How To Position Yourself As An Expert

27 May, 2015

Own Your Industry

If you’re anything like me, then being the go-to person in your particular area of expertise is something you aspire to. You know what I mean – when someone asks a friend who they should contact when they need a coach/social media expert/graphic designer/or in my case, personal branding specialist, you want your name to come up. Or the media want to interview someone in your industry, (nerves aside) wouldn’t you like that person to be you?

Malcolm Gladwell calls these people Outliers. Seth Godin describes them as Connectors (the people who do work that stands out, that we must talk about). Marie Forleo asks: “If you were the best at what you do, how would you behave?”

Well, working your way up to that kind of level requires payment, usually in time or money. But I found something that makes it immensely easier and a whole lot quicker. According to Douglas Kruger, all it takes is 50 steps.

Douglas has written a book called “Own Your Industry. How to position yourself as an expert” and in this post, I’m going to share with you the juicy bits.

Here goes (in no particular order).

  1. Understand that what people think of you defines how much you can charge for what you do.
  1. Positioning yourself as an expert is your Nobody else’s.
  1. The barrier to being seen as a thought leader exists only in your mind.
  1. Competence is over-rated. Without personality and publicity, knowledge for the sake of it will not make you an expert.
  1. Becoming an expert is like emulating the popular kid at school: look good, be visible, have an opinion, be seen with the right people, get up to something.
  1. Experts out-care their competition.
  1. Once you’ve positioned yourself as the expert, business will start coming to you.
  1. TALENT = yearning + input + deliberate practice, sustained
  1. To be an expert, you have to know what you stand for. Do you know what you stand for?
  1. Evaluate everything you see in your industry – what works and what doesn’t.
  1. Read about your topic for an hour every day.
  1. Don’t prostitute yourself by doing a little bit of everything. Find your area of focus.
  1. Appearance is everything… so appear!
  1. Join the right associations and hang out with the right people to boost your credibility.
  1. How do you dress? Like the best? Make your look memorable.
  1. Be authentic.
  1. Develop a simple, to the point title of what you do. Don’t disappear into a vortex of verbiage.
  1. Ask yourself, what have you overcome in order to be what you are?
  1. Get references and referrals and put them everywhere.
  1. As an expert, your clients will be big picture people. They care about results.
  1. Experts only work for free when the outcome builds their reputation amongst the right people.
  1. Write the book on your industry that you would buy and read.
  1. Have the courage to call up the media and offer your expert advice to the right audience.
  1. What do your social media profiles say about your reputation?
  1. Find organisations that have similar goals to yours and partner with them.
  1. To be an expert, you must break beyond the “mere excellence” barrier and add your unique signature to your work.
  1. Make sure all your communication is consistent and on brand.
  1. Experts are nothing more or less than the sum total of public perceptions.
  1. Do what you say you will do.
  1. Respond more rapidly and professionally than your competitors.
  1. Make others look good.
  1. Don’t slander anyone. Politics can make or break you.
  1. Position yourself cheaply and you may find yourself doing less business.
  1. Fire your low-paying, high input clients.
  1. Interview your clients and select only the ones with the right fit.
  1. Clients are reassured by guarantees. Guarantees create confidence in your work and because of it, allow you to charge more.
  1. The simplest way to provide value is to teach.
  1. When delivering presentations, go beyond the facts and tell your audience what the insights and information means to them.
  1. Learn to sum up concepts in short, punchy phrases that are easily remembered and repeated.
  1. Nothing appeals to the human mind like a well-told story. Stories, just like metaphors, summarise complex points easily.
  1. Understand the essential pain you resolve.
  1. If you go up to the hillside and they follow, you are a guru. If you go up to the hillside and they do not follow, you are a lost hillbilly. How are you providing ways for people to find and follow you?
  1. If you don’t know what you’re an expert at yet, don’t worry, you will by the time you get there.

I found Douglas’ book totally refreshing and well written. Along with cheat sheets and 10 Rookie Errors To Avoid, it’s easy to read and more importantly easy to apply. If you’re determined and willing to step out of your comfort zone, then How to Own Your Industry is a must have. I bought my copy at Exclusive Books, but it’s also available on kindle and probably a host of other places.

Happy reading.



Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.