In previous blogs, we’ve talked about branding yourself as a freelancer. I’ve also briefly mentioned how freelancers need to start seeing themselves as experts in a specific area. In this article, we’re really going to dive deep into why that is.
Before we address the many reasons why freelancers need to become subject matter experts, it’s important to address a common fear. Despite the fact that we know specializing in a given area leads to more success, many freelancers are afraid of pigeon holing themselves. The real pigeon holing happens when you don’t find your area of expertise. This leads to the worst pigeon hole of all: no one knowing what it is you actually do. If no one knows what you do, you may have a difficult time growing your business.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive into exactly why freelancers need to focus on becoming subject matter experts.
People Get What You Do
This was briefly mentioned, but it’s worth diving a little deeper. Everyone who is starting a business always fears the “What do you do question?” I know I did. This was especially true in the beginning before I realized I was a finance and business expert.
When trying to answer this question, I always fumbled my words because I didn’t exactly know how to explain what I did. It sounded like “I’m a writer and coach and I (insert mumbling and tongue-tied sentences here).” This led to a confusing message and people not really knowing what I could do for them.
Now as soon as I say “I’m a financial blogger and consultant” people know exactly what it is that I’m about. There is no confusion. In fact, they usually want to set up a meeting to discuss possible work opportunities. This leads me to my next point…
You Make More Money
Having a specialty leads to more money. Period. Point blank. Not only can you get paid more for services like freelance writing, you can also build other streams of income.
Just take a look around the internet and you’ll see that many freelancers who are considered subject matter experts don’t just write for a living. These guys also consult, get hired by companies for sponsorship deals, teach classes and a whole lot more.
We’ve already discussed how building multiple streams of income can help you diversify, ride out bumps and build wealth over time. Turns out that becoming a subject matter expert can help you do all of these things more easily.
Media Is Drawn to You
I often get asked how businesses can get more free PR and online press. The answer is simple: become a subject matter expert.
Journalists and writers for large publications are always looking for people to quote in their stories. By becoming a subject matter expert you can help them do their jobs while also helping yourself to get some press.
How to Become a Subject Matter Expert
Once someone realizes how important it is to become a subject matter expert, the next question becomes how they actually do this.
The easiest way is to just put out good quality content in your given area of expertise through blogs and social media channels. You may also want to start sticking to a specific area when getting clients. Finally, try connecting and collaborating with other people in your area or industry.
Eventually, people will start giving you referrals, prospective clients will come your way and media will be attracted to you like bees to honey.
Becoming a subject matter expert is paramount if you want to grow your business as a freelancer. Instead of pigeon holing yourself, you actually end up opening yourself up to more opportunity than you would have thought was possible.