Raise your hand if you can relate.
You worked in corporate (or some version of it) were extremely passionate about your craft (maybe it was HR, marketing, or IT), you were constantly praised by your colleagues and superiors, and then one day thought, “I think I can actually do this as a business, on my terms.”
And so, you left. You told the world of your new business, and yay for you…referrals started to come in.
I remember this first stage of my business fondly. It was all buzzy nerves and excitement, talking to just about anyone I could about my new baby, and struggling to get sleep because the second my head hit the pillow a million ideas and possibilities seemed to download. It was a creative entrepreneurial mania, and I freaking loved it.
If you’re nodding along with a faint smile of recognition, it’s because this journey isn’t unique to you and me, it’s the typical path of the consultant or “paid expert.”
Now, if you’re also like I was, as your business matured into year two or three, you realized that scaling your expertise isn’t quite the same as scaling a product-based business, or even a service/agency-based business for that matter.
Why is scaling your expertise so difficult?
- YOU are the product.
YOU are the one that has the knowledge and experience you do and that special sauce and flair that people enjoy working with. You can find others with similar expertise, but sometimes that’s tough as they are also working for themselves, or, more oftentimes, just don’t have that same voodoo that you do so well (a nod to Cole Porter and Salt-N-Pepa).
- There are 17 million different ways you can monetize it.
This SHOULD come as a relief but often times it comes in the form of analysis paralysis because you’re you and you know your stuff and are a Type-A, so you could do and are excited to do ALL of them.“Oh! I know! I’ll do a podcast and that will help increase my following. Oh, shoot, I need to grow my email list from my podcast, so I’ll create my freemium offer to giveaway. Crap, what is that offer anyway? White paper? Checklist? Ebook? I’ll add that to my list of things to write. What do I upsell from the freemium offer, though? A training program? That sounds like a good “someday maybe.” But also, I really want to apply to my local TEDX conference as a speaker. Oh hamburgers, I need to get that speaker sheet done. And a speaker’s reel. Yes, that needs to be a part of my expert toolkit. Dang, all these things are going to cost me money so I can look like a real professional. Speaking of money, I need to get more retainer clients because sporadic project work isn’t necessarily funding all this! What do my retainer packages look like? Do I do these AFTER I write my book so they know I’m worth all the money? OMG, I will never get there, I have a million things to do in addition to the project I’m still working on for a client. Best to just take a nap.”
I know reading that isn’t easy, trust me, writing it even triggered some angst for me. Probably because I’ve run on that mental hamster wheel sooooo many times.
- Expertise isn’t easy to replicate.
Oftentimes your engagements are so intensely custom depending on the client and their specific situation that it can be hard to implement systems to execute them in a replicable manner (ability to replicate is key to scale after all). You pour your heart into your engagements, many times even internalizing some of the client’s issues as if they are your own (Note: this kind of passion and caring is an X factor, while it is important to learn to set boundaries, don’t underestimate how special this is and how much your genuine concern is valued). Here’s the good news though, what I said earlier is true—this is ALL part of the consultant and paid expert journey. You’re just in the thick of it. On the backside of this struggle are ways that you can grow your expertise effectively. How do I know? Because I’ve learned to do it and there are many examples of paid experts (who I know you’ve also seen), who have learned to do it too.
You just need clarity on what’s the right path for YOU. So, I brought in an expert. Pamela Lewerenz, The Brick Wall Coach, specializes in helping solo-preneurs scale their businesses in systematic, proven ways.
I can speak so confidently to her expertise because she was the expert I turned to when I was struggling with this same issue.
Pam and I sat down for about 30 minutes to talk about what solo-preneurs need to be doing now to make this happen for themselves. In the video below, you’ll learn the critical first steps, and over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll share more of what Pam said to help guide you.
Of course, to take the necessary actions to transform your business, there are a few beliefs you need to examine first. Why? Because even if you know exactly what to do, if you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t actually follow through and do them. Fortunately, Pam has provided a free E-Book, “Crushing the Lies That Limit Your Business” here for you.