Your career has advanced farther than you imagined. But something’s missing. You still feel like you’re just another face in the crowd, albeit one who’s traded in the bullpen for the corner office.
If you’re anxious to take the next step, perhaps it’s time to invest in your professional credibility. An edge that helps you stand out for real.
Not sure where to start? These four strategies have worked for others — and might for you.
1. Give Away Your Expertise for Free (Seriously)
Why would you give something away when you could charge good money for it?
When the upside of that “freebie” more than makes up for the “loss.”
Which isn’t a loss at all. Because investing in your professional credibility is as close to a sure thing as it gets in the business world.
And your giveaway strategy is limited only by your imagination.
Take the example of Kris Duggan, a California-based serial entrepreneur and investor. A few years back, he launched an initiative to help 100 entrepreneurs in one year.
He held free 45-minute video calls — two or three per week — with each participant. He listened as they talked about their ideas, their approach, their teams. He applied what he’d learned over the years and gave honest, sometimes painful feedback.
Most of the entrepreneurs he spoke with were set up for success, he concluded. But some needed more work, and some were likely to fail. He didn’t hold back.
By the end of the year, Duggan had amassed an incredible reserve of professional goodwill. And he’d managed to help dozens of ambitious leaders in the process.
2. Be Radically Transparent About Your Successes and Failures
Don’t be afraid to show your human side. Embrace it. Everyone knows you’re not perfect, so why try to hide it?
That’s what Julia Enthoven, the founder and CEO of a multimedia startup, does every day. She’s a prolific blogger, quick to share the trials and tribulations of running a fast-paced enterprise. And she’s amassed quite a following because of it.
Enthoven’s investors and board members don’t expect her to be perfect. They expect her to be candid.
And she delivers.
3. Be More Accessible Than Your Peers
Lots of CEOs hold all-hands meetings that, at least in theory, put them eye-to-eye with rank-and-file employees. Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg is famous for this, even if his “ask me anything” sessions always seem to make news for the wrong reasons.
This is a good start, but you can do more.
Consider holding “office hours” that enable people who don’t directly report to you to connect.
Give out your personal phone number (or a Google Voice number that rolls over to your personal line if you prefer).
Respond to emails within one business day (or have your assistant handle routine queries).
There’s no shortage of ideas here. Choose the ones that work best for your schedule and management style.
4. Develop a Niche That Has Nothing to Do With Your Day-to-Day Work
Some of the most influential business leaders have “side hustles” that have little if anything to do with their core responsibilities.
Sometimes, they have nothing to do with their industries. And they’re not “side hustles” at all, at least insofar as side hustles usually produce income.
They’re more like hobbies — but hobbies that you don’t keep separate from your professional life.
Maybe you’re an avid gardener who personally manages your corporate offices’ flora. Or a skilled gamer who moonlights as an esports influencer on YouTube. Or a prolific thrifter whose personal Instagram is rife with cool finds.
It’s up to you. Just make sure it’s appropriate for general audiences — and don’t be shy about sharing it with your professional network.
You Deserve to Be Taken Seriously
Your path to a more credible — and more prominent — professional presence begins right here.
These tactics have worked for successful folks before you. Give them space to breathe and they could work for you.
Because you’re capable of more than your colleagues think. And you deserve to be taken seriously.