Dr Alan Weiss (, author of over 45 books, and something of a superstar in the world of consulting, makes the case that unless you know the value you bring to a client or employer, and can communicate that value, no one is going to pay you.

What value do you bring to the table?

In an age when job announcements can garner hundreds of resumes from all over the country with a single mouse click your expertise and value is sometimes the lone determinant in landing a position or contract.

How do you stand out from the crowd?

Expertise.  You stand out from the crowd by doing something so well that you become known for it. As David Avrin puts it, “It’s what you do.

Why do people pay for expertise?

It’s the safe bet.

The proof is all around you. When the company had a tax problem did they contact just any accounting firm or hire just any accountant or did they hire a tax firm or tax accountant? If you wanted to build a bridge would you go to just any engineering firm or would you go to a firm that just does bridges? Discover you have cancer – generalist or oncologist? The expert is always the safe bet.

You must become that safe bet.

So – what do you do better than anyone else? What are you known for?

If you can’t answer that then you have a problem, because without a specialty you have gone from valuable to “off the shelf.” And people always pay less for “off the shelf.” In fact, many times those items go on sale.

You have two choices according to Dr. Weiss. I will paraphrase: “Get better or get gone.” If you don’t have a specialty or have not risen to the level of expert in your particular discipline then you must take the steps now to succeed. Go back to school, sharpen your focus and do the things necessary to get known for what you do.

If you don’t want to do these things then you must accept your position at the lower echelons of mediocrity. You’ll have plenty of company, but it doesn’t pay very well.

Self promotion calls for one to do many things; writing, video, speaking, etc. But the first thing you need is something to promote. And generalists generally have nothing to promote, because they all look alike. You have to specialize.

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