It’s the dream job: sharing your expertise with those who need it most, enriching the lives of thousands, and earning an honest, secure, and oftentimes massive income in return.
This is the life of the six-figure expert.
It could be your life, and the life of countless others, but there’s a problem.
Over time, you’ve become surrounded by powerful myths that keep you from turning your knowledge and know-how into a rewarding business.
Today we’re going to knock down 5 of the most powerful myths, and reveal the truth: if you have valuable information to share, you can build a business around that expertise.
Myth #1: Your Topic Must be Original
Years ago I worked for a boss whose mind was packed with brilliant advice on managing employees. The staff adored him. More important, they were great at their jobs. He had always dreamed of writing a book, so I suggested that he use management as his topic. “That would be a dream, but it’s already been done.” These simple words have kept many from following their passion.
The Truth: I built my first six-figure business in personal development, one of the most crowded fields on earth. I wasn’t a known name, didn’t have a specific niche, and didn’t have a unique angle. Despite all this, I succeeded. Here’s why…
- People don’t buy into the topic—they buy into the person. You are unique. Even when you’re working in a crowded field, people will weave through that crowd to connect with you.
- People buy more than one. I have dozens and dozens of books on marketing—not one. Comedy lovers watch dozens and dozens of funny movies—not one. When people are interested in something, they don’t buy one item from the spread of options and call it quits. They buy dozens. There’s a reason thousands of love stories have been written and sold.
- The last thing you want is an unproven market. You want to know people are selling information similar to yours and that other people are buying it. Oftentimes, being “one and only” in the market is a sure sign of impending doom.
Myth #2: You Must be the Best
I overheard a friend talking about her job one day. It turned out she worked for a small book publisher. It was news to me, and, being obsessed with turning expertise into online business, I immediately asked about it. With so many people baffled by the publishing process, I thought she could offer value to the market and maybe even create a small consulting gig on the side. “I’m no expert,” she said. Once again, seemingly simple words that have sent countless dreams to an early grave.
The Truth: You know far more than you think you do. I happily paid my friend $100 to talk with me for an hour about what she did. As I expected, this “non-expert” had incredible information to share. She dove into the industry, telling me things I never would have known, and gave me tips on submitting a winning book proposal—absolute gold for any would-be authors. She was an expert, without question, but couldn’t see it. If you’re struggled with the same doubts, consider this…
- When you’re deep into a subject, you forget that the rest of the world isn’t even dipping their toes. What seems obvious to you—because you’ve learned it so thoroughly and so long ago—is brand new to 99.9% of the people around you. My friend assumed everyone knew the proper way to submit a manuscript. She was wrong.
- People want results. If you can deliver, you’re all the expert they need. You don’t have to invest twenty years in a subject or earn certificates or degrees. Getting the result, in the end, is all that matters.
- Look around at the most popular articles, books, videos, and podcasts. More often than not, they’re packed with simple tips and ideas, not complex systems and in-depth strategy. The people looking for help are usually beginners. As such, they don’t want complicated solutions; they want easy-to-understand ideas they can use right now. Chances are you already have more than enough to offer.
Myth #3: You Must Have Money
With the high-powered tech driving today’s web, it’s understandable that people assume it costs a lot of money; the same is true with the high-quality media. A website that broadcasts to millions of email addresses, produces HD videos and professional podcasts, streams live trainings, and sells books, CDs, DVDs, and multi-media courses sounds like a website with deep pockets. Years ago this might have been true. Not anymore.
The Truth: I started my first company with $35. When I reached six figures, the bills ballooned to… $300 a month. This is the miracle and the joy of 21st century online business. With all of the available tools and platforms, you can actually run a successful business online for free. What would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to accomplish can now be done with a few clicks. Money is no longer an issue.
- Platforms such as WordPress.com (not WordPress.org), Tumblr.com, and Blogger.com let you launch your website free of charge. Wily entrepreneurs could even run a business directly on Facebook.com. However, to get the full benefits of a website without any of the drawbacks, a self-hosted domain is the way to go. Blue Host offers hosting for fees as low as $4.95 per month.
- When it comes to keeping in touch with your audience, Feedburner.com handles it all, free of charge. For more control and options, Mail Chimp is currently free up to 2,000 subscribers, beyond which you pay a small monthly fee. Additional, though more expensive, options include AWeber (the service I use), Constant Contact, GetResponse, and iContact among many others.
- Delivering products and services could not be easier or more affordable. You can run a massively profitable coaching business via free tools such as Skype, Facebook, and Gmail. Using free online converters, you can turn a report, book, or course into a ready-to-sell PDF in minutes; if you’re just beginning, skip the shopping cart software and simply email the file to customers (exactly how I ran my business for the first few years). Worried about accepting payment? For a small fee, ClickBank or PayPal have you covered.
Myth #4: You Must Be a Techie
The Internet and advancing technology go hand in hand. You see a website, with its widgets and pop ups and sign ups oh my, and instantly feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the tech running the show. There appears to be SO much going on, so much to figure out. To succeed online, the myth goes, you have to tech savvy.
The Truth: If you can click a button, you can have a website up and running in five minutes. Platforms such as Squarespace and Elance and oDesk are just two of the many services online that allow you to find and hire affordable freelancers to do everything from designing your website to launching your first video.
- Mistakes online are often cheap, so if you’re not sure how to do something, do it anyway. You’ll learn far more and far faster by diving in and trying than by mentally stressing over exactly how it should be done. Get your hands dirty.
Myth #5: You Must Get Permission
A lawyer passes the bar and is given permission to practice law. A broker passes the Series 7 and is given permission to sell securities. A 16-year-old passes his driving test and is given permission to terrify drivers throughout his town. Time and again, people are given clear and observable permission to do the things they set out to do. Not so with experts.
In most cases, we have to give permission to ourselves. We have to stand tall, proclaim our expertise, and plant our flag—without any outside body giving us the nod. We can’t point to a framed certificate on the wall to defend our choices. We can’t add letters to our name to gain immediate credibility. We can’t hide.
This is a scary proposition and demands thick skin and true guts, which is why so many hopeful experts are still waiting. Waiting for someone or something to give them permission to charge ahead.
The Truth: You don’t need permission. If you can deliver on your promise of value to your visitor, reader, customer, or client, you have all the permission you need. Stop waiting. Stop learning “just one more thing.” Start now, where you are with what you know and what you have.
If you can’t start without it, I hereby grant you permission to share your expertise with the world. Go.