‘Every artist was once an amateur’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. But when starting out in business, it can be tough to be the little fish in the big pond. The questions arise in your mind ‘Who is going to want what I offer?’, ‘What if I can’t help the client enough when they pay for my services?’, ‘Who am I to think I’m an expert?’.
The reality is that people don’t want more of the same, they want different, they want quirky and they want something that resonates with their values and beliefs. Being yourself is the best way to be different, don’t try to be something you’re not, don’t try to conform. Be quirky and curious and interested in the people you want to help.
Be a leading learner. Admit you don’t know all the answers, people will understand and will be more attracted to your honesty and candour than going to a super polished coach or guru that thinks they know all the answers.
The fact of the matter is that you may have been your own ideal client once, I know I was! You can be 2 or 3 steps ahead of your ideal client, but you still have valuable information to give them in terms of how you are progressing towards your goals.
People appreciate the information more if they know you were once in their shoes, even if it was not that long ago. Keep learning and teach your clients how to avoid all the mistakes if you can.
Realise that you are enough right now where you are. Only you can bring you to the table - you with all your flaws and imperfections, your experiences and your talents. You are the expert in YOU! If you can say that you are bringing positive change to other people’s lives with the work you currently do, then you are on the right path. Stop asking for permission to do the things you want to do, and get that information, service or product out there. People need you!
Remember that a perceived ‘expert’ or guru has nothing more to learn, nothing more to achieve. As a learner, you are constantly bringing new ideas and concepts to the table for your clients and building and developing your craft as you grow. There is nothing wrong with that! Women entrepreneurs suffer most from imposter syndrome, waiting for people to find out that they don’t know all the answers. So what if you don’t? There is nothing you can’t learn or study or get to grips with over time.
Working with clients allows you to really hone in and find out what it is they really want, you may find the same questions come up over and over again. If so, you can find ways to effectively answer them with all the tools you have to hand right now and in the future as you learn more.
Question the experts. Just because the ‘experts’ advise a particular way to do something doesn’t mean it’s the only way! Adapt and refine anything that is the ‘done thing’ to suit yourself and your clients, as long as it works for them and they are feeling the benefits of your product or service, you’re doing the right thing! Always question the norm, be curious about how you can improve on what is out there, and how it can benefit your customers.
Fail fast and fail often. Failing fast and often means you can make the mistakes early on in your chosen business and really hone in on the direction you want to progress in. That direction might pivot and change, further exacerbating the ‘I’m not an expert’ conversation in your head. Remind yourself why you want to serve your clients, keep learning, have fun with it all and experiment. Working in a space that you can flow in is more important than sticking with something that you don’t resonate with anymore. Starting again in a new direction that works better for you may invigorate your business more and attract the right clients.
In the end, let the haters think what they like about you, you don’t have to be an expert straight away! Don’t forget that you are holding a mirror up to other people when you start to make moves into your new business. You are telling them that you are moving out of your comfort zone, and people don’t like that because it makes them feel uncomfortable. It makes them realise that their lives are beige and uninteresting, so they lash out at you to kill your confidence, to shatter your dreams, to make themselves feel better.
You just keep on going, keep on learning and get even better at what you do - and give yourself a break sometimes!
Be a problem solver. Get results and provide solutions to your clients. Learn on the job. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the answers, nobody does!
Be you. You can’t be anyone else.