“Oh, I can’t! I’m not an expert yet.”
“I don’t think I’m ready. I’m still green.”
“I’m a newbie right now…”
Do any of those phrases sound familiar to you?
Maybe you’ve uttered something like them in the past week or month — or maybe even earlier today.
If you have, I’m going to have to ask you to stop that shit. Right now.
While those three tiny sentences may seem harmless initially, the ideas behind them actually hold more people back then you can imagine. In fact, one or all three of those little comments may be having a negative impact on you and your business as we speak.
You might feel as if viewing yourself through the ”newbie” lens is just giving you a good ol’ dose of realism, and helping you stay humble. After all, if you’re just starting out, you don’t want to get too puffed up about being an expert before you’re ready. I get that…
BUT… that kind of hesitation and under-selling of your already-existing skills can get in the way of you doing a ton of helpful stuff for your business, especially in the early stages.
Almost every day, I’ll get an email from a client or reader, telling me they’re not ready to take the kind of action they’d like to, or apply certain strategies, or charge what they want to charge, or approach the right clients… because they feel they’re not an expert yet.
Of course, while expertise isn’t the only factor to being booked out, it helps. After all, expertise is a powerful credibility builder.
The ironic thing is, most people don’t feel confident in their own expertise until someone else tells them they should be. You’re not an expert until someone else recognises you as such – that’s a fundamental part of the whole ‘being an expert’ idea. So the more you hold off, and call yourself a newbie, and don’t stand confidently in the skills your practising? The longer it’ll take you to create that “expert” label for yourself.
We all agree that being seen as an expert is desirable. Man, can it be helpful if you want to get booked out with great clients! But I’m sorry to say this isn’t a post about “How to quickly become an expert in the next 10 days” — because, well, that’s just bullshit.
Real, reliable expertise is developed over time.
The reality is: every single expert, including the ones you know and love at the very top of their game, are all constantly in a space of learning, evolving, and growing.
So the only thing really separating you from those you consider “ahead” of you is just a bit of time and effort.
Instead of thinking too small, or too big, when it comes to your expertise, it’s best to think right in the middle.
To help you do that, I’ve compiled 10 awesome tips designed to help you feel more confident as an expert while building your skills, your audience, and your knack for strategy at the same time.
Pretty cool, right?
Let’s dive in.
10 tips for building your expertise — starting today
Tip 1: Stay engaged and interested, and always keep learning
Like I said, evolution is part of every expert’s journey. You’re never “finished” soaking up new information. Experts stay aware of new trends, new topics, innovations and breakthroughs in their industry. It’s also important to keep contributing to conversations in your field online, and in person.
Not sure how to do get into that learning headspace?
Start with this mantra: “What can I learn this week?”
While you might not become an instant-expert in your chosen field in 10 days, choosing 1 skill at a time to master can make a huge difference to your confidence, and the quality of your work.
Tip 2: Experiment and share the results with your audience
The beauty of being just a bit under the “expert” title? You have plenty of space to experiment, play with new ideas, and share about your journey. Enjoy yourself. Have fun. Trying out the strategies, tactics, and theories in your field is the fastest way to become an expert on what works, and what doesn’t.
Even better than that? When you talk about your journey publicly, it’s a great way to invite new readers and fans into your world. Action is often the fastest way to success, so if you’re looking to build up your expertise, you don’t have to stick your nose in a library book! Test things in your business, report back, and keep growing.
Tip 3: Be visible and put yourself out there
I actually wrote all about this in a previous post right here.
But hey: I completely understand that the idea of being visible brings up a lot of shit for people, and can trigger some serious anxiety. I really do. Still, it’s important to put yourself out there for so many reasons — one of which is that it will help you be seen as a credible expert sooner.
And remember: you don’t have to start huge. No one says you have to post on your blog every day, do a Facebook live every night, and host webinars on the reg. Start with 1 blog post a week, or 2 a month. Practice making videos of yourself. Or, just start replying to popular blogs you love with heartfelt commentary.
Do whatever it takes to help yourself build up visibility momentum – then, stay in your spotlight.
Tip 4: Go narrow
What do I mean by that? Pick a niche in your industry to go narrow on, and then go deep.
This is a great strategy for sheer scale reasons (and one that everyone with a PhD/Doctorate understands very well!): it’s easier to be an expert in a small domain.
To be clear: this is not meant to limit you! Quite the opposite, in fact. You don’t need to start giving the boot to all clients and topics that don’t fit into that individual niche if you want to take the projects. But giving yourself a “north star” for ideas and content you want to share, and work you want to do, will make finding great clients, attracting projects you love, and becoming the expert you want to be infinitely easier.
Tip 5: Share your opinions, popular or otherwise
When you want to be known as an expert, it’s best not to just regurgitate opinions of other experts over and over. If you want to build a name for yourself really quickly, the more unique your opinions, or the more ideas you have that go against the grain that you want to discuss, the better.
So start thinking: is there something about your industry that really pisses you off? Is there a common practice people are doing wrong, or you reckon there’s another way of doing?
Whether or not you assign yourself an “expert” role yet, if you have something to say — don’t be shy about saying it. Your perfect clients will love you for it!
Tip 6: Include more “as seen in” logos on your website
Using “as seen in” logos of the media outlets that, well, you’ve been seen, can be a great way to imbue you with greater cred. For example, if you land a blog post on or mention in Entrepreneur.com or Forbes, you’ll want to post their logo on your homepage. Make it your job to start collecting those logos to build your expertise.
Curious about how you can put your hand up for potential media placements? In Australia, Source Bottle is an awesome resource for connecting journalists and media outlets with people who may want to share their story or expert opinion. In the states, Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is another option.
Take a peek at the listings, and start pitching yourself for events, interviews, speaking gigs, and podcasts, and start gathering up those “as seen in” logos! They’re super powerful when it comes to your street cred.
Tip 7: Collect testimonials
If you haven’t been collecting testimonials from your clients (even the people you coach or speak to free of charge), you need to start, like, yesterday.
Not sure how to do that? Begin by emailing your clients, and asking what they loved about working with you, how they felt about the results they saw, and anything else you want to know. Then, turn their answers into paragraph form, or grab a few of your favourite sentences, and post them on your site!
It’s also worthwhile to get into the habit of transcribing any compliments clients give you over the phone and screenshotting some gems from emails.
Testimonials are the best form of social proof, so collect them, and share them widely when you can!
Tip 8: Set yourself a target number of interviews for the year
I don’t care if the number is 100, 1,000, once a week, or twice a month. Whatever you go for, I recommend you set a target, get busy making ‘em happen, and track your progress against it every week.
To boost your credibility, consider setting up a media page on your website with a few photos, a short bio, and a few topics. Sending out the link to this page, rather than reinventing the wheel each time you need to provide this info to someone, will save you so.much.time.
Tip 9: Fuck imposter syndrome
Seriously: it’s such a waste of time, and it’s something that everyone suffers from. And more often than not, imposter syndrome keeps brilliant people like you from sharing their best work with the people that really need it.
Here’s a great exercise for the next time you find yourself coming face to face with those ‘When will people discover I’m an imposter’ feelings:
- List 3-5 people who are killing it in your industry, who you think are at the top of their game;
- Then, for each person identified, challenge yourself to come up with at least 1 way, if not more, that you are better, smarter, more accomplished, and cooler than the person at the top of their industry.
Prepare to be surprised. Maybe you have more qualifications, or more years of experience, or you’ve worked with someone big in your field, or you have a particular expertise. Whatever it is, this exercise always helps me feel accomplished and powerful and helps me shut the door on imposter syndrome.
Tip 10: Own it in your bio first
Yeah, you heard me. Your standing as an expert can only start when you really step up to claim it. So start including a short phrase in your bio, like “internationally renowned expert”, or “sought after for her opinions on XYZ”, or whatever you’re comfortable with.
Claiming it in your bio first can be a really powerful way of putting your best foot forward for the expertise you’d like to be known for.
Now, I’m handing the mic over to you!
Do you feel as if you’re an expert right now? Why or why not?
If you think of yourself as an expert, how’d you get yourself over that I’m-a-newbie, total-imposter-syndrome hump? Do you have any tips of your own that weren’t listed here? Let me know!
And if you don’t feel you’re an expert quite yet, which tips on this list are you looking to try first?
Share it with our community in the comments below. You never know when someone might be in just the right place to help you out!
But most of all, remember:
Being seen as an expert can happen to anyone. Fame, success, and a booked-out schedule can happen to anyone. And it can and will happen to you, too. Never forget that.
Now go on and get your expert status going!