How to Discover Your Expert Calling

If you want to monetize your expertise you need to be specific about what you offer and to whom. It’s not enough to simply define yourself as, say, a writer. What do you write? Who do you write for? What type of assignments do you take on? Which do you reject? Be specific. It’s difficult to be an authority if you’re a generalist. Specialise, be known for delivering a particular expertise to a particular market.

Failing to define your expertise costs you time, effort and dilutes your authority

  1. Don’t make the mistake of believing the broader your service or product, the more money you’ll make. The market values specialists more than generalists. It’s why heart surgeons are paid more than general surgeons.
  2. Monetizing your expertise is all about building your authority within a target market (because authority builds credibility which builds tribes/audiences/fans – which you can monetize). It’s difficult to do that when you’re generic. (It’s better to be “The Biotech Lawyer” or “The Franchise Lawyer” than just “the lawyer”).

Precisely define what you’re about

The following questions will help you discover your expert calling, i.e. what your skills are and how you will use them to help others whilst achieving your personal goals. At the end of the process you will have a clear idea of who you are, what you do, who you do it for and how to use your expertise to fulfil your personal goals.

  1. Complete this sentence. I offer [product/service] to help [type of person] [achieve a result]”. For example, “I offer marketing coaching to personal trainers so they can make six-figures per annum”. Or, “I offer training to help entrepreneurs secure venture capital funding.”
  2. What are the big stones in your life? Imagine a jar. Imagine some large stones and a pile of sand with the combined volume of the jar. Your job is to fill the jar with the stones and sand.  If you start by pouring in the sand – the small stuff – you will find that you won’t have enough room for the stones – the bigger stuff. The only way to do this is to fill your jar with the stones first and pour in the sand afterwards. That’s life for many of us. We fill it with unimportant small things and run out of room for the things that matter. Fill your jar with the big stones first. Identify the big stones in three areas of your life: health, wealth and relationships. The purpose of marketing and monetizing your know-how is to build a freedom business that helps you get more of these big stones in your jar.
  3. What is your legacy? What do you want people to remember about you when you’re gone? What do you want to leave behind as your legacy? You don’t have to cure cancer or feed the hungry. There is honour in smaller goals: being a good friend; a loving parent; a positive force in the life of others; the best cake decorator in Utah. If you could look at your life from 10,000-ft up, what would it look like? What good things do you have in place – again, look at three areas: health, wealth, relationships – this keeps things organised and manageable.
  4. What are your values? What values give your life meaning? It could be personal or professional. No judgement here, define what it most important to you. Some examples:
    – Accumulating great wealth
    – Having a happy family
    – Friendship
    – Power
    – Ambition
    – Personal freedom
    – Pleasure
    – Meaningful work… and so on.
    Whittle down your list to your three top values. (If you have trouble deciding, pit one against the other, and eliminate the loser, and repeat the process until you are left with three values).
  5. What are your professional interests/passions? Make a list of what area of your expertise brings you most satisfaction. You might love meeting clients; you might love tapping away at a keyboard, coding for hours; you may find great meaning in helping your target audience break through barriers; or your passion may be designing great marketing concepts. Or maybe you like your work but dislike particular clients or vice versa. Identify those areas of your expertise that you enjoy, do more of that and less of everything else. Don’t build a business you hate. If it turns out your current expertise is in an area you have no interest in you have three options. (1) You can abandon your expertise and study something else (the nuclear option – it has its pros and cons), or (2) You can package your know-how into products that exchange selling your time with a passive income (a good option), or (3) You can adjust your course, finding an area of your expertise you enjoy more and specialising in that (another good option).
  6. What are your strengths? What do you excel at? What comes easily and naturally to you? If you are an entertaining speaker then events, podcasting or video would be great choices to build your platform and start monetizing your expertise. If you enjoy writing, course-creation or book writing may be your route. If you are a gifted designer, you could spread your message via slides, infographics or an online store selling your designs, themes or templates. With two exceptions – public speaking and video presentation – do not waste time working on your weaknesses (they will always be weaknesses – outsource these) but, instead, building on your strengths.
  7. Who do you want to serve? Who do you want to help? Who do you want to have as clients on a daily basis? Who do you not want to have dealings with? Picture your ideal client (an individual, not a business). What qualities do they have? What are their personality traits that appeal to you? How do they treat you? How do they feel working with you? Do they appreciate the value and results you deliver? What do they pay? This is your target market: gradually weed out clients who do not fit the bill and replace them with those who do.
  8. What result do you promise your clients? What outcome are you promising to deliver at the end of your product or service? You must live up to this.
  9. What is your unique twist? What sets you apart? Do you have a unique selling point, something that differentiates you from the competition? If you’re stuck for a USP try this: identify what matters to your audience when choosing a service like yours and focus on owning one of those qualities in the minds of your prospects. For example, clients may rate tenacity highly in lawyers. You could be the “Fighting Lawyer”. Other ways to find a USP are to specialise in a particular service, niche, industry or audience.
  10. How do you want others to perceive you? When you’re not in the room, what do you want people to say about you both personally and professionally? Aspire to be that person, “Be what you wish to seem”.
  11. What are your goals? Don’t overcomplicate goal-setting. It’s simply writing down what you want. You don’t need to visualise – just get it in writing. What do you want in the following areas of your life: Health, Wealth, Relationships, Leisure, Meaning? Write down one thing for each category. Break that one thing into steps; break those steps down further until you have a step-by-step action plan you can follow. Do the next thing on your list, then the next, then the next, then the next… One foot in front of the other.
  12. When are you in flow? Identify those areas of your expertise that often take you into flow – that state where you don’t realise you’re working and time just flies. Spend as much time as you can in flow – it’s where you will find contentment and meaning.

Takeaway points

  1. If you want to market and monetize your know-how, you need to know exactly what you’re offering the world; not just in terms of your chosen expertise, but also you as a person, your gifts, your personality, your unique way of expressing yourself.
  2. It’s important to define what you’re about. You need a very clear idea of who you are; what you do; who you do it for and the results you achieve. Without knowing the answers to these questions it’s easy to be pulled in random directions that do not serve your long-term goal or personal mission.
  3. Having a clear expert calling makes marketing yourself, growing your credibility/authority, attracting the right audience and building your platform much easier.

Action steps

  1. On one-sheet of paper, answer the above questions to create your Expert Calling Statement. Refer to it often – it will help you utilise your expertise in optimum fashion to reach your goals.

Photo credit: diana_robinson via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

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