Guest Post by Tom Morkes: The Five Pillars of Authority

Tom Morkes

This is a guest post by Tom Morkes. Tom is the CEO of Insurgent Publishing, a book publishing and marketing company that brings unconventional nonfiction to the creative outliers of the world. Insurgent Publishing has published a half dozen books, including Paid to Exist and The Money Freedom Roadmap, both by Jonathan Mead, The High-Performance Athlete by Dr. Jason Winkle, and The Growth Hacker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Jeff Goldenberg and Mark Hayes.

Now, to the post itself.. Hope you enjoy reading this post from Tom and join us (yes, I am speaking as well) at the Authority Summit slated for later this month.



That’s the amount of money I made from my business in January of 2015.

This is money after expenses and overhead, but still…

That’s barely enough money to cover rent in most major cities in the USA.

Flash forward one year, to February of 2016, and my company just cleared $30,000, and the trend seems to be increasing.

I don’t say this to brag.

There are MANY more successful business people who make a lot more money than me throughout the world.

I share this story to highlight the difference between then and now; between where I was, and where I desperately wanted to be; going from struggling to survive, to now leading a thriving, growing company…

This transformation was not by any accident, luck, or chance.

This transformation was a result of intentional effort put forth in five key areas of business and personal development, that have since changed my entire live.

I want to share them with you now, so they can do the same for you…

Enter: The Five Pillars of Authority

Reflecting on the past year, it’s become clear to me that the brightest, most successful business people in the world excel in 5 foundational areas of business.

I call these the “The Five Pillars Authority.”

To be clear: each one is a prerequisite to achieve the results you desire; you cannot succeed (for long) without mastering each.

I want to introduce you to each pillar, and explain how to apply it to your business…

Pillar 1. Mindset

You wouldn’t build a house without preparing the foundation first, would you?

Of course not.

Similarly, you wouldn’t set out to build a profitable business without having a stable base to launch from…

The FOUNDation for any business is the mindset of the FOUNDer (founder / foundation – get it?)

Like a house built on sand, a business led by a confused, uncertain, and weak founder will crumble

However, like a house built from concrete and steel, a founder with the right MINDSET can withstand the most difficult storms.

(and in business, there will be storms – trust me)

Before you do ANYTHING, you have to master your MINDSET.

This involves…

  • Overcoming your limiting-beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors
  • Having a strong, clear goal
  • Outlining what you’re going to do, WHY, and when (and holding yourself accountable to making progress each day)
  • Having a daily ritual that empowers your working day
  • Keeping your whole person (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) healthy and in balance
  • Consistently investing in your education, whether through books and courses, coaches and mentors or by joining an empowering mastermind with people you respect

Having the right Mindset is critical for the success of any freelancer, entrepreneur or business owner…

But it’s not enough.

You then need to take ACTION…

Pillar 2. Content

Bob Ross is one of the most celebrated, most respected, most beloved painters of all time.

Bring his name up in conversation, and anyone who has watched him paint happy little trees will smile ear-to-ear.

There’s good reason for Bob’s cult-like following: for over 10 years, Ross gave away all his knowledge about painting, teaching everything he knew for free on PBS.

Oh, and did I mention that this soft-spoken, hippy painter built a $15,000,000.00 business on the back of his free training?

This is what I mean when I say: CONTENT.

Bob was a great painter, but so what?

There are tens of thousands of great painters.

You won’t hear about 99% of them.

What made Bob stand out from the crowd was that HE CREATED GREAT CONTENT prolifically – and he gave it all away for free.

Content doesn’t have to come in the form of a weekly television show.

Content can take the shape of:

  • A blog where you consistently share your best “lessons learned”…
  • A book that shows you systems, processes, and thought process…
  • A YouTube channel where you share your best tactics and strategies…
  • A daily podcast where you share insight, wisdom, and direction with those who are seeking help…

There are more ways than ever to cheaply and effectively share your knowledge with the world, and the greatest AUTHORITIES do just that…

But having great content isn’t enough.

A great piece of writing that doesn’t leave your hard drive is as useful as NO content…

This brings us to…

Pillar 3. Distribution

Reid Hoffman is a venture capitalist, previously the executive vice president of Paypal, and the founder of LinkedIn (and also a $4 billionaire…).

When asked by TechCrunch how to reach a massive audience, Reid had these words of wisdom:

“In real estate, the wisdom says ‘location, location, location.’ In consumer Internet, think ‘distribution, distribution, distribution.’ Thousands of products launched every month on hundreds of thousands of new Web pages…Every Net entrepreneur should answer these questions: How do we get to one million users? Then how do we get to 10 million users? Then how will you get deep engagement by your users.”

Okay, so let’s assume you’re not building the next LinkedIn or Uber or Facebook…

A million users may not be your first milestone, and that’s okay (and totally reasonable).

But the fundamental question should remain the same:

“How will you reach your first 100 [users / readers / paid members / customers / clients]?”

When you can answer this question clearly, you’ve started to define your DISTRIBUTION strategy.

To develop your position as an AUTHORITY through DISTRIBUTION, you must have

  1. A cost-effective way to attract visitors to your website…
  2. An automated solution for turning visitors into users, fans, and ultimately customers…
  3. An eCommerce solution to sell your product or service ( one that aligns with how your customers want to pay for goods or services)…
  4. Systems and processes to make selling 1,000 items as easy as selling 1 item…


All of these elements are key to creating awareness and consumption of your CONTENT so that you can create a thriving business…

But that only happens if you can turn customers into REPEAT customers and raving fans.

To do that, we move to pillar 4….

Pillar 4. Platform

Ever heard of Freaks and Geeks?

Many critics regard it as one of the greatest television shows of all the time.

But after its first season, it got canceled.


Because it was aired at an ungodly hour, it received low-ratings and the network canceled it.

It was never able to get the audience it deserved.

Bottom line: You can have the greatest CONTENT in the world, but if not enough people SPREAD THE WORD, it doesn’t matter.

To become an Authority, then, you need:

  • An area to share your best content…
  • A space to engage and connect with your fans…
  • And a place from which to catalyse their support (so that your best content doesn’t get canceled after one season)

What I’m talking about is called a PLATFORM.

Every AUTHORITY has a platform where they share their great work, a place for their biggest fans to interact with one another, and a space from which to instigate the support of their biggest fans (when the time comes…).

A platform can take the form of:

  • A compelling email newsletter
  • An active and engaged Facebook Group
  • An online forum or offline meet-up group
  • A website with an exclusive members area

Whatever the format, the bottom line is that a PLATFORM allows you to build and then catalyse your thousand true fans, who will then support every piece of great CONTENT you have (from sharing blog posts, to downloading and reviewing your podcast, to purchasing every product you create).

A PLATFORM is where you begin to set yourself apart from your competitors, but even the most enthusiastic fans can’t help your cause if you aren’t presenting, packaging, and selling your products or services the right way.

That brings us to…

5. Positioning

Why is it that people happily pay $2,000 for an iMac, when they could get a PC with equivalent specs for almost half the cost?

Does the iMac cost twice as much to produce?

  • Nope – if anything, Apple can produce the iMac for less than its competitors…

Are the components unique?

  • Not really – the internal parts are all produced by the same manufacturers…

Does it do something completely different than the competitor?

  • No, PCs and Macs basically do the same tasks…

So what is it?

If you’re an Apple fan, you know the answer…

It’s the experience

From the packaging to the design, to the presentation; Apple knows how to create, market, and sell products.
And all of these elements taken together are POSITIONING.

Here’s the thing: positioning is not solely for massive corporations.

It’s equally (if not more) important for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startup founders, and aspiring small business owners.

With the right positioning, you can:

  • Become THE person everyone wants to do business…
  • Charge PREMIUM rates as an independent contractor…
  • Choose whom YOU do business with, when, and how…
  • Get featured in major mainstream media…
  • And more…

It’s tough to achieve this enviable level.

But it is possible.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Mastering each pillar ordinarily takes years of trial-and-error experience.

Fortunately, there’s a way you can shave YEARS off your learning curve, and that’s by learning from the wisdom of people who have BEEN IN YOUR SHOES and who have become successful authorities.

On March 22, Josh Denning and I (Tom Morkes) are co-hosting a 3-day live, virtual, Guinness World Record Breaking extravaganza called:

The Authority Super Summit

We’ve brought together over 100 of the world’s leading experts in business a to teach YOU how to become a sought-after authority in your niche so you NEVER have to beg people to buy from you again.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  1. How the most successful entrepreneurs begin their day (and how you can, too)
  2. How to build a platform that gets you noticed
  3. How to build a tribe of loyal followers who support everything you do
  4. How to sell yourself in an authentic way (without resorting to sleazy marketing tactics
  5. How to connect and network with six-figure entrepreneurs (even if you’re a shy, introvert)
  6. The one pricing strategy that will DOUBLE your income
  7. How to position yourself as an authority in your niche when you’re just starting out

And that’s only Day 1.

If you’ve ever wanted to push yourself above and beyond your toughest competitors, reach a wider audience and achieve more happiness, more wealth, and more productivity…

This is your opportunity:

Click here to join the Authority Super Summit for free.

I look forward to you joining us to break a world record and make history together!

Tom Morkes

Changing the face of retail distribution of oil in India

I was in Mumbai today and was going back from the airport to my hotel in a cab. The cab driver stopped at a fuel outlet to fill-up his tank. It took us about 15-20 mins to get the tank filled up and start our journey back to the hotel.

While waiting, I asked him if we could not fuel up at some other outlet rather than wait in the que at this outlet. He responded that the next petrol outlet was about 5-6 kms away and was not enroute to the hotel. He also said that wherever you go, the fuel outlet always has a waiting time. He said that this was due to the fact that the growth of vehicles was outnumbering the growth of the number of retail fuel outlets.

This got me thinking and I realized that it has always been the case in almost all the cities that I have been in India. The infrastructure was always lagging the actual consumption growth. Also, with the cities expanding towards suburbs, the real estate  costs within the city is increasing exponentially. It is getting increasingly prohibitive to set-up new fuel retail outlets within the city. Result is that most of the new fuel outlets are being opened in the suburbs rather than in the city, leading to more congestion at the outlets within the city.

This got me thinking and in my opinion the following ideas could be worth exploring:

  1. Mobile fuel outlets: Like mobile libraries, mobile restaurants, we could also have mobile fuel outlets. They could have fixed spots where these vehicles would be parked based on a pre-defined schedule.  These could also go to the big apartment complexes with more than 500 apartments on a fixed date every week so that people from that complex can re-fuel at their homes rather than go to the fuel outlets. Similar set-up could also be thought for office complexes/malls.
  2. Permanent retail fuel outlets in apartment or office complexes: Every mall/office/apartment complex with more than 500 car parking facilities could have a retail fuel outlet in their parking lots. This could not only provide another revenue stream for the complex but also solve a big infrastructure problem.
Some benefits for the oil companies include: 
  1. The first oil marketing company that does this could gain a substantial jump in their revenue, market and mind-share.
  2. This could also lead to a lot of free press for the company improving their brand recall.
  3. Since the set-up costs for a mobile fuel outlet is minimal, the profitability for the oil marketing companies will also improve.
  4. This could also result in a decrease in the total emissions as at the city level the total distances travelled by vehicles will also reduce though we can not measure this impact quantitatively. Thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the city.
  5. Most importantly, this will help us save a lot of commute and wait time to re-fuel our vehicles.

Hope some of these oil companies are listening to this idea and do bounce it off in their organizations.

Business opportunity for Gillette

Today, I went to a barber shop to get a haircut and a shave. I must say that I was not surprised to see that the barber shop was still continuing to use the regular old shaving blades and had not upgraded to multiple blade products introduced a decade before by Gillette and other such companies. When I asked the barber why he did not upgrade to twin blade or other such razors, he cited the cost of such blades as the reason. 

I think that inertia is also one of the reasons. This is how everyone does it and so I do it this way too. 

This provides an excellent opportunity for Gillette to penetrate a market which is completely.

This got me thinking and the result is this idea post.  

  • Gillette to introduce a twin blade, single use razor to be sold exclusively to the barber shops or beauty saloons directly.

@Price point: 
  • 1 or 2 INR per razor is the ideal price point for such an offering in order to get these barbers to start using these twin blades. It is absolutely essential that the cost is less than 2 rupees that the blade is only suitable for single use due to hygiene reasons.

  • One more critical success factor for this to work is also to have a direct selling team that can reach these barbers directly away from the regular distribution network. 
  • Gillette can promote this as a self-employment opportunity to young entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses. 
  • This will ensure that Gillette does not incur high costs on the distribution of these product and at the same time provides self-employment to a multitude of people (worth talking about in the press and has the possibility to generate a lot of good PR around this).
  • Once the network is in place, Gillette can use this to cross-sell its other products to the same customers.

Whats in it for 

Barber shop: 
  • Provide better shave to their customers 
  • Increase their customer retention
  • Beyond a certain level of adoption, this becomes the price of entry
  • This can also help them slightly increase their service fee 

  • Increased sales by tapping a completely new segment 
  • Increased brand recall by customers who use the barber shop
  • Availability of an alternate distribution channel which can be leveraged for other products as well
  • Good PR opportunity
Consumer (Customer of the barber shop): 
  • They get a a better shaving experience at the barber shops.  

  • Self-employment oppportunity to 100’s of young people. 
  • They can also then start cross – selling other skin-care or beauty products to the customer community and thereby grow their business. 
Hope someone is listening and explores the feasibility of this approach. 

Now the questions is, will someone be open enough to take a serious look at this opportunity? 

Understanding Startups – D2O

Today, I came across an interesting start-up: D2O (as in Distribution 2.0). They have already been profiled in Headstart network and yourstory. The name sounds very interesting. The space is also very interesting. They are in the process to create a product agnostic distribution network which can distribute any product nationwide. They have started operations in Mumbai and are seeking to scale-up. My take on the start-up is as below.

The most important aspect of any successful business is the business model. Let me try to put in my understanding of their business model:

  1. Value Proposition:
    1. Re-define conventional distribution networks and create product or service agnostic distribution networks
    2. Use financial services and insurance as the vehicle to create and test the network
  2. Customers: Consumers of any product/service channeled through the network.
  3. Key activities:
    1. Identify potential channel partners across geographies
    2. Identify potential services that can be distributed
  4. Cost structures:
    1. Setting up a scalable technology backbone to support operations
    2. Identifying potential channel partners across geographies is a cost intensive exercise
  5. Revenue plan: Margins to be made by using the same channel to distribute multiple products to same or similar consumers.
I find that the idea is novel. However, there are some major challenges ahead for them which they need to address:

  1. Setting up a nationwide or even a regional distribution network takes time and is cost intensive. This means that to create such a network, they will need a lot of cash to burn upfront.
  2. The product/service they have started with is a high margin product. But the customer segment they have decided to focus is at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP). This is even more challenging as this can potentially slow down their progress on scaling up.
  3. They need to reach a critical mass in terms of their distribution reach in order to become profitable and to be considered an alternative or a ready channel for new products/service launches.
  4. The choice of channel partners/distributors/affiliate partners will determine the constraints of the products/services that can be distributed. It is a tough choice to make.
  5. Channel partners will loose interest in the company if they do not get quick RoI or from being a part of the network. OF all the challenges, this is one which can decide the fate of the start-up.
Having said all of these, there are some other things that are favorable for D2O:

  1. The founders have a small team and are thinking big.
  2. Cloud can help them build a really scalable technology back-bone to support operations.
  3. The start-up ecosystem and the business environment (with India growing handsomely and most of the growth coming from tier 2 and 3 towns) is very conducive for start-ups like them to flourish.
In my opinion there can be a slight shift in their strategy so that they allow themselves to grow fast. That will be the only way they can ensure success.

These were my opinion on the company, their business model and challenges. Do you agree with my opinion?