‘Shark Tank’ Winner Explains How To Increase Your Salary With Specialization

Shark Tank-winning CEO Dr. Shaan Patel says you can make more money by obtaining specialized or niche skills.
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With rising inflation, you may be asking yourself: “How can I increase my salary?” You likely won’t want to jump into a completely different industry since it will require you to start from the beginning while throwing away your current set of skills and expertise. According to a Shark Tank winner, one of the best and most efficient methods of increasing your salary is by becoming a specialist in your industry.

The Shark Tank Winner

Dr. Shaan Patel procured the financial backing of billionaire investor Mark Cuban on Shark Tank in 2016 while at the same time he earned his MBA in Health Care and Entrepreneurship from the prestigious Yale University. Patel received $250,000 from Cuban for a 20% stake in Prep Expert – an SAT and ACT test preparation company that he started in December 2010.

Patel credits the success of his online tutoring company on pinpointing a niche and optimizing it as a way of standing out.

“We generate a lot more revenue through SAT prep or ACT prep, which is very specialized, compared to high school math tutoring, which is very general,” Patel told Grow, adding that there is no shortage of general math tutors available, but far fewer math tutors that specialize in preparing students for SAT or ACT tests.

The Accomplished CEO Stresses Specialization

Patel – a best-selling author who was honored on INC Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list in 2019 – believes one of the most efficient ways in making yourself more valuable in the job market is specialization.

“Finding a niche or a specialization in any industry can significantly increase your chances of earning more income,” Patel enunciated. “The more specialized you are, typically there are going to be fewer and fewer people with your specialization or niche, and that results in higher demand.”

Patel notes that basic economics come into play when an employee sets themselves apart from other jobs seekers.

“The law of supply and demand typically favors those that are more specialized,” Patel explained. “If you have a particular niche, you have more earning potential.”

Patel says that you can discover your unique niche “through experience or through education.”

Patel – who received a book deal from McGraw-Hill, the world’s largest educational publisher – adds that education doesn’t have to come through traditional learning avenues.

“There’s a new route which is becoming more popular, and that is finding a niche through educating yourself online, because there’s never been so much access to free education and free information,” Patel said.

He also believes that the best niche is one that you are passionate about.

Patel notes that taking on a side hustle that you are driven by may unveil a niche that you never considered or another industry that you may want to transition into. Plus, you’ll gain valuable experience in another field – which “is almost more valuable than education.”

A Self-Made Millionaire Advises To ‘Nail Down’ The Niche

Self-made millionaire and author Grant Sabatier says you need to get your foot in the door as a “generalist,” but then grow your career and salary by focusing on a niche “when you actually see the market opportunity.”

Sabatier advises employees to have an open mind and become proficient at various capabilities. Then see what skills or specialties are garnering attention from employers or clients.

Earlier in his career, Sabatier worked at The Chronicle of Higher Education – where he learned about the needs of students and universities. He decided that there was an opportunity in working with universities and business schools.

“Pretty quickly I knew more about digital marketing for business schools than pretty much anyone in the world, and so then a lot of the top business schools wanted to work with me,” he revealed. “Ultimately, that allowed me to be a lot more successful.”

However, he cautions that if you focus all of your attention on one specialty, it can backfire.

“The general advice that you should always niche down is actually not great advice because oftentimes, if you niche down, if the demand for whatever you’ve niched down into changes, then you’re stuck,” Sabatier warns.