Anytime you’re looking at a career change, or a new course of study, or just looking to start a new activity that looks like fun such as learning to play the guitar or piano, the hardest part is often getting started. After all, if you’ve never done something, even the fundamentals look complicated as hell. But as I’ve noted before, it feels impossible only until you do it.
The best piece of advice I received when I transitioned from brick and mortar retail management to Internet Marketing and Web Strategy Development was to take inventory of the marketable skills and experiences you already have, and find ways to apply them to a new line of work.
Once I got started – and shortly after I was committed to pursuing my online endeavors I realized that I knew a helluva lot more than I had given myself credit for. Every day I found myself more and more confident talking the talk and walking the walk with people who’ve been in this game for years. Even though I am a pretty quick study and tend to pick things up rather quickly, at first I was apprehensive and slightly intimidated when it came talking about what it is that I do. It wasn’t until I explained my occupation to a relative with almost no knowledge of the Internet or how it functions that I realized that I was much further along.
The fact of all of this is pretty similar, if you’ve been even moderately successful in one line of work, you can succeed in another. I am not saying there won’t be rough patches, but in the overall scheme of things, you know way more than you think you do.
Don’t believe me? Think your base of knowledge is common and unremarkable? Take a minute and think about a topic you know a fair amount about but don’t consider yourself to be an expert in, like a hobby or general interest you’ve had for a while. Maybe you’re a history buff or a baseball fan. It doesn’t matter.
Now find someone who knows nothing about the subject at hand and teach them what you know. Let’s take baseball for example. I played baseball for several years when I was growing up and I’ve watched the game my whole life so I know quite a bit about it, but I am by no means an expert. Now when I imagine myself trying to teach someone the game, I get lost in the complexity of everything I know to the point where I wouldn’t know where to start. When I think about balls and strikes and runs and hits and errors and home runs and the difference between force outs and tagged outs and the difference between called strikes and swinging strikes and stolen bases and ground rule doubles and knuckleballs and fastballs and suicide squeezes… I could literally go on and on and on about the things I know about baseball – but even then what I possess in terms of knowledge only firmly qualifies as a fundamental understanding of the game. In no way am I qualified to manage a Big League team.
But, to someone who knows little to nothing about baseball I can literally answer every single one of their questions confidently and authoritatively, which will position me in the mind of the other person as a solid resource for baseball information.
Another example of someone making a living off of their hobbying experience is video games. I know of a few people who are very good at a popular online computer game, take screen capture videos of them playing and create tutorial videos to help others. These videos get hundreds of thousands of views, which opened doors to advertising opportunities. Another gamer created a membership site where people could get help from a community for a monthly enrollment fee.
You know more than you think you do. Give yourself credit for what you know, learn a little bit more to feel more confident about yourself and go for it! As I’ve said numerous times, it’s better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do.