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How to Build Trust by Association

This guest post is by David Edwards of

When I started my site I had no clue about animation, illustration, or online marketing. It’s almost three years since the site went live, so by now I could have started University again (I quit in the first term at the age of 20) and have an official qualification in one of those fields.

Let’s say I did that, and today I started my website. Would I still have to build trust and gain success by association? Yes! The good news is, if you haven’t got a degree and you want to run a successful website, there is nothing stopping you!

Even to this day people are intrigued to know how I managed to convince a small team of animators to trust me and build a viral series around a few doodles that I did on the back of a house bill. This is how I did it, and how you can do something similar within your own niche.

I started with one contact…

Out of my whole high-school year, as far as I’m aware the only pupil to leave and start a company was a mate of mine, Matthew Adams, who started Webfactore. That was the first rung on the ladder to success—a nice discount on the website!

Then I used the Facebook search box to hunt down an animator in Cardiff. Why animation? I like drawing and I was fascinated by a viral animation from America called “Charlie the Unicorn.” I thought it was amazing that one guy and a couple of mates managed to get millions of people to view their cartoon—it’s even been the topic of a question on “Jeopardy”!

Luke Hyde was the first animator I found and he was happy to meet me. It was luck, really, as he was the first person I asked, and at the time he had no contracts to work on. You can get lucky, but if you don’t, keep searching for someone!

Through Luke, I tapped into a creative world that I’d never been a part of.

I’ve always doodled and sketched—it used to help pass the time away when I worked in a telesales job. But I never knew that people actually made money from it. Through Luke I met Flash animators, illustrators, sound engineers … the list goes on!

When you start to build an online business it can feel overwhelming and you tend to think that everyone seems to be more resourceful than you. If you’re an avid reader and blogger, well, believe it or not, that’s a very powerful skill to have, and you can trade that skill with other people to get what you need.

Also if you have patience and show that you’re not just going to sap someones resources and run, you will have the chance to gain respect from the person and his or her circle of friends.

I never got complacent with networking

If you do gain a bit of success through association, keep going. I cemented links in the creative industry, then set my sights on the marketing industry. Why? Because these guys are crushing it when it comes to work ethic and connections. Five top affiliate marketers can reach out to tens of thousands of potential customers!

I did some more searching and eventually found Alex Jeffreys, who’s well know in the affiliate marketing world, having launched several successful coaching programs. I spoke to Alex on the phone and he was happy to help me. I also attended his seminar in London, which was an awesome opportunity to meet other marketers, and meet Alex in person.

Alex has taught me some key points to rapidly grow my presence online. Here are some of his tips:

  • Leverage each stage you’re at: If you only have five people that are helping you online, that’s not
    just five people! It could be 500 people, if each person has a social network of 100 friends. For instance, if you were friends with me on YouTube, and I liked your video, I have 10,000 friends to share it with. That’s very powerful leverage!
  • Don’t market to the whole world: Alex has built a very profitable business from looking after his confirmed subscribers. He very rarely reaches out to the masses on Twitter or Facebook, as lots of his subscribers do it for him.
  • Consistently add value: You should look to email a useful piece of content once a month and build up trust. Go from a blog post, to an audio podcast, to a video. Once people get a range of content over six months or so, they will absolutely love you!

Building trust by association will help with sales

Many bloggers and site owners try to make and launch products. There is a huge market and there are hungry buyers, but from my experience, you have to concentrate far more on networking and connecting with successful people, than on locking yourself in a room until your ebook is complete.

Once you have established yourself with people in your niche, then interact with your prospects, you’ll have a much better idea of how loudly your till is going to ring!

Have you tried to connect with other website owners face to face? I would love to read your stories.

David Edwards is an internet marketing consultant and the founder of

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.

  • What I absolutely loved about this (aside from you being from Wales too and having the same name as my husband!) is the encouragement to focus on the little steps that, together, have resulted in you creating something wonderful. You took that first step and reached out, and then the step after that and the one after that and you didn’t give up. That’s a big deal!

    I forget the exact stat about the percentage of blogs that lie dormant after their first month but it’s something huge like 80% I think. That encouraged me when I first start blogging 18 months ago. I figured that if I just kept on, after 30 days or so I’d be in the top 20%.

    This post is testament to the power of stickability and for that I thank you :-)

    • Thanks El!, their were good signs early on that this could be big, but I have changed the business model quite a few times over the past few years. I guess you have to adapt to the economy. ;]

    • Thanks El!, there were good signs early on that this could be big, but I have changed the business model quite a few times over the past few years. I guess you have to adapt to the economy. ;]

  • I want to say thank you for all the knowledge you have provide, the information is priceless I’am new to blogging i have learn so much from this site one word “Great” kept up the good work I’ll continue to follow
    Thank You !

    • Thank You Sam!… It’s good to be back here on ProBlogger!…

  • Great article David, I was in a similar situation with the Uni thing, I left first term as well… not the best decision at the time I have to admit.

    • Thanks, I guess University will never be the best route for everyone… All the best mate.

  • Hey David,

    I had the chance to work with Alex and he is a Top Guy! One of the things he likes to do is as you mentioned “association”

    Get out there and network with the big players. You can get close to a lot of the more well established marketers very easy now a days with the social networks. Also if you hang around a lot of successful people their success seems to rub off onto you!


  • This is just what I am looking to do. I need to build up a good relationship with the right type of audience. This means that it is no good blindly chucking out links here, there and everywhere. Finding the type of buyers that usePLR content is not easy but once you have a good list of customers, you business can build from strength to strength.


    • Build an alliance and the prospects will seek you out!, that’s what I’ve learnt, finally!… ;]

  • There are so many sayings about networking:

    1) “Birds of a feather flock together”
    2) “Your network is your net worth”
    3) “You are the company you keep”

    The truth is networking is important no matter what you’re doing. When it comes to business, having a network of people who will cosign and endorse you will lead to truth and credibility from those that they influence. A sort of inherited street cred.

    Great Post!

  • Ann

    Yes like Linked In networking pays dividends every time

  • People tend to trust me just by being near me. I come across as non-threatening.

  • Hi David! This was very motivational for me. As I transition into full-time blogging this week, I’m amazed at wave of emotions I felt about starting so ‘small’. But I’m starting to hear, and am thankful to learn, that I just have to maximize the lives of those who are connected with me now and keep connecting from there. Reminds me of my favorite proverb “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much”. Continued success to you!

  • David, Valid point and meaningful thought. Thanks for sharing- Manickam

  • This is an inspiring article David, thanks! Making valuable contacts with other website owners face-to-face is great advice when building networks. Thanks!

  • I agree with EternalJoi, it is very inspiring, Dave. Thanks. It makes total sense to build trust by association. It is more personal, it is more interacting and it is more engaging.

    • Thanks, sometimes the computer part gets in the way for some business’s.


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