Small business success! So you think you are an expert? Who says? Sometimes people are “crowned” an expert on TV, Doctors are experts through training and education, and sometimes you can join a business association or get a designation within your industry.
More often than not though, it is what you DO that makes you an expert!
Books – Conventional wisdom says that if you want to become an expert on something read 3 books. That seems a little light to me BUT if you read three books and it sparks you to read 2 magazines and visit 5 associated websites AND talk to a human, I think you can consider yourself an expert.
Time – If you like something for long enough you will be come and expert! My father has a VW “Thing”. It is old and he doesn't drive it very often BUT he has had it for a while so he has gone to VW meetups, he gets catalogs, he has read A LOT about it, he used to get a VW magazine. He knows A LOT about an obscure car that few people care about.
Interest – We think of computer guys as nerds, they think of themselves as geeks! They are REALLY interested in computers and how to make them work. They have websites like SlashDot.com where they can gather for the latest geeky news. They have causes like “Open Source” which means that everyone can contribute to programs to make them better because they have access to the source code. The great programmers that I know have rarely taken a computer science class. They don't have time for it because they are too busy playing around on their computers!
Channels – You can even PICK what you might be interested in! I work with two great realtors who have decided to focus on Short Sales. Julia Fishel (The Pinellas Peach) works these in the Palm Harbor area and Deb Ward who works them in the middle of Pinellas County (ComeToClearwater.com). The interesting thing is that they are only about 10 miles apart BUT because of the nature of real estate are not direct competitors! Both have taken every class they can to learn about the current rules of short sales, they have found a great title company who can support them (Star Title) and they are actively looking for that kind of work!
Because I Said So – This is the one that seems the hardest to get a handle on! To be an expert, you just have to say that you are an expert and it will become so. If people think you are an expert, it makes you want to find out more about your chosen topic so you don't look like a schmoe when people ask you about it. You will start to get mail about that subject. You should start a blog. You could join an association. But most of all the universe will say “dang this woman likes marketing and training, let's give her some opportunities to do both!”.
Do Something – Make sure to do something (preferably everyday) that reinforces your expertise, write a blog post, attend an event where you tell people what you do, send out a direct mail piece that tells people what you do, SING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!