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Straightforward Strategies to Become an Expert (It’s Simpler Than you Think)

If you want to increase your capacity to close deals and become a magnet for new clients, one of the best things you can do for your personal brand is to become an expert in your field.

An expert is an authority, someone who knows his stuff and that other people look to for unique problem-solving insights.

So how do you become an expert? You’re most likely already good at what you do. That’s why you’re able to make a living working in your chosen profession. Your knowledge and skill set solve the problems of real people so well that they’re willing to pay you for it.

But how do you go beyond “proficient” to the coveted expert-level status? How good to you have to become to really consider yourself an expert? Do you have to be the best in the world at what you do before you can say that about yourself?

Here’s the thing about the “expert” label: it’s not about how you see yourself, but about how other people see you. There’s no specific point at which you become an expert, nor is there a fancy certificate telling you you’re one. All it takes to become an expert is for other people to consider you as such. It’s all relative. Once people are coming to you for authoritative advice in your industry, you can safely say you’re an expert.

As you can see, the key isn’t only being proficient. That’s essential, but it isn’t the full equation. Becoming an expert requires putting your name out there, providing valuable information, and helping people. That’s marketing.

Following these strategies will help you become well-known within your industry, connect with a broad client-base, and strengthen your personal brand.

Create Educational Resources that Prove your Expertise

One of the most basic ways to show people you’re an expert is to provide free information that less-knowledgeable people can use to solve problems you’re already resolved. Website content is the most convenient way to do this. Through blog posts, infographics, podcasts, and videos, you can put together useful guides for your audience.

To get the most out of your content, make it in-depth. That shows you’re very knowledgeable about your subject-matter, rather than merely regurgitating what you found on Wikipedia. Don’t be afraid to publish posts above 2,000 words.

Also, flesh out your work with personal experiences and first-hand data. This gives you credibility and shows people you have a unique perspective to share.

Speak at Industry Conferences

Speaking at events can be intimidating, but it’s one of the surest ways to achieve expert status. Network to build connections with popular speakers in your industry and hustle your way into small speaking opportunities. As your reputation grows, so will demand for you.

Write a Book

Along with speaking, writing a book is a big sign to others that you have real experience and knowledge. You don’t have to write a 1,000 page monolith. Even a short ebook featured on your site is great for building credibility.

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Get Featured in Industry Publications

Read and become familiar with the magazines, blogs, and journals in your field. Make contact with the editorial staff, pitch your ideas, and contribute. Readers will start recognizing you as an industry leader.

Although the path to becoming an expert isn’t easy, it is simpler than you may think. Hone your skills, network, market yourself, and persevere–eventually you’ll reap the long-term fruit of being an expert.

 

5 of The Biggest Suspected Corporate Pyramid Schemes

Although most developing pyramid schemes are blacklisted and crushed by the Federal Trade Commission, there are still a couple that successfully manage to swindle hardworking individuals off their hard earned money. According to FTC officials, the schemes occasionally manage to penetrate the market and take advantage of people who find it difficult to differentiate between a legitimate business and a pyramid scheme. So, what’s a pyramid scheme? How is it different from regular, legitimate businesses?

Going by the commission’s definition, a pyramid scheme is a “an establishment or model of business that promises investors or consumers huge profits not from any actual investment of sales, but rather from recruiting more members into the organization”. It may sound simple- but it’s definitely way more complicated than you think. Some companies use this system of businesses, but still manage to maintain legitimate operations- consequently making it harder for the FTC and judicial system to make informed and definite decisions. In fact, the FTC has been engaged in many prolonged legal battles due to this, with some being concluded in favor of the businesses.

Here are 5 of such cases involving big corporations which have been suspected of conducting pyramid schemes:

1. Amway

Amway, a 50 year company, which was even recently ranked as the world’s most profitable direct selling firm by Direct Selling News, has always attracted a fair share controversial legal battles- including overseas- on pyramid schemes. In a particularly interesting case in 1979, the FTC made a ruling that Amway was not a pyramid scheme since payments were not made to
distributors for recruiting new salesmen and women. In fact, this alone changed FTCs definition of pyramid schemes to date.

2. Herbalife

Herbalife has lately been facing a significant number of allegations on being a corporate pyramid scheme. In addition to being investigated by the DOJ, SEC and FTC, it was recently declared an illegal pyramid scheme in Belgium. Additionally, back in the year 2004, it was subjected to a serious class-action lawsuit by its distributors who were frustrated by its inability to provide a concrete opportunity to make a profit.

3. Mary Kay

Although Mary Kay has been in the FTC watch-list for a while now, one of its most controversial moments was when Virginia Sole-Smith, a writer, referred to it as “The Pink Pyramid Scheme”- through a story published by Harper’s Magazine. In a subsequent interview, the writer further emphasized on her piece saying that its distributers only make money from recruiting other sales people and commissions from orders made by recruits. Interestingly, FTC maintains that the commissions paid on actual sales are completely legal.

4. Nu Skin Enterprises

Over the past two decades, Nu Skin has been at the center of a legal storms, not only in the United States, but also in China. In addition to being investigated by a Chinese government agency and subsequently dismissed as a pyramid scheme by the Chinese media in 2014, the company was the main subject in a pyramid scheme report published by Citron Research in 2012. In the 1990s, it was subjected through legal battles after being investigated by the FTC and the states of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Although it was forced to make settlements, it refused to admit to any wrongdoing.

5. USANA Health Sciences

Unlike the previous companies, USANA couldn’t take pyramid scheme allegations lying down. It sued Barry Minkow, a fraud investigator who was previously a stock-fraud felon, for publishing and distributing a 500 page report on the company’s alleged fraudulent pyramid scheme activities in 2007. The two parties agreed on a settlement but that hasn’t stopped the FBI and SEC from investigating the company.

Interestingly, all the mentioned companies are still active despite facing numerous pyramid scheme allegations. Since there are many others which fall in the same category of companies, individuals are advised to be extremely vigilant as they assess individual companies before committing themselves.