Everyone's an expert at something, right? There's a barista here at the coffee shop who is an expert at trivia. If you have a question about some obscure event, person, or thing, John will have the answer for you. I know someone else who is an expert in understanding motorcycles. He can talk about the mechanics, the history, style, performance, and popularity of any bike on the planet. We all have an area of interest in which we know a little bit more than the average person. And most of us have a "go-to-person" within our circle of friends, family, and peers for many of the questions that come into our lives.
But what about when we have to look outside of our circle? For instance, have you ever looked for a web designer/developer? Do a Google search and pages upon pages of them will come up - but who do you choose? If you're a musician, wouldn't you prefer a designer who has provided websites to other musicians? You would probably want someone whose design would capture the essence of your music and who could offer you examples of how they've done that for others in the past, right? I spoke with a chiropractor the other day who would only consider a web designer who has built sites for other chiropractors. She felt that such a designer would "know the chiropractic lingo" and be more highly qualified to provide an effective website . She was looking for an expert.
So what exactly is an expert and why is it important that you position yourself as one in marketing your business? Let's begin with the word; ex-pert [n., v. ek-spurt; adj. ek-spurt, ik-spurt] Wikipedia defines an expert as "a person with extensive knowledge or ability in a particular area of study." The definition goes on to say, "an expert can be, by virtue of training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person."
The key words here are, "beyond that of the average person." Solopreneurs often hesitate to define themselves as experts. Many make the mistake of comparing themselves to others who may be more advanced in their field. That thought process can be deflating - even debilitating. If you find yourself hesitating to put yourself out there with confidence and strong marketing materials, I'd like to suggest a little adjustment to your thinking that may give you the confidence to change that. Simply ask yourself if you have specific knowledge in your field that is "beyond that of the average person." Most of us could honestly answer yes. There is always someone who knows more than the next person about specifics in any given field, but if you know more than the average person, you are an expert. Is there more to learn? Always. But if you want to grow your business, choose a niche within your field and begin to market yourself as an expert in that niche and people will seek you out. You will continue to learn, and as you do, your expertise will grow and even more people will seek you out.
Next week, we'll talk about some common limiting beliefs behind creating a niche. But for now, embrace the expert in you! Once YOU believe in your own expertise, others will follow.