, not brands. As an executive, you can reach significantly more potential customers or clients than a corporate brand. Social media algorithms and platforms are constantly evolving, and they now promote the individual above the company. When you’re seen as a leader in your field, you can reach new potential partners, collaborators, or employees online or in person.
For Employees: Work in Your World
If you currently fit into the category of “employee,” whether you are at the start of your career or at the top of your career, this book is for you. You can work within your sector as a thought leader, propelling your career forward by being outward facing and getting credit for your work. At the same time, your status as a thought leader will strengthen your corporate brand, thereby increasing your salary.
Maybe you can identify with this scenario: You are in a large corporation and you are working quite hard, harder than a lot of your peers. You know your work directly impacts the success of the company. The problem is, your work isn’t getting the
credit it deserves. Others are getting the credit, whether through dishonesty or simply because they are more vocal. What’s the solution to this problem?
The solution is to become visible. By being famous for your brain and ideas, everything dramatically shifts in your favor. You are now more indispensable. Many companies hire thought leaders because they know people trust them more. As a thought leader within the company, you will attract the best employees and customers.
Whether you are part of a startup or a Fortune 1,000 company, one of fifty employees or one of one hundred thousand, your company can have many thought leaders in it. Each can be known for their particular expertise, thereby bringing the company up with them. An engineer at Google could propel his or her career forward by being a thought leader just as much as someone in sales, business development, or marketing could.
If you are an employee, everything I share in this book applies to you. You will have to work within your corporate rules, but I know many thought leaders who are successfully building multiple revenue streams while remaining with their company.
Their personal and professional worlds are completely integrated.
For Entrepreneurs: Pull the Company up with You
When entrepreneurs start a business, they are often in stealth mode or completely unknown. The business might be trying to do something new or different. Either way, it has no name. A founder’s thought leadership can be a huge asset to build the brand. If you already have a business established, you still face the difficult reality that competitors have access to similar business models, software, marketing tactics, employees, and PR. What many companies do not have is a CEO or founder who is also a thought leader.
If you follow the steps in this book, you will become known for your message through whatever you do—books, videos, keynotes, and more. Speaking at relevant conferences can give you a major edge, as potential investors and partners might come to you after seeing you on stage. You will no longer have to seek them out. At the same time, you can pull your company up with you. Saying “Hi, I’m the founder of X company” already signals to others that they should listen. If you then have something truly interesting and helpful to say, you will build trust. When people trust you, they will trust your business.
Whether you are a doctor, nurse, dentist, part of a patient advocacy group, or any other patient-facing role, building yourself up in this way can enable you to share your expertise
with more people. At the same time, you will attract more patients to your practice, who may be willing to pay higher rates to see you. If you are part of this group, one key you will take from this book is the importance of simplifying your message so that it becomes more accessible and understandable to a wide audience. Then, over time, you can form a type of celebrity status in your specific niche.
For Those with Specific Knowledge and Expertise
If you are a research scientist, engineer, or in the technical field, you have specific and often complex knowledge. By simplifying this information and making it useful for the average person, you can more effectively spread your ideas. If you want to
progress your field or get funding for further research, being a thought leader is the ideal way to accomplish your goals. Until recently, individuals in these highly technical sectors could only reach a narrow audience. Now you have the opportunity for the world to know what you’re working on. If you are a lawyer, accountant, or consultant, you have particular expertise that
others don’t. As a thought leader, you are positioned to drive your marketing forward. People will trust you more, and you will gain repeat buyers. Your status will also allow you to charge premium prices for what you do.
With your status, you can build your pipeline with the best companies and the best investors for your venture fund. When you hop off-stage and entrepreneurs line up to talk to you, you can follow up with the interesting ones. You will have the leverage with your higher profile. And because companies will fight to be a part of your portfolio, you will have a stronger negotiation position. You know that the best investors provide a lot more than only money; they have a large network of potential partners. By being a KOL, you will have open doors to these potential partnering channels.
Start with Why
My three whys reminded me to keep pressing forward. As you read through my list below, consider what your whys are those things that will drive you forward when things get tough.
My First Why
Whenever I make a big decision, I prefer to have three solid reasons why I have made this decision. My first why was to drive my business goals. As a business development professional, getting in the door is a hard step. Anyone who has worked in biz-dev or sales knows that. Cold calling doesn’t work, especially for the types of projects I work on, like selling six-figure education packages, finding partners to codevelop a pharmaceutical, and raising funding for a medical device.
My Second Why
My second why was simply to create another revenue stream. You’ll see why this is important to me throughout the book. I believe in having five to fifteen revenue streams at any given time—not only because of the future of work and because any
job or business can be gone tomorrow, but because I am an early-stage entrepreneur.
My next paycheck is never guaranteed, so it’s best to be diversified. Just as no corporation would expect to live off of one client, I don’t expect to live off of one revenue stream.
My Third Why
My third why was to come at the gender bias I experienced from a position of strength. Being a petite, blonde woman in Silicon Valley is not easy. When I came head-to-head with male coworkers, some full on sabotaged me—repeatedly deleting me from a company website (I had to ask the CEO to intervene to get my name back up each time), taking credit for my work, or even calling me names in front of clients.
If you are a woman reading this book, you have likely experienced similar situations. You know what it feels like to be in a brainstorming session and speak up, only to see people respond when a man says the same thing minutes later. You know exactly what Sheryl Sandberg means in her book Lean In, when she states, “Success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.”
Publisher : Indigo River Publishing (February 28, 2019)
Language : English
Paperback : 284 pages
ISBN-10 : 194808080X
ISBN-13 : 978-1948080804
Item Weight : 11.7 ounces
Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.64 x 8.5 inches
Best Sellers Rank: #2,003,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#2,877 in Women & Business (Books)
#19,168 in Leadership & Motivation
#19,978 in Personal Finance (Books)
Customer Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars 26 ratings
AMAZON CATEGORY: Books › Business & Money › Management & Leadership