People get tired of the conventional, they want to follow a leader that they can relate to and believe in. If a person doesn’t have a choice yet and suddenly learns about your ideas and innovation then finds you trustworthy and different, they will more likely to choose you. Lucrative opportunities, businesses included, are usually easy for thought leaders because their following will support their endeavors because these followers trust this person. Because this leader has a good reputation in his industry, he is just like a magnet that attracts opportunities without the need of overselling because he is credible. Building a network is easy for thought leaders and so opportunities just knock. Thought leaders are usually good in knowing what comes next and so the community usually believes his take in each proposal or offer they get, giving him an edge for more opportunities.
As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daisy Jing. Daisy is a YouTube vlogger and a young entrepreneur who founded and bootstrapped a now multi-million beauty product line named Banish. She is 30 years young with knowledge and experience in business and marketing. Her business is now ranked #152nd fastest growing company in INC 5000 and she is also included in Forbes 30 under 30. A TEDx talk speaker who is focused on inspiring confidence in others.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I grew up struggling with cystic-like acne and eventually shared my journey into “finding” perfection on YouTube. I showed vulnerability to my followers and gained a huge following. They trusted me and my opinion so much that when I created my own products and they noticed a big difference on my skin, they encouraged me to sell my products and have my own company. Banish is an all-natural, organic alternative for customers with skin problems. My mission is to combat perfectionism and focus more on authenticity. Skincare has more to do with confidence than the actual skin status of a person.
Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?
I am a thought leader myself, I inform my followers and started with a mission that is out of the ordinary. I became their go-to person in skincare and beauty. Eventually, my influence made me a trusted source of ideas for a good skincare product and my leadership became an inspiration to those who follow my journey. My ideas turned into a product that actually works, my story became the motivation of others who are also suffering from acne — those reasons gave birth to my company. Banish is now successful and still on that same mission.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I called my bank and the customer service rep lady recognized my voice from my YouTube videos so she asked, “Are you Daisy Jing of Banish?” I never imagined that we have that much influence. She recognized me and knows my company, amazing!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I always bring a hand sanitizer with me and sanitize whenever I travel, I make sure that my seat in the plane is well-cleaned and sanitized. I also tend to overwork even while travelling and I end up getting sick. It is the worst, as it’s a lost of productivity. Eat fruits and vegetables, take your vitamin C, and get enough sleep even while travelling! Everyone thinks that you’re an entrepreneur and you must be very busy — like work for 20 hours a day, even while travelling. That’s not sustainable, not even possible! There’s no way anyone can do that and still be in good shape. Prioritize your health because without good health, you won’t be able to create wealth — can’t enjoy that wealth, and you’ll just see yourself crying for what is “left.”
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?
A thought leader is somebody who has a different way of viewing things than what is mainstream whereas a typical leader leads his followers but doesn’t innovate nor can he lead his co-leaders. A thought leader have something controversial (may it be a story, product, ideas) to offer and he could be someone whose story, product or ideas are not popular but has a very distinct thesis and message to convey that he would like to share to motivate others. To be a thought leader, you must be credible and honest, not just any leader.
A thought leader uses his knowledge and insights to inspire and help others, regardless of how different he is whereas an influencer is someone who uses his influence based on how the brand or his following perceive things. Most of the time, influencers take the popular side to gain respect from his followers. Thought leaders on the other hand, gain respect though his side is uncommon. Thought leadership is more than posting something on social media, you must be trusted in your expertise.
Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?
You should only be a thought leader if you have a unique point or angle, you can’t fake it! To be trusted easily and to have a good presence in your industry are just some of the benefits of becoming a thought leader.
In terms of investing resources and energy, you have to bring a different idea and new stuff on the table — it doesn’t have to be popular now because you know it will eventually work. It is worthwhile because your idea that is uncommon now will soon be known and become popular because of your leadership. That notion that everyone believes in and someone’s daily routine can actually change through your leadership.
Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?
People get tired of the conventional, they want to follow a leader that they can relate to and believe in. If a person doesn’t have a choice yet and suddenly learns about your ideas and innovation then finds you trustworthy and different, they will more likely to choose you.
Lucrative opportunities, businesses included, are usually easy for thought leaders because their following will support their endeavors because these followers trust this person. Because this leader has a good reputation in his industry, he is just like a magnet that attracts opportunities without the need of overselling because he is credible.
Building a network is easy for thought leaders and so opportunities just knock. Thought leaders are usually good in knowing what comes next and so the community usually believes his take in each proposal or offer they get, giving him an edge for more opportunities.
Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.
- A person should have a very unique mindset, not after perfection. Trying to reach and seek perfectionism is the greatest tragedy of our lives because in order to achieve it, we have to let go of our authentic self. With less perfection, we aim for authenticity and our natural self just comes out of its shell
- People should tell their story and how that relates to their thought leadership. I have a story — I struggle with my own skin and I was trying to reach perfectionism by trying to fix it; but it turns out that by sharing my authentic self and the reality of my imperfect skin, people learned to trust and love me — that’s how I grew my brand.
- Repetition is important — having your story not just on one channel but also having it on multiple different channels is essential. Others should learn about you and hear your message in different forms of social media (blogs, videos, comics, photos and cast content) so people can hear it multiple times and remember you. You may not be popular at first, but your distinct ideas will put you on top
- Make sure that the thought leadership that you have has a very eccentric angle, you don’t have to agree with everyone or be a fan of everything. You must have a polarizing view. Like for me, acne is good — show it off instead of trying to conceal and hide it.
- Be authentic and show the world. Use your own platform or social media accounts to introduce yourself and brand to the world. You don’t have to be fake for you to be a thought leader, you just have to be yourself and show the world your special abilities and insights. A light doesn’t have to be covered, like a thought leader, it needs to be seen to enlighten and help others.
In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach.
Jordan Peterson, NY Times best seller, He says things that might not resonate to everyone but he attracts a group of conservative intellectuals that I think a lot of people haven’t heard before but can relate to. Jordan said things that others might be afraid to say, but because of him, other leaders had the courage to come out and also jump in to his statements — eventually people followed them as well.
Donald Trump — regardless of what others think about his policies and views, he definitely has a polarizing way of viewing the world. He was elected president, which means a large portion of the population wants his leadership style. He has a polarizing statement, not trying to be popular but he just take a stand and act on it.
I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?
Like influencers, the word “thought leader” is overused and this is why thought leaders should have a distinct view — an idea or story that isn’t popular yet, you can’t be a thought leader with the same input that others have.
It is just right and humbling to not call yourself a thought leader and let others call you that. At the end of the day, being a thought leader is just a title, your credibility and success will be more than a proof about your good leadership and influence.
What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
Go back to your original mission and the very first reason why you started. Be naive once in awhile, find inspiration from your young ideas and get inspiration from those who believe in you and made you credible.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Banish Movement — I want to boost other people’s self-confidence than to encourage them to perfect how they look. How much money does an average woman spend to look great and how much are we obsessed on our vanity just for others to like how we look? If we only use our energy and resources to work on ourselves and be more confident internally, I feel like the world could be so much better. If only the world is full of people who empower others instead of trying to build his own stage, I believe more people will come out stronger.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It is not the way you look, it’s the way you feel that matters,” a Banish movement quote. Protect the way you feel about yourself, first and foremost. Everything you see and hear are just noise, they are just what the society and marketing suggest for you to be happy. It is not about how you look — how perfect your skin, body or hair is — that does not fix your internal confidence! I know a lot of people who pretend their whole lives trying to achieve this level of perfection on the outside but inside they’re dead and depressed. We need to take time and put an effort to work on ourselves and be our most authentic version — that will make us the happiest.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Oprah — I watched every episode of her shows. I have seen almost every show where she is featured. She is such an inspiration and a self-made woman who really showed me what it means to be a thought leader.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Website : https://www.banish.com
Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/user/daiserz89
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/banishbeauty
Instagram : https://instagram.com/daiserz89
Twitter : https://twitter.com/banishacnescars