How To Look Like An Expert Without A College Degree
So I dropped out of college a year ago and I’m now starting my own digital marketing agency. I have experimented and gained expertise in the field for a good amount of time, and I’m now ready to go all in with this new business.
The constant issue I faced when talking about this project was how I would earn credibility in the eyes of potential clients with no marketing degree. I’m a firm believer in the power of persuasion and selling, but I admit I gave this question a few thoughts.
It’s only when I read The Four-Hour Workweek that it all became clear in my head. You definitely can look like an expert without a college degree, and those next lines will show you how.
1. Define your field of expertise
If you could choose any field without taking consideration of the money, what would it be ? This step is a crucial one and it might take you some time to decide, but the rewards for the right choice are, I think, endless. You’ll get to do what you love, and if you apply the next steps adequately, you might as well become THE reference in your field.
2. Join organizations and associations with official sounding names
This one is a very easy step that only requires 10 minutes and a credit card, but it’s been amazing to me how it’s effective. In short, you need to join groups, organizations and associations with official-sounding names, and then just put that on your CV. For my field of expertise, I joined the American Marketing Association and my local Chamber of Commerce. The first one cost me $50, and the second one about $150. So for 200 bucks, I now look like someone who has major group affiliations and this definitely builds up your credibility. From now on, when someone asks me how I learned marketing, I sometimes just answer that I learned a lot of insights by being a member of the AMA and that I spent the last year applying this knowledge in my work. Normally, people like that answer.
3. PR yourself on social media
This is the one I’ve been struggling with, but I do know it’s so damn important. The idea is to post regularly on all major social platforms, and to always have your profile up-to-date. Those platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. At first, it’s quite weird because you don’t have a big following and hence don’t get a lot of engagement. But I guess the key is persistence and letting the time for people to acknowledge your new role as the expert in your field. After a couple of months, with good distribution of content, you should be able to attract people from your field to follow you on most of your social media accounts, if the content you create is good and valuable.
One way to grow your network on social media is really to engage a lot with your community. Creating content on a regular basis is a great start, but one good thing to do is also to like, comment, and share other people’s content and to DM influencers to whom you want to provide value first, and then let them decide if they want to give you a shout out in return. This article by Gary Vaynerchuk on Instagram Networking is real fire.
**TIP** After having developed your network on social media, ask people to endorse your skills on LinkedIn. This is a very good way for people to see that others have approved your expertise.
4. Write on Medium/make videos on Youtube/start a podcast
There are currently three major mediums for content creation: written word, video and audio. Find the one you’re most comfortable with and start creating content at scale. Get your inspiration from the best people out there, and add your own flavour to it.
Top content creators: Gary Vaynerchuk, Casey Neistat, Tai Lopez, Grant Cardone, etc.
Personal brand is the new term for reputation. Building yours takes hard work and dedication. All the tools are out there, so it’s definitely feasible. Take the time to build your skills and to become worth it, distribute your content, grow your online presence and become THE expert in your field.
“In modern PR terms, proof of expertise in most fields is shown with group affiliations, client lists, writing credentials, and media mentions, not diplomas and Ph.D.s.’’ –Tim Ferris