Yesterday, two checks came in the mail – one from an old client and one from a new one. More than the amounts themselves, having them in my hand gave me immense satisfaction, knowing that I cultivated the clients myself and that I was being paid for my expertise.
It brought to mind a recent blog post “How to be Perceived as an Expert in Your Field” by virtual mentor and social media guru Michaell Hyatt. As usual, Hyatt nailed it. “Everyone is an expert at something,” he said.
About five or six years ago, I hit a stumbling block in my career. I knew I was somewhat good at writing but I wasn’t getting the validation I needed. Everyone and anyone seemed to have a blog. Newer, younger writers were emerging and willing to work for almost nothing. I was disappointed and unmotivated.
I decided to specalize and write about money. Personal finance fascinated me. Little did I know that I would eventually write a book about the subject. When people ask, I say I write about personal finance and have self-published a book about it. It is exhilirating.
When you want to be perceived as an expert in your field, heed Hyatt’s advice:
Own it. I hear about the most obscure fields and sub-specialties all the time, but I have great respect for people who can “own it.” To date, I have met a college essay advisor, a short-sale-only realtor, a trim carpenter, a gopher exterminator, a farm anival vet and a nail polish color consultant.
Declare it. “Say it out loud,” says Hyatt. Practice your elevator speech or your one-liner. Get used to saying it and people will recognize your expertise.
Share it. Be generous of your gift or expertise so that others may benefit. Mentor a newbie in your field. Speak at conferences or expos. Teach a class or seminar. Start a blog. Write a book.
Prove it. Get feedback and reviews. Post it in your blog, if you have one. Include testimonials in your brochure and marketing collaterals. People like to hear about your track record before deciding to work with you. They like to know they are not the guinea pigs or the first ones to hire you.
Sell it. It takes great confidence and determination to do this. Once you’ve pinpointed what you’re good at, “bottle your secret sauce,” so to speak. On Facebook the other day, I saw ads for paid webinars from making aromatic oils to making a living writing romance novels. With advances in technology and the social media advantage, it is easier than ever to sell our wares.
Where are you at right now in owning your expertise? What step/s do you find most challenging?