Growth April 22, 2013 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,963 Reads share

Fake it ‘Til You Make It: How to Become An Expert In Your Field

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First off, I want to say I’m delighted to be here. I know many of the staff of Tweak Your Biz from working with Small Business Trends, so it feels like home to start guest blogging here!

The newer you are as a business owner, the more likely you are to not feel like an expert in your industry. I remember early on with my company, Egg Marketing & Communications, I was constantly amazed that anyone would believe in me enough to pay me to market their business! There was so much I didn’t know.

There still is, but I’m better at faking it. That’s right: my saying is: “fake it ’til you make it.”

How to become an expert…fast

Consider this: you start your business because you have experience and/or passion in a given field. For me, it was writing marketing copy and press releases. But what happens when a client asks you to take on something just out of your comfort zone? Do you say no and lose that revenue, as well as potentially lose the client altogether? Or do you figure it out?

I chose Route B. If I didn’t know how to do something, I learned. Fast. I taught myself how to write SEO copy, complete with meta tags and descriptions (remember those?) I taught myself how to put together email campaigns. And the more skills I learned, the more confident I became in those areas. Ask me now to take on a project in SEO or email, and I’m on it. No qualms. No hesitation. I don’t use the term “expert” lightly, so let’s just say I’m confident in what I do, and not afraid to try new things.

Why confidence brings more business

Think about the places where you spend money. Let’s use my dry cleaner as an example. I know nothing about what happens once I drop my clothes off (I assume little fairies get the stains out), but my wish is that the clothes will return clean and pressed. I trust the particular company I use because the owner is passionate — yes, about stain removal — and knowledgeable about what he does. He can talk for hours about the different chemicals available, and which is better for red wine stains versus blood. I don’t necessarily need to know all this, but you can bet I’m happy giving him money and entrusting him with my precious clothes.

That’s why as a business owner, especially a new one, it’s key that you exude confidence. Even if you don’t feel it. You want the people you’re trying to get as customers to completely have faith in your ability to deliver.

That being said, if you know you’re set up for failure, maybe because the project will take far longer for you to ramp up on a new skill, or because you simply can’t do it justice, turn down the work. It’s better to disappoint a client early than continue trying to get the job done, only to turn in shoddy work.

Becoming an expert takes time. But your clients don’t have to know where you are in the process. Give them a confident “yes” when asked if you can take something new on, then teach yourself a new skill you can add to your arsenal.

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

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