How much you earn in 2018 may have less to do with your industry expertise than your marketing skill.

Many of the most financially successful business professionals are less knowledgeable about their industry than competitors who earn considerably less. They're just better marketers.

Many of these higher income individuals have worked fewer years than their competitors. Many haven't won awards, some don't have degrees in their industry, and a good many don't even work in major markets. Fact is, they may be better at marketing than they are at their trade.

That's because they work on as well as at their business, developing and polishing their promotion skills in the process. They learn to excel at marketing themselves, in addition to their products and services. And, unlike the others, they "get" it. They understand that it doesn't matter how good they are if the right people don't know.

Why is it that some highly-gifted, multi-skilled business professionals still struggle financially? It's because they struggle with the idea of marketing. They neglect to, or choose not to promote themselves.

Show me a talented entrepreneur who doesn't market himself, and I'll show you 10 others with half his talent earning twice his income. The reason? They promote themselves. He doesn't.

Want to boost your income? Then, boost your marketing. Begin the process by developing a database of those you need to connect with in your industry. Set a goal of contacting 10 of these individuals a day. Block out a minimum of an hour a day for this and other marketing activities.

Establish your expertise in your field, and communicate your credibility through videos, blog posts, articles and social media commentary. Use these platforms to address challenges, changes and trends within your industry. Include information wherever and whenever possible about your industry experience and accomplishments.

Expand one of your posts or articles into a short report with a catchy name (something like: "How to Sell Twice the Real Estate in Half the Time.") Grow your database by offering the report online at no cost to those who provide you with their contact information. Share your report with industry bloggers and the trade media, and offer to help out them out the next time they're looking for an industry expert to consult or quote.

Target organizations whose members you seek to influence, and offer to speak on these same topics. Meeting planners for industry associations and other groups are always on the lookout for speakers to present seminars, classes and other educational programs.

Beware of the "paralysis of analysis" that prevents some business professionals from moving ahead with their marketing. Don't wait until you've come up with the perfect marketing plan. There is no such thing.

Promoting yourself — now in small, simple ways is preferable than not promoting yourself at all. Try adding a marketing message to your voicemail, or to your email signature.

Whether you own your own business or work for someone else's business, think of yourself in the marketing business. Consider yourself the marketing director of your own personal corporation.

Polish your promotion skills. Your income in 2018 and beyond will depend on those skills.