Career Advice

5 Steps to Become The Go-To Expert in Your Industry Within 9 Months

Go to expert in your industry
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What a load of hocus-pocus, how can someone become a go-to expert in just 9 months right?

That’s what I thought at first. But, everything changed when I tried to do it myself.

Today you’re going to learn how you can become an expert in record time, so that people will have no choice but to notice you.

5 Steps to Become The Go-To Expert in Your Industry Within 9 Months

1. Niche Down Like Crazy

You can’t concentrate on 5 things at a time. You need to give your 100% focus on just one topic.

Problem with most people is they want to become a general expert so they can reach a wider audience. But, it doesn’t work that way. People are looking for specialized experts who can specifically help them. Yes, you’ll get less customers, but each customer will be much more valuable. When people look at you as the specialized expert who can help them specifically, you’ll be able to demand higher prices.

You’ve probably heard the niche down advice already, but just niching down isn’t enough. You need to niche down like crazy. So, what do I mean by niche down like crazy?

Well, instead of becoming a logo designer for small businesses. Be a logo designer for small restaurants. Even better, be a logo designer for small Asian restaurants. The goal of this exercise is to be able to position yourself differently so you can stand out from the crowd of experts – you need to become a totally different expert in the consumer’s mind.

2. Create a 2-Sided Expert Education List

You’ve chosen an ultra-specific topic you’re going to focus on for the next 9 months (and you won’t do anything other than that). It’s time to make a list of all the skills you need to acquire and then a list of the resources you’ll use to acquire those skills – hence the name “2-sided”.

So list down all the skills needed on one side of your paper. Avoid going overboard and listing down skills you don’t need. Once the 9-month period is over, you can go ahead and expand your general knowledge.

So once, you’ve got the skills you need listed. It’s time to find all the resources you need to obtain those skills. Your list should contain the following…

  • Thought leaders and Experts in your field to learn from and connect with.
  • Books on your topic.
  • Relevant podcasts.
  • Blogs that write about your topic.
  • Courses taught by industry experts.
  • Videos/YouTube channels.
  • Researchers who publish the latest findings in your niche.

This 2-sided list is a must have for at least the first 9 months. In order to be the go-to expert, you need to be updated with the latest trends. So make sure you update your list every month.

3. Follow the learning formula

Read + Experiment = Learning. That’s the learning formula. You read, you apply what you’ve learnt and then you come up with your own unique results that help you develop your own perspective regarding the topic. Your results will always be unique in some way, even if it’s just a little. That uniqueness makes you stand out as the expert.

For example, let’s say you want to become a nutritionist expert. You’ll come across different research, you’ll try different diets on different people and your results will be different. Of course, it may not be a great difference, but even a slight difference makes you develop a unique perspective.

Read, listen and watch everything you’ve got on your expert education list. And apply what you’ve learnt immediately. Ideally, you want to split your day between consuming knowledge and then applying it. The split ratio will depend on the field you’re in. If you want to be an athlete then practicing will be 90% of your day and reading will be 10%.

On the other hand, a nutritionist will spend more time on reading than applying. But, either way, in the beginning you’ll spend more time consuming than applying, so don’t be afraid to change the split ratio.

Most importantly, you need to schedule everything in your calendar and plan it ahead of time. If it’s not in the calendar, it won’t get done. If you want to achieve all this in 9 months that means you need to dedicate 40 – 100 hours a week on this learning process. Yeah, no one said it was going to be easy.

4. Teach What You’ve Learnt & Share Your Findings

Just because you are an expert, doesn’t mean people will look at you as one. You need to go out there and start teaching people. When you become the crowd’s teacher, you’ll become their expert and they’ll look up to you.

How to teach? The most popular ways are to…

  • Publish articles regularly as a guest on popular blogs in your niche. (Try to submit one guest post per week).
  • Answer questions in your industry on Quora. (Give your in-depth unique insights for one question a day).
  • Dive deep on a popular topic by publishing a book. (You can write the book based on your most popular blog posts or Quora answers).

In other words, just help people get what they want and solve their problems. Don’t do this after 9 months, do this whilst you’re learning… share your findings and case studies along the way.

5. Be Everywhere

It’s not enough just to teach. You need to be everywhere. For example, if you’re a nutritionist. You need to write for every popular niche blog there is. Readers interested in nutrition will read more than one blog. And if they see you everywhere they go… they’ll have no choice but to notice you. Not to forget, writing on a popular blog gives you credibility.

Just keep at it and you’ll soon become the go-to expert in your industry. You’ve got no excuse now. You have the steps, now it’s time to climb them.
Leaves us with one question, are you going to be an expert or waste your life dreaming about it?

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Lim

    May 11, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Great article. Just curious, why is it 9 months? Not 6 months or 12 months?
    Step #1 is very crucial. We cannot be everything to everyone. If we are trying to please everyone, for sure we will fail.
    Every successful business out there has their own niche and has a competitive advantage.
    Thanks for reminding. 🙂

    • Zak Mustapha

      May 11, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      Hey Lim,

      Great question.

      You can do it in 6 months and 12 months depending on how much time you can devote to pursuing expertise. Most people may have a full time job, full time education or some other commitments which makes 6 months pretty hard – yet possible.

      9 months just happened to be the middle way, so that’s why I chose it.

      But you can do it in 6 months if you learn like crazy.

      Hope that makes sense. 🙂

      Thanks,

      Zak Mustapha

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