Step 1 - To create a cult you must first attract attention. This you should do not through actions, which are too clear and readable, but through words, which are hazy and deceptive. Your initial speeches, conversations, and interviews must include two elements - on the one hand, the promise of something great and transformative, and on the other total vagueness. This combination will stimulate all kinds of hazy dreams in your listeners, who will make their own connections and see what they want to see.
Step 2 - Emphasize the visual and the sensual over the intellectual. Once people have begun to gather around you, two dangers will present themselves - boredom and skepticism. Boredom will make people go elsewhere. Skepticism will allow the distance to think rationally about whatever it is your offering, blowing away the mist you have artfully created and revealing your ideas for what they are.
Step 3 - Borrow the forms of organized religion to structure the group. Your cultlike following is growing. It is time to organize it. Find a way both elevating and comforting. Organized religions have long help unquestioned authority for large numbers of people, and continue to do so in our supposedly secular age. And even if the religion itself has faded some, its forms still resonate with power. The lofty and holy associations of organized religion can be endlessly exploited.
Step 4 - Disguise your source of income - Your group has grown, and you have structured it in a churchlike form. Your coffers are beginning to fill with your follower's money. Yet you must never be seen as hungry for money and the power it brings. It is at this moment that you must disguise the source of income. Your followers want to believe that if they follow you all sort of good things will fall into their lap.
Step 5 - Set up an us-versus-them dynamic - The group is now large and thriving, a magnet attracting more and more particles. If you are not careful, though, intertia will set in, and time and boredom will demagnatize the group. To keep your followers unites, you must now do what all relegions and beleif systems have done. Create and us-versus-them dynamic. Make sure your followers believe they are part of an exclusive club, unified by a bond of common goals.