1. Credit Reports Are Different from Credit Scores
While your credit score is definitely tied to your credit report, it’s technically a separate thing. Your credit report is a thorough record of your credit history, including your credit accounts, how often you apply for credit, debt collection accounts and some public records, including judgements, liens and bankruptcies.
Think of your credit score as a numerical summary of all these factors. If you have delinquent accounts on your report, that brings your credit score down. If you have a strong on-time payment history, that brings your credit score up. Most lenders only look at your score, and this is why it’s important to check your credit report regularly and ensure everything is accurate. Both your credit score and credit report are kept by the three credit bureaus.
2. Your Scores Are Based on Five Core Factors
While your credit score is one number, it actually is influenced by five separate factors:
You’re legally entitled to a free copy of your annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. That means you can check your credit report every four months if you cycle through the credit bureaus. This can help you catch any inaccuracies in a timely manner so you can dispute them and ensures you have an accurate overall picture of your financial situation.
You can also get your credit score for free from various places. Many major credit card companies offer access to FICO scores as part of their customer perks, and you can also get a score from Credit.com.
4. Checking Your Own Score Won’t Hurt It
While it’s true that too many hard inquiries have a negative impact on your score, the effect is small and temporary. There’s also an exception made if you’re applying for the same type of loan in a short period of time, so you can shop around for the best deal on a car loan without worry about your credit taking a hit. If you’re checking your own score, however, there’s no penalty, and it doesn’t show up on your credit report as an inquiry at all.
5. There Are Different Scores and Score Ranges
Each of the three major credit bureaus, as well as the newer VantageScore, has their own scoring model with differing ranges. Your score changes depending on which one you’re looking at. It’s important to know what the range is for the score you’re looking at and not to rely too heavily on just one bureau’s score.
If you’re keeping an eye on your credit score and pulling your free credit report every four months, you’ll be much more likely to spot problems that indicate you could be the victim of identity theft. For example, if you get a notification that your credit score has dropped and see that there’s a new account you didn’t open or a credit card you haven’t used in months suddenly has a huge balance, you’ll be able to take action immediately.
7. Your Credit Score Can Cost You Thousands Over a Lifetime
Having a less-than-great credit score means you’re also getting less-than-great terms on credit cards and loans. The biggest factor in this is interest. As a general rule, the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate, and that can add up to paying thousands more over your lifetime for access to credit than you would with a better score. Even raising your score 100 points or so can save you a lot of money in the long run.
8. There’s No Such Thing as a Joint Credit Score
If you’re married, have joint accounts or are just sharing credit with an authorized user, you may be concerned about how it can affect your credit. Credit scores are individual, so even if the other person has poor credit and you add them to your credit card, your score won’t go down.
However, if the person doesn’t make a payment as agreed or racks up a big balance, it can affect your score because it’s still technically your account. Whenever you share credit, make sure you’re aware of who will be responsible and who will be affected if a payment is missed.
9. Negative Information Eventually Ages Off
We all make mistakes, and if you have some not-so-great moments in your credit history, you may be relieved to hear that they will eventually drop off your credit report. As long as you keep your credit in good standing moving forward, eventually any past mistakes won’t be a factor.
10. Credit Scores Aren’t the Only Things That Matter for Lending Decisions
While your credit score can impact a lot of your ability to access credit, it isn’t the only thing lenders consider. If you have no credit or poor credit, you may be able to secure a loan through an alternative lender. In some situations, making a personal appeal or giving a lender more context to your credit report can help you access financial products. This is usually most effective at smaller institutions such as local banks or credit unions, where you’re more likely to be able to talk to the decision-maker and have someone look at your entire financial picture instead of just your score.
Whether you're a one-person consulting business or a 250-person manufacturing operation, you've spent years developing the knowledge that made your company a success. Why not maximize the return on your knowledge by leveraging it gain authority, or even celebrity status in your marketplace?
Once you are seen as an authority, or expert, in your particular field, it can open up the door for higher paying jobs and other business opportunities like speaking engagement that can grow your business and fuel your success even more.
Below are seven simple ways for you to do just that.
1. Become an advocate and educator for your customers.
Part of having authority status is being both an educator and an advocate for your clients. As an educator, you work hard at communicating with your customers on a regular basis. For example, financial expert Dave Ramsey has a site on which he posts various tips and articles for his customers.
In addition, he offers seminars that help his customers learn more about money management. He even offers free printable resources. All these elements, and many more, are examples of how he educates his clients.
Instead of trying to please everyone, focus your efforts on a small amount of possible clients. This approach will help understand the niche better and be able to cater your marketing better. You’ll perfect the art of appealing to and pleasing that smaller scope of customers.
An example of micro-specialization in the design field could include designers who only do corporate CEO’s offices or those who choose to only work with local real-estate companies to stage private homes for sale.
3. Write articles for news sites and profession publications.
Make a concerted effort to write articles pertaining to your area of expertise. Send them in to newspapers and trade journals along with other professional publications.
If you can manage to do this, you will have content to back up your authority status in your field. Don’t simply write a few articles here and there, but instead commit to regular content creation for a variety of outlets, as it helps build up your personal brand faster.
4. Write a book using problem-solution format
Another tip to becoming an expert is to take what has been your most read, or best received articles, and delve deeper into the subject broached in those pieces.
Keep in mind, the book doesn’t have to be long. In fact, in terms of today’s readers, shorter is often better.
However, the book format does give you the benefit of the space to really explore a problem and offer up your solution, which will give you instant authority status.
5. Start speaking.
Speaking in public is scary for many people. However, giving speeches or participating in seminars or panels is a great way to present yourself as an authority in your field.
One way to obtain a few speaking gigs is to align yourself with other successful speakers. If given the opportunity to speak alongside someone who is already well known, you will have a good-sized audience, and you can offer a different perspective on whatever the topic. Hone your speaking skills, study voice projection and observe other engaging speakers, ensuring you will be ready to give an interesting, stimulating speech an opportunity comes along.
6. Get interviewed on radio shows and podcast.
Podcasts are typically a niche driven industry, making them an ideal way to get your message across to a large amount of people. To get on a radio show or podcast, contact the host. You can usually find contact information, such as email addresses, on the show’s website. Tell the host why you would be a great fit for the show.
Don’t forget about Twitter, Facebook and other social-media outlets, as you can often contact a radio show host through these means. If those ideas don’t work, try contacting past guests who have been on the show to find out how they went about achieving an invite.
7. Use trust triggers.
After you have been a guest on a radio show, spoken alongside a reputable speaker or had your worked published by a trusted outlet, you can begin sharing that experience as a way to build trust. For example, if you are an expert on dog grooming and you have been a guest on It's a Doggy Dog World podcast, putting on your site that you were on that podcast is a great way to trigger trust.
If customers trust that podcast as an expert on the subject, and you were featured, customers will feel you are worthy of trust as well.
However, it is always a good idea to ask permission before using someone‘s name to build trust.