Are Stealth Fliers Doomed?

I have read a lot of blog posts, opinions and teachings online, even from a previous mentor, saying that to be successful online, you have to brand yourself high profile, develop your own product, make it go “viral” and be the “buzz” on all the social networking sites.  And that unless you are adding thousands of new followers on Twitter each week, you don’t “get” the importance of it for developing your online brand.


And some act as if there is no place for you online unless you make yourself highly visible and position yourself as the “go to” guy.  So if you are don’t want to be in the spotlight, and are uncomfortable aligning yourself with the mega-star gurus, then you had better quit the internet now or focus on an online support role such as a forum moderator.

I totally disagree.

I think there is a place online for everyone who wants to be online.  If you play to your strengths, understand your core competencies and talk in “your own voice”, then you will find your own market.  And there are still very good businesses to be hard through automation – which doesn’t require you to have a “name” online.

I agree that if you thrust yourself into the spotlight, it’s highly likely that you’ll develop a wide customer base and more quickly, than people who don’t, simply because more people will gain “fast exposure” to you. 

But you will also have customers even if you prefer to fly “under the radar”.  After all, there are lots of people who have made very good money by doing just that, like Michael Green and Chris Freville.  And if you just said “who?”, doesn’t that prove my point?

So, which way do you go?  Follow the pack to guru status or fly under the radar?

Actually, the choice is not consciously yours.  How you become successful online depends totally on your personal style and preferred method of working. 

If you are independent, free-thinking and largely self-reliant, someone who doesn’t need a great deal of social interaction, you will probably be more successful playing to these traits and staying “low visibility”.  But remember that this strategy takes time and effort to build business momentum.  If your work is high quality, you will get more loyal customers.  In time you will be the big fish in your small niche market.  Having “cracked” one niche market, you will find moving into another easy because your name will not be highly identified as a niche specialist, outside your niche. 

On the flip side, if you are a party animal, someone who thrives on not just “playing hard” but being seen to be playing hard, someone who desires to be “known” as a guru, then you will get more out of being “high profile” online.  Becoming widely known and highly visible will certainly catapult a fledgling business into a cash cow far quicker than the “under the radar” approach.  However, there is a risk that a high profile “guru” cannot enter other niche markets without losing credibility as an expert.  (Hence the common use of “niche names”).

So when you start your online business, decide what kind of person you are (ask your friends and family if they agree!)  Follow the business development profile that suits YOU.  If you aim for “high profile”, when you’re really a “stealth flier”, you will be uncomfortable in your role and less successful than you would have been if you were “true” to yourself.  Likewise, trying to be a “best kept secret”, when you want to shout “look at me” is similarly doomed. 

Be yourself online.  Stay true to you when branding and marketing yourself online.  That’s what the true “gurus” do. 


  1. Stephen Bray says:

    Good article. Michael Green is so ‘stealthy’ that his name’s not really Michael Green, so as you say there must be room for ‘Stealth Marketers’.

    Green, however, did develop his own products under the ‘How To Corp’ identity and is also active in his forum.

    As in all things it’s probably balance that counts?

    The bigger you are ~ the harder you fall, they say.

    Slow and steady wins the race also comes to mind as I’m thinkng cliches.


  2. Susan

    You are 100% correct. It is important that you just be yourself and as such do youe own thing.

    Deciding where you want to be when starting out is difficult as your knowledge of the difference between the “Guru” and the “Stealth” marketer is probably non-existant. You will only know what you have been taught or picked up from others online.

    I have given you links above to my free ebook and my blog above. The ebook is about turning a PowerPoint presentation into a video but also takes you in detail through the process of creating the PowerPoint presentation in the first place.


  3. Dirk says:

    Some food for thought.

    There are many ways to be or not be on the internet, but for the most part, if your starting from ground zero, choose on something you already know. This will help break the ice, helping you move forward on something you already know, but electronically on the internet, even if it’s with physical product.
    I did this with one of my sites, due to my background and comfort level, but to help me break through comfort levels as well. This is a company not well known to the public yet, so I put it together, threw a pen name onto it and let her rip.
    Sometimes you just got to get out there and do it, even if you do bomb. You will always learn something along the way to do better, or simply achieve something you never tried before, because it seemed too hard when reading about it.

    Listen get out there, everybody has some sort of special trait that can be applied to an Online Business. Cut your own path and take some action.

    To your success,

  4. Julia says:

    I imagine it is. Very good stuff, glad I found this.

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