We all make mistakes in life and in business. Even a top online influencer.
Later in this post, I'll share the story about one online marketing legend, and the HUGE mistake that almost totally destroyed him
Thankfully, mistakes don't usually lead to professional destruction. That typically only comes when integrity is lacking.
As Warren Buffet once said:
Look for three things in an effective leader: intelligence, energy and integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother.
Statistics back up Mr. Buffet’s statement and reveal quantifying data. This proves the correlation between a leader’s integrity and their success.
Dr. Fred Kiel, author of the book “Return on Character,” collected data on 84 CEOs. He looked at the affect their behavior had on their company’s performance, and discovered some interesting trends.
He found a multi-year return rate of 9.4% in high-integrity CEOs, while CEOs who were less honest and good had only a 1.9% of return. Of course, having a good return rate was better for said companies.
What’s even more fascinating; however, is how employees reacted to the difference in integrity levels.
Employee engagement was found to be 26% higher in companies with high-integrity leaders than in companies whose leaders were less than honorable.
This data shows the positive end result effect a high-integrity leader has on his or her company, and why it is actually more profitable to be honest and above-board.
This also translates to being an online influencer…because that's a type of leader in today's modern world.
Consequently, when seeking to become a successful online influencer, you should avoid these attributes.
An Online Influencer Does Not…
1.) Refuse to Accept Any Blame
No one expects you to fall on the proverbial sword if in fact you have done nothing wrong.
But don’t be too quick to avoid accountability either.
After all, this is the attribute we all dislike in our elected officials. Their seeming inability to admit their mistakes and outright refusal to accept blame are downright exasperating.The very best leaders aren’t afraid to accept blame and are always willing to share credit .
2.) Become a Narcissist
When an influencer becomes narcissistic, they forget their place. After all, their job is to serve those around them.
They forget this though, and think, “I am so great, everyone loves me, I can do no wrong and all my employees love everything I do.”
Don’t be an egomaniac, as it isn’t an effective leadership technique.
Instead, be willing to listen to those around you who know better than you about certain things. Also, welcome criticism, and admit you aren’t perfect.
3.) Don't Fire Bad Vendors or Employees
On the opposite side of the spectrum from the arrogant leader is the leader who won’t make the tough calls.
This person refuses to fire vendors or employees who aren’t pulling their weight for whatever reason.
Of course, letting someone go is never fun. However, sometimes it needs to happen, and it’s up to the leader to complete the unpleasant task.When a leader wants to avoid conflict at all cost, they end up putting their whole company in jeopardy.
Remember, it’s okay to be compassionate, just don’t let employees get away with substandard performance for sustained periods of time.
4.) Don’t Know Their Own Strengths/ Weaknesses
I love the gym fail videos (watch video above to see some of the better ones). They are people trying to use gym equipment…but clearly have no idea how to do it right.
To be fair, we all find it difficult to self access, as it’s hard for anyone to define their own weakness and/or strengths.
TalentSmarts research revealed only 36% of more than a million people polled were able to accurately self-assess. Of course, this study was not limited to high-powered leaders.
However, the point applies to this position as well. A good leader understands what they do well and what they don’t.
When they can’t do this, they don’t seek the help they need or embrace what they do exceptionally well.
5.) Not Communicating
In all relational issues, communication is not only important, it’s crucial. In the online world, this is no less true.
However, many online influencers neglect communication. They only lecture. They don’t listen.
Of course, this isn’t an example of effective communication and the end result is the lose sight of what their followers really want.An influencer who doesn’t listen will leave their followers confused and looking elsewhere for advice.
This is a common problem in people who rose from the ranks of “worker” or “doer” to “leader.”The mentality of “doing” is hard to break.
Therefore, they tend to think their day fruitless if they didn’t “create” or “complete” something.
To combat this, they sometimes begin micromanaging the employees and vendors working under them. This in turn prevents the employees from doing their jobs as they should and upsets the productivity of the company.
Theodore Roosevelt once said this about the dangers of micromanaging:
“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and then the self restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
Therefore, since they understand the role they play now and refuse to meddle or micromanage, a good leader redefines their personal standard of a good day’s work.
They understand their day will look different than when they were on production, but that’s okay.
7.) Become a Fire Fighter
Ahhh…Fire Marshall Bill. He created his own problems but, in any business, there are daily problems that need to be dealt with post haste.
Consequently, some online influencers spend all day playing fireman, putting out the fires that spring up within their business.
This in turn leads them to lose focus of long-term goals.A good leader is able to handle distractions, but never sacrificing them for the squeaky wheel of the day.
Now, no one ever said an online influencer had it easy. If it was, there would be a lot more people doing it.
Here is a story of one of the most well known ones…and his journey has been anything but easy.
The Tragic Story of a Top Online Influencer and the FTC
If you've been around online marketing for any period of time at all, you probably know the name Frank Kern.
I've been friends with him for about 10 years. He's been a very valuable client too.
But back in May of 2003, he made a huge mistake that almost ruined his career.
This is a piece of his story on being sued by the FTC. You can read the whole story here.
I’ll never forget this moment.
I worked from my house in Macon, Ga back then and I was pacing around in my driveway while talking on the phone.
I looked up and noticed a man in a white golf shirt getting out of a burgundy ford ranger pickup truck. He walked right up to me and said, “Are you Frank Kern?”.
“This is for you.” – and he handed me SEVEN POUNDS of paperwork.
…Then he left. The poor guy actually looked apologetic when he handed me this stuff. (He was simply a process server. Contrary to popular belief, the FTC never “raided” my offices or anything weird like that.)
Anyway, I hung up the phone, walked into my home office, and started reading what he handed me.
Here’s what it said…
(This is a very rough translation)
“Dear Mr. Kern. YOU ARE SCREWED. Sincerely, the FTC.”
…They were a lot more eloquent than that though. They basically told me that Instant Internet Empires as a pyramid scheme (what??) and that they’d frozen my assets …and that they were going to take all my money.
I damn near had a heart attack.
I mean …a pyramid scheme?? We’re talking about a $47 bundle of ebooks here. There was no “downline” or anything even remotely like that.
Turns out that doesn’t matter.
See, their argument was that the product didn’t have any value other than the fact that it could be re-sold. And that due to the way I had worded my sales letter, it would be physically impossible for anyone to achieve the results I’d experienced by simply re-selling the product.
Thankfully, by avoiding the seven mistakes listed above you ensure you are creating the authority and integrity you need to become a successful and engaging online influencer.