How to start a successful business when you’re not an expert at anything
If you're waiting to be the expert, you'll find yourself waiting a long time.
It’s a common voice all entrepreneurs hear inside their heads:
“Will anyone actually pay me real money for this?”
“Why would anyone pay me when there are so many other experts out there?”
“Who am I to build a business around what I love to do?”
If you’ve ever given in to these kinds of thoughts, you’re fooling yourself. You’re tricking yourself into believing you can’t do it. You’re lying to yourself when you say you aren’t enough of an expert to build a successful business around something your passionate about. You're giving into imposter syndrome.
In this section, I want to open your eyes to a new way at looking at “expertise.”
The key to building a successful business around something you love even when you’re not the biggest expert or authority on the topic is to be “expert enough.”
And, since I’m practicing what I’m preaching, I’ll even confess that this concept is not my own.
The idea of being “expert enough” comes from Corbett Barr (cofounder of Fizzle Co.) who I’ve been learning heaps from lately.
The concept becomes extremely clear when you start to think of expertise as a spectrum instead of a destination.
Let’s assume, for a moment, that you’re ready to start a web design business but you’re worried you won’t be able to find clients that will pay for your services. you’re fairly new to HTML5, just wrapping your brain around responsive design, and if you get heaped in too much PHP, your brain explodes.No matter where you're at in your learning, you're an expert to someone.
So who in the world would pay to work with you?
For starters: clients who get pale at the thought of even typing in a URL into a browser window.
Are Fortune 500 companies going to be beating down your door? Not at first, no. Because they’re at a different point in the spectrum than you are.
Thinking of expertise differently
Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re even at the low end of your chosen field of expertise.
Maybe you’re a “2.”
But think of how many people are a “1” on the same spectrum. Or even a “zero.” Or haven’t even thought about being on the spectrum yet.
To them, you’re an expert.
You know way more than they do and, chances are, they’ll be willing to pay you do handle everything they don’t even remotely understand on the topic.
The key to making this model work
The real secret to making this spectrum model work is to continually keep moving up the spectrum.You can't stay at level two your whole career or you'll always get level one work.
You can’t settle for being a “2” for the rest of your career or you’ll always be stuck doing Level 1 work. As a rule of thumb, the lower on the spectrum, the less you can charge and harder it is to find quality clients.
So climb the scale.
As you become a “5,” do work for level 3 and 4 clients.
If you’re a “9,” upgrade clients to level 6, 7, or 8.
See how that works?
But don’t sit around and try to become a “9” immediately. Not only will you burnout on learning instead of doing, end up in the poorhouse, and be dissatisfied with your life and career, but you’ll miss out on the quickest way to climb the scale: real work.
It’s in the doing of the work that we improve the quickest.
Education and theory are all fine and dandy… for “ones” and “twos.”
But if you’re ready to really climb–to really build the business you dream of, start as soon as you can and then work your way up.