You might have the best material on the planet, but if you don’t have anyone to share your knowledge with, you don’t have an audience. And you don’t have much of a business. Leads are necessary. Period.

Whether your goal is to become a trusted expert, an in-demand thought leader, a social media personality or an influencer, you need an audience.

Establish your influence and convert your leads into followers, students, clients, customers and subscribers who clamor for your advice, influence and insight by taking the following steps.

1. IRL over URL. Don’t fall for the trap of “living by the beach” trying to do everything online. That might seem glamorous, but growing a successful online database takes a lot of money, resources, time, and talent. Using real life networking and lead collections will bypass that.

2. You have to hustle. I love working with entrepreneurs and driven individuals who are willing to go the extra mile to outwork their competition. When I say “outwork,” I dont’ mean busy work and pointless meetings, I’m talking about strategic, planned, hustle. This means creating and committing to a plan that requires daily action to execute.

3. Embrace speaking gigs. Each time I meet with a new client, the first thing we discuss is speaking. Speaking gigs are without a doubt the fastest path to cash. Landing these gigs is the single most effective means to get more clients, more exposure and rapidly grow your business. In the beginning, focus on free gigs. You need the practice, you need the leads and you need feedback and testimonials to leverage paid gigs. Remember, It’s okay to start small!

4. Leverage social media. Social media content is important (and I’m not talking about sharing pictures of your cat). If you’re not cultivating an online community- give it a shot! Put together a 30-day challenge (think exercising, not watching TV, etc.) on Facebook and see how many people you can round up.

When you’re seen as a problem-solver who shares challenges and triumphs, ups and downs, people pay attention. Then, when you have a call to action (whether it’s a free accountability group or a paid program you’re offering) people respond. 

When you find your voice and build a brand, business, and lifestyle by sharing your content with the world, that beachside dream can be your reality too- but you have to get leads (and clients) first!