Make Money By Sell Your Expertise on Clarity.FM
How can you monetize your expertise?
Everyone has a strength they can capitalize on, but many believe they have to be the foremost in their field in order to be considered an “expert.” Yet, many who seek out knowledge or guidance are not other experts, but ordinary people looking to understand fundamentals. In this sense we could all stand to understand our expertise, and find ways to monetize it.
Dorie Clark has been called by The NY Times, “an expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.” She's an adjunct professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and she consults and speaks for clients like Google, Microsoft and The World Bank. She is a best-selling author of, Stand Out and Reinventing You. Her new book is Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive.
I recently interviewed Dorie Clark for the LEADx Podcast, where we discussed content creation and the keys to becoming an expert.
Kevin Kruse: You told us one failure story last time you were on, I’m hoping you’ve failed a few more times and can tell us about it.
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Dorie Clark: You know, all the time, my man. For this one, Kevin, I will go even further back. This was sort of a foundational failure. I finished grad school; I got a master's degree in theological studies; I had just assumed all along that I was going to go on to a career in academia. I applied to doctoral programs. It turned out, I did not get into any of them. I literally had never even considered that possibility. I didn't think I would get into all of them but I thought, "All right, I'm going to get into one of them, or maybe a couple and then we'll see." It just had never crossed my mind that I would not get into any of them. I'd always done well in school and that was my thing. I was just stunned and flabbergasted and had no plan B whatsoever. I was in my early twenties, I had no idea.
I really had to go back to square one. I had done some internships in college but not enough that I really felt like I had this robust, professional skill set. I had been a philosophy major as an undergrad, I had this graduate degree in theology. It was not self-evident what kind of a job I could get. It was like, I clearly have to have some type of a job because academia doesn't want me. I spent a year interning, I just set up these internships for myself so that I could actually gain some professional skills and ultimately did manage to get work. That was an alarming time for me. What I've learned from it is that it's always important to at least consider the possibility that something will not work. That was not something that I knew how to do when I was 20 years old.
Kruse: For a young professional who wants to get ahead in her career, do you have a piece of advice?
Clark: Kevin, one of the biggest things that I would encourage people to do, as a way of establishing themselves and getting themselves known is content creation. This is one of the core tenets of the methodology that I've developed around how to become a recognized expert.
That's what I talk about in my past book, Stand Out. I have this online course about how to become a recognized expert. This is really the foundational thing is, one of the key pieces is content creation. The reason, of course, is that other people will never know if your ideas are any good, they'll never recognize you like "Oh, you're so smart, your ideas are so good," if they don't know what your ideas are. You have to find a way of putting them out there. Whatever the means is. Whatever your thing is. It could be blogging, it could be podcasting, it could be videos, it could be speeches. Somehow you have to convey them. Now, for young professionals in particularly, the follow-up question might be, "What if I don't know? What if I don't know what my thing is?" If that is the case, fine, no problem. Pick an area that you are at least reasonably interested in, and interview other people.
It is shocking the extent to which you will credit in people's minds for these ideas. Not in the sense of you're somehow stealing credit, but you will be recognized alongside the person that you profiled if you are the person doing the interviews and putting it out there. The benefit of their intellectual halo will extend to you. Interview a bunch of people in the field that you're interested in: A) you will lean a lot; B) you will gain a lot of street cred in your industry.
Kruse: Your newest book is about monetizing that brand and expertise. Was this the next step to write about?
Clark: This is totally the next step. I kind of think of my three books, Reinventing You, Stand Out, and Entrepreneurial You as a trilogy. In many ways, this is the capstone. It is, of course, important to reinvent yourself into the job or the career that you want. It is essential once you are in that industry to stand out, to get noticed, to differentiate yourself from the competition.
None of that is going to matter, none of that is going to get you anywhere, unless you actuallylearn how to make money at it in a sustainable way. This is a book grappling with this ultimate question, how do you monetize your expertise? How do you actually build a lucrative, long-term career for yourself? That's what I dive into in Entrepreneurial You.
Kruse: Did you learn anything through this writing process?
Clark: Absolutely. The reason, in a lot of ways, that I wanted to write this book, was first of all, so that I could learn from some of the really smart people out there who were monetizing in great ways. I wanted to take the lesson, apply it in my own business and then share what I had learned with other people. So, in particular for me, an area that I wanted to learn about especially, although this is not the only thing that I talk about in Entrepreneurial You, I kind of run the gamut of different ways that people can monetize. For me, an area of emphasis was that I was very interested in creating online courses. I decided that in 2016 when I was writing the book that that was going to be the year that I explored the online course world. I very much, taking the playbook from the folks that I had interviewed, put that into practice. I launched a pilot course. In September of 2016, I launched the full iteration of my course, ‘Recognized Expert.’ Kevin, strictly from applying the information that I had learned in the course of researching Entrepreneurial You, I was able to create new revenue streams and increase my income by $193,000 last year.
I have tested this and I know that the principals can work. I wanted to make myself the first guinea pig before sharing it with other people but I feel really good about them. There's a lot of opportunities out there that people are not tapping and leveraging. I wanted, with Entrepreneurial You to help them do that.
Kruse: Some think online courses are getting overblown because so many people are doing them. What's your reaction? Still a lot of opportunity?
Clark: I think that it has a huge growth potential. I think that it depends what universe you're talking about. If your universe is the world of online marketers, or online entrepreneurship, then yeah, everybody has a course. Just like everybody has a podcast, right?
I probably have 50 close friends that have podcasts. It's like, if in my universe, everyone has a podcast. If we extrapolate that out, we would say "Oh yeah, well in America there must be 200 million podcasts." No, there aren't. There's plenty of podcasts but this is not a mainstream thing. Most Americans don't even listen to podcasts yet. It's not a thing yet, in the popular consciousness. If you are listening to this podcast, you are in the vanguard of having tapped into this new channel. For the number of people that listen to podcasts, there's even fewer that have podcasts.
Same thing with online education. In our world, of course, everybody has these online courses, it's become a thing. In the early days, if you were guy number three to create an online course, you could probably do a really crappy job and still make a lot of money. Everybody's like "Oh my God, an online course. I've never even heard of such a thing." Then they buy it. You have to have high quality now, of course, because there is competition. The world has not tapped into online courses. This is going to be the way that people are educated in the future. There's just such a vast potential. As long as you have great stuff and as long as you have an audience of people that trusts you then they're going to want to buy your courses. I feel very bullish about the future of that.