I recently read the book Authority by Nathan Barry, and I wanted to share what I have learned from it. The book is basically a course on how to self-publish your content, and how to properly launch it to get the biggest financial gain out of it.
The author does over all of the topics needed to write, market, and self-publish your material. And the book struck me hard, because I am looking into branching to product business myself. And I’ve always enjoyed good writing, mostly consuming it, and very rarely producing.
He got me to start writing after a long time, and that is the first time in my life, that I sincerely enjoy writing, after battling with it way back through school. Authority will teach you that by sharing your knowledge, you can and will become and authority in your field, someone who people look up to for answers on a given topic, even if they never had heard of you a month before. This will hopefully get you better clients, and better paying ones. I will soon be writing about another book soon, one that will help you get out of the rut of being a commodity, and start earning what you are really worth. You will also be producing more value for your clients, but that is the bonus effect for you and your clients.
The book teaches you how to achieve authority by writing books, but you can also achieve the same effect if you do other aspects of teaching people, or being a member of and open source community. There are many ways, and almost every one of them includes teaching and giving some of the stuff for free. And also, teaching something will make you learn it even better, and you will surely become an expert in that field. So if you want to learn something to the core, teach it to other people, some of them will be below your level, some of them will not, and those that are not will surely be there to help you when you make mistakes, and push you even further. In the future, you could even teach your idol something new, wouldn’t that be cool?
The social proof behind this book lies in so many stories of authors gaining public recognition, and consulting jobs, because let’s face it, we are in the tech industry. Take for example Obie Fernandez who wrote the book The Rails Way that skyrocketed his consultancy Hashrocket into getting plenty consulting gigs, at very high prices, and one of many reasons for that was that a founder wrote the book on Rails.
Another example is Thoughtbot, a consulting shop that has become a mecca of providing free teaching for developers, which they spun into paid courses too, but the content they provide for free is overwhelming, and it brings them bunch of consulting gigs, through word of mouth alone.
Probably the ones that are the biggest authority, at least for me, are the people behind Basecamp, who share everything they do, and gave us some of the best tools to create web applications for free, and everything else they publish on Signal v. Noise is great content, not only for developers, but for small business owners, who do not need venture capital to succeed in business.
P.S. This is the first post i have written using org2blog for Emacs and I am enjoying it. If you are into learning something new, you can try picking up Emacs, i have written about my pains learning it in the post Learning Emacs.