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The Difference Between An Expert And An Authority

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The Difference Between An Expert And An Authority

When you’re an expert, you’ve mastered the essence of your craft.

You know how to tackle the key issues in your area of expertise—you can swiftly get to the source of the problem plaguing your clients/buyers/readers and design (perhaps even execute) a solution to get them where they want to go.

The narrower your niche, the faster you can reach expert status—it’s easier for example to become an expert on building high performing biotech teams than to become an expert on teams.

But that by itself probably won’t deliver you an unending line of clients waiting to hire you or buy your stuff if they’ve never heard of you.

For that, you’ll have to cross over from expert to authority.

The more notable you become as an authority, the more power you have to influence, sway opinions, command attention and participate in or lead the key conversations happening in your field.

Along with that power comes simplified selling—you become THE one instead of hidden in the trenches.

Thinking of moving further along the authority curve? Let’s talk about the difference between an expert and an authority.

Experts aren’t always clear on how to frame their expertise beyond their core set of clients. Authorities have absolute clarity—they know who they are, whom they serve, why they do this work and the value they deliver. They have a big idea that drives their work.

Experts have deep knowledge in their field and may significantly influence their client’s actions. Authorities’ influence goes beyond their client base to a larger community—not only potential clients, but other key voices in their field, related fields and the media.

Experts aren’t always interested in connecting beyond what is essential for their day-to-day work—building clients and experiences. Authorities are focused on their big idea and serving the tribe they’ve identified—they know that engaging people is part of the mission.

Experts may write, video, podcast and/or speak to help them attract clients or sell a book/product/service. Authorities make it a consistent element of their business and are hyper-focused on making their content irresistibly valuable to their sweet-spot.

Related: How To Earn More Cake (And Fewer Crumbs) With Authority

Experts may operate from an implied point of view but haven’t always etched it in stone or made it unique from their peers. Authorities have a clear and compelling (written) point of view that is distinct from anyone else in their space.

Experts may not reach outside their comfort zone to become visible beyond their client base. Authorities know they must position themselves in pure white space and take calculated risks to push their belief system out to their tribe.

Experts tell client stories to demonstrate their expertise. Authorities use emotion and metaphor to build their authority and draw the right people in.

Experts build businesses that heavily depend on their day-to-day influence or action. Authorities have the freedom to build the business model that best matches their form of genius.

Moving from being an expert to becoming an authority means creating more, engaging more and risking more. Building authority isn’t a cakewalk, but if it calls to you, the rewards are fierce.

Which is right for you?

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