“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuli

I’ve seen plenty of data to support the idea that you can make $100 an hour or more simply by specializing in an area you already know. If you are a doctor, you can develop a specific area of expertise and teach it to others in your field. If you are a plumber or an architect or an accountant, you can do the same.

Not every skill lends itself to this kind of opportunity. But you’d probably be surprised to discover how many lines of work can qualify. I know one guy who makes $150,000 a year teaching martial-arts instructors how to do a better job with their studios. Another friend of mine makes a six-figure income helping direct marketers find inexpensive premiums. A neighbor of mine teaches car salesmen how to sell more cars. And there are hundreds of former restaurateurs out there teaching fledgling restaurateurs what they know about that business.

You can work for a salary for the rest of your life and grow wealthy slowly … or you can become a consultant in your field, make at least as much money as you do now, and work a lot less. You can do this if you know how. If you’re interested, you should take a look at a new program — the American Consultant’s League (ACL) — that was developed by my friends at the American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI). The program includes a special report that explains exactly why you need to specialize and gives you an easy-to-follow blueprint for doing so.

The other thing I recommend is Bob Bly’s book, “Become a Recognized Authority in Your Field in 60 Days or Less”. Bob, as you may remember, is co-authoring ETR’s marketing program (“Mail Order Mastery”). He’s an expert in this area, and his book is very good. It is chockfull of good ways to sell yourself once you have become a specialist. These include inside secrets on how to:

* develop your own newsletter

* get articles published in trade magazines

* get invited to shows and seminars

* write and publish books

* take advantage of public relations

Becoming a freelance expert is something you can do now or later. But if you think it’s something that would interest you — if you like the idea of working part-time from your home for good money — you should start the process now.

Why now? Because to become a well-paid consultant you have to specialize. Nobody’s going to pay a generalist $100 an hour.

You can specialize. You can develop top-notch expertise is some special area of your industry. You can do that, and you can learn how to sell yourself. But all that will take a little time. And that’s why you need to start now — so that you can make the transition sometime next year when you’re ready.

If, for example, you are currently working as a graphic artist, you want to develop a specialization in some particular area of graphic arts — perhaps expertise in laying out mail-order catalogs or designing a certain kind of website.

Once you are confident that you know as much about your specialty as does anybody in the business, you’ll be able to sell yourself with confidence.

Think about your line of work. Who gets paid the most? What kinds of problems cause the most trouble? What kind of opportunities result in the greatest profits?

Answering questions like these will help you choose a specialty that will get you the $100 an hour (or more — I charge $5,000) that you want. Think about it. Then act.