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OP-ED

Are you an “Expert” in your field?

This has to be one of the hardest questions to answer. How do you answer it truthfully to those around you without sounding arrogant? “I am an expert. Yes, I know more than everyone around me about my preferred subject matter.” (who talks like that anyways? :) ) Can you see the looks of disbelief on peoples faces when you told them this? Yeah right. The dust storm kicked up by their exit will be seen for miles around.

Who made “Them” experts?

Someone is the past decided the first person in your field was “The” Expert to listen to as an expert. This branding of the expert was then passed on to others and they passed it on as well. So maybe you are an expert because someone else in your industry has said so. This has the potential to be a great way of getting to be known as an expert, but how do you get someone to recommend you?  This is the hardest part, getting to be known by your peers.  Write articles, press releases, Social Proof and networking with people that have connections to the next level of influence in your industry. This can be another job in and of itself.  It is still worth it when you finally make that right connection… still not the silver bullet.

What if you’re an “outsider”?

The outsider is one that does great work, but of a kind that does not quite fit with the rest of the crowd.  Steven Hawking was just that kind of outsider.  His theories were not excepted and spent many years as an outsider before his ideas gained favor.  NOW he is considered an expert.  His ideas have been proven, even over his peers disbelief.  So, although you would eventually become known as an expert, it’s a long haul way to go.

So if you can’t just say it, and getting your peers to acknowledge you is difficult at the moment, what avenue do you have to gain this highly sought after lable?

Clients are the answer….plain and simple.

I don’t mean the amount of clients you have, but the quality of the  opinion they hold of you and your efforts for them.  This is the true litmus test of your expertise.  Did you do for them something they could not by themselves?  Did they thank you for your efforts, and pass your name to their friends and other business owners because of it?  Did they give you a testimonial?

All in All, the final score is determined by you.  All of the other ways of determining if you are expert could fail you, and you are left with the question for yourself to answer. “…am I an expert?”

If you have an idea of what an expert is, feel free in letting me know in your comments.  I would love to hear what you have to think on this subject.

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