If you search Google for any topic, you’ll find people calling themselves experts. From marketing experts to parenting experts to weight loss experts, they’re everywhere. Pick an area of interest and I’m sure you’ll find people calling themselves experts.

But how do they know they’re experts?

Is it based on how long they’ve been doing something? If so, I’ve been building websites for almost a decade, does that qualify me as an expert?

Or maybe I’m an expert at working with small businesses to plan, develop, and execute strategies to grow their businesses through their web presence (which is what I do today, by the way). Think about it, a web designer that understands business development, target marketing, and results-based web strategy. Very rare. But am I an expert?

So what is an expert? Oxford defines an expert as:

Someone who has comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.

Well, that surely describes me. I have comprehensive knowledge and skill at utlizing websites to grow businesses. That must mean I can all myself an expert, right?

But what about authoritative knowledge? About authoritative, Oxford says:

Able to be trusted as being accurate or true; reliable.

Ah, wait a minute. Being trusted or considered reliable…to whom? Well, as a business owner I can trust myself, but that doesn’t necessarily bring me clients. I can know I’m reliable, but does it matter if noone else does? So trusted and considered reliable must mean to another person.

And for me, there’s the rub with declaring myself an expert at anything. By definition, authoritative knowledge would mean as seen in the eyes of another person.

Now it makes sense. I don’t declare myself an expert – others do. Other people decide whether I’m an expert in a given field or not. I get it.

So then why are all these people calling themselves experts?

Reader Interactions


  1. Stuart Baker says

    Great perspective, Dawud. You are touching on the factor of humility, too. If our collection of experience, knowledge and wisdom can help some others, and we put it out there graciously and gratefully, I think there is a winner. Thanks.

  2. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.

    Thanks. Now we have so-called experts training and branding other so-called experts. How do I deal with this?


    Absolutely. All those elements lead to our client’s experiences of us. And it’s out client’s, then, who decide if we’re experts or not.

  3. Anonymous says

    Hi Dawud

    LoL. We don’t have to deal with that, they are going to have to deal with it very quickly IMHO.

    It comes down what is said in one of my favourite quotes:
    “For if you’re paid more than you’re worth, you eventually will be restructured, reengineered, replaced, fired, outplaced, declared obsolete and disposed of. Overpaid individuals are overdrawn on their knowledge and skills bank account. Individuals who are underpaid for the level and quality of service they provide are always in demand and always ahead of the pay scale in terms of knowledge and contribution. So money and opportunity are always chasing them.

    Let money chase you, but never let it catch you, or you’ll become a slave to money, instead of money working for you.”
    (Dr Denis Waitley)

  4. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.

    This has been my experience. I make a fine living – no complaints. And I know I’m underpaid. All the while, work just keeps flowing to me – or is it chasing me?

  5. Anonymous says

    Isn’t that just how it is supposed to be? Your clients/customers know you are the expert/specialist/authority without you having to ‘brand’ it.

    Everybody who claims/brands he/she is The Expert etc should be very wary about ‘being found-out’. Claiming you’re an expert is going to cost you dearly then.

    I fully agree with you: the ‘expert’ doesn’t decide he/she is, your ‘delivery’ does.

  6. Anthony Baggett says

    Maybe there are no ‘experts’. Maybe some just know more than others, but know one knows everything about any subject. Even if there are experts, one calling themselves that is very dangerous. “If you think you stand, take heed, lest you fall”.

  7. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.

    Right on.


    I hear you. I go back to the definition of expert; ‘comprehensive and authoritative knowledge or skill.’ I simply think the title of expert is overly used and poorly given to the point that it waters down someone who truly is an expert.

    Yet, like with most true experts – say, like Stephen Hawking as a physicist – they have enough humility to know that they’re not really an expert on anything.

  8. Doug Karr says

    You made me go check my “About” page to ensure I didn’t have “expert” in there anywhere.

    Phew. Though, I used to call myself a “digital and database marketing expert”.

    I stopped that. Double-phew.

  9. Anonymous says

    Dawud, good morning

    Your last remark reminds me of what is said in Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-truths and Total Nonsense:
    “..all businesses should be run with “the attitude of wisdom” – the ability to act with knowledge while doubting what you know.”

    Counts for everything I think.

  10. Anonymous says

    Afternoon Dawud

    Just remembered (getting old ;-))
    Read another related quote this morning (I have books for breakfast) in The Knowing-Doing Gap by the same writers as Hard Facts..
    Goes in the line of becoming an expert by doing (instead of just reading, talking about it). The writers compaire it with the ‘statement’ used by surgeons: hear one, see one, do one – where by implementing ideas (from ‘experts’) it normally comes down to:
    Hear one, see one, talk about one 😉

  11. Dawud Miracle says

    Karin H.

    Thanks for the resources. I’ll take a look when I’m back at work on Monday.


    I’m always happy to help. And, ahhh, you’re tricky. You got me to read your About page. Cool stuff you’ve done. Are you going to try to make SOBCon07?

  12. 7 Marketing School says

    I think all of the people here wanted to be like an expert in their on craft.. It only needs more perseverance and determination.. Anyways, Good post there…Thanks for the sources of “experts”..LOL!


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