How to Build Credibility When You’re Not a CEO
You don’t need to be a CEO to share your voice in 2021. You just need to care enough about an idea that's worth sharing. Here's the framework I use:
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This week’s set up:
🆘 Problem:You’re not a famous CEO so you think your voice isn’t worth sharing.
💡 Solution:Accept it’s not about your title. It’s about building skills and relationships around a topic you care about.
🗺 Next play:Find out what makes your story unique and start sharing it; the credibility and Forbes mentions will come later.
So you’re not a million dollar CEO, Forbes 30 under 30, Thiel fellow, Disney employee, ex-Google or FB alumni that’s interned for Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs?
🔹 Firstly, it’s okay.
🔹 Secondly, this should never hold you back from sharing your voice.
You might think you need social credibility before you hit that post button. But to be honest, it’s overrated.
Your goal should never be to WAIT until you're a sold-out keynote speaker or tech CEO to share your thoughts on your industry.Learn from them? Yes. But wait till you're in their shoes to share your voice? No. Instead, be inspired by their life, channel your learning, and create something of your own 💬
Your goal is to be YOU: your first and last name online sharing things you care about and building community around topics you’re interested in
If you wait till you're a Fortune 1000 leader to share ideas, you'll miss all the fun parts about sharing your story.
When I was a business student and had some time on my hands, I decided to start interviewing founders/CEOs that inspired me. I’d ask them what their 1 piece of advice was to young professionals, hit the film button on my iPhone, and share my takeaway with my Linkedin community.📱
Did I have a fancy work title? No
Did I have a million followers? No
It was just a combination of:
🔑 Shared interests (entrepreneurship),
🔑 Clever question asking (twitter, IG, email, LI),
🔑 And a splash of student charisma (smile/being creative)
Those interviews launched my love for interviewing and storytelling. And in some ways, taught me things about my career that a business class never would 📊
Successful folks like the founders and executives of Herschel Supply Co, Salesforce, Hootsuite, O2E Brands, Tentree, MEC and A&W opened their doors to share their advice with me and I was always blown away they said yes.
And that “art of genuine asking” still sticks with me to this day with the projects I take on. Here’s a clip of some of the convos if you're interested:
If I was a random business student sharing interviews, then you don’t need to be a 7-figure CEO to share your voice.
You just need to show up and care about something enough that it makes others want to tune in and join the conversation. I always say:
if you can’t create thought leadership, facilitate it for your community.
Put your own personal spin on sharing ideas and give the credit back to others.
If you're taking notes, here are some dos and don’ts to guide you in your journey to building social credibility.
❌ holding back your voice because of your status.
❌ stepping on stage because you don’t have a story.
❌ leaving your thoughts in your notes because you think people won't listen.
❌ thinking you need a big success or brand before you bring value to the world.
✅ building a theme and community around your topic.
✅ having patience that over time, credibility will take shape.
✅ believing your ideas have value no matter what comments say.
✅ understanding that there's good in sharing ideas just for the sake of it.
And once this credibility comes, you can channel that to build brands, launch ideas, and jump on the keynote stage if you want.
ACTION BYTES 📲
… Everything first starts with getting an idea off the ground, dusting off your LinkedIn account, and sharing your voice
📌 Your challenge this week:
📒 Craft a LinkedIn post on a topic you care about.
📒 If you already post regularly on LinkedIn, try expanding by writing an article or filming a video instead. Get outside your comfort zone and see what happens.
Need help on the first one? Tag me in your post and I’ll drop a comment to congratulate you for getting started on the journey! 🙌🏻
Riff of the Day
Trying to get a hold of someone for an interview or idea? Try the email tool Hunter to send them a creative note! Or if they’re active on social media, send them a personalized DM with a video! 📱
Thanks for sticking with me till the end. If you have any ideas that sparked or questions about building social cred, drop me a note here!
Stay outta’ trouble and catch you next week.
P.S. Like the newsletter? You’ll love my Leverage LinkedIn course!