10 Ways to Increase Your EXPERT POWER (& Your Income)

Influence and Income are Only Two of the Advantages of Expert Power

Today’s top digital content course creators, like Sherpas, help others reach incredible heights.   You can make a big difference in people’s lives

Sherpas are trusted guides and guides for the climb up Mt Everest.

Sherpas certainly have Expert Power.  Expert Power is attained by a certain person because he has critical skills and deep knowledge that sets him apart and elevates him in life, business, and career.  Expert power is often associated with increased influence and income.

Expert Power makes things safer, quicker, and easier for others. Whether climbing Mt. Everest, getting unstuck on a personal level, solving a business problem, or creating a course, an expert is someone who “comes along beside” and shares their expertise to others’ benefit.

Below are ten ways to increase your Expert Power in today’s knowledge economy.

1. When You Have Expert Power, You Are a Trusted Guide

A dail showing low, medium or high trust; expert power relies on trust

Can you imagine being on Mt. Everest with a Sherpa you don’t trust?  Scary!  The person hiring an expert wants to know their trust is well-placed.

And the greater the risk–the more that is at stake–the greater the need for trust.  That means the more you charge for your digital course or services, the more trustworthy you need to be.

According to the Washington Post, a lead Sherpa can earn as much as 6,000, which is a staggering sum to many Nepalis, whose average monthly salary is just $48.00. And, like today’s Power Expert digital creators, they are, in many ways, paid for their trustworthiness–as well as their Expert Power, knowledge,  and mastery of the mountain.

Trust is multi-dimensional.  I don’t know how you would define trust, but most of it thinks of it as morality and integrity.  Do you do the right thing?

But according to Harvard Business Review, there are at least three elements of trust.  And yes, Expert Power is one of them.

Below is a chart illustrating it.

graph showing the 3 elements of trust, which is directly related to expert power

360 degree assessments give leaders feedback and when they studied the assessments of 87,000 leaders, the researchers were able to identify three key elements that formed the foundation for trust:  a Positive Relationship, Expert Power, and Consistency.

First, Trust is established through a Positive Relationship.

Without that element, trust fell significantly.  Here are the ways you can increase your relationships and enhance your Expert Power:

  • Stay in touch on the issues and concerns of others.
  • Balance results with concern for others.
  • Generate cooperation between others.
  • Resolve conflict with others.
  • Give honest feedback in a helpful way.

Secondly, trust is established by Expert Power. 

Do you know your stuff and have a depth of knowledge and experience?  And do you apply that expertise with good judgment?  This means:

  • Use good judgment when making decisions.
  • Others trust your ideas and opinions.
  • Others seek your opinions.
  • Your knowledge and expertise make an important contribution to achieving results.
  • You can anticipate and respond quickly to problems.

Finally, trust is established through Consistency.

The final element of trust is the extent to which leaders walk their talk and do what they say they will do. People will  trust you if you:

  • Are a role model and set a good example.
  • Walk the talk.
  • Honor commitments and keep promises.
  • Follow through on commitments.
  • Are willing to go above and beyond what needs to be done.

I think one of the most important factors of trust is keeping your word.  You don’t owe anybody anything until you promise it–then you are honor bound to follow through.

It is still true that no matter what kind of work needs to be done, an expert can do it faster, better, and more cost-effectively than an average person.

Trust is multi-faceted.  By building your Expert Power on trustworthiness, you become the trusted guide who clears the path for others.

2. When You Have Expert Power, You Have Strategic Insight

Chess player making a move; experts have strategic insight

Have you ever heard the story of the highly-paid consultant to NASA? Critical electronic lines were not working, and in spite of everyone’s best efforts, no one could get them working again. They finally called in “the guru.”

He went in, looked around, tapped once, and up came the lines.  He sent them a bill for $50,000. They immediately complained. What? A simple tap of the lines, and you charged us $50,000?

His reply was, “I charged you $1,000 for the tap and $49,000 for knowing where to tap.”

Someone with Expert Power can go to the “heart” of the matter quickly, resolving issues with speed and accuracy.

Harvard Business Review tells of Ali, who ran a 1000-person company that had been at the forefront of innovation—awarding it a nearly $1 billion valuation in an acquisition.  This is what the people in his company had to say about him:

“He is brilliant. He can drill down and see things in a way in 15 minutes that no one else had thought of in a month of preparation.”   That level of strategic insight can be cultivated.

Crafted Experience is not one year’s experience repeated ten times, but ten years of experience with each year improving and learning and experimenting to hone your craft. (You may be a pro in less or more time, but you get the principle.)

An expert digital creator helps you with insightful strategies for creating and marketing your course. That’s what separates excellent courses from ordinary ones.

3. When You Have Expert Power, You Identify Cause and Effect Accurately

A person hitting the target right in the middle; experts identify cause and effect accurately

If you are an auto mechanic, a surgeon or a course creator, faced with similar symptoms, it is your ability to discern patterns and link cause and effect that gives you Expert Power Accuracy.

This ability to problem-solve by accurately assessing cause and effect is Expert Power at its finest.

I Need An Ulcer!  Going against conventional wisdom, Dr. Barry Marshall suggested that the cause of ulcers was not psychosomatic but actually caused by bacteria. Dr. Marshall, therefore, treated his patients with antibiotics rather than tranquilizers, anti-depressants, psychotherapy, or antacids.

He was convinced that the spiral-shaped Helicobacter bacterium causes gastritis, painful stomach ulcers, and even stomach cancer.

Because he had no suitable test animals at hand, he used his own body as his lab.  He took bacteria from a petri dish, mixed them with lukewarm beef extract, and swallowed the mixture.

Within hours, he was vomiting (probably from the beef extract).  Within days, a gastroscopy clarified his diagnosis and antibiotics cleared it up.

This daring feat plus his accuracy in assessing cause and effect for ulcers ultimately won him a Nobel Prize in 2005.  Expert Power and then some.

I Need a Clue!  I’m embarrassed to share this example with you, but it does illustrate the point–well, the opposite of the point.  I had some “nature” music on in the background as I worked, and after several hours, I ceased to register consciously.  Suddenly, there was a lightening crack

I jumped up, ran to the window, and stood bewildered in front of the window, looking out on a very clear day.  Long, long pause.  I was certain I was losing it. 

When the cause and effect finally registered, I burst out laughing.  My Expert Power was not in fine form that day.

I trust your accuracy will be higher than mine (No wonder they are still holding out on me with that Nobel Prize).

4. When You Have Expert Power, You Identify Blind Spots (to Make Others More Successful)

A wise owl who symbolizes having no blindspots

The Sherpa also affords the non-expert prevention of wrong steps.  Unfruitful trails waste time and energy.  Unknown blind spots create problems a climber never even knew existed.

Climbers are not the only people who can wander off and waste time and effort by following the wrong trails. We all suffer from endless blind spots, no matter which field we’re in—unless we’re experts in the area.

Novices in a field have a lot of blind spots.  These blind spots are commonly summed up with the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”  And it’s the thousand little “blind spots” that are the advantage of hiring expertise—or taking a course developed by experts.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know is addressed in many paradigms of thought.  In the Johari Window that teaches about self-disclosure, one window is your blind spot.  You can’t communicate about it because you don’t even know it exists.

In the learning model of Conscious/Unconscious Competence, there are four stages (the first one is your blind spot):

  • Unconscious Incompetent:  You don’t get it and you don’t even know you don’t get it.  This is the Blind Spot Bazaar.  Close the loop or you are in trouble.
  • Conscious Incompetent:  You know you don’t get it and you know you need Expert Power.
  • Conscious Competent:  You are on the way to Expert Power, but really have to think about every step.
  • Unconscious Competent:  You have Expert Power, but can’t always explain, teach, or share it.  Expert Power can make the unconscious, conscious.

Maybe it came from too many early experiences of trying one too many Do-It-Yourself projects.  Or maybe it came from having faced too many of these blind spots myself that caused me to develop a motto:

“I can hire an expert or I can do the job myself and end up with half the quality and twice the cost (in time and money).

Like the Sherpas on Mount Everest, the trail may require a lot from the climber, but the trip is certainly made safer, quicker and easier by avoiding blind spots and having a Sherpa alongside.

5. When You Have Expert Power, You Identify (& Solve) the Right Problems

4 rocks on one side and one rock on another side, but balanced; experts identify the right problem

Kip Cullers, an American farmer, is often called “the Babe Ruth of soybean production.”  He breaks yield records almost every year with his soybeans. Though he doesn’t give up all his soybean-growing secrets, he has developed quite a reputation for helping others, even with other crops.

Kip helped farmers in Brazil who were hurting because of their low orange yields.  They blamed these stunted yields on disease.  The disease turned out to be a minor problem.

Because of his extensive experience and analysis skills, Kip determined the major problem–a drainage and water use problem.  The benefit of his applied expertise to Brazil?  Orange yields jumped from 800 cases to 2,000 per area.

Like Kip or the fabled NASA consultant, the expert shuts out what is not relevant and keys in on what is, finding the right solution through excellent analysis.

Not all problems are created equal.  Experts have the ability to weigh which problems are minor and which are major. Experts know how to correctly weigh the variables presented in a problem.

A good analysis doesn’t treat all issues as equal.  Expert discernment means the capability to distinguish between true and false, good and bad, what matters most, and what does not matter at all.

A non-expert often places equal value on everything, while a real expert knows exactly how to order relevance.  Competing demands, noise, and attention can be quickly cut through to solutions when you harness Expert Power.

6. When You Have Expert Power, You Have a Strong Knowledge Base

Two explorers looking at a map; expert power has a strong knowledge base

It’s essential you know the fundamental knowledge of your profession, and that you are current and immersed in the production of knowledge in your field. Expert Knowledge is the building block of experience and your course.

Have you ever watched a “craftsman” of a certain profession and thought, “I could do that” only to try it and decide that maybe you were a little hasty in your assessment?

I Can Do That!  When I was 15, I watched the person cutting my hair very closely—and mentally took notes of every swish of those scissors. Afterward, I was sure “I can do this.” I came home and told my little sister that I now knew how to cut hair.

Why should she pay someone else when I had this down? She naively consented. Two decades later and we still don’t discuss the topic of (ahem) hair.

Two Types Who Make Discoveries.  One of my academic advisors told me that two types of people make great academic discoveries:  the novice and the accomplished expert.

The novice because they don’t know any better and can see obvious solutions that the “experts” missed.  The accomplished experts can quickly go through all of their failed attempts (think Edison) and recognize a possible solution.

The best strategy is always to work from a strong knowledge base.  All experts are lifelong learners and constantly reading and learning.

7.  When You Have Expert Power, You Know (& Share) Insider Knowledge

6 lightbulbs, but one shines the brightest; symnbolizes sharing insider knowledge

At my neighbor’s garage sale, I was going to buy a fancy pan (and since she was a professional chef, I figured there was good stuff to be had).  But before I could buy it from her, Marjie quietly put her hand on top of mine, pushing the pan back down on the table.  Leaning in out of earshot of the other shoppers, she said quietly

“You don’t want that pan.  It’s no good.”

This is insider knowledge.  Every field of expertise has it. An expert, in the course of practicing, studying, and mastering something, collects a thousand little tidbits that are just “known.”

Harvard Business Review found that 89% of CEOs without college degrees “grew up” in the same industry where they served as CEO, and spent 40% more time in the industry where they became CEO compared to their peers with college degrees.

Employers often feel safer hiring industry and company insiders. These CEOs’ deep knowledge and relationships gave them a platform for success that more than compensated for their lack of formal education.  Such is the power of Insider Knowledge that transfers to Expert Power.

Expert Power has a wealth of insider knowledge that is gained through years of experience.  These “tidbits” are cumulative and add up to major tipping points in Expert Power.

8. When You Have Expert Power, You Know (& Share) Your Shortcuts

strategy board with paths and pins, expert power knows the shortcuts

The mark of a pro is the ability to make something difficult look effortless. One of my favorite parts of any Olympics is the ice skating. The skaters glide so beautifully and effortlessly. A few minutes of simple flips and spins could catapult them to fame and a place in their sport’s history. All that for fewer than ten minutes!

And yet, we all know that those ten minutes represent hours and hours and hours and years and years and years of grueling hard work. Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.”

I remember someone once, “How much money do you make an hour?” I dodged the question, but I knew they already knew. I also knew they were looking at the $1,000 tap and the 10 minutes of ice skating. It created a much-skewed picture.

So what separates you—a smart pro—from a not-so-smart pro? You make the difficult look effortless and you can see through knotty problems quickly.

But the beauty is this:  The difficulty endured by the experts creates ease for the persons hiring them.  As mentioned before, there is even a term for this level of competence: “unconscious competent.”

Experts have access to unconscious “shortcuts” in methods, tools, strategies, and instincts that allow them to get someone else to their goal with relative ease. All those years have been rolled up into “easy.”

As a course creator, it’s your job to pass on all those shortcuts to your students, making their lives easier.

9. When You Have Expert Power, You Have Developed Instincts

owl scaled

This develops after a lot of years. It’s where you leave “the book”—the theoretical, the academic, and “go with your gut.” But remember a pro develops their “gut” through years of trial and error.

It’s the educated guess—the trained instinct—like a skilled baker.  A skilled baker, swishing his hands through batches of dough, can notice as little as a 2% variance in the “stickiness” or consistency. Cloth feelers in textile industries compare the qualities of cloth by trained touch. (Yancy).

Your instincts can become so well honed you do much of what you do on an unconscious level. There is even a term for this level of competence: “unconscious competent.” When an expert has seen many different scenarios across a wide spectrum or within a specific industry, patterns emerge, allowing the expert to see what may seem unrelated to the untrained eye.

Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller Blink celebrated this approach.  (Link)  to blink) Researchers (Going with Your Gut https://buff.ly/2JCymtp) have found that instinct or intuition comes from pattern recognition.   According to this research, experts often employ two parallel systems of problem-solving.  One is logical and the other is intuitive or instinctual. 

It’s an intuitive system that recognizes patterns quickly, filters out all irrelevant information, and conducts a quick fit test.  It is frugal and fast and uses cues based on past experience and accumulated knowledge. 

Expert Power sometimes means you “get it” intuitively.  As Madame De Girardin said, “Instinct is the nose of the mind.” Power Experts have developed Mind Noses.

10.  When You Have Expert Power, You Have Honed Your Distinctive Style (& Are Often Paid More for It)

1 cushioned, royal chair among plain ones; expert power has a distinctive style

Being a pro is knowing your style and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Writers call it “finding your voice.” You can never imitate style. Someone else’s style on you will come across as fake and artificial.

In the beginning, I think it’s important to mimic the best. “Try on” their styles for a while…but know that is what you are doing—“trying it on”–not trying to “be it.” Then take what’s “you” and leave the rest.

At some point, you develop confidence in your style. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: No one else can be you, but you. One popular singer and a winner of many Grammys said she attributes her success to having a good sense of what songs will work for HER. She’s clear about style.

The Three Benefits of Expert Power

Why does increasing your expert power matter?  Because expert power is accessible, lucrative, and scalable.  As your expert power grows, so does your business.

1. Expert Power is Accessible

The word access; expert power is accessible

The great thing about today’s global economy is that Expert Power can be attained and recognized much more easily than in times past.  In the past, there were a few experts at the top and it was very hard to break in or breath through.

Today, the field is “flat” and you can stand out on talent alone.

Peter Diamandis is a Greek-American engineer, physician, entrepreneur, and founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation.  XPRIZE is a non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit mankind.

In a Ted Talk, Diamandis tells about a game called Foldit, where individuals take an amino acid sequence and figure out how the protein is going to fold.  The fold determines the protein’s structure and function.  Interestingly, humans were better than computers at getting it right.  So, hundreds of thousands of people come online and play it.

And the best protein folder in the world?  According to Diamandis, “It wasn’t an MIT professor, it wasn’t a CalTech student, it was a person from England, from Manchester, a woman who, during the day, was an executive assistant at a rehab clinic and, at night, was the world’s best protein folder.”

If she had chosen to create a course on her expertise, she could have profited substantially.

2. Expert Power is Lucrative

3 lightbulbs symbolizing that expert power is worth the cost and is lucrative

As we saw in the example above, the New Expert is not always someone with lots of degrees or pedigree, but rather simply someone who is gifted and talented in a specific area.

In today’s economy, Expert Power may take on the role of coach, mentor, consultant, course creator, or author. Expert power is a specialist who can come in to point others in the right direction.  The expert has specialized knowledge that can guide, instruct, and mentor.  Each form of Expert Power has its own financial opportunity.

As mentioned, the business of consulting is commonplace for experts.  The consulting industry is large and growing.  It’s over a 150 billion dollar industry, with some consulting fields obviously being more in demand than others (“Industry Statistics Consulting Business Statistics Analysis,” 2014). In one year, over 200,000 consultants sold over $100 billion of advice (“Consulting: Facts and Trends,”).

Accessing your Expert Power, you can choose to distribute your knowledge in the form of a book, course, or service. So, in addition to being real-life Sherpas, present-day experts are digital creators of uniquely useful content, which can be very lucrative.

3.  Expert Power is Scalable

skyscapers, a symbol that expert power is scalable

New experts reject traditional models of teaching and learning. They prefer innovative ways of spreading knowledge and are competent enough to produce materials that can be used for scaled learning.

Scaled learning is a convenient way for students or employees to learn parts of the course at their own pace, and then to enhance what they’ve learned. Compared to the traditional classroom, scaled learning is more effective, inexpensive, and highly interdisciplinary (Roll et al. 2018). It is not limited to educational tools and it uses a variety of platforms, including even social networks.

In Inc. Magazine, Vala Afshar spoke about scaled learning.  “The way to gain the highest level of efficiency is with scalable learning. In a rapidly changing world, the faster everyone can learn at scale, the better.  Expert Power provides your students with the ability to scale their learning, their abilities, and their income.

Expert Power:  Giving Your Expertise to Others

expert speaker talking to a crowd; expert power is sharing your knowledge with others

It is not easy to take years of experience and then pass on the unique insight to another person. The new expert with Expert Power is a digital creator, crossing the “bridge from academia to the working world,” as Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School, says.

Once you’ve crossed that bridge, the most fruitful way to use your know-how is to develop a course.

It is one thing to know what to do in a particular situation, and it is a whole other thing to convey this knowledge and make it useful to a broad audience.

Sharing the steps is not enough. An expert course creator knows how to share “the story behind the insight,” says Angela Duckworth, best-selling author, in a way that makes people grasp it and take appropriate steps.

Expert Power has two critical components (used by successful digital creators)

  • 1) expertise in their field and
  • 2) the ability to find the most appropriate way to communicate that expertise.

Both are incredibly important; while the expertise adds the “meat” to a course, the communication makes it intelligible.

I always think of an expert as someone who has “perfected their craft.” Experts get their clients from Pt A to Pt B safer, faster, and easier than can be done without the Sherpa.  Ultimately, Expert Power is wisdom that changes things for others.


Researchers Take Closer Look At Kip Cullers’ System https://buff.ly/36wZzqs

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Consulting: Facts and Trends. Careers-in-Consulting. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1AELTFV

Diamandis, P. (Producer). (2012, 6/3/2015). Abundance is our future. TED2012. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1KNnj9c

Industry Statistics Consulting Business Statistics Analysis. (2014). Plunkett Research. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1BxKqMy

Kaphle, A. (2014). A closer look at the dangerous work that Everest’s Sherpas undertake for Western climbers. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://buff.ly/1TrCoj

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Yancy, P. Where is God When it Hurts, https://buff.ly/3lRJtNi

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Rosenkoetter Powell, K., Lytkina Botelho, E., & Tetali, V. (2018). How CEOs Without College Degrees Got to the Top. Harvard Business Review, https://buff.ly/2oMB9CT

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When Scientists Experiment on Themselves: H. pylori and Ulcers, https://buff.ly/2JkHkvN

Zenger, J., & Folkman, J. (2019). The 3 Elements of Trust. Harvard Business Review, https://buff.ly/2WJsTTK


(Using Knowledge You Already Have)

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