Awesome You Be


Seven Things You Must Do to Become FamousCartoon: Famous woman on stage

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

So, you want to become famous? There are several routes that will get you there. You could star in a reality TV show and win. But most such people are perceived as dingbats by the rest of us. And being a famous dingbat is nothing to aspire to. You could do something heroic. But this leaves a lot to chance. You've got to hope that something terrible happens near you and that it is the kind of terrible you know how to deal with. This does not happen often. Or, you could establish yourself as an expert. This is probably your best approach. It requires a bit of work, but it is a good kind of fame that lasts.

You can be an expert in just about anything: science, cooking, sex, gadgets, Russia, banking, or anything else. Musicians, artists and actors are also experts in their fields. So you could become an expert about art or an expert artist.

So, here's all you need to do to become a famous expert...

1. Acquire Expertise

The first step, it goes without saying, is to acquire expertise. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell proposes the 10,000 hour rule which basically states that in order to become world class at anything, you need to get 10,000 hours of practice first. As with many simple rules, there is a lot of disagreement about the validity of the 10,000 hour rule and very likely you can establish expertise in a subject with far fewer hours initially. 

Nevertheless, in order to become a famous expert, you need expertise. You can acquire it through reading, studying, practicing or whatever needs to be done in your field of interest.

2. Be Original - Stand Out

No one ever became famous by following the crowd. You need to stand apart from the crowd. You need to form an original and possibly controversial vision and integrate it into your expertise.

If possible, go against common thinking in your field of expertise. For instance, in the field of creativity, I have rejected brainstorming and creative problem solving (CPS) two well established methodologies for generating ideas, and devised an alternative method called anticonventional thinking.

Alternatively, you can follow conventional thinking in your field of expertise, but present it in original ways. Neil deGrasse Tyson's views on astronomy do not diverge much from popular thinking in the field. However, his brilliant presentation skills, contagious enthusiasm and humour make him stand out -- especially to the non-expert keen to know more about astronomy.

3. Claim Your Niche

It is hard to achieve fame in a broad category such as science, dance or marketing simply because these fields are so large and a great many people want to stake their claim of expertise in these fields. They mistakenly believe it is better to be broader.

They are wrong. It is better to focus and establish expertise in a niche. There is less competition and it is easier to own the field. Look at any LinkedIn marketing group and you will find dozens of unfamous people attempting to stake their claims of expertise. Now look for experts on marketing to cat owners. Someone like that is harder to find. Way harder. You could become that expert. You could own that category.

There are several great things about niche expertise:

4. Broadcast Your Expertise

It is not enough to be an expert in marketing to cat owners, you also need to ensure that others become aware of your expertise. The best way to do that is to share your expertise in a blog, on video clips uploaded to Youtube, on podcasts, in books and anywhere else you can demonstrate your expertise. Use social media to promote your work. The more people read, watch and listen to you, the more they will respect your expertise. Other blogs will link to yours, interviewers will want to interview you and conference organisers will ask you to speak.

And keep at it. It is not enough to write a couple of blog posts or make a video. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ all continually spew out new links to new articles, blog posts and videos. Before you know it, that blog post that impressed the world is forgotten and people have moved on. You need to regain their attention again and again.

5. Exploit Opportunities

As you make a name for yourself, people will contact you to do interviews, speak at conferences, write guest blog posts and more. Exploit these opportunities -- especially early on. In a few years, you can be selective. In the early days, every opportunity should be exploited.

Chase opportunities as well. Contact conference organisers and offer to do a talk or a workshop. Contact local business groups, clubs and organisations and offer to do a talk. Many such groups are always on the lookout for inspiring speakers.

6. Tick a Few People Off

You You probably should not actually try to make enemies or to annoy others in the field, but as you build your expertise and promote your original and possibly controversial opinion, you will inevitably rub a few people the wrong way. Your opinion may go against theirs. They may envy your success. They may simply not like you and, because they are aware of you (thanks to your fame), they will voice their dislike.

Some of the people whom you tick off will doubtless say and write less than nice things about you in public and you may be tempted to write or say nasty things in return. Don't. Be gracious and thank them for their opinions. Engage in thoughtful debate, by all means, but to do not get into insult matches. Rather, bear in mind that when people take the time to write passionate critiques of your work, it is an indicator that you have become famous.

That said, if you are threatened or harassed, report it to the appropriate authorities. Sadly, women in particular are often harassed, sometimes with threats of violence, rape and abuse, by pathetic men whose lives are so meaningless and whose intellects are so shallow that they can only post spiteful comments about women they know to be far superior to them.

7. Be Humble

You You may feel that once you have established yourself, you have the right to be a prima donna, to be dismissive of others and to be rude. You are, after all, a famous expert, aren't you? Maybe you can get away with this -- just maybe. But, being humble, gracious and respectful is a better strategy.

You may think it beneath you to compliment someone just starting out in your field of expertise. After all, you know much more than she does. But if you do compliment her, you will make her day. She will tell her friends in real life, on Twitter, on Facebook and elsewhere how great it was that the famous YOU complimented her. Think about how that works in your favour.

Moreover, if you are a pleasure to work with, conference organisers, interviewers and the media will be more likely to contact you again and again. And that only helps your fame.

Finally, people expect the famous to be conceded prima donnas. Being modest, polite and respectful will delight those who deal with you and they will share that delight.

One Last Comment

I have put you on your road to fame! I hope you won't forget to mention me in your eventual, best-selling biography!

Comments below | Send feedback directly to Jeffrey

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