the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 433: Building Your Consulting Practice by Positioning Your Expertise | David Baker Episode Recap

Listen to the episode below

In the previous episode, we spoke to author and speaker, David Baker, about the steps to positioning yourself as an expert in your field.

Using the insights gained from our conversation with David, in this recap episode, we unpack the steps to building your consulting practice by leveraging your expertise.

We delve into the concept of expertise, how to avoid being a generalist, and why you should narrow your focus.

We uncover what it means to be a true expert in your field and why this distinction can be a game-changer for your career.

Gain insights into how being an expert increases your value, the main difference between a generalist and an expert, why it is okay to say no, and much more.

To discover how to redefine your path and transform from generalist to expert, tune in now!

Key takeaways from this episode

  • Learning to say no and avoiding the path to becoming a generalist.
  • Why being an expert is better than being a generalist.
  • Possible reasons people tend to overcommit themselves.
  • Honing in on your focus and narrowing your expertise.
  • The difference in value between a generalist and an expert.
  • Having the courage to learn and express your views.
  • What it means to be a true expert in your field.
  • Discover the benefits of becoming an expert.

Tweetable Moments

“Often, when I feel burnout approaching, I know that it is because I am saying yes to too many things and saying yes to the wrong things.” — @aj_vaden [0:03:53]

“There is so much power in the value you provide when you narrow your expertise.” — @aj_vaden [0:11:06]

“[Having a] narrow focus gives you more to say, not less to say.” — @aj_vaden [0:11:36]

“You don’t have to go big to be really, really good at what you do.” — @aj_vaden [0:14:12]

About David Baker

David C. Baker is an author, speaker, and advisor to entrepreneurial creatives worldwide. He has written 5 books, advised 900+ firms, and keynoted conferences in 30+ countries. His work has been discussed in dozens of international publications. The NY Times referred to him as the expert’s expert. He co-hosts the most listened to podcast in the creative services field (2bobs).

Links Mentioned

David Baker

David Baker on LinkedIn

The Business of Expertise

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

AJV (00:02): All right, y’all. We are gonna talk about how to build your consulting practice by positioning your expertise. And I say consulting but you could be a trainer, a coach, a speaker, an author but this is consultative approach to what you do. How can we build that by positioning your expertise? And this was motivated. This was inspired by a conversation that I had with David Baker, who was a recent guest on the influential Personal Brand podcast. And I thought this was relevant enough to a break it away and have a separate conversation around this idea of expertise and really overcoming the challenge of being a generalist, which really just means overcoming the temptation to say yes to everything I suffer from that. I know you suffer from it. we all do. It’s like we, we see opportunities come in and we have scarcity mindset. AJV (01:04): So we say yes to all of them most of them not in our wheelhouse, not where we feel like we’re a, you know, a deep expert, but we feel confident enough or well versed enough that we can go learn it, figure it out, or do good enough. And then what accidentally happens, and I see this happen all the time, all around me, is that all of a sudden, without effort and without intention, you have become known for something that you don’t want to be known for. You have strayed away from your natural giftings, your uniqueness, and the things that you do better than anyone else because you have said yes to the wrong things for long enough that now people come to you for things that you aren’t as good at. It’s not your passion, it’s not your expertise. And you wonder why you feel like you’re working all the time. AJV (01:58): You’re burnt out and you’re tired. You’re tired. I know that because I have felt this way many times in my life. And often when I feel burnout approaching I know that it’s, I’m saying yes to too many things, and I’m saying yes to the wrong things. Because when I say yes to the right things, it doesn’t even feel like work for me. It feels like I am doing what I was made to do, what I was called to do, what God put me on this earth to do. It feels like my divine purpose. But when it feels exhausting and tiring and never ending, it’s because they are things I’m not naturally good at. It takes work. It takes effort, mentally, physically, all the things. And I don’t know it well enough. And so I have to try harder. I have to read up on it. AJV (02:49): I have to study, I have to ask questions, ask. But when I stay in my lane, my expertise where I have knowledge like nobody’s business, right? It’s like, I could do this in my sleep. I could talk about it in my sleep. I live it, I eat it. I breathe it. Yes, I can help you with that. I feel a hundred percent confident in it. It doesn’t feel like work. Why? Because it comes natural to me, because I have spent most of my life doing it, learning about it, talking about it. And that’s what I do now. So the question is then why do we say yes to all this other random stuff? And I believe it’s for one of two reasons. One, we have a scarcity mindset, or we’ve got fomo, , right? It’s like, you know, it’s like this scarcity concept in the terms of like, if I don’t say yes, something else isn’t coming, do I have to say yes to this? AJV (03:39): Because I, I don’t know if my next deal or my next client, I don’t know, right? I’m scared of the economy. I’m scared of the money in my banking account. I’m scared that I can’t generate a lead. I’m, I’m scared, right? It’s scarcity in this fear induced pattern, or it’s this kind of FOMO thing of you’re, you’re in the middle of a land grab, right? You’re like, I gotta take it all. I gotta grab market share why? It’s up. It’s like I’m new, so I gotta take everyone. It’s like I gotta get my reputation built up. And that happens by saying yes to everything. And it’s like, that’s also not right. I’m, and there’s some middle ground in there. And yes, I know that there are some times where we gotta take on business because we gotta, we have mouth to feed and bills to pay. AJV (04:21): And it’s like, you just gotta take it. But there’s a, that’s a finite amount of time, and it should be in only desperate situations. Because what we should be doing is narrowing our focus, honing in on that expertise. And so people know when to come to you because they know what you do. And it is crystal clear because you have made it crystal clear because your positioning is right. Your branding is right. Your talking points are right. Your, your conversation is right. Who you work with is, right? It is clear. But what muddies up the water is when you start adding in stuff that now your expertise is just broadened to the point of, well, I can do a little of sales, I can do a little leadership. Sure, I could probably talk about billing and some customer service. And all of a sudden that honed in focus on sales is so broad that you’re like, well, sales is everything. AJV (05:20): And so people go, well, I don’t know what to hire you for. And now you’ve muddied the water so much that people aren’t clear. So don’t do that. How do we do that? How do we not do that? Right? Here’s a few things that I thought was really wise from this conversation with David Baker. And I thought, this is fascinating and interesting. ’cause I hear people at Brand Builders group say all the time, well, man, I just, I think I’ve run out of things to say. It’s like everything that I have to say about it, it’s in my book, or it’s in this. And it’s like, well, maybe that’s not true. And I love David said, the, with a narrow focus, you always have more to say with a narrow focus. You always have more to say. The more narrow your focus, the more you have to say. AJV (06:12): And as I was listening to him, I just had this immediate thought about my husband and business partner, Rory Vaden. Now Rory is seemingly an extrovert, seemingly but really he is a secret introvert. And I have given him a hard time, most of our marriage and even dating relationship of he’s not a great general conversationalist. And I am like, baby, like you need to learn how to make small chat. And he’s like, I don’t know how to do small chat. I don’t wanna do small chat. I’m not good in a networking social. But here’s one of the things that I think is so fascinating. Every so often we’ll meet a new couple or meet a new set of friends or, you know, whatever. And when a topic of his expertise comes up, he is the ultimate chatterbox . And I’m like looking, and I’m like, who are you? AJV (07:10): And where, where did all these works come from? He’s like, we could go weeks when he’s like, I, I got nothing to say in these meetings or these environments until something comes up where he has something to say. And while David was talking, I immediately thought of Rory of going, that’s it. He has so much to say about a few things because on those things, he feels like I have something of value to give here. I have deep experience, I have deep expertise, I have a deep passion about it. And it’s like when those topics arise, you know, because the words are flowing, right? He is chatterbox central and when he doesn’t have anything to say on topics he doesn’t feel confident in or he is not interested in, he’s like, I got nothing to say on this. I’ve got nothing to add. I’m gonna let those around me who have interest in that share. AJV (08:05): And I thought that was a really good example to me of going, man, you don’t run out of things to say when it’s a topic that you feel like you have true expertise in, because you’ve done the research, you have these conversations. You think about it, you research, you read about it, you talk about it. So there is always something to say. And so there is always more to say when that topic is narrow, because that’s where your focus is. So you look at the, look at things through the lens of that narrow focus, and then new things start to rise all the time through that. And that was just a great highlighted moment of like, even in my personal life of going, and there is so much power in the value that you provide when you narrow in your expertise, when you narrow in your focus of going, man, it’s like, I know when I wanna talk about anything X, Y, and Z, who to go to, right? AJV (09:01): Because I know that they are a deep expert in it. They are read up. They are ready to share and provide value that happens when you choose something that has a more narrowed focus and it gives you more opportunity to provide value. So back to that, it’s like talking about a narrow focus gives you more to say, not less to say. And I love that. And David actually said in our conversation, he said, an author is just someone who uses a book to force you, the author, to think about what you have to say. He said, that’s the power of writing a book on a narrow focus is that you spend all this time trying to say a lot about a little versus saying a little about a lot. It’s like, go deep in a subject matter, not wide go deep, right? But an author’s goal is to figure out how do I have enough to say about this narrow focus that I can fill 200, 250 pages of words that are about this singular thing? AJV (10:04): So you have to learn how to say a whole bunch about a little, right? A a generalist says a little about a lot. An expert says a lot about a little. And that same thing could go, you don’t have to be an author to do that. Speaker a blogger a content creator for social media. It doesn’t matter, but it’s honing in that focus. And the gist of this really comes down to you have to be willing to talk about what you have to say in order for you to figure out what you actually have to say. There is an art and a practice of the more you write about it, the more you talk about it, the more you learn about it, the more you read about it, the more you research it, you figure out, you distill, right? You filter through all of this stuff for you to figure out, this is what I actually have to say. AJV (10:59): And the more that you do that, you are positioning yourself of being a true expert. And the more that you do that you can charge more and have fewer clients, which means you can have more time to expand on other things that you have passion and interest in. So back to the topic at hand, it’s like how do you build your consulting practice By positioning your expertise is you become known for one thing. And that’s because your branding is, your branding is aligned, your conversation is aligned, your clients are aligned, your service offerings are aligned with a narrow focus. ’cause You don’t have to be a big firm to make a lot of money, and you don’t have to have millions of followers to make millions of dollars. Being a small firm, being a solopreneur is not a bad thing. It’s the right thing AJV (11:53): For the right person. So you don’t have to go big to be really, really good AJV (12:00): At what you do.

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