When it comes to being an independent worker, expertise matters. Being considered an expert often translates into being able to charge more and/or having access to a clientele base that wants to work with someone who is considered a SME (subject mater expert).Years of experience, experiential knowledge, degrees and/or credentials are all pathways to SME status. But, they are not the only variables that matter if you want to stand out as an expert.Get exposure–and experienceWe have a tendency to think of credentials exclusively as obtaining degrees. In some fields and industries this is true. I would not trust someone who professes to be a lawyer if he/she did not have the terminal J.D. degree.However, not all specializations require terminal degrees or even a degree for that matter. Sometimes, specializing boils down to exposure and experience—and a lot of it.Some people are self-taught. They may not have credit hours, but they do have practical hours that they have invested in their skillset. Some SMEs have spent a significant amount of time engaging in and mastering their craft. Obtaining a degree or formalized credentials would not necessarily be advantageous for them.Let’s use a freelance writer as an example. Some freelancers have done extremely well because they write, write, write, and write some more. They take risks in the sense that they have not allowed rejection, naysayers, or missed opportunities to deter them. Instead, they continue to write and their bylines have given them exposure. This exposure and experience, in turn, becomes a type of credential that can open doors, just as a degree might open doors for someone else.This is not to suggest that one should not aim for both a degree and exposure and experience, but it is to suggest that being a SME does not necessarily require a degree. I know of a few successful freelance writers who did not attend college, or they majored in disciplines that were not writing-centric. Over time, people started recognizing their talent and their level of expertise about the subjects they wrote about, and they were able to leverage their SME status to gain more clients.Sharpen your ironIron sharpens iron. And SMEs sharpen other SMEs. I love sharing ideas with people who are more experienced or more established than I am. At 45 years old with a terminal degree, I am like a sponge; the more they share, the more I absorb the wisdom.Because entrepreneurship is relatively new to me, I gravitate towards people who have been doing it for years, even decades, because I respect the time and energy that they have put into carving out and maintaining their businesses. More established SMEs, in particular, may be willing to mentor/coach others.I also seek out people who have been writing professionally longer than I have. Keep in mind that this does not necessarily equate to older mentor/younger mentee. One of my writing mentors is in her mid-30s and one of my mentees is in his 50s. Also, don’t assume that someone is too busy to help. Just ask. The mentors in my entrepreneurial life are not self-described coaches or mentors; I simply asked them if they would help me and they graciously agreed.Don’t rushIf there is one thing, paradoxically, that is on your side as you aspire for expert status, it is time. While there is a tendency to rush, rush, rush and think of success as being instantaneous, success as an SME is an on-going process. As we know, industries change, disciplines add new rules, standards shift, and trends emerge. Fluidity allows one to ebb and flow while holding onto those core elements that make us experts.So, it may sound like a cliché, but take your time figuring out what being an expert in your field looks like. One of the biggest mistakes that I made when I first transitioned from academia to entrepreneurship was rushing through the process.My father kindly reminded me of the saying, attributed to Aesop: “Slow and steady wins the race.” I keep this on a placard in my office as a reminder that every day is an opportunity to get better at what I do.Keep your portfolio and CV updatedAs you get more experience, make sure that you are accurately and consistently updating your portfolio or curriculum vitae. Not everyone will ask to peruse your dossier, but some clients may ask, and you want to be prepared. Unfortunately, there are people who are dishonest about either their work experience, their credentials, and or their skill set, so the more that you can stand out from the crowd, the better.The key to a good SME portfolio/CV is making sure that it reflects your expert status. Think of these as psuedo-billboards: What do they say about you?Portfolios and CVs are not just reflections of your amazing life and outstanding work, but they are marketing tools that others may use for consulting or contractual purposes. If you are old enough, you may remember Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s character saying, “Show me the money!” in the movie Jerry Maguire. Well, as an SME, be ready to show (them) your work. As such, make sure that you continue to add new projects to your CV and portfolio as you complete them.Why SME status?Whether you are going into year 8 or year 18, we all have areas where our knowledge base is strong. Whether it is from experience, education, or a combination of both, keep in mind that your special skillset and understanding of a topic or subject area makes you highly marketable.Just as traditional industries and fields call upon SMEs to help with highly specialized projects, there are opportunities in the gig economy to cater to an audience that needs exactly what you have to offer.And don’t worry if you are just starting out. Continue to grow, continue to learn, and be open to new possibilities.
The Poli House- Assaf Pinchuk photographerNew boutique hotel opens in Tel Aviv: The Poli HouseThe Poli House, a 1930’s Bauhaus architecture-style edifice transformed into a contemporary urban resort by world-renowned industrial designer Karim Rashid, is the newest boutique hotel to open in Tel Aviv. The Poli House opens as a 40-room luxury property that includes a 600-sq. meter, panoramic, rooftop space with expansive city views boasting an infinity pool – suitable for business travelers as well as tourists and visitors to the city.Hotel features include a full-service cocktail bar, bottle service and poolside tapas; full service, glass-ensnared spa treatment rooms for solo or couple’s massage and wellness offerings and the Poli House Business Centre, designed for business-savvy travelers and replete with a boardroom, computer with a printer, scanner and fax machine ; an event space for business or pleasure atop the sultry rooftop against the Tel Aviv skyline ; daily breakfast at the organic cafe, Loveat, for which guests of the hotel will have private access to a charming garden terrace along with a carefully curated menu.The hotel’s yellow, blue, green and white interiors and tech-savvy design elements were created by world-renowned industrial designer Karim Rashid, while paying homage to the Poli House’s Bauhaus elements from 1930’s Tel Aviv.The Bauhaus architecture-influenced building was meticulously restored over a three-year period by Nitza Szmuk, recipient of the prestigious Emet Prize for her extensive work on preserving and restoring buildings in Tel Aviv. Szmuk was called upon to spearhead the restoration, conservation as well as to execute the new design plans for this stunning architectural marvel that combines form and function, with crafts and fine arts, as well as digital and organic aspects in its design.The Poli House Portal, located on the ground floor of the property, will serve as a cultural center featuring a gallery space, an art magazine and design bookstore and evolving fashion displays that will showcase works by homegrown Tel Aviv creatives available for purchase.Originally built in 1934, The Poli House was formerly known as “The Polishuk House” a Bauhaus architecture-style edifice designed by Shlomo Liaskowski, who was born in Zurich in 1903 prior to relocating to British Mandate Palestine in 1933 (where he won the first prize of design for Zurich’s Jewish community temple in 1929). After its completion and under the auspices of then-owner Yehuda Polishuk, The Polishuk House, or Beit Polishuk in Hebrew, housed commercial office spaces along with 15 shops, 50 offices and a clandestine Etzel printing press. The building features a cylindrical external facade unique to the 1930’s Tel Aviv landscape that held copious amounts of rectangular, smooth-surfaced structures constructed in the International architectural-style that dominated the aesthetic of this time.The Poli House is owned by the Dayan Group, a family conglomerate with many years of hospitality experience. The Dayan Group is made up of varying and multidisciplinary business ventures ranging from hospitality, commercial and private real estate and automobiles. The Poli House is managed and operated by Brown Hotels, a highly specialized boutique hotel development firm based in Tel Aviv founded in 2003 by hotelier Leon Avigad out of the desire to introduce a collection of boutique hotels to Tel Aviv. Brown Hotels owns and manages the Brown Hotels, including the Brown Beach House, Brown TLV and the soon-to open Brown Jerusalem. The Poli Housefor more information, visit Source = The Poli House