If you want to become known as the world’s greatest dentist you had darn well better have a doctor’s degree in Dentistry, preferable from a prestigious university. It won’t matter how many innovations you have in the field of dentistry, you aren’t likely to get much traction in your niche of being the best dentist ever if you aren’t a dentist as defined by the law of the state you live in. If you are a dental school graduate or are planning on going to dental school, then this is not an insurmountable barrier to entry. But if you’re not a graduate of dental school and you aren’t looking to go to school for the next four years, then you better find another niche—quickly.
For most aspiring gurus and experts in the modern technology age, it is comparatively easier to pitch a niche that is not in a mature, highly regulated industry. For example, I selected the niche of media and presentation training—a completely unregulated field. This makes it easier to enter the field, but it also means more competition and it makes it harder in the sense that you can’t just get insurance companies to pay your fees.
Back to someone with an interest in the dental field. While it is true you won’t be the world’s leading dentist without going to dental school there are other niches available to you. For example, you could become a meeting expert who focuses exclusively on solo practice dentists can increase their patient flow 50% in a year. If you can do that, it does not matter if you flunked out of the second grade. Thousands of dentists will flock to you and champion your name around the globe if you can do this for them. In the field of marketing small dental practices, results are the only thing that matters.
You also must think of structural barriers of entry. If you want to become the world’s best nuclear power plant expert, you’d better already be working at a power plant or have the traditional credentials to get into one, because it’s unlikely you will have the resources to build your own power plant and to gain knowledge from that.
The most fertile areas for focus, subject matter experts and speakers is to pick a subject matter that is not tied to any one structure or mature industry or if it is, you are tied to a marketing or journalistic or information processing aspect of that industry. If you focus on your ability to analyze date, develop insights and delivering services or experiences based on that, then your main barrier to entry will be your own drive, passion and smarts.
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