I am an expert in my field.
Sounds a bit confident eh?
Well, yes, and I am confident in my ability because I know that I have learned my craft in nearly 40 years of working; learned from university and formal learning, from experience, from failing, from succeeding, and I know, again from experience, that what I do to help businesses work because those businesses succeed.
How do I use my expertise? I sell my expertise and its fun because I get paid for doing something I love. If you are an “expert” you can become more valuable in your job, or add value to your business, or stride out and make a career change.
How can you use your expertise? Believe me you are an expert in something because you too have learning and experience behind you. But how do you become an “expert” or more to the point how do you become perceived as an expert so that you can create value with your expertise?
First know that it is never too late to become an expert by developing your knowledge and experience, either in your current line of work or in something else that you have an interest in. So you are an accountant? You can be an expert in a specialist field of accounting, or you can use your years as an amateur fisherman to be an expert on fishing. You are a carpenter? Be an expert in how to hang cupboards, or use your skills learned in playing chess since you’ve been twelve and be an expert in the game.
Realise “expert” is a relative term. You don’t have to be the world’s most knowledgeable expert in your field, you just need to be expert enough to do what you need to do. The level of expertise is only the level required by the people you want to serve. To 12 year old children, a really good (but not the best) knowledgeable chess player who knows the rules is an “expert”. To non-numerate business people, a good accountant is an expert, and a good accountant can teach them more than a university Professor of Accounting simply because you can better understand where they’re coming from.
Here are the 6 steps to become an expert in your field.
1 Choose your interest
It’s not easy to build expertise in an area that sends you to sleep. Work out what interests you enough to excite you and to drive you to learn more about and even speak about.
Evaluate what you know and what you are close to being an expert on. It’s a lot easier to build on knowledge if you are already nearly there – but remember this may not be obvious. I am an accountant, and I know a lot about accounting and tax. I can be classified, after all my learning and experience, as an “expert” accountant. However that is not the expertise I actively sell. I actively market my expertise as a leadership coach and business consultant. Yes, it is related, and I learned my craft in that field through working as an accountant but in doing different things than adding up numbers – and I’m much more passionate about helping people grow great businesses than in keeping fantastic books.
If what you are doing now is of no interest to you, what other things do you do and like, and have developed some knowledge that you can build on, whether this is related to your main job, or a hobby or off-work interest?
Everyone has an interest they don’t mind working hard for – you just need to find it.
2 Focus on your subject
As you look to learn more about your chosen subject, you can be overwhelmed by what you seemingly have to learn and do. Overwhelm is the enemy of remembering what you already know and remembering that all you are wanting to do is building on what you already know. So, focus on just the subject, focus on learning one new thing at a time. If you want to be an expert on, and teach blogging, and are already technically proficient on one blogging platform, concentrate on learning how to improve writing skills and designing for that platform. Then after you have mastered that, move your skills to another platform – one thing at a time.
Another aspect of focus is to look at specialising. There are a lot of people out there who hold themselves out as experts. Remembering expertise is relative, some of them are likely to be “better” than you! So to succeed in your area of expertise, specialise in a niche that hasn’t been particularly well-catered for. Instead of catering for the masses who can go to all these other experts, stand out as the only one in your niche. So as an expert blogger, hold yourself out as an expert to teach want-to-be fashion bloggers.
3 Keep learning
Building your existing knowledge isn’t going to be instant – you will need to learn more and practise what you learn. You are going to spend hours at the beginning, and many more hours throughout your expert career in learning more and more about your subject and keeping up with new innovation, facts and new knowledge.
On top of that you will need to practise what you learn because a real expert has book-knowledge and practical experience. You need to know what works and what doesn’t and the only way to do that is to have tried it. If you want to be an expert in healthy eating, would you really eat junk food all the time?
The studying can be gained from courses, books and seminars, the experience can be gained by practise. For example if you are trying to be an expert in healthy eating you can work for a dietitian for a while, you can cook and eat various diets and assess them, or you can run a healthy eating circle for family and friends.
4 Help and teach others
Yes for free because it helps with practise in step 3, and with marketing in step 5, and it builds your authority status. Society perceives teachers as authority figures and being able to learn and experience actually teaching and helping someone is invaluable. My website teikoh.com provides free tips, tools, ideas, templates and downloads on how to create strategies for your business, learn to be a business leader, and grow people’s businesses – and in doing so I’m communicating with my clients and customers regularly.
If I help you by giving you valuable resources for free, resources that you can use and benefit from, why won’t you buy something from me when I offer it because you already know that my knowledge helps you?
Only make sure that what you offer is genuine, that it has value, and that it does educate and help.
You might think that you are giving away value you could otherwise sell? Perhaps, but if you really have committed to step 3 and spent hundreds of hours learning, do you really think that someone can read a short blog post or download a template and become an expert themselves? Give away good value because unless the person receiving has both your learning and your experience, there’s always an opportunity to provide them with something they will buy in time.
5 Market yourself
Whether you want to be seen as an expert to earn money directly from that expertise, or whether you want to be seen as an expert in a product so that you can sell that product, you need to market your expertise.
The best way to be seen as an authority is to tell people. Write articles for journals, news media and professional magazines (online and print). Commit to a regular series of articles, not just the odd one “when you have some time”. Expertise is regular. Conduct webinars and write a blog. Write a book that describes how people can solve problems in your area of expertise. Obtain a few public speaking engagements where you can educate people about your subject.
6 Use your marketing to build trust
Once you have written books or articles, or appeared on the news or radio talking about your subject, use those experiences to build trust by referring to them in your publicity material. There’s nothing that says “expert” more than describing yourself as an author or having appeared on a radio show. If you have been interviewed by someone famous, how would people feel about you if you said “interviewed twice on Oprah as the expert on cat-training”?
But please, make sure you ask permission before you use someone else’s name. And in today’s world of Google search, never make it up.
Being an expert can bring pleasure to your work as well as increase your marketability whether as an employee, or a consultant, or in your own business. There is a lot of hard work in becoming an expert and in maintaining your expertise, and it is likely going to take you out of your comfort zone especially if you are afraid of public speaking. However there is an upside – increased value for your time and passion in what you do!
If you want to know more about strategy, leadership and growing your business, get yourself over to teikoh.com and see what valuable ideas and tools you can get for free, and to avoid missing any new solutions I post, why not subscribe by clicking here and I’ll make sure any new idea and development is sent to your inbox. We do not sell your details as we believe any relationship we have with you is between us only.