In 2009, I opened up my business as a grief and relationship coach and started to write and self-publish books. Unfortunately, no one had ever heard of me or was aware of my services, and there didn’t appear to be any reason why others would consider me an authority or an expert on these subjects.

This is a common issue encountered by most entrepreneurs when starting a new business. And, to be successful, it is an important one to address and then overcome. As with anything worthwhile, it is not an overnight process.

I was advised to start writing a blog and to utilize the power of social media to get the word out. This is great advice, but if no one is following you, it’s hard to get traction. I could write as many blogs and Facebook postings as I wanted, but I liken it to the old adage, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Similarly, if no one read my blog, was I getting my voice out there and becoming known as an expert in my field? I think not.

Consequently, I brainstormed on how to establish myself as an expert.

The first step I took was to affiliate myself with a well-known commodity. I was mostly writing about how to cope with grief, so I looked for sites that focused on that particular subject. I discovered one that is a leader in the online memorial and obituary market and draws more than 18 million visitors each month. That seemed like a more than adequate number for my purposes!

I immediately contacted the company and suggested that I blog for them each month. I submitted samples, which they liked, and a mutually beneficial partnership was formed. They took care of marketing the articles and, due to their huge presence in the grief arena and successful SEO, their site was crawled regularly by the search engines. This carefully chosen alliance transformed me from an unknown entity into an expert on how to successfully cope with grief.

I continued to affiliate myself with those in the grief space and formed relationships with the principles. Momentum started to build, and, because I am a prolific writer, the links to articles I wrote and posted online increased. Less than a year later, if you Googled my name, there were hundreds of entries. Subsequently, instead of working hard to make contacts in the grief field, they were reaching out to me.

Now that I had established my credibility and had the attention of the right audience, I could start to exponentially grow my business.

To continue my presentation to the marketplace as an expert, I started writing more books. I know this is not an easy task for all, but as a former English teacher whose first love is writing, it was an easy leap for me to take. I began self-publishing books on the subject(s) of my expertise and soon had a very full roster. The main concentration of my work is how to address grief after the death of a spouse. In a natural progression, I next branched out to the subject of building new relationships and how to find love after the loss of a spouse.

In truth, all of life is about relationships, be it personal or professional ones. This has become the underlying theme of all my books. Since I have never met a topic that didn’t interest me, I started writing books on a myriad of subjects that all circled back to relationship building.

I now have over 30 books published and, since they are all interrelated, if a reader likes one book, he is sure to like others. By targeting a theme such as I have, it also makes it easier to pinpoint posts as I communicate through my social media channels.

Although writing a book is an excellent way to establish oneself as an expert, many find that task daunting. This may be because they are confusing writing with the tiresome process of editing. If you consider yourself an expert in your field, you most probably feel very comfortable discussing it. Consider the idea that it is possible to easily transform your sales pitches, Facebook postings, blogs, and conversations into a book.

I would venture to guess that most of you have the makings of a book on the hard drive of your computer; it simply needs to be finessed into an acceptable format. I suggest you take a fresh look at what you have already completed with an eye to transforming it into a book. This is an excellent way for you to establish credibility, promote trust, become known as a thought leader in your field, and, in turn, grow your business.

Author's Bio: 

Ellen Gerst is a grief and relationship coach, author and workshop leader who helps her clients and readers to change their perspective in order to move gracefully through difficult life circumstances to find renewal. She is the author of several books on both coping with grief and building healthy relationships, as well as many others including spirituality, caregiving, and social media. Her books are available via her website at; via Amazon at or Barnes and Noble at