How to Go From Unknown to Known

You cannot be all things to all people. And if you can’t find your expertise in one thing, you will remain somewhat anonymous, because there’s not enough focus in one area for anyone to talk about your message, or share it, or write about it.

You need focus. And that starts with your expert bio.

Now, we’re working from our concept called Sheahan’s wall that you see here, where there are two sides to the wall — the known and the unknown. You want to be on the other side of Sheahan’s wall, right? That is where we say you have an established brand. To get from the left to the right, there’s this intersection of focus that needs to happen.

I’ll use a very quick analogy that I learned in high school to demonstrate this. If you’re looking at a train track and there is a 6ftx6ft concrete wall, a train going 60mph can actually break through that wall without hesitation. That’s because there is velocity, there is momentum and there is focus in one direction.

However, if that train was going just 10mph, a single penny on the track could actually de-rail it, because it literally doesn’t have the same velocity, the same momentum, that is created by a one-track direction. That tiny penny can actually derail it.

That is exactly what we’re talking about here. If you want to break through that wall, starting with your expert bio and the credentials behind your name, there has to be intention and focus on those details to help you go from the unknown to the known.

There are some great examples of people and brands that have broken through the wall. The biggest and probably most recognizable one at the top here is Amazon.

If you’re going back to the beginning and if you remember this, although Amazon sells all things today, in the beginning they sold one product — books. That’s what they became known for: being intentional and hyper-focused on one thing. They broke through the wall, and now they literally sell everything.

Here’s another one: Dave Ramsey — debt. He started with debt and still talks about debt. He has said the same thing for 20 years, debt is dumb. However, now that he’s broken through that wall, he talks about cash and leadership and various other things. Now, he’s got all these brands underneath his business model and runs a very, very healthy nine-figure business that started with one thing, debt.

Another example is Brene Brown, who is basically a household name at this point. She talked about shame, but she also talks about authenticity and vulnerability and leadership now. She talks about all these things now, but it resulted from one thing: shame.

And then you’ve got Gary Vaynerchuk, who started with wine. He started as the wine guy, and now he has expanded to many other topics. But it started with this intentional focus of: how do I become known? How am I seen and how am I promoting myself as the expert in this one thing?

For Gary, it was wine for a long time to break through the wall, but as you know from his story, from there he excelled. So can you.

You can expand your wings and start to say, “I’m also an expert of this, I also talk about this, etc.” But as we talk about your expert bio today, I need you to harness in on this concept: what is your uniqueness and how can you exploit it in service of others?

That is at the crux of your expert bio: discovering what is it that you want to be known for, and this uniqueness that you possess that no one else can possess because they’re not you. And then ask yourself what are all of the things, all of the credentials, all of the details that lay behind that? Those will help you exploit that in the service of others, i.e. your customers.

AJ Vaden is the Co-founder of Brand Builders Group, international speaker, million-dollar consultant and host of the Influential Personal Brand Podcast.