When I first got started on the path to becoming a highly-paid expert in the area of personal and business development, one of the first things that came to my mind was the question: “Who would take me seriously?” It’s not like I had achieved anything spectacular in my life as at that time. My meat business had just packed up. As far as I could see I did not have anything that would give credibility to my claim of the title ‘personal and business development coach’.
I had a lot of sleepless nights…because, to be frank, I thought I was a big joke. But as time went on, I realized there really was no need to stress myself at all. You see…I discovered a 3-step failure-proof system that literally guarantees that you establish credibility as an expert on any topic or subject matter.
Step 1: Become a student
Back in my early days as a speaker, I got involved with an organization in Calabar called Youth Empowerment Programs. Every month they would host these seminars targeted at youths and invite speakers to share their secrets with them. Well…back then I wanted to find a way to stand out from the crowd…so I started learning about the internet and sharing what I learnt. Pretty soon people started referring to me as “The Internet Guy”.
I had people calling me up to ask questions about the internet and how to use it for business. Eventually, I had people pay me as much as N2,500 an hour back then to consult with me. The funny thing was – I didn’t even have an online business or a website for that matter.
What’s my point? Simply this…You do not need to have ever done something to be considered an expert in it. You do not have to have “results” per se to be seen as an expert.
I know this might sound like blasphemy to some of you. But have you ever seen a university lecturer or academic on television being interviewed about business? They are not even in business and they may never even practice the business principles they teach. But because they studied business closely enough and know about the best practices in business, they are considered to be “experts.”
Just as I became an expert on the internet without ever even having a personal website, you too can be seen as an expert on any given topic without necessarily having achieved any results in that area.
Have you read the book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill? A lot of people, and I mean a lot of people, have attributed their successes to the teachings of Think and Grow Rich. I have personally sold a few hundred copies of the audio version of the book.
But here’s the thing; Napoleon Hill did not base the book on what he had accomplished. Rather, the power of the book lies in the fact that the author spent 25 years researching and studying the lives of the ultra successful men and women of his time. Later on, he went on to do a lot of corporate training and consulting based on this content.
How did he become an expert and one of the most influential authors in the history of our industry?The answer is simple: He researched and reported on his topic. The story behind Think and Grow Rich is that Napoleon Hill interviewed rich people like Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie’s wealthy friends. From those interviews, Hill simply put together what they were saying. He found the common ideas that they shared and distilled the lessons they learned and best practices into useful chunks of information that helped people like you and me understand the topic.
People paid and continue to pay for this book because it can improve their lives and take years off their learning curve. You can do exactly the same thing.
Every leader in any field of expertise today started out first and foremost as a student of the field.
But they didn’t just stop there; they went on and shared what they learned with people and over time they became recognized as experts in that field. Now, it’s possible for you to make a lot of money doing what I’ve suggested in bold type above but that is only a part of the story.
Step 2: Apply what you learn in order to create results and gain perspective
One of the most important things I’ve learned in this business is that the only thing that truly separates you from the masses is your perspective – your very own unique way of seeing things.
What do I mean?
There are hundreds of people out there talking about success and leadership, but only Sam Adeyemi can talk about success the way Sam Adeyemi talks about success. If you’re like me I’m sure your library is full of books by different people but all on the same topic. The one thing that separates one expert from the other is their unique understanding of the subject matter.
Just studying a subject is not enough to give you perspective.
The truth is there are certain things you will never really understand about a topic until you are actively applying what you are learning and evaluating your results.
Apply what you learn.
Here’s the thing; it’s not about having spectacular results. It is only about having results.
If you are teaching finance, It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a million naira stashed away somewhere. What matters is that you have started the process and that you can speak from experience about the value of having some money stashed away as against not having any at all.
Why is it important to keep this in mind?
Because most people make the classic mistake of trying to be everything to everybody. Big mistake! The problem is that many times we tend to discount and undervalue what we know.
You might not consider yourself an expert simply because you are not personally impressed by your own results, but the truth is that there are many other people out there trying to figure out how to get to your level – something you probably already know casually.
If you sat down and listed all the things you have learned and experienced in life and business, you would discover you know a lot. As a matter of fact, you’d be shocked at how long that list really is.
The amazing thing is that many people will pay good money to get basic advice and knowledge from you on almost any given topic.
Think about it; have you ever paid money to learn or do one thing or the other? Have you ever bought a book or an audio program to motivate yourself (I’ve done this several times). While you might not think it’s a big deal, the fact is that’s the way the highly paid expert’s economy works.
Someone knew how to do something, and you paid them for it. They had gotten the result you wanted, and so you paid to take some months or years off your learning curve. You paid for information that could help you get from Point A on life’s highway to Point B. You paid for results. It is as simple as that. That’s exactly what happens in my coaching and consulting business. People pay for it because they want only one thing…RESULTS!
But not just any kind of result; THEY want the results that I have PROMISED I can deliver. I haven’t always been able to help people generate six figure incomes. In fact, when I first started offering a variation of this course back in 2005, my basic promise was to teach people how to make N25,000 a week selling their knowledge and expertise. That was what I knew how to do back then. As a result, I didn’t try to appeal to every and any body. I just focused on finding people who wanted the results I knew I had the confidence to deliver.
Over time, as I started getting better results, my confidence also grew and today I can do a whole lot more than I did back then.
So the question is, what results have you gotten in life and business? How can you use that as a basis for building your business?
Step 3: Make integrity your #1 watch word
If people trust you in this business, you can reach dizzying heights of achievement that will have you pinching yourself every 30 second to make sure you’re not dreaming. But if people don’t trust you, your business is dead before it even leaves the paper you planned it on.
Integrity is a very important and critical element of becoming perceived and recognized as an expert on a subject. It’s the one thing that cements and gives power to the previous two steps.
So how exactly does this work? Be authentic. Your audience and market will love you for it. And don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Some people seem to think that it’s only when people think that they have it all together that they’ll recognize them as experts, but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, it’s your pain and weakness, your story of how struggle, and your ability to demonstrate your humanity that strikes a chord in the hearts of your target market.
So…first things first: Don’t lie or make things up.
If you are still struggling with a part of what you teach, it’s okay to let your market place know about it. The more you share your failings and successes, the more you connect on an emotional level with your market place.
Second…learn to be comfortable with your current level of results.
That’s not to say I’m suggesting that you shouldn’t aim for more.
All I’m suggesting is that you realize and accept the value of where you are at the moment. And finally, go to work on your character. In fact, work harder on you than on anything else.
Why? Because as you become a better person, more and more people will start to trust, respect, admire and follow you. And people always listen to people they trust, respect, admire and follow.
Case in point; people go to their pastor for advice on a variety of issues – most of which the man is not even qualified to speak on but people would still pay attention to what he has to say on the topic if over time he has demonstrated that he can be trusted.
I’m always amazed at how this shows up in my life. Thousands of people listen every month to Power Ideas, my monthly personal and business development audio coaching program focused on helping people become high performance brands. Hundreds listen to me at live presentations or read my articles online, yet when some people ask me for advice it is sometimes about something I don’t have a clear-cut expertise or credibility on.
Last year, a lady I met on Allen Avenue at Lagos offered me N10,000 to sit with her for two hours to structure her law practice. I don’t have a clue how to set up a law practice correctly.
An NGO in Calabar offered N40,000 to do a 45 minute talk on gender issues. What the @#$!! is that?!!
This type of thing happens all the time to people in the public eye who have earned good reputation for themselves. Business owners, speakers, authors, celebrities, bloggers, YouTubers, and leaders in every field and in every industry are constantly asked for their advice and offered money for expertise, consulting, coaching, or content that is completely beyond their realm of knowledge, skill, experience, or ability.
Why? Because people ask advice from people they trust, respect, admire, and follow.
At a personal level, I’d pay massive amounts of money to get business advice from Mr Tony Raphael, the Lead Pastor at Calabar City Church, even though that is not his field of expertise. I’d listen to every word Sam Adeyemi tells me on any topic, even if he’s stretching it. I, like everyone else, listen to people I admire.
Why do I bring this up here? I do it to drive home the fact that if you are seen as a role model, you will find that your status is an incredibly powerful pillar in positioning yourself as an expert. This is my way of saying to you, “Be a good person and good things will follow.”
Frankly, I think we need more role models in Nigeria in general. We need more people leading lives of integrity, compassion, and service, and I believe the future belongs to those who live such lives.
So there you have it. Now that you know the 3-step system for being recognized as an expert I want you to build on these pillars consciously, strategically, and actively for the rest of your life on any topic with which you want to help others.
Victor Bassey helps entrepreneurial experts, coaches, consultants, trainers, small/medium scale business owners and corporate executives become commercially smart with the positioning, packaging, promotion and distribution of their knowledge expertise and life experience. Follow him on Twitter @mrvictorbassey
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