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