On Expertise



Some people don’t give themselves any credit for the expertise they’ve earned in their life.

They say they have experience, but rarely call it expertise.

That mindset discounts the wisdom you gain through training, hard work and life experiences that can lead you to the status of an expert—in anything.

The reality is, what differentiates an Expert vs. the Average Joe is often relative. Think of it in terms of the simple image below.

I’m an Average Joe, at best, when it comes to landscaping my backyard. Relative to me, you’re an expert if you have smart suggestions for plants and trees that make sense for my situation, and if you know how to help me think through drainage, and maybe a few other factors.

Your location on the slider above moves from Average Joe towards Expert, maybe a little, or maybe a lot. It’s relative.

If you can explain to others why one strategy or approach to doing something is better than another, you’re an expert.

If you can see and explain the difference between a good and a bad way to accomplish a task or solve a problem, you’re an expert.

If you know how and when to adapt your approach to solving problems and achieving things, you’re an expert.

Are there exceptions?

Of course. The biggest exception to these rules involve situations with psychological counseling, medical treatment, or legal advice, for instance. Those fields demand proper certification to help determine expert status FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.

Here’s why this is important

The median tenure for employees at private employers is just 3.7 years (reference). If you’re like most people, you realize that mutual loyalty—the loyalty between a company and its employees—no longer exists. You may have a great boss, the best you’ve ever had, but circumstances change. Bosses leave. Compensation plans evolve. Benefits can be watered down. Companies shift strategies. Your work assignments may shift.

I say it’s time to give yourself more credit. It’s time to do more with the expertise you’ve earned over the years and leverage them for your own benefit. There’s no need for towards your employer, but do it with an objective of looking out for yourself and your family.

Fulfillment comes with sharing expertise

If you’re wondering how to find more meaning in your life, a great place to start is by serving others with the talents, skills, knowledge, and experience you’ve already gained.

If you’re looking forward to a time when you’re less dependent on a primary, day-job income, this is the route to go.

You’re fully capable of helping others—whether for free or for fees—by sharing this expertise. Are you willing to put it to work?

Today it’s easier than ever to do that.

You can do it with regular contributions to Quora (check out Brian Roemmele). You can do it by uploading educational videos to YouTube (check out Marty Schwartz). You do it by launching your own podcast (check out Eric Cacciatore). You can do it by starting a blog (check out Heather Armstrong). You can do it offline or online by teaching (check out Nick Walter).

Or you can do it with a combination of these things.

This is why Side Project Plan exists

I created Side Project Plan to share what I and many others have learned by turning our expertise into side projects that covered some or many of our bills. My side projects have also taught me new and valuable skills, and provided me with joy, a creative outlet, and peace of mind.

Because I’ve done this myself, and I’ve spoken with numerous others who have done the same, I can flatten the learning curve for you.

There are countless ways you can make money after hours, though Side Project Plan is primarily focused on one specific approach to building that side income, because it can produce multiple streams of income.

But for now, I want you to take away one message from this post: You can do more with what you’ve got than you realize, while maintaining your dignity, reputation, and even your day job.

It’s fulfilling, it’s noble, and now, more than ever, it’s vital.

Trust that you’ve got expertise. It’s relative.

(Feature photo courtesy of Olivier26.)

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