Do you find yourself spinning your wheels and bouncing from blog to blog looking for inspiration and validation to help you write your first or next piece of content?
Are you constantly procrastinating because of self doubt or fear of not knowing enough about any topic to add value to your audience?
If so, then you’re suffering from “Online Expert Insanity”.
“Online Expert Insanity” is how I describe all those fears and assumptions about needing some intangible level of expertise and external validation before feeling comfortable enough and ethically permitted to share even simple tips to an online audience.
I struggled with this for years, but thankfully, like all fears, they are man (or woman) made and can be overcome.
But before I dive into how to stop Online Expert Insanity, its important to know why you must address it, if you’re to succeed online.
Why Must You Stop Online Expert Insanity?
The number one reason for stopping Online Expert Insanity is to free you from your own unrealistic expectations and allow you to start making money online. Now, if that’s a goal of yours, then follow along.
To make money online, involves selling something or referring something to a real person (your blog readers). If you thought magic internet money actually flows through your computer into your bank account, then I’m sorry to bust that dream.
But at least Santa’s real right?
Now, in order to influence a real person online through your blog and get them to take an action such as buy something or click through an affiliate link, then you’ll need to give them a reason to visit your blog and give them the opportunity to get to know like and trust you.
Both of these things are accomplished by sharing your knowledge, thoughts, unique opinions and providing simple solutions that provide value to your readers.
It’s your words on your blog that work on your behalf, building and cultivating relationships with your readers even while you sleep.
And in order to feel confident enough to share your words on your blog, you must overcome online expert insanity and put all those fears of inadequacy aside and just start writing and serving your audience with whatever level of knowledge you have right now.
That’s right, you already have enough knowledge to start writing content online. It’s online expert insanity that’s stopping you from getting started and making money online, so I hope you can see why it’s so important to overcome it.
A Quick Word About Your Words and The Power They Have To Influence and Serve
Your words are probably the most powerful weapons you control when it comes to influencing and serving others. In fact, you saw earlier that earning a full time income online begins with nothing more than sharing helpful content and your content is essentially just your words.
Whether you speak your words, write them or convey them through images, videos or social media updates is almost irrelevant, because no matter the method you use to share them, one fact is indisputable and that is that you have words to share and they can make a difference.
Your words can carry meaning, perspective, emotions, thoughts, ideas, solutions, information, teachings, and your unique life experiences and opinions.
Yet most of us fear writing and sharing our words online almost as much as we fear real dangers such as bungee jumping or being locked in a room with a dozen snakes.
But no more, today we end this online expert insanity.
No more hiding behind this B.S., no more overwhelm, analysis paralysis or comparisionitus (that’s where you compare your new blog to a competitor who’s been running their business for years – doesn’t make sense, but we all do it) and no more fear of sharing your words online.
Let’s get started…
Acknowledge That You Already Share Your Knowledge Everyday Offline
Now you may feel you are not expert enough to share your knowledge online, however I want you to realise and acknowledge that you share knowledge, freely and effortlessly every single day. It’s just something you do as a good human.
To best illustrate this let me share with you a hypothetical scenario.
Let’s say you have a little experience at setting up websites using WordPress. Nothing overly complicated, but you know how to get a domain name, and web hosting and install WordPress with a premium theme.
One day, a friend comes over to your house for a coffee and asks for your help to set up a WordPress website. What would you do?
- Tell your friend you’re not an expert with no formally recognised qualifications and therefore unable to help them register a domain name, get some web hosting and install WordPress (even though you know exactly what to do)?
- Share what you know to help your friend get started and then direct them to other resources you’re aware of for more advanced WordPress customisation tips to help them work towards their goal of a finished website?
I’m fairly confident that if you are thinking of setting up an online business, then you want to serve and help others.
And if you want to do that then you’d most definitely help your friend out with whatever level of knowledge you have.
It’s just human nature.
We’re wired to help others that ask for help.
So this begs the question, why then do we not do the same when it comes to writing and sharing helpful content online and helping complete strangers?
Could it be because we’re not personally being asked for help on a specific problem that causes us to consistently not write content?
But I believe it’s because when sharing content online we feel that if we’re not expert enough, then we’ll be mistaken for a fraud. This fear of feeling like a fraud can be paralysing.
We also believe that as an expert we must have something unique to say all the time, and this simply is not true.
For example, if you’re teaching someone how to setup a WordPress website, well, the way to do that will be almost identical no matter who is teaching it.
Of course, different people will recommend different domain name providers or different web hosting companies and even different premium themes, but the general process is the same, and if that’s the process you use, then that’s the process you should share and teach.
You sharing your words is enough to make the content unique and different from that of others.
A Real Life Situation Where Online Expert Insanity Stopped A Student From Saving A Damsel In Distress
I shared the example above because it actually happened to a student and of mine just the other day.
I had coached this student, in person, about how to build a WordPress website, install a theme and even start writing content.
A few days later he notices a message on his Facebook thread from this woman asking if anyone knew how to setup a basic WordPress website.
He saw the Facebook post, he acknowledged he could probably help but was paralysed by online expert insanity and as a result did nothing.
When he shared this story with me, I asked him why he didn’t offer to help that woman?
His answer was , that he didn’t feel “expert enough” to help that woman out. What if she had other questions and he was ill prepared to answer them.
For all he knew, she may have just wanted some help with some basics like registering a domain name, buying some web hosting and installing WordPress, but whatever she wanted, he had convinced himself and decided, that he was inadequately qualified or skilled enough to help her.
That’s what online expert insanity does. It stops you from doing what you do naturally and that is help others in need, with whatever knowledge you do have.
We both agreed how insane this whole notion of being an online expert was and that the most important thing should be to focus on helping people with whatever knowledge we have to hand.
It’s easy to get swallowed up in this online world with all the new technologies and concepts that we forget our fundamental purpose is to help and serve others.
When you break it all down, it’s just your words helping those who need it, the internet and all the technology associated with it just helps scale your reach and leverages your time.
No-One Is Born An Expert
Some people have God-given talents or skills, I’ll give you that, but none of us were born with the ability to write amazing how to tutorials, in-depth blogs posts or communicate effectively straight from our mother’s wombs.
(Well not my little one anyway, as I’m sure he’s still running around his nursery singing 5 little f**ks (instead of ducks) lol).
Every skill you have mastered in your life has been learned. And if all skills can be learned, then that gives us all the equal opportunity to become knowledgeable in whatever subject matter interests us. We just have to put in the time and do the work.
So it’s ok if you don’t know everything about your topic, that’s not reason enough to not share what you do know right now.
I’m sure at one time you never thought you’d get the hang of driving, but you did eventually didn’t you? Every skill is learned and that includes writing and sharing your knowledge online.
You weren’t born an expert on your topic, we’ll no-one was, so stop thinking your competition has it all figured out, they don’t, they simply have a head start and you can catch up if you really want to.
Rather than catching up with your competitor, I recommend just forging a new path for yourself thats uniquely you.
And if that seems daunting, I get it, why forge your own path when you can model that of someone else. Well my take on that is simple.
You are your own person, with your own life experiences. Compared to others you’ve learnt different skills, made different mistakes, have your own unique opinions on how to do things and the only way you can be authentic is if you share knowledge through your voice, your experience and your understanding of your topic.
It’s perfectly ok for your content to be different to other peoples. It’s that uniqueness that will pull in readers to follow along on your journey and be inspired by you and contact you when they face an obstacle and ask for your advice and help and eventually invest in your courses and training products.
By being you, you become unreplicatable. Another made up word by yours truly, but you get my point.
I give you permission to be you. You’re more than good enough to serve your audience.
Don’t Wait For Others To Call You An Expert
Many of us constantly crave external validation.
We want others to tell us that we’re super smart, the so called expert and that what we’re doing is right.
This problem is magnified online because of the lack of immediate feedback and validation when you’re sitting in front of a computer screen. But remember, when you’re just starting out if you don’t start sharing your words, then how do you expect others to know that you know your topic?
It’s a catch 22 situation, you won’t get others praising your knowledge until you start sharing it.
And if you won’t start sharing it because you’re waiting until others perceive you as an expert or you perceive yourself as an expert, then unfortunately you’ve reached a stalemate.
Just remember, you know something, a solution to a problem, a method to do something, a strategy to avoid something, you have experiences and information, that you’ve learnt or read or seen somewhere and you can share and teach that through your words to help someone else.
And all that person reading your words is interested in, at that moment, is that your words are helping him/her get past a current challenge or obstacle in their life or business.
He/she is not interested in how much to know about the entire topic nor what qualifications you hold nor how many years experience you have in this field. They simply want to follow your tips to overcome the challenge they are facing.
And coincidentally, by simply sharing your words consistently, you naturally become a perceived expert.
It’s ironic isn’t it?!
Online expert insanity and not feeling expert enough is what was stopping you from writing and sharing content online, yet by simply starting and sharing content online you naturally become the perceived expert.
Becoming The Foremost Expert Can Be Counter-Productive
Being an expert is such a relative thing. It’s fair to say, that we all have more knowledge or experience in certain subject matters than someone else. By default, that make you an expert, right?
I’d say it does!!
So if we’re all experts to someone by comparison, then the real problem is our perception and our definition of this intangible “expert” status.
I struggled for years thinking that I need to be an expert before sharing content online and in order to reach this “expert” status, I needed to know everything I possibly could about my area of interests, which are online marketing and blogging.
This is so not true. You don’t need to be the foremost expert on a subject matter before you can share useful information online.
For years, I felt that if I was asked a question and didn’t know the answer that others may see me as a fake and that fear stopped me from helping and serving anybody and kept me in a vicious cycle of buying more courses and constantly learning trying to reach this foremost expert status.
In fact trying to become the foremost expert is actually very counter productive and expensive.
The more you learn the more conflicting views and opinions you come across, which then creates another stumbling block stopping you from moving forward.
Also the more you know, the more value you will want to give your audience.
The more information you give your audience the more you risk overwhelming them into inaction.
And often the more you learn about your subject matter the more proficient you become. The more proficient you become the harder it becomes to relate to someone new to your niche looking for a bit of information to just get started.
Rather than trying to become the foremost expert, if you goal is to truly help and serve your audience and earn an online income doing that, then simply share your journey in search of success.
Write about your expertise as well as your lack thereof in certain areas. Talk about your challenges or struggles and a-ha moments and even mistakes. This all makes you a real person.
And no matter what you believe, even online, people connect with other people, it’s not just Googlebots.
If you’re sharing your journey online towards a worthwhile goal, then by definition of the word journey, you’re not at the destination yet and therefore you’re not an expert AND that is perfectly ok.
You Really Don’t Have To Be An Expert To Help Others Online
Are you looking to get a phD or become an academic scholar in your subject matter?
Perhaps you want to be in the Guinness book of world records for the person who knows the most about your topic?
Is that really your goal?
I’m being sarcastic, in case you missed that!!!
I know that these aren’t you’re goals.
In fact, if I was a gambling man, I’d put money down on the fact that you probably want to earn an income online by sharing your knowledge and helping others.
If that’s your real mission, then you really don’t have to wait to become an expert at all.
Hold on there, before you jump to crazy assumptions….
What I mean is you don’t have to wait until you feel like an expert or have a vast amount of knowledge before you start sharing something online.
All you need is enough knowledge to be able to help someone with a current problem. e.g. can you help someone create an image for Pinterest using Canvas, what about helping someone backup their WordPress site, or customising a new WordPress theme, or edit some html code.
This is the bedrock of the internet. Useful content, useful words, written by people like you and me and found by those searching for and wanting to learn that information.
You have all the knowledge you need to get started online.
You don’t have to wait any longer to start creating content.
You don’t need to let online expert insanity drive you crazy and cause paralysis.
You simply have to write, honestly, and with the intention to serve and help your fellow man (or woman) on their journey.
So we’ve addressed this collection of fears that I like to call online expert insanity.
The fear of not knowing enough.
The fear of not being born an expert.
The need to wait for others to address you as an expert before taking action.
How trying to be a foremost expert can actually drive a bigger wedge between you and your audience and empty your bank balance.
And how you really don’t need to be an expert at all to get started online.
We looked at how your words are weapons to help influence and serve your audience and how no matter what level of knowledge you have today, you have enough words to write some useful content this afternoon.
I hope you’ll stop this online expert insanity, it serves no-one, not your audience, not your bank balance and most importantly not you.
Believe me when I tell you, you have learned lessons through out your life that you may consider irrelevant or basic, yet there is a whole group of people just waiting to read those words, and to them your words are invaluable.
So, choose to write honestly, drawing from your life experiences and with whatever level of knowledge you have today.
Simply focus on helping your audience reach their goals through your words, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you.
Write some content and let your audience decide if they find it useful or not. That’s not your job. You job is your share your knowledge, without holding anything back.
And remember that to build an online income starts with sharing your words.
So start today and write something this afternoon.