by Emily Worden | Featured Contributor
My mother-in-law Becky is an internationally recognized early childhood expert. She knows a lot about it – she has written tons, lectured around the world, and teaches at a well known university. Becky recently visited and one night we opened a bottle of wine and talked about her future plans.
I suggested she write another book and we talked late into the evening about topics and chapter ideas. Becky was really excited, but she kept bristling when I called her an expert.
“I’m not an expert,” she said, “how can I tell people what to do?”
This resonated with me because I was recently called an expert and had a similar reaction to Becky’s. After a client listened to my spiel about social media (best times to post, what to post, secret strategies) she sat wide eyed and said, “Wow, you really know your stuff. You’re a social media expert.”
Just like Becky, I bristled at the word “expert.” Clearly there’s people who know more about social media strategy than I do, so where do I get off calling myself an expert?
Does this sound familiar to you? Self doubt is very common and it’s a career killer. I got over it fast and you need too to. Today we’re talking about calling yourself an expert and why it’s so good for business.
First, get over your fear of the word “expert.” I guarantee you’re already an expert about something and might not even realize it. Sure, there are some people who know more than you, but there are a heck of a lot of people who know a heck of a lot less. Plus, there is plenty of room in the world for experts, so don’t worry about the next guy.
What’s so important about calling yourself an expert?
- It makes you feel awesome
- People respect your opinions more
- It’s damn good for business
Here’s the deal – the world is hungry for experts – journalists want to quote them and customers want to buy from them. Position yourself as an expert and journalists call you first when they need a quote. Be an authority on your topic and customers are excited and empowered to buy from you.
So what is your expertise? It could be general (like dog grooming) or it could be specific (like grooming small show dogs.) Be as specific as possible – in a world full of experts, the micro-niche expert stands out.
Use your authority to boost business. Customers need information before they buy, and she who shares the most information wins the most customers. Find out the questions your target audience is asking and become the go-to source for their answers:
- Release special reports and white papers
- Contribute articles to relevant blogs and magazines
- Actively participate in popular online forums about your topic
- Write an ebook for download or purchase
- Make videos talking about your topic and share on YouTube with a keyword-rich description
- Give lectures at local institutions like schools, libraries, or your Chamber of Commerce
- Put a “Top 10” or “How to” list on your next mailing (ex: “Top 10 Reasons to Replace Old Carpeting” or “How to Plant Flowers in the Fall for a Beautiful Spring”)
Uncomfortable about sharing your hard-earned knowledge? Don’t be. Give away tidbits of information for free to establish your authority then charge more money for your expertise. Think like Martha Stewart – she built an empire on free recipes and DIY tips.
Once you call yourself an expert, you must keep earning it. Stay up to date on the latest information in your industry. Continuously improve your level of expertise by reading books, blogs, magazines, and attending industry events.
Don’t wait until someone else calls you an expert because it might never happen. You’re smarter than the average bear about something relevant. Define what you know, who wants to hear it, then get to work telling them what they need to know. Not only is it good for business, but there are people out there who could really use your advice.
Emily Worden – Entrepreneur, Small Business Strategist, Impossible Optimist – Cambridge, MA
Emily Worden is a Boston-based entrepreneur and small business strategist. She started her custom handbag business eThreads.com in 2008 while pursuing her MBA and working 3 jobs. After a particularly awful shift at her weekend catering gig, Emily threw down the apron and said, “Screw it, I’m going to do something I love!” She graduated and quit her jobs to pursue eThreads full time. Emily believes business can be a powerful catalyst for change. She started eThreads to satisfy the Triple Bottom Line – people, planet and profits – and hopes to inspire other businesses to do the same. She started the cat lifestyle business Ferocious Friends in 2012 with her husband Case to satisfy the needs of their cats Lulu, Smoke and every feline around. Emily started emilyworden.com in 2013 to assist other small businesses with strategic vision and implementation with a focus on marketing, leadership and social media.
Emily is an avid DIYer and loves making things with her hands. Her happy place is the library where she walks once a week; she’s always excited to learn something new. Her extra happy place is a great view of sunset with music pumping in her ears. Emily is grateful everyday for following her dreams and hopes to inspire other people to do the same.