Have you ever considered yourself an expert?
Maybe you’ve started a business and things are going well: does that make you an expert? Do you consider yourself capable of educating others on the same steps you took? Educating them in a way that will create similar results?
Do you think people need to hear what you have to say? A quick scroll through Google hits show that there is a never-ending supply of courses, webinars, masterminds, groups, blogs and mentors available, all promising to show you those tips you can’t live without. What is one more “expert” really worth?
Maybe more than you realize.
Why you are an expert
I often find myself paralyzed by the accusation that I’m not an expert at _______ (you fill in the blank). Confidence often eludes me.
We live in a world of infinite possibilities. With access to unlimited knowledge and with the capacity to learn anything I want, where do I begin? Am I even an “expert” at what I’m doing now?
Recently, I had the chance to interview the amazing Tara Gentile, creator of CoCommercial and the What Works podcast! We were talking about this idea when she said something that liberated me:
“There is always someone who knows less than you.”
She started just like any of us: with something to say but also the courage to actually put it out there. Maybe it was even audacity, considering how many other “experts” were already teaching the same thing. They always are.
Despite the saturation, Tara found a way to cut through. Today, she’s an incredibly successful and popular educator and mentor for creative entrepreneurs, and the founder of her own company.
There will always be a new ear for what you know. Someone in need of a product or service you provide, and entirely unaware of how many other people are offering it. How do you leverage that? How do you give yourself the ability to stay fresh in a saturated market?
Don’t worry about market saturation
You are an expert in ways you could never expect. Whether it’s because of your particular quirks, the radius you build around you through intentional work, or pure luck, you may be the exact voice someone needs. It doesn’t matter how many other voices are saying the same thing: someone will find you.
You don't need to create a new market entirely. You just need to do something different within that saturated market.
The market constantly evolves, and whether we are conscious of it or not, we need to be gathering information as it evolves. If you aren’t staying up to date, you run the risk of becoming a part of the oversaturation. Don't get lost in the shuffle right after launch because you didn't keep up.
If you pay attention to what's current, at the very least, you’ll be ahead of some people. That’s a good first step towards helping yourself stand out. People who know they have something to offer don’t dwell too much on what else is out there.
Routines lay the foundation of expertise
While your unique approach will help you stand out from the crowd, routine and repetition will fill in the gaps.
No matter how different you are, a foundation is required to support your business and your clients. You can't worry about not being good at something, and then be reluctant to dive into learning that thing every day. That's how you get stuck.
Can you read one article a day on something you want to get better at? How about 5 articles? What about 5 articles a day and one course-section a week?
How about that and you listen to an influencers podcast on the subject while you drive or do chores?
What begins as a gradual routine becomes a hunger for the knowledge that will round out your expertise.
Acquiring knowledge is painless. You aren’t required to get anything right or prove anything to anyone. All you have to do is open yourself up to it.
A routine of doing will help to make skills concrete, but if that’s too much, start with a routine of learning. When I wanted to learn how to create and host a podcast, I built a routine of listening to them every single day. What started as just a routine of listening to the podcasts that inspired me turned into the confidence to actually begin.
Knowledge (and doing) breeds confidence
I love taking in information, but that doesn't help me if it stays in a vacuum. If I hear a topic brought up several times on a podcast, I might have more I can talk about at the next party, but hardly enough to consider myself an expert.
If you have an idea, but don't know how to actually apply it, that’s ok. That doesn’t mean you have to turn back.
Whether that translates to anything concrete for your business is entirely up to you. You are responsible for converting acquired knowledge into confidence. When I found myself confident in my understanding of the podcasts I was listening to, I used that burst of confidence to start building.
How confident you appear is more often convincing to clients than the knowledge itself. That doesn’t have to be taboo. There are necessary leaps you need to take in business. Somtimes pretending you’re a savant at something you picked up on Youtube yesterday is the name of the game.
Not sure how to do that exact type of photoshoot your client asked for? You'll figure it out! You've read enough and watched enough and done enough to have a general idea.
Don’t turn down the opportunity to do work that will give you confidence in yourself just because you don’t have all the details. You know better than anyone when you’re in way over your head, but take some risks!
The humble realization
If you’re hoping all this will lead you to perfection, I’ve got some bad news for you. That isn’t actually possible. As long as business or art continues to evolve, there is no such thing as mastery or a sure-fire expert.
New information will come out tomorrow that renders your expertise useless if your competitors apply it first, or more effectively. The turn around might not be a day, but over time the same principle applies.
When we don’t have enough knowledge to consider ourselves an expert, our job is to go out and get it. When we become good at getting that knowledge, we realize that goal never changes. That's the humble realization. Becoming an expert is a non-stop journey, one you have to come to terms with if you're committed to being the best you can be.
If you do that, you'll be closer than you've ever been to being the expert you've always wanted to be.
There are a lot of experts out there, but only one you. You have a unique collection of experience, knowledge, and characteristics that make you the perfect voice for someone in need.
You are an expert. It's up to you to decide if you want to start acting like one.
When you finally step into your identity as the expert you have always been, make sure you equip yourself with tools and resources that are worthy of what you have to offer.
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