Secret 2 of 3: How your knowledge already qualifies you as an expert

In this episode. I’m going to cover the second of three secrets to success for building your own expert business. How your knowledge already qualifies you as an expert…

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Today we’re going to cover the second out of three secrets to success for building your own expert business, and today’s secret is how your specific knowledge positioned with the right customers already qualifies you as an expert.

Some people think that being an expert means, you know, being a doctor or a lawyer, someone with a huge amount of credentials or 30 years of experience in an industry or all kinds of different certifications or other things that bless them or bestow them with expert status.

That you have to be like in the top one, two or three or even 10 in your particular field or industry to be categorized or qualified as an expert.

A lot of people think that somebody else decides who an expert is, whether it’s some kind of governing board or standards body or certifications or you know, just the people that you report to in your corporate career.

Let’s break that down a little bit.

In this episode. I'm going to cover the second of three secrets to success for building your own expert business. I've spent the last two years researching and interviewing some of the most successful online entrepreneurs in the world as they built their own expert businesses. Now I'm building an agency that helps skilled professionals like you and me do the same: build a business around their expertise that delivers wealth, impact, and legacy. The real question is this: How can we build six, seven, or even eight-figure expert businesses while still employed without spending all our money or becoming a stranger to our families? This show is here to give you the answers. Join me on this journey and learn how to start, succeed, and scale you're own expert business. My name is David Ziembicki. Welcome to the build your expert business show!

Hey everybody, David Ziembicki here. Welcome back to the show. Today we're going to cover the second out of three secrets to success for building your own expert business, and today's secret is how your specific knowledge positioned with the right customers already qualifies you as an expert to some people. Think that being an expert means, you know, being a doctor or a lawyer, someone with a huge amount of credentials or 30 years of experience in an industry or all kinds of different certifications or other things that define them, or bless them or bestow them. You have this status of being an expert in something or that you have to be like in the top one, two or three or even 10 in your particular field or industry to be categorized or qualified as an expert. A lot of people think that somebody else decides who an expert is, whether it's some kind of governing board or standards body or certifications or you know, just the people that you report to in your corporate career.

Just that somebody else controls who gets this honor of being defined an expert. But anyhow, let's break that down a little bit. What is an expert? Okay, so maybe you've heard the term, you know, in the legal field called an expert witness, right? So somebody commits a crime and then during the trial they bring in all kinds of expert witnesses. You know, the DNA person or the fingerprint person. And all this kind of stuff, or just people to render opinions on medical issues or liability or anything else like that. But if you really dig into it, the actual legal definition of an expert or an expert witness is just someone who has knowledge beyond that of the ordinary lay person enabling him or her to give testimony regarding an issue that requires some kind of expertise to understand. So the simple version of that legalease is to be an expert.

You really just need to know more than the average person or especially in business, which we're going to talk a lot about in this show. You need to know a little bit more than your target customer, right? Because if you have more knowledge than they do in a topic that they value, they will pay you money for that knowledge or they will pay you money to help them accelerate their progress in that particular topic. And that's really the second secret. Or the second key to being successful in expert business is realizing that you probably already are an expert if you package up your skills and if you define the right target market to sell those skills into. So even hearing what I just said, probably for a lot of you in the back of your minds, you're still thinking to yourself, well, potential customers might not see me as an expert.

I have degrees or certifications or credentials or I feel nervous about claiming to be an expert in something and that's something we need to tackle head on because you have to show up as confident in your skills and abilities in order to be able to sell products and services that are based on those skills and abilities. It's really the root of making that expert business model work. So if you do feel that way and it's usually a 50 50 split, right? I mean some people like, yeah, I can, I can do that. I'm confident. I think I could position myself as an expert and they understand the value in doing that. But 50% of you also, this is going to be a major challenge and one of the things that this falls under is actually a thing in psychology that's called impostor syndrome. So you may have heard about this, a lot of people speak about it in generalities, but I've done some a little bit of research and digging into this and basically the, yeah, the psychological definition of it is it's a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as some kind of fraud.

So what that means is, is a lot of us have this fear of, hey, if I go out and position myself with a customer as an expert or as having particular skills in an area, what they're afraid of is the customer is going to ask that really hard question where we freeze like a deer in the headlights and then we kind of like huddle up and say, Oh yeah, I'm, I'm not an expert. I'm sorry, I don't know what I'm talking about. And then we kind of walk away with, with our tails between our legs. This is a really important topic in this whole realm of expert business that we talked about here because we have to tackle that head on if that's the way you feel about yourself and your particular skills. So especially in this case, I want to make sure if people that feel this way, you understand you're not alone.

This is very common. Even myself, I mean, I'm 20 years into my career, I've sold or delivered over $200 million worth of professional services all the way from small businesses up to the secretaries of government agencies and executives in fortune 500 companies. I've done thousands of presentations, you know, so in a lot of times I can just walk in, wing it and I know my stuff, but if I'm in a new situation, the exact same thing crops up or if I'm in an area that's a little bit at the edge of, of my particular skillset or expertise, then I get imposter syndrome as well. So again, it's something we have to tackle head on. So you might ask, well how did I overcome this over this 20 year time period? So I want to tell you, you know, a couple of stories about that. So when I graduated from college, it was with a degree in like information technology and business and stuff like that.

You know, I got hired by one of the largest consulting companies in the world, right? It's one of these choice jobs that everybody in those types of colleges and majors go after. And Luckily I was able to be hired into a nice roll there, you know, straight out of college. However, within a couple of weeks they sent us all like, there's like hundreds of people in this program. They sent all these new college kids off to like an eight week training program and this really big enterprise software package. It's the kind of stuff that businesses run their inventory and their sales and all of their stuff through like a back end type of system. So they sent all of us to this big training course. Right. And at the end of it, yeah, you got a little piece of paper that said, yeah, I'm certified in this software, which in the railroad really meant nothing, right?

We learned some stuff and we knew more than zero, but it definitely was not what we needed to do. However, we were shipped right away to customers after that. So right after that program, and boom, I'm landed at a customer major project, 50 or 60 consultants on this thing and multimillion dollar, probably tens of millions of dollars consulting project. And for this college kid, only eight weeks out of school, they were charging $150 an hour because we were an analyst with the big consulting company, right? So when day one, I'm in front of people that are paying $150 an hour for my time being positioned as an expert and really just having a piece of paper that says, I went to eight weeks of class about this software package, right? So from day one in my career, because it's always been in consulting and professional services, that imposter syndrome was ever present.

So that type of environment was a pressure cooker. I mean, some people cracked, you know, and then just like huddled and never want it to be in front of the customer, you know, and then just hid behind the more senior consultants that had the experience. And then other people started to thrive. And so obviously I'm a hard charger and I said, hey, I'm going to figure this out. And then the solution to impostor syndrome really presented itself within about the first month or two of, of being on these projects and being under that pressure every day. So the epiphany or the revelation, you know, that I was luckily able to figure out pretty quickly was I did not need to be the world's leading expert on that software package in order to deliver $150 an hour worth of value to my customer. The real answer was I just needed to be one day ahead of where they were.

So what I mean by that is I felt this pressure. I want it to be successful in my career. So daily. I was getting asked dozens of questions that I did not know the answer to because I was positioned as an expert in this thing. Again, with only those couple of weeks of training. So what I did is I vow to myself that I said, I'm going to be able to figure out this answer within 24 hours. So if they asked me something in the afternoon on, you know, when I got to the customer on Monday by Tuesday morning come hell or high water, I was going to figure out what the answer to that challenge was or what the answer to that question was. So that meant a lot of extra work, right? Run back to the hotel after the workday, reading through documentation and asking questions, talking to my more senior peers, getting on email threads and so forth, whatever it took, I was going to get that answer by the next day and that way provide the customer that value.

Okay. So once I learned that secret, that was really the key, at least for me to getting over impostor syndrome in most of these cases or this nervousness of being positioned as an expert when I wasn't really an expert yet. So I want to make sure to reiterate and really restate that cause it's such a core concept to everything we talk about in the world of expert businesses. And it's the key. You just need to be able to deliver a valuable result that your customer can't do themselves. You don't need to know everything about a given topic. You just need to know more than your customer does and being able to deliver an outcome that they want faster than they can themselves. So if you can do that, if you can deliver some form of value that your potential customer can do themselves, or you can do it faster than your customer could if they tried to do it themselves, you are an expert, right?

You can monetize that Delta or arbitrage that difference in your knowledge and what you can deliver versus your target market or your target customer. That's the root of all of the value and all of the revenue that an expert business can build is delivering those types of results faster. So over time, and over the 20 years of my career, I've refined that idea a little bit further. And now after, like I said, $200 million worth of consulting services sold or delivered, I call it the e equals mc square or the master equation of professional services and expert businesses. So here's the equation, results divided by time equals value. So what that equation does is it breaks down to everything that we've talked about in the last few minutes. So when the top is the results that you can provide to your potential market, whether that's improved health, you know, a greater income, more happiness, a better relationship with their spouse, you know, any kind of topic where you could provide some kind of valuable result that's the result part of the equation.

Then divide that over the amount of time it takes you to deliver that result compared to what your customer would be able to do themselves. If they can't do it at all, then they would never be able to get the result if they can get the result. But it's gonna take them a year trying it by themselves and you can do it in six months and you've increased the level of value that you're providing. So if the results increase or if the time you can provide them decreases, that increases the overall value of what you're able to deliver to your customers. Okay. And so that's the basis around which you would start to productize your skills and expertise. Think about the results, then think about how to accelerate those results. So Mike particular case with the agency and all the products and services that we have to help people build expert businesses, that's one of the core parts of our value.

We can provide results, but our biggest value is that we do it in a much shorter amount of time than anybody would be able to do themselves because of our agency model. I have a team of people that help with all the different elements of expert business, the tech stuff, the marketing stuff, the processes and procedures. All of those types of things. So we have the double whammy there. We've had great results that we can provide. Plus we can do it in a very short amount of time. So that super increases the value that we're able to provide and that we're able to charge to our agency customers. So think about how that might work in your particular skill area or their particular expertise you have, what type of results can you provide, and then how could you do them rapidly and so that you can deliver those results faster than your customer again, and then increase the overall value of your services and then what you're able to charge for your products and services.

So again, the key to success is finding the right customers or the right target market where you can deliver better results faster than what the customer can do themselves. And again, to reiterate your knowledge or expertise with the right customers already qualifies you as an expert. And after that, with continuous improvement and successful outcomes, that's what lets you raise your prices over time as you deliver more value quicker. So a couple more examples. You know, back from my corporate career. So for me, as I said, starting above, yeah, I started out at $150 an hour and this is like 20 years ago. So who knows what that would be today, two or 300 bucks an hour. And over the course of my career for awhile, my rates kept going up, you know, 200300400 $500 an hour. But eventually you top out in what you can charge per hour.

So in successful professional services businesses, a lot of times what they do is they flip over to what's called value based pricing. So instead of sending 10 people at, you know, $200 an hour, they basically figure out, well what is the value of the outcome that that team is going to deliver? And then we should charge that amount to the end customer because they're getting that much value out of it. So one of the ways that I became one of the top people in professional services at these large organizations is because I became an expert in creating what I call productized services or services based offerings. And that was taking things that we learned and did it customers, making them repeatable so that we could deliver them faster and so that we could deliver them. We're using resources that did not have to be in our top 10 people in the whole company, right?

It's the only way to scale a professional services business is to be able to deliver the same results over time, using less and less costly resources to deliver them. So again, the better the results and the faster they're delivered, the more you can charge. So some of you might have a monkey wrench at, you're about to throw into everything that I'm discussing in this episode. And that could be, if you're thinking, well, I don't enjoy the work that I currently do and no one would might, would pay me well for it anyway, even if I did. So that's a problem, obviously. Right? So if your current skills or expertise or not ones that you actually enjoy learning about delivering and potentially building products around, then you need to take a slight detour here and then figure out what are the things that you are interested in where you could quickly build up expertise.

So you definitely, even if you're in that category of you don't like what you currently do, you have the exact same opportunity because a lot of what I just said, if you play it back and think about it a little bit means that well, Gee, if I only need to be like a day or two ahead of my customer in an area that's important to them, um, how hard it really is it to learn to be just a step or two ahead of the average person in that particular space. So think about it. Most industries right now are being severely disrupted by new technology, new methods, automation, artificial intelligence, all kinds of crazy stuff, right? Learning a new bleeding edge field and doing that relatively quickly can make you be an expert because so many industries are changing so rapidly. So, I mean over the course of my 20 year career, I mean I've changed my technical focus area probably a half a dozen times at least in that time period.

And what I've noticed over the time is the durability of that knowledge is less and less and less because the pace of change is so fast. So especially in like technology spaces and stuff like that, what I know from 20 years ago to 10 years ago, totally irrelevant today from 10 years ago to five, a little bit of relevance, you know the last five years of knowledge is still relevant. But really what customers want is the stuff that's relevant this year, this month and even this week given how quickly things change so you don't have to go back and start at negative 20 years and built up all this expertise to get to a level, you know, like I am or maybe somebody else who's got a lot of skills. You just need to narrow up, find a topic area in your particular industry that you're interested in and then go deep and go fast on learning in that particular space.

And then you can become an expert. So again, in computers, I mean it could be like a new programming language, it could be a new technique within AI or data science within design. You know, those design trends change all of the time. You know, find a trend that is just popping now go sprint ahead of, you know, all the other designers who are already bogged down with customers. Learn that new technique. And then you can be an expert in that. Again, you can start small, start narrow, and then you can build up that new expertise over time. So again, even if you're in a scenario where you don't like your current skillset, you have the same opportunity as those of us that do. You just have to spend maybe a couple weeks to a month to go build that new expertise. Then you can jump right on this expert business roadmap along with the rest of us.

Now others of you might be sitting there thinking, well, Hey, I'm not a techie. You know, I don't understand technology and I like technology. I don't know how I could learn to build an online expert business. I mean I know I need websites and maybe podcasts and blogs and how to ads work and I didn't really understand social media or any of that kind of stuff. Or You may think, well I know one of those areas but I don't know the rest of them. So a lot of people think that and that's okay. But the biggest mistake you can make that kills most expert businesses before they even get started and why most people fail when they do try and start them is the mistake of thinking that you need to learn and master every topic before you even start. This mistake has personally cost me at least a hundred thousand dollars okay.

My problem is, you know, because of that career that I've had, I had to be an expert and I had to have that knowledge and be ahead of the customer in order to justify those rates and to be successful in my business. So I definitely suffer from perfectionism and this need to like present myself and my results as very well thought out. You know, 100% you know, odds of success before, you know, delivering to the customer. That is a major, major problem in an expert business. Okay? When you're in a corporate like I was and you're backed up by millions and billions of dollars worth of resources, yes you do need to do that. But when you're in these expert businesses that we're talking about people to people or helping small businesses and so forth, speed is what's most important and thinking that you need to learn all of these things is the killer of expert businesses.

So what's the answer? Well, the answer is with the right partner, the right mentors or the right resources and programs, you just need to bring your own expertise and then have your team and the services and the technology that you rely on do the rest. So what that means is that you don't have to learn tech marketing, sales support, and all of these other elements. Those are all things that you can find the right providers to help you with. Or obviously, you know, that's the whole reason my agency exists is to help people with those types of things. Share my team instead of having to figure out how to do everything yourself, right? So there are definitely ways to be able to do this where you don't have to spend two, three 40 years and hundreds of thousands dollars like I have learning all of this stuff. You can just leverage the people that already know it. So in secret number one, I showed you that the expert business model can generate businesses that can create up to six, seven or even eight figures of revenue. And then here in secret number two, I've shown you that your expertise positioned with the right customers already qualifies you as an expert. In the next episode, we're going to cover the final secret to success for building your own expert business.

Hey, thanks for joining me on the build your expert business show. Please be sure to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast. The key to building your own expert business is following a proven blueprint. After two years, $50,000 of research and working with over 20 successful expert business owners, I've created what I believe to be the most valuable resource that I possibly could for you, the exact blueprint for how to build your own expert business, to learn more, head over to

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