Tag Archives: expertise

How to become an expert and get paid like one

Getting a raise or getting promoted is hard if no one notices what you do. Guerilla tactics for quick advancements have to get you noticed in a nice way. First a story, then the tactics.

Bill was one of the original guerilla advertisers. Decades ago, he had a product that no one had in a PC. Now every PC has one. His company went from obscurity to a major buyout. A lot of that happened because Bill and his partner figured out how to take the spotlight and become the talk of the town. They also had very good technology. 

We have been in contact for several years now. His fortunes changed dramatically. The buyout is over. The money went into investments that didn’t work out. He spent the last couple few years learning new skills. He started over at entry level and rose to team lead quickly. Now he has broken into the big time. Again. When he was broke. Again.

It is easy to break into the big time if you have a lot of money. People come to you. Bill wasn’t in that position. So what could he do?

We ended up talking about his original guerilla marketing. At that time they had no budget for marketing. He had to get the spotlight to shine on their product without paying for it. So they did talk shows, magazine articles, press releases, trade association presentations, and keynote addresses. They even put together almost complete reviews of their products so that magazine writers wouldn’t have to work hard.

Bill did that same type of thing again. He attracts the change he wants to see in his life. He isn’t chasing change, he puts on pheromones and lets change chase him.

All successful employers are stalking men who will do the unusual, men who think, men who attract attention by performing more than is expected of them. (Charles M. Schwab)

You can do the same type of guerilla self-promotion. You can attract change. Here’s how:

  1. Write your own reviews
  2. Become an expert
  3. Become KNOWN as an expert
  4. Get published

First off, be sure and write your own reviews for your boss. On a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis you need to give your boss a glowing review. A simple report stating the wonderful things you did each week will help him. He can’t pay attention to everything you do. That weekly report and more summaries will make sure that he knows how much you are worth. Write your own reviews.

You can become an expert. Start studying the area you want to be an expert in. One hour a day will make you a reference source in a month. In 3 months you will be an expert. 

Find out how you can become known as the expert. Offer to teach a class, write a memo or attend a planning meeting. Brief the managers above you in your area of expertise. You can do it informally. Talk to them before a meeting starts. The others coming to the meeting will hear some of it. Catch him in the hall and give him a one minute tidbit. 

You can also write articles about what you have learned. Offer them to the office newsletter editor. Don’t be afraid, offer them to the local newspaper, online magazines and trade magazines. Publishers desperately need interesting articles. When you get published make sure and give all your bosses a copy of the article.

My son was published in online programming magazines before he left for college. They needed good articles and didn’t care about his youth and lack of experience.

Figure out how to become an expert and you will be surprised how quickly your prospects change. You can become a technical consultant or a manager. 

Put on the pheromones of knowledge and the aura of expertise. Attract change in your career. 

Something to do today

Figure out what is worth becoming an expert about. Ask your bosses and other experts in your field where they see it going. You’ll be surprised how many people you are in awe of will talk with you about where they see the brightest future.

$250,000 too proud

bus wreck

Over negotiating can be a wreck. Watch out.

How hard do you negotiate? If you are critical to a project’s success, shouldn’t you be really well paid? The job market is hot.  A lot of employers are not finding the right person.

Here’s an example I was part of:

Mike’s expertise selling into FEMA was critical.  Their product was more than an idea, but not a proven solution.  Mike was already calling on FEMA contacts even though he wasn’t officially on payroll.  The feds wanted their product.  This would be a big win for everyone.

Mike had been unemployed for 8 months and was running out of money.  This was juicy.  If Mike quit or was fired the day after he started, he’d still get $250,000.  The commissions would double that. Still, he was worried he wouldn’t get everything he deserved.  The contract wasn’t tight enough.  What about bonuses in year 4?  He brought in the best lawyer he could find.  The company balked at his demands, his lack of flexibility.

Then the lawyers and the dragging negotiations wounded Mike’s pride.  A venture capitalist said the wrong thing.  The CEO didn’t want to completely get rid of the non-compete agreement since there was a one year severance guarantee.

Mike quit the negotiations. The product was cancelled.  The company was closed.

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.  (Harris)

What hurt the most was that it took Mike six more months to get a different job.  That job paid half as much with no commissions or bonuses.  He had to clean out his savings accounts and sell his cars to survive.  Mike told me, “My pride cost me $250,000.   That was the best offer I ever had. What was I thinking?”

This was an extreme case.  The problem was pride.  When you know you are essential to a project, you want to be treated with respect.  Sometimes that respect kindles the flame of overarching pride.

The job market is really heating up.  I am seeing more examples of this destructive pride.  A manager once told me his policy is, “If two people are absolutely critical to a project and they disagree violently and refuse to compromise or go down one of the two paths, FIRE THEM BOTH.”

Don’t forget, even if you are irreplaceable, the project can be cancelled.  There are always alternatives for an employer.

Don’t let destructive pride make you expendable.

Something To Do Today

Have you ever withdrawn from a job or promotion pool because it took too long to get a decision?  Realistically look back.  What did you gain?


Later:      How fast?



Down by 20 at halftime