You May Already Be an Expert… You Just Don’t Know It

Hierarchy of the Self-EmployedThis is part four of the Hierarchy of the Successfully Self-Employed series.

Sam Donovan is an expert.

Allow me to demonstrate…

Sam: “You shouldn’t think that just because I’m looking at you while you’re talking to me, that I’m necessarily listening to or caring about what you’re saying. It’s just something I do to be polite. I was lying on a beach in Bali. I got a phone call. I got on a plane for fourteen hours. I was hired to raise this show’s audience share three points. Just between you and me, I’m going to raise it three and a half. I’m not lacking in confidence as far as that’s concerned, and because of that I can say this: I honestly don’t give a damn if any of you work here or not.”

Granted, Sam is a character on the short-lived, yet brilliant TV show Sports Night. But he’s an excellent representation of an expert — he’s:

  • There because he provides results.
  • Well aware of his value.
  • Confident in his expertise.
  • Paid well (because low-paid work-for-hire folks don’t lay around on beaches in Bali).
  • Arrogant.

Okay, arrogance is optional, but the other traits are crucial.

expert pyramid
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Non-Fictional Experts

Take a moment to picture someone you consider to be an expert.

What makes them an expert? Aside from the traits listed above, what makes them an expert is that they say they’re an expert.

Let that sink in.

An expert is perceived as an expert because they create that perception. The expert traits are just the framework. I know lots of freelancers and contractors who have as much, if not more, confidence and capability as the experts I know.

What separates the experts is that they:

  • Know their value.
  • Can easily demonstrate that value.
  • Aren’t afraid to ask to be compensated well for that value.

Now, picture your expert again. Would they:

No. Experts don’t play that BS.

Become an Expert in the Blink of an Eye

So how do you make the leap from being a freelancer or contractor to expert? You just do.

Maybe not what you were expecting, but it’s the truth. Becoming an expert is a gateless gate. But there are some prerequisites.

First, I’m going to assume you have skills.

Second, If you’ve read this far, you’re way ahead of most people. It means you really want it, and are willing to do what it takes to get it.

Third, you must know your value, and can clearly demonstrate it. If you can save someone $100,000 a year, why are you charging $10,000 for the project?

Finally, you have to ask for it. Nobody is going to anoint you with the title of expert until you do it yourself.

Expertise isn’t about just talents, abilities, and approach. It’s about mindset. The perception you create is what the world is going to see.

The Problem with Being an Expert

Once you are an expert, your dance card suddenly becomes overwhelming. Nobody likes turning down a gig, or money. But even for an expert, there are only so many hours in the day.

So how do you remedy this problem?

The guru knows…


Hierarchy of the Successfully Self-Employed Series