SFE TV 08: Six Questions to Discover Your Expertise

by Jason Gracia · 11 comments

Six-Figure Expert TV

Welcome to our very first (of many) Q&A Episodes!

You ask the questions and I offer my best insights and advice.

The first question comes from Sally Kim who writes, “What if I don’t know what my expertise is?”

Though we usually focus on experts who are already masters of their craft, I know there are many honest, hard-working people who aren’t yet sure where to focus.

Every expert starts somewhere.

Many people are willing to do the work. They want to use their talents and experience to help, but they’re not sure exactly what they should do.

Today’s Q&A episode sheds some light on the problem, so if you’re in Sally’s shoes, this one’s for you.

 

 

Free Book!

Remember to post your comment below for a chance to win Barrie Davenport’s latest book, The 52-Week Life Passion Project.

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Two weeks ago I asked for your burning questions about building a business around your area of expertise. Your replies covered everything from first steps to high-level strategy. They were truly insightful questions that got to the heart of what it takes to succeed as an expert.

And, now, it’s time to answer them.

Today’s question comes from Sally who writes, “How do you figure out what your area of expertise is?”

Though we normally cater to people who already have a particular expertise and can deliver results, I know there are many out there who are willing to do what it takes to provide value, but simply don’t know what to do.

They want to master a topic and to help people improve, change, or achieve, but need a few tips to get them heading in the right direction.

So Sally, and anyone else in her shoes, I want you to consider these six questions, shared by Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non-Conformity.

1. What do people ask you to do? What are you know for?

If I need help growing tomatoes, I know who to ask. Erin is the queen when it comes to producing hordes of plump red veggies. (I know, I know. It’s technically a fruit. I stand my ground.) The same is true of home improvement, editing, or even dog training. I go to these people because they are experts, whether they know it or not.

What about you? What do people turn to you for? What are you asked to offer or do time and again? Before launching The Six-Figure Expert, people would ask me about my websites, about how I did what I did. That was a clue to another area of expertise.

It might be for you as well.

2. What do people already pay you for?

When gathering material on book publishing, I turned to my resident expert, gladly paying her for her time. As is often the case, she didn’t expect it or easily accept it…because she didn’t see herself as someone with knowledge to pay for. She was wrong. I, and many others, would happily hand over checks, cash, and cards to tap into her reservoir of publishing insight and experience.

People have recently been hiring me to design their websites and PDF reports. It’s not an area I seriously considered, but after getting paid to do projects I love, it’s something I might consider soon.

What about you? Do people pay to tap into a certain part of your experience or know-how?

3. What do people praise you for?

Just as important as pay is praise. What do people consistently compliment you on? What impresses them or draws a positive remark?

True, not every pat on the back can be turned into an expert business, but many times it can.

I know of one successful expert who was always told how well he connected with other people. He had a knack for it and, though he never thought much of it, other people did, so much so that he eventually realized he was on to something important.

He built on the idea, learning more and more about the topic of connection until he was able to launch a training program sharing his expertise. From praise to product.

4. What would you happily do for free?

Becoming a successful expert takes time and effort and, yes, struggle. But if you love the work, if you love the hustle and the climb, you’ll stick with it, through the ups and downs…because you love it.

This fact is why it’s so important to examine your passions.

Few people hate the thing at which they excel. They might not love every aspect—I don’t especially enjoy fixing technical glitches or paying quarterly taxes…but overall they love the work or the end result enough to do it free of charge.

If you had no bills or mortgage to worry about, no financial obligations whatsoever, what would you do?

5. Where do your natural talents and abilities lie?

What comes easily to you that others struggle with? In that simple sentence lies the key to a wildly successful business, for it is problem and solution rolled into one.

If people struggle to do something, they need someone to solve that struggle. And if it comes easily to you, well, you’re the solution they’re looking for.

So ask yourself, what natural talents or abilities do you have? What has always seemed relatively easy to be, to do, to say, to think, to build? The answer could be your calling.

6. What does the market need?

Like a true entrepreneur, you could merely survey the landscape, find a need, and fulfill it better than anyone else. As you should know by now, this isn’t about preying on the needs of people struggling; instead, it’s about solving a real problem with solutions that over deliver.

Looking around you and your world, what is missing? What type of expertise could you develop that would immediately be in demand and put to good use?

Every expert starts somewhere. If you’re just beginning and aren’t sure what your expertise is or should be, take time today to think about these questions. Without a doubt, the answers can change your life.

Spread the Word & Subscribe

If you liked today’s video, spread the word using the share buttons below and if you’re not signed up to receive new episodes and exclusive trainings, join us using the form to the upper right.

Want to be featured in an upcoming show? Send your question to info@jasongracia.com and you could be the next expert to get your burning question answered.

Finally, for a chance to win a copy of Barrie Davenport’s latest book, The 52-Week Life Passion Project, post a comment below about today’s episode.

Thank you for watching and be sure to tune in next week when we tackle the next question from the community. Until then, take care…

Comments

Jason Gracia

To submit your own question for a future Q&A Episode, write to info@jasongracia.com and you could be the next expert to get your burning question answered!

Reply

Nina

Great questions to ask Jason! I now find myself back on the drawing board. When I first started my business, every answer to the question was writing! I have had my writing business for a few years now, and I quickly discovered that I don’t like writing for other people. I like writing for myself, however, I feel like I am in the place where I can train others how to write for the web. Plus my market place asks me for social media tips all the time( I am a social media manager too). So I think I will just enhance my skills in social media and focus on that. Thanks! : )

Reply

Jason Gracia

Nina,

LOVE IT.

Few things are as important as writing well…and few people can do it. Your expertise is sorely needed by the market, any market, for in writing well comes attention, connection, community, and action.

Not only that, but you’ll be responsible for the level of clear prose rising throughout our online world, if only if your particular niche.

That’s a worthy goal in itself.

There are so many places you can go with this…writing compelling headlines, writing stories to engage, writing truth, writing attention-grabbing social media bits (and writing the right way depending on which platform you’re on).

I’m thrilled about this new direction and hope you’ll let me, and the rest of the community, know how it progresses for you.

Jason

Reply

Nina

Thank you Jason! I am working on it- I will certainly let you know as soon as I craft up my master plan mwhaha mwhaha. :) And thanks for reminding me to come back to this blog! :) Keep sharing your wealth of knowledge. This question hit me at the right time! :)

Reply

Jason Gracia

It’s honestly my pleasure, Nina. I’m here to serve you and the other amazing experts in our community. I love what I do, and that’s because of people like you.

Reply

Kathy

Thank you for sharing.
I am in flux. In process of change. I am not sure of where to start. Every little bit helps. These questions have given me a lot to think about.
Thank you.

Reply

Jason Gracia

Kathy,

We’re here for you, so why don’t you start with what you know.

What areas speak to you? What have you already done? Where does your current experience or expertise lie? What do you love to do? What are you great at?

Together we can figure this out.

Jason

Reply

Estevan Montoya

Thanks Jason, your content is always encouraging and insightful. Looking at this list of questions, I find that people continually come to me for design. From print to web graphics…all the way to web site systems. I love doing it, but for some reason, I get people that are high maintenance, while being cheap. I heard it said “The cheaper the client, the harder the work”.

How would you break into an arena you are new to and not confident in. You know, getting out from the low end, and becoming a leader, while still growing personally?

Thanks!

Reply

Jason Gracia

Estevan,

Fantastic question.

First, let’s dive into “The cheaper the client, the harder the work.” I think it will be valuable for the rest of the community to discover the truth behind this statement.

We value little what comes too easily. The first dollar I earned as an expert meant more to me than the thousands I was paid by my former boss. I worked hard for that dollar, harder than ever before.

This principles holds just as true for purchases. When something is cheap, we deem it cheap and pay little attention to it. We don’t value it, treat it with great respect, or honor its boundaries.

It’s a different world when the price is high. We immediately recognize the value and, because we’ve paid so much, we take care to get the absolute most out of the investment.

If I spend $27 on a marketing course, I may or may not read it because the price is so little that it can easily be tossed aside with much stress or worry. But if I pay $2,700, I’m going to pour over every word and follow every ounce of advice–I’m going to get my money’s worth.

Cheaper services, therefore, often invite less-committed customers.

But that’s not all.

Charging low rates instantly downgrades your authority. It’s only natural. As humans, we can’t help but place higher intrinsic value on something that costs more. A bread maker for $499 appears, at least on the surface, to be far better than one for $99.

We assume more went into the $499 model. More time, more care, more quality, more parts and pieces.

When you charge a low rate, then, people assume less goes into your offer; you must not be worth that much.

A few more traps of low pricing…

1. Hard to go up once you’ve set your rates low

2. People will save on what’s common to invest in what’s unique

3. The lower the prices, the higher the refund rate

4. The less you charge, the less value you can offer (can’t afford top of the line services)

5. Cheap programs require thousands of sales to earn a strong income

6. Cheap programs and services lead to resentment; you don’t want to do the work because you feel undervalued

7. Motivation declines as each additional sale does little to boost your bottom line

And much, much more.

The rule is clear: If you want to be a successful expert, you must charge what you’re worth.

How do you do it? Let’s dive in. :)

1. If you want to charge high fees, you can’t avoid this requirement: You have to be good. You have to be able to deliver. There’s no way around it. You can fool some people, for a while, but eventually the market will catch on and crush you.

You have to deliver above and beyond what people expect.

If you’re not there yet, then you get there. You study. You research. You check books out from the library. You study the best in your field. You do free work to build your talents and testimonials. You get up early and stay up late, doing whatever it takes to become a true master of your craft.

First, you must deliver.

2. If your skills are there and you deliver tangible value, the next step is positioning. You have to position yourself as a trust authority on your topic. This involves showing your connections, showing your experience and vast knowledge and ability, showing your work, etc.

3. At the same time, raise your prices. Survey the market and land within the top tier of experts. (Again, as long as you can deliver at that level.) It’s scary, of course, but it’s necessary and it’s worth it. And it’s easier to do than most people think. You won’t get a thousand emails screaming obscenities or evil threats. You’ll get better customers and more income.

4. As a baby step toward higher fees, you can also offer free sessions to demonstrate your talent and then make your offer of paid services. You’ll feel confident because you’ve clearly proven your ability and they’ll be more willing to invest knowing what you can do for them. Win win.

In your case, I would develop your design skills through practice, study, and mentorship (find designers online who are doing work your admire and begin a relationship with them). I would then offer your design services free for a select group of clients who agree to provide testimonials/case studies and referrals for you. Knock their socks off with your talent and you’ll have paid clients…high-paying clients…in no time.

Jason

Reply

Estevan Montoya

Thanks for such a great reply! Your reply could be a video or post by itself. Looking at my previous work, I have helped several people, and they are becoming “evangelists” for me. I am hoping to gather some new clients regarding both SEO services and design work. Overall, I love both design and SEO, but I also love online business. Have you ever saw anyone that was an expert in online business, with multiple categories of services?

Thanks!

Reply

Jason Gracia

Estevan,

I’ve definitely seen online businesses that offered an array of services, so your two passions of design and SEO sound terrific. You would most likely have more success as an expert focusing on a single topic, but this isn’t absolutely necessary. You can win with either or both.

Jason

Reply

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