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How Do I Become An Industry Expert? Get Experience, Not Expertise.

Startup Lessons: How do I become an industry expert? When trying to establish yourself, test the method you are trying to teach on yourself.

Dina Dwyer Owens is a perfect example. Co-Chair of The Dwyer Group, a holding company of eight franchise businesses, she’s a sought after speaker with more than 30 years of experience.

I don’t trust people who label themselves experts. I do trust people who are labeled an expert by their audience. These people have demonstrated their knowledge in a particular arena and have built a following because of it.

When trying to establish yourself in an industry, test the method you are trying to teach on yourself. Be your first client. When I started Lioness, I thought about all of the things I needed to know when building my startup. What were the types of articles I needed to read? Who were the types of women entrepreneurs that I wanted to see featured? That was my starting point. As I gained feedback from readers and had successes and failures, the experiences guided my product development.

Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Executing on ideas is what gives you experience. For example, we hosted a failed crowdfunding campaign in 2014. We were shooting to raise $10,000 in 60 days and only raised $2,500. Still, we forged ahead and did what we could with what we managed to raise. To this very day, women call me and ask me how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign and I share with them all of things NOT to do. I wouldn’t be able to share that knowledge if I didn’t go through trial and error.

That’s why execution is so important. Stop waiting for the right circumstance or situation to start working on your idea. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to ever do it. When I first came up with the concept for Lioness, I reached out to a few entrepreneurs and professionals I knew to garner feedback on the idea and immediately began execution. We did a soft launch of our first issue three months later. Had I kept trying to perfect the idea or wait until I had all of the resources, I would still be day dreaming about it instead of serving the more than 20,000 readers we have thus far for 2015. Get your prototype together. Put your ideas down on paper. Make things happen. I’m still walking my startup journey as I write this. I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be. For all I know, that could be where my startup story ends. But at least I’m walking. Regardless, I will end up twenty paces ahead rather than stuck in the same spot in a state of contemplation.

How do you get people to see you as an expert? Live it. Learn it. Share it.


Photo courtesy of Nan Palmero [FLICKR]

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