5 ways you’re giving up your power as an expert
(and how to reclaim it!)
FACT: You deserve to be known for your expertise. After all, you’ve worked really goddamn hard to develop the skills you have today. But when it comes to actually stepping into the spotlight as experts, we start to self-sabotage. It’s a push/pull; you want more attention in order to help more people…but you also fear scrutiny (and maybe even success? Click here to read more about this from my favorite business coach Chantae!).
My responsibility as a brand strategist is to help you position yourself as the expert and authority in your space. So in order fulfill that responsibility, I’m gonna need you to do your part by actually embracing all the power you hold! Read on to learn the ways you might be giving up your power as an expert, and how to get it back ASAP.
1. You’re not saying what you really want to say
Fear of what other people think is a very real human experience. Of course we want to be liked, because we want to make sure we belong. To make sure we’re part of something. And that’s important when it comes to community and survival.
But when it comes to having a business on the internet? The place where billions of people gather every moment of every day to consume endless information? IT LITERALLY DOES NOT MATTER IF SOME PEOPLE DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. Why? Because there are plenty of others who will.
We hold back as entrepreneurs because we’re scared of judgment. But you’re an expert, which means your opinion does actually matter! It means you have the right to speak up. It means people need to hear your ideas. It means your followers are looking to you to lead them to what’s better, what’s more correct, what’s more true.
So whether you want to call out someone famous in your industry for their shitty business practices, post an unpopular opinion about your niche, give a client honest feedback, share an epiphany you had in the shower, or tell a personal story that feels vulnerable, give yourself permission – as the expert – to stop holding back.
2. You’re not embodying your authority
YOU set the expectations for the experience of working with you. YOU establish the standard for how you will and won’t communicate. YOU decide which projects or clients you take on. YOU create the boundaries that protect your energy. YOU choose the opportunities and invitations that are correct for you.
If you expect people in your free Facebook group to engage if they want to stay in, then say that. If you want people to email you instead of call, stop giving out your phone number. If you don’t coach for free in the DMs, invite people to book a 1:1 session when they ask too many questions. If you have a no-refund cancellation policy, actually enforce it.
And of course you don’t have to be a huge dickhead about any of this! You can be professional and still let your natural personality out to play. But how you show up literally sets the bar for how people treat you – so show up as the authority. Because as an expert? You are.
3. You’re letting your clients dictate the flow
Fostering a collaborative work environment is key to a successful client relationship, and it’s important to be open to feedback if you’re someone who’s always striving to improve their services. But at the same time, you can still be the leader.
If clients are directing your calls, or pushing you to take on projects that aren’t aligned, or asking you to help with something that falls outside your expertise, you’re doing them – and yourself – a huge disservice.
You’re the expert, which means you know the most effective strategies, the most valuable options, and the most efficient methods. So confidently take control of situations. Guide conversation. Give advice and direction. That’s literally what your clients hire you for!
4. You’re working outside your zone of genius
How many wrong-fit clients are you signing just because you’re afraid no more will come along? How many extra tasks are you doing just because you can? How many proposals are you saying yes to just because you want a few extra dollars?
I’m not ignorant to the fact that money is money, and sometimes accepting projects that are outside the scope of work you want to be doing is inevitable. There’s no shame in it – we got billz to pay! But I’m still gonna encourage you to use your discernment.
Just because you technically possess the skill set to do a ton of different things, that doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your time and energy. Sure you CAN design logos, but should you? Or should you stay within your zone of genius as a video editor? Sure you CAN help people with their Pinterest strategy, but should you? Or should you stay within your zone of genius as a sales coach?
The more willing you are to stay within your zone of genius, the stronger your brand positioning will be. The more you’ll be known for the one specific thing you want to do. This is how you build a reputation as an expert; not by doing ALL things sufficiently, but by doing ONE thing damn near perfectly.
5. You’re not focused on growing your audience
Brand awareness is a huuuggeeee part of positioning yourself as the go-to expert in your niche, so if you’re not leveraging ways to share your expertise with a new audience you’re missing out on a massive opportunity for growth.
The best thing about brand awareness? There are SO many ways to do it! Publish a book. Guest on podcasts. Hop on a new marketing platform. Look into interviews for different types of media.
And if that thought terrifies you a little bit, well of course it does! We don’t all love being the center of attention. But you know what? It’s not about you.
Think of all the people who don’t know about your work even though they need to. Think about how frustrated they are with their current circumstances. Think about how desperate they are to find the solutions to their problems – solutions that you have.
Being an expert holds a certain amount of power, and I know you want to use that power for good. So don’t keep your expertise a secret – there are SO many people you can help, they just don’t know you exist yet.