You’re an expert to someone

Last week, I had an opportunity to speak to a group of students at my Alma mater and I had a complete blast.

My presentation was titled something like “Skipping 3-5 years: how starting a blog in college helped my skip entry level and land the job of my dreams.” I spent weeks researching, developing thoughts and theories, and really pouring over what I was going to tell these students.

I showed up on the day of the presentation, gave 2/3 of my speech and then it happened:

A young guy in the back raised his hand.

“What do you mean you make money from your blog? How do you make money from writing posts all the time?”

In that moment, it hit me

I had prepared all of this upper-level, deeply insightful content, when all he really wanted to know was how he can turn a blog into a profit stream.

We’re talking any money at all.

  • He didn’t want to know how to make six figures from a blog.
  • He didn’t want to know how to get millions of readers.
  • He simply needed me to help him connect the dots from blog to money.

See, to him, I was an expert in that.

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And while the curse of knowledge tricked me into thinking that everyone knew how to at least make a few pennies from blogging, what I didn’t realize was this guy simply didn’t.

I’m glad some brave kid at the back of an auditorium had the guts to ask me what the heck I was even talking about.

Because it reminded me that, to him, I’m an expert.

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It reminded me (even though I’ve written about it before) that you don’t have to be the world’s leading expert on anything to start a business, create a blog, write a book, or whatever you dream of doing.

You may not feel like an expert in anything. You may not feel like you have anything worthwhile to write about on your blog, say in your podcast, or present to a class at your former University.

But you can do it.

Because, well, you’re an expert to someone.

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Millo Articles by Preston Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Connect with Preston on Twitter.
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  1. Madan Patil says:

    This is eye opening. I think in general we do focus on our weakness first but as I read we definately have some qualities that are useful for other people which means we are expert somewhere for someone. We just look inside and help people.

    Thanks for the article.

  2. This is so awesome! Sometimes I skip the basics because I assume that what’s obvious to me is obvious to someone else. Great post.

  3. Darrell Mordecai says:

    Awesome post. This post is a complete paradigm shift for me. Thank you.

  4. Nicholas Mann says:

    I always feel there are two different kinds of experts: those who are and those who perceive.

  5. This article is really insightful, but I do have one question: How do you find out what you are an expert in, and who you are an expert to?

    How do you discover if a skill you see as second-nature, is actually a talent others wish to learn?

    1. Katie, I think there are many ways to do this, but to get you started:

      1) Ask yourself. Keep track of all the things you do in a typical week. Then look at your list and say “could other people do this?” Think of a specific person if it helps, e.g. Could my best mate / brother / mum do this? What are the things that colleagues (or friends) ask for your help with? Could you package those things in a way that made them worth selling? Look at the services other designers offer. Could you offer those things, or something similar? If they’re selling it, there must be a market!

      2) Ask friends. Get a friend on board, explain what you’re trying to find out and then talk to them about your work. Get them to identify the things that they’d have difficulty doing, or that their company might need and would be willing to buy as a service. An external perspective is really useful.

      3) Ask an expert. Visit a life coach or careers adviser. Or talk to someone who already does the sort of job you want and get their view.

      Hope that helps!

  6. This is so true!

    I used to work in a large digital team, spending all my days surrounded by ace designers, coders, content experts etc, each with huge knowledge and experience in their field. I didn’t feel like an ‘expert’ at all, and certainly not knowledgeable enough to start my own business.

    Then a friend asked me a question about SEO. I rattled off a few tips – stuff that (from my distorted viewpoint) “everybody knew”…and discovered that quite the opposite was true!

  7. Thanks! I was told the exact same thing a while back and forgot all about it. It’s very encouraging.

  8. Great post! It’s sometimes so easy to forget!

    But what was your simple answer? 😉

  9. Great post to start the week off with. Thanks!

    1. Preston D Lee says:

      Glad it could get you off on the right foot, Cindy!

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