Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Guru gorado / gourou gaché by kikriaturas.

The Five Steps to Becoming a Guru:
Are You the Next Peter Lynch, Dan Kennedy or Skip McGrath?

Gurus, good ones anyway, are hard to find these days. Oh sure, the word gets thrown around quite a bit. “He’s an SEO guru.” “She’s the best marketing guru ever to walk the halls of this office.” “This guy is a penny stock guru. You can’t miss if you follow his picks.”

You know, anyone can become a guru on the web, regardless of subject of expertise, or any expertise at all. Google “Life Coach” and see how many hits you get. Today, it was 68,900,000 “gurus” on the amorphous topic of life coaching. That’s a lot of gurus all in one place. Now conduct s search for “Job Coach.”  Not as many hits as life coach (more narrow topic) but Google still delivers 39,900,000 links to job coaches – gurus who are going to help you climb the ladder of corporate success.

Life coach, job coach, stock picker, SEO expert, health and wellness insider – you can’t swing a dead personal development coach without hitting the next guru wannabe. In effect, becoming a guru is nothing more than good marketing and, with apologizes to Dan Kennedy, sales letter guru, there are better, so you don’t even have to be the best if you create the online persona of guru.

Here are five tips to start you down the yellow brick road (solid gold) to gurudom.

1. Take a different road. One-of-a kind explanations for common phenomenon set you apart, whether were talking about baking the best scones ever or building the perfect website.

Don’t rehash the rehash. Take a different tact from the rest of the pack and find that new slant. Peter Lynch, ex of the Fidelity Magellan Fund, used to listen to his kids for good stock picks. If the kids and all of their friends were going to the all-natural salon in the mall every Saturday, Lynch would do the spade work, find the corporate owner and take a position. It was a completely different take on fundamental versus chart (technical) stock analysis and Lynch made a whole lot of money listening to his kids and their friends.

2. Present different tips and tricks for putting in to place common procedures. The whole world might know how the procedure or model works, but if you come in with a unique way of analyzing a topic and presenting very specific strategies for improving your readers’ lives, gurudom is just around the corner.

How-to advice is a good place to start. Let’s say your claim to the title of guru is based on your uncanny ability to pick penny stocks just before they become dollar stocks. Bingo. You’re a penny stock buying guru and people will pay you a lot of money for your sage counsel.

3. Present both sides of the discussion. Gurus aren’t totalitarian cult figures. They have that inner calm and self confidence to present the other side of their position with self-assurance that their position is the correct one.

Get together a room full of SEO experts and you’ll hear every possible SEO strategy that ever appeared on the web. (If there’s an open bar, there’ll probably be some imbibing but you know how those SEOs are.) A guru – a good one – listens to all sides with absolute confidence that s/he is correct. And these gurus are getting $5,000 a head for their well-booked seminars.

4. Criticize. Warren Buffet, the Oracle (even better than a guru) of Omaha (and a true stock picking genius) constantly speaks to audiences on investment strategies that work and Mr. Buffet has made many shareholders of Berkshire-Hathaway millionaires.  

Back in the ‘90s, when everybody was hopping on this new web marketplace thing and buying anything with a dot com after its name, Buffet was buying steel, concrete, construction companies – the basic, nuts-and-bolts of our infrastructure. He spent years criticizing those brokers and faux gurus who were pushing their clients into these online startups and, if anyone can remember the Spring of ’01, we saw the dot com bubble implode.

On the other hand, Berkshire-Hathaway (Buffet) weathered the storm just fine. Don’t be a follower. Gurus don’t follow they lead.

5. Create controversy. Ultra-conservative and barely watchable, Ann Coulter has made a whole pile of cash with her controversial criticism of 9/11 widows, Democrats, cancer-victim Elizabeth Edwards, wife of candidate John Edwards, claiming that Ms Edwards, who is fighting a courageous battle against cancer, is using her disease to raise the sympathy vote, and while Ms. Coulter’s comments are reprehensible to even conservative Republicans, controversy sells – a lot.

The web is crawling with experts – cruise ship gurus, gold bugs, retail poo-bahs and other so-called experts. It’s actually pretty easy to make a name for yourself within a particular field because of the speed at which information moves across the web. The key is to find something that sets you apart from the crowd.

If all you’re doing is playing the same game that a thousand other gurus are playing you won’t stand out. Change the rules, provide utile information, don’t follow the pack and create controversy.

It’ll only be a matter of time before you’re asked to appear on Oprah. That’s how you know you’ve become a guru. So pick your topic. Health and wellness, weight loss painlessly, investment advice, marketing advice – whatever your area of expertise, you can become the next guru to be recognized on the web.

Next stop? The book tour. Oh, and the percentages that come with publishing a best seller.

The world is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

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