If you’re looking to own your niche, or be an industry leader with your expertise, chances are you need ways to show that you are an expert.
You need to communicate your knowledge and value.
Think of an industry leader you follow. Why do you follow them? I can think of several industry leaders I love and follow. And the reasons I love and follow them are similar although these people vary across the board in profession, gender, age, and just about everything else.
But how does one become an industry leader? How does one rise above the crowd and become an expert in their field? I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I have some pointers that helps uncover the secrets of how industry leaders distinguish themselves from the crowd.
Here's a look at some qualities that industry leaders have.
Character Traits of Industry Leaders
One of the main things I've noticed across the board with industry leaders is the fact that they are original, in the service they offer, the product they provide, or how they communicate. Maybe not all three of those things but something about them stands out because they did something different.
For instance, John Lee Dumas of the Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast started a podcast where he interviewed entrepreneurs 7 days a week, a first in that market. Pat Flynn offers a unique, transparent, and approachable charm in all of his ventures including multiple podcasts and the highly regarded Smart Passive Income Blog. And, someone I follow in my industry, Lauren Hooker of Elle and Company offers a unique 2-week branding process that is unique to our industry of branding.
Each of these people did something their own way. And they did it in a new way. A way that hadn’t been done before. Looking at it I think most successful people used the quality of originality to let people see their unique point of view, their unique ability, or their unique character qualities.
A way to implement that in our own businesses is to be true to ourselves. I wouldn’t worry about being original, if you’re yourself you are original! But use the tools and unique abilities you have to stand out. Don’t be afraid of trying something a new way or doing something that hasn't been done before.
Being OK with Making Mistakes
You don’t intentionally go out to make mistakes. Not normally. Mistakes just happen when you’re working. Or when you try something new.
It’s OK to make mistakes. Making mistakes also requires being willing to take risks. Most of the successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and industry leaders have long lines of mistakes they’ve made. It’s not something to brag about, but it is something to acknowledge.
The sooner you make mistakes, the faster you learn what doesn’t work, the sooner you can pivot and make tweaks to enhance your service or product.
“Success tends to go not to the person who is error-free, because he also tends to be risk-averse. Rather it goes to the person who recognizes that life is pretty much a percentage business. It isn't making mistakes that's critical; it's correcting them and getting on with the principal task.”
One of the most important keys for successful people is not giving up when A) you’re tired or B) you think the path you’re on is futile. If you have a great idea and you feel like it’s not getting enough traction, maybe you need to get in front of more people. If you feel like your’e not getting engagement with your product, maybe your product needs more time out in the market.
The hard thing about being a business owner, is continuing on in the face of discouragement. But that’s what separates achievers from quitters. It’s important to understand that for every single person it takes work, practice, dedication, and stamina. Things aren’t going to happen overnight. They rarely do.
As Kathleen Shannon of the Being Boss podcast says “It took us 10 years to be an overnight success.”
Becoming an expert in your industry takes dedication, time, and a lot of work. So, wherever you are in your business, keep at it.
So these traits are well and good: Being original, making mistakes, and not giving up but how do you practically showcase your expertise? Here are 6 ways to show off your product or service. It’s important to note that consistency is also very important when showing your work, so keep that in mind.
Ways to Showcase Your Expertise
On Your Website
Your website is your home base to show people who you are and what you do. It’s important that your website be an accurate reflection of your talents. If you need some tips on how to make your website more effective, check out this post.
With your website you can use copy, images, and layout to describe who you are and how you’re making a difference. Also, a great way to use your website very effectively is to invest in some quality branding to help your business look the part of professional.
Equally important is your portfolio. Whether you have one on Behance or on your website, showcasing your work with great images and a pleasing layout is important.
If you have a product maybe you need a photographer to capture images of your product. Think through how you can best display your work. I feel like I'm currently struggling with this. Because I offer a unique branding experience sometimes it’s hard to show that process. So, I’m working on this as well.
Instagram is like a baby portfolio. It’s clean grid format gives you a very succinct way of showing your work.
A great platform I recently got on is called Planoly and it helps you lay out and plan your feed ahead of time so you can see what they will look like. It’s platform that has several cost levels but you can choose the free plan as well.
Blogging for business is a great way to show your expertise. If you’re a photographer, you can lay out your images from each session you do for clients. Blogs can be like galleries in that way.
You can also explain your processes so people who are looking for guidance know they can come to you for help. So, going back to the photographer example, maybe on the blog you share your family and bridal sessions but you also talk about how to use the manual settings, how to use outdoor lighting, what lenses are the best for which shoots, and some go-to settings for indoor and outdoor lighting.
Blogging is one of those things that it's a lot of work up front, but there are many ways you can repurpose the content on your blog that can be used for content upgrades for newsletters, mini posts on Instagram, or even an E-book that you can sell later on.
Being in Facebook groups has helped me so much to connect with other business owners and creatives. It's also a place where you can show off your skills. Not in an obnoxious way, but in a helpful way so people can see that you know what you’re talking about.
An example of this was a few months ago in a Facebook group. A web development and marketing expert, Alex Riddle, not only answered a girl's SEO question for her website, he asked for her URL and gave her specific, tailored advice that was genuine and thorough.
What happened was, when people saw that he responded in this way, dozens of other people joined in the chat throwing out their URL so he could help them too. When you freely give away tips or advice, people remember, they trust you as the expert, and use you as their future go-to for their needs in that field.
With Your Clients
One of the best ways to showcase your expertise is to educate your clients. Especially if your clients don’t know the industry like you do. Gently explain reasons for your choices and how you can help them get better results by using some of your suggestions.
This comes down to trust. It’s important that your clients trust you, but if they chose to work with you, chances are they already do. Be generous with your knowledge and attentive to their needs when working with them.
Using these tips, hopefully you can begin to set yourself apart by becoming an industry leader yourself. Let me know in the comments what you think about industry leaders.
How do you showcase your expertise?
Do you find it difficult to set yourself apart?
What is your biggest obstacle for setting yourself apart in your industry?