Transcript: Should You Call Yourself an “Expert”? A Candid Conversation


Megan Martin 0:00
This is talking small business with Kat Schmoyer. And Meghan Martin, a podcast for creatives who like to keep it real about what it actually takes to grow an online business. We’re competitors turned to biz besties, who chat daily, and now we’re bringing you into the conversation. Welcome back to another episode of talking small business. Today we’re talking about yet another semi controversial

Unknown Speaker 0:28

Megan Martin 0:30
But I’m actually excited about this. You guys, when we say these are like bringing our Vox conversations to life, we literally mean that this is a conversation that we have had ourselves in Vox. And it’s a little nerve wracking to bring these personal conversations out to you. But we think it’s important to bring these out from under the table because we’re sure you may be thinking about some of these similar things. Today, we’re going to talk about the concept of are you really an expert, with the lens of what is being shared from some educators out in the world that say, you can be considered an expert, as long as you have about 10% more knowledge than somebody behind you. And so we’re going to compare and contrast today, what we like about that concept of the 10% rule. Versus contrasting like what we really don’t like about that rule and how it really might be a disservice to other people that you’re trying to sell to. So Kat, tell like, Can you just explain for our listeners? What do we mean by the 10% rule?

Kat Schmoyer 1:40

I’m glad I don’t have to start like negatively. I was like, please, Megan, like, let’s

Unknown Speaker 1:45

Unknown Speaker 1:45
start with you on the positive, but let’s be a

Kat Schmoyer 1:47
positive poly. Because there is something refreshing about this rule. So okay, 10% rule. And Megan just touched on it briefly. But

we have heard several conversations over the last I feel like few years in our industry, that you can call yourself an expert, if you feel like you know more than 10% of the person by you or the people around you. So meaning that you know, if you feel like you’re 10% further along in your journey, or you know, 10% more than somebody else on wedding planning on digital products, on email marketing, then you can turn around and help other people within that we’re literally starting to laugh at each other, because it’s like a little bit nerve wracking to share this with you guys. So here’s Okay, we’re gonna organize, keep it real, these are candid conversations. So these are our real thoughts. And we hope by this point, you’ve listened to several episodes in this podcast. And you know, our heart really is for community and for education and for wanting to help and wanting to see your businesses thrive. So on the positive side, when we see or hear about that 10% role, I’m going to give like my positive interpretation of that, yes,

let’s help the people behind us, let’s always want to like extend that hand back and help other people get where we are and learn from trial and error mistake. So if you feel like, hey, Been there, done that, let me turn around and help somebody else. Please do that, like genuinely do that. We are all about community over competition. And I want to see an industry that is willing, always willing to help and serve those around us. Would you like you’re nodding your head vegans. I know, you’re agreeing. But I want them to like hear you agree with that. And like your thought process on the positive side to the 10% rule? Yeah, I definitely agree. I love the concept of if you’ve been there, if you’ve done that turn around, help somebody else, bring them up with you. I think that’s such a valuable piece of advice here. I think

Megan Martin 3:53
when it comes to the 10% rule, I think on the positive side, it’s supposed to give people the freedom of a permission slip is what I think it’s supposed to do. And so I think along with what you’re saying, a lot of this is talking about becoming an educator. So let’s clarify here, right? So a lot of people when they start to become good at something, it’s natural that people start to ask you questions about what you’re good at, or how did you do that? Or, you know, whatever, they start to just get curious and they are wanting, they’ll naturally start to reach out for help, right. But a lot of people when they start to enter this education role, whether that’s on purpose or on accident, imposter syndrome, always I’ve never met anyone who didn’t feel imposter syndrome when it came to stepping into the role of educator, right. And I think the 10% rule was created to say, hey, you don’t have to have 20 years experience and a PhD in order to help somebody but You know, as long as you know a little bit more than the person behind you, you can help them. And I think that’s true. I loved what you said, turn around and help somebody. And so I would not argue against that. I think where I start to feel friction in this conversation is when we start to sell things. And not even just like, I don’t think there’s something wrong with selling what you know. But I do think it’s in the messaging to of how you’re selling that thing. So when you actually put the word, I am an expert on something and say, I’ve only been doing it for six months. That’s where I think that the the positive starts to turn a little bit negative here. And can you really call yourself an expert? If you did it once for yourself? And it succeeded? Or can you really call your self an expert? If you’ve only doing been doing this thing in your business? Or thing in your life for a few months? I don’t know the answer to that.

Kat Schmoyer 5:56
Right? No, I completely agree. Like, this is the box conversation to life, like I agree with you. I think this is where it does start to get sticky. And it does start to get messy. And some of this, I think comes down to like personal convictions. And you looking at what you as the educator, you know, like looking at what you’ve quote unquote, accomplished, like what you’ve done, and deciding like, Okay, do I feel like I have enough in my own business toolkit, whether that’s in the own education that like you’ve consumed, or the trial and error experiences that like you’ve walked through as a business owner, but looking at all of that weighing the pros and cons of that and saying, like, Alright, do I feel like I have enough in my toolkit to say that I’m the expert in whatever it is. And that genuinely can only come from you? I think what Meghan and I both feel is that that that conversation should be heavier in your mind, before we put out the term expert on something, if we’ve only done it once in our business, or if we’ve only been doing it for a few months. It’s not to say that we believe in perfection. And it’s not to say that either of us do, do what we consider ourselves to be the experts and perfectly Absolutely not. But I do think that that word is just a heavy word. And we’re seeing it thrown around in a lot of Instagram BIOS, or on people’s website, like just all over the place. And and do we really consider ourselves to be

Megan Martin 7:30
an expert. I think there’s nothing wrong with being an educator and owning even the fact that you aren’t the expert. So for example, creative at heart, we just did an episode about, you know, round 10. And I did a breakout session and creative at heart and I that breakout session was about email marketing, and specifically selling through email marketing. Now I have an email list, I sell through that email list consistently. That’s how I make my money. But I even opened up that breakout session by saying, Hey, I’m here, I’m going to show you my experience. But I want to let you know, I do not consider myself the email marketing expert. And I’m 10 years in business and you know, six years into doing digital products. And I still don’t consider myself, the email marketing expert. I know enough about email marketing to help somebody behind me, but I don’t, I haven’t been studying email marketing. For years, I haven’t been solely focused on testing different email marketing strategies, and tactics and bettering my email, you know, strategy and my business. I just know what works and what I’ve done. So I think that there’s power and helping somebody but even being upfront and honest, when you really aren’t the expert, and I think still peep, nobody left that session. feeling like they didn’t get an hour’s worth of great information. People were like, continuing to come up and ask me questions after the session. And then days after the session, I’m still getting questions. And so I just think we should allow ourselves the grace of saying we can help somebody without claiming to be an expert in something.

Kat Schmoyer 9:05
I love that

I’m and I feel like that comes down to like, defining our terms more appropriately and the terms that we’re utilizing in our businesses. And so in this conversation, it’s the term of expert versus educator, and saying like when we say expert and this goes back to the finding your niche conversation that we had, like, in my opinion, I’d love to hear like how you process this Megan, but in my opinion, when we say expert, that’s niching that’s like super niche until like, this is my expertise. And so if you to use that example, Megan, if you were to say, I am an expert in email marketing, then you are hopefully leveraging a lot of your business on email marketing, and not just leveraging your business but like you have learned a lot. You’re constantly trying to grow in the area of email marketing and learn and then replicating that not just for yourself but for other people. Because just because You can do it doesn’t mean that like you’re the expert for other people. So to me, expert is like niche, whereas an educator is like, hey, yeah, I’m good at this. And I’ve done this for my own business. I’ve helped, you know, maybe a handful of people or maybe several 100. If you have courses

or you know, whatever, you are an educator. And so for you, Megan, you’re an educator of digital products. Therefore, email marketing is a part of that. But you wouldn’t consider yourself an email marketing expert, would you like agree or disagree with how I’m like processing that?

Megan Martin 10:30
I do agree. But I also do think that the niche conversation is similar to what I just said, I think that you can niche down without claiming yourself as an expert in that niche, right. When you first niche down, you probably aren’t going to be a specific expert in that one thing, right? The more experience you get, the more you learn, like you said, you’re going to become more of an expert over time. So for example, again, I help people create and sell digital products, my business is 100%. Running on digital products, I don’t do other services, like very, very rarely do I take a client anymore for website design. And so, if so, facto, I’ve niched and you could call me a digital product expert, but I still don’t even call myself the expert, right? There are people that are much further along in their journey of creating and selling digital products. And so I would never put myself on that level. And it’s not like me trying to be humble brag or whatever, it’s just the truth. But again, I think it comes back to the conversation that we had in finding your niche that it’s about repelling and attracting, right. So I’m, if you look at my website, on my about page, I call myself the in the middle guide, I haven’t walked the two comma club, meaning I haven’t made a million dollars selling digital products with, you know, clickfunnels, or whatever the two comma club is with, I would consider that person an expert in this world, right? If you’ve made a million dollars, you’re literally a millionaire. So it’s selling what you sell, you’re probably an expert in some way, shape, or form. I haven’t locked the two comma club. But I’m proud of the fact that I have built a six figure business that literally takes care of my entire family’s income. I’m an expert in my own way. But I’m not going to claim to be the expert in digital products, if that makes sense. And I’m willing to be open and honest with my customer to say, hey, like, I’m the person that teaches digital products through the lens of enough. I’m the person who’s gonna say you don’t have to, you know, Chase millions if that’s not in your vision. So maybe I’m an expert in my own little way. But I again, I think it comes back to we need to be a little bit more open and a little bit more honest about where we are at in our journey, and what we have accomplished and allow the people who are potentially purchasing from us decide, is that the kind of vision that I also want, if not, you’re not the person for me.

Kat Schmoyer 13:00
Absolutely. And I, I feel like for both of us, I mean, because we’ve been in business for as many years as we have. We’re a little jaded, right, let’s just like we’re a little jaded, like, we’ve invested in certain things by an expert, and then been like, wow, I,

I felt like we were on similar levels. But I thought that would be an expert like, and I’m not that’s not trying to say that because I’m so smart, or because Megan so smart. But like, I feel like if you’re listening to this, maybe you can resonate, like maybe you’re nodding your head and you’re thinking about your last investment or a past investment in education, and it falling a little bit flat. And for So for us, I think it just comes down to like, again, going back to like defining that term and saying like, Hey, we don’t have to slap expert on everything, to all of a sudden charge more. Maybe we actually just need to be a little bit more genuine and that brand messaging of sharing, like what we know and what we don’t know. So that yes, we can hold out a hand and we can help those people behind us. But we can do it in a way that like feels very truthful to like who we are and how we are in our businesses.

Unknown Speaker 14:10
Yeah, and granted, if you have studied something for years, you have a proven track record, you’ve actually seen results yourself. And maybe potentially you’ve helped other people see results in some way shape or form. Go ahead

Megan Martin 14:26
on that you’re

an expert. You know, like I feel even funny saying hey, I help people create and sell digital products. I’m not going to call myself an expert like I do think in a way I am an expert, you know, but if you I think if you really are an expert, if you literally spent years in a topic or in a concept learning and growing and experimenting and getting results, that should be a part of your messaging that you are an expert. I think we’re we are bringing this conversation to the table is like we’re seeing a lot of educators enter the market who have only been doing this the thing that they claim to be an expert in for six months or a year or maybe even two years. And we’re just not convinced that you’re actually an expert in that field yet to claim that title. And when you claim that title, and people purchase for from you, thinking that you really are the expert in your field, it could truly be a disservice for that person on the other side of the screen.

Kat Schmoyer 15:24
And it doesn’t mean that you as the educator or as the quote, unquote, expert, are not doing good work. It doesn’t mean that, you know, you don’t know good strategies or good ways to help whoever it is that you know, you’re selling to. But, and I, I mean, I agree with Megan, here, my, my opinion is so strongly that, you know, there needs to be more data behind that, right, there needs to be like more trial and error or determining like, hey, just because it works for you, is it actually something that is going to work for other people? So let’s like to try and make this even like a teaching point, too. And not just like our soapbox

of like, 10%, liberal? What like, Megan, what are some ways that if somebody is listening to this, and they’re like, well, I’m just a few years into business, or I’ve only been doing this for like, a short amount of time, but people are starting to ask, you know, how

do you do this?

Or I am starting to think about pivoting into educating in this way, like, what are some things that we can offer, and in like words of advice to either think about before starting to call yourself an expert, or an educator? Like, how would we navigate that?

Megan Martin 16:35
I think the first thing, which we’ve already touched on is to be super open and authentic, and your messaging. So if you’re gonna say, hey, let’s use the email marketing expert, if you’re going to say, Hey, I teach email marketing, fine, even if you’ve only been doing it for a year, and you want to teach on that I am not knocking that I think we can all find a space to help each other, we started this episode on that track, right? But I think in your messaging, you can be really honest about it. And you can say, you know, right now we’re in 2021. So you can say, you know, back in 2020, I started my email list, boom, that’s super honest, that gives me the knowledge to say, okay, as a consumer, this person started her email list in 2020. And then I want to be able to see what happened next, as a result of that. So I started my email list in 2020. And, you know, I got X amount of subscribers by this amount of time, or maybe you say, I was able to start converting this amount of customers on my service, from my opt in, quickly, you know, but if you start to give me some data, even if you don’t have years of data, but give me some sort of data that allows me as a consumer to make a decision, do I want to invest in somebody who’s only been doing this for a short amount of time. And I don’t want you to get discouraged here. Because I do believe that you can put out any sort of product or service or offer if you’ve been not been doing it forever. But you do need to be upfront and let your consumer make the decision if that’s the person that they want to invest in.

Kat Schmoyer 18:10
So I just think at the end of the day, like the number one strategy to focus on is honesty and transparency. Absolutely. And not feeling like it’s like sleazy marketing tactics. You know, like just being upfront and knowing that, in that honesty, like, I mean, gosh, you’re going to get the clients that really want to work with you and that are already looking at you and seeing that, like, I feel like that’s how it started with my integration. And like starting to offer that, like I was flat out blunt to the first person that came my way and said, I don’t know if I can do this for you. I think I can, but I’m not 100% Sure. So like, let me try. And I did. So I think just being open and not feeling like that already sets you up, as you know, a failure as like, Oh, that’s already like strike one for me. Like I’m admitting that I’m new to this, or I’m admitting that I’ve never done this for a client before. Like, I actually think that gives a little bit more of a permission slip and like a weight off of your shoulders of saying, Hey,

I have done this, I see that it’s working. But I just started in 2020. Or I’m, you know, you would be my first client at this level or whatever, you know, whatever that disclaimer needs to be honesty and transparency, like first and foremost, for sure.

Megan Martin 19:23
Yeah. And to bring it back to more encouraging over discouraging thinking through like people really do buy from people, they don’t buy products and services, they buy people. I mean, that sounds weird, but it’s true. Yeah, you know, it’s why you turn to one educator for Instagram knowledge over a different educator who sells the same exact product. Right, you pick the person you like better, the person that you resonate with more and so I think whether you’ve done something for years or just a few months, feel encouraged that the consumer that’s going to purchase from you is going to purchase from you. Because they really resonate with you. And the more that you choose to be open and transparent and honest about your experience level and your knowledge level, the more that they are going to feel connected with you and that you aren’t like trying to trick them in some sort of way.

Kat Schmoyer 20:17
Absolutely. So to bring it back then to even like our initial question of like, or just conversation around, like the 10% rule. I would love your opinion. And I I’m, I think I know, I’m not sure

Megan Martin 20:30
when I’m going to ask you it, but I see what you say.

Kat Schmoyer 20:33
So I know we talked about, like, the pros of the 10% rule and in the realm of community, right, and not wanting to feel like we’re like, you know, in the Hunger Games with other businesses like we do want to, we are supportive goodness, we’re competitors, like we are so supportive of other business owners. But would you say that you agree or disagree with, if you know, 10% more than the person behind you, you should call yourself an expert?

Megan Martin 21:03
I do not agree at all. I really don’t, I do not think that you should call yourself an expert, if you only know 10% more, and that number is so like, arbitrary. So obviously, nobody knows what that actually means. Right? But you know, again, it’s like, we keep using the the time period example of doing something for a few months, six months, maybe a year, like, I’m not convinced that you’re the expert on it honestly and transparent in a transparent way. But I think a practical way to decide Am I an expert in something is this this is an cat, you can add to this if you have any thoughts. But I would say if you’re unsure if I’m an expert in a topic, I want you to think critically, if you were to sit down and create a piece of content about whatever topic you’re claiming to be an expert in, can you do that, just sitting down and writing like or talking in a video or whatever it takes Now again, there’s nothing wrong with research, we’re going to pull quote, I pull quotes all the time for with research, I pull statistics from research all the time. But if you need to sit down, if you were asked to sit down and create a piece of content around the topic of your expertise, and you have to physically go look at somebody else’s article that has written about this, or somebody else’s video that has been shared, in and around this topic, in order to create your own piece of content, that probably means that you are not an expert. And again, I don’t want to discourage you, it’s okay, if you’re not an expert, you can learn do that research, go out, learn from people who have gone before you and who know more than you. But be honest about that, be honest, that you are not the person who made this content up, or you’re not the person who is able to like on the fly, teach all of these different concepts. Be honest in what you actually do know, if you’ve only been doing something for six months, say for six months, I’ve done x and it has produced y result. And say that’s what I’m an expert in very, very, very like key in as opposed to trying to like own an entire field or industry. You know, I mean, do you have anything to hide? Like how can you determine if you are an expert or not?

Kat Schmoyer 23:19
No, I think that’s gold. And even I was sitting here thinking about certain things in my business that I’m like, man, I need to just pull up like a blank google doc and just see like, how much do I really know, like, what like how I think that’s just good practice for anybody that considers themselves an educator, not even just an expert, but like just an educator in general. And then what are the things that you really feel like are your expertise within that, and again, I know that’s like defining terms and there and all of that. But I think that’s would be such a powerful exercise to challenge all of you listening to do. I also think and this goes into more of like, expert, almost expert versus educator, right? Because some of this is I guess, within the lens of we’re speaking to those of you who are saying that, that you’re trying to teach people how to do what you have done. Okay, so you should be able to teach that. So you should then have data and have success stories to backup. Like if you are the expert in email marketing. I know for me personally, I want to see that you’ve not only transformed your own businesses, email marketing, but other people’s. So what you just wrote down on that Google Doc, could you give it to somebody else? And they rinse and repeat some of those results? Like is what you’re doing unique to just you?

Or is it something that really is teachable? And that’s like, just I feel like educator one on one like we need to know that we can do that before we’re selling anything around the topic that we say we’re the expert in?

Megan Martin 24:52
Well, and I think it it goes into a little bit of a different conversation that maybe we can have another podcast about but the cost concept of, it’s okay to take time to develop something in your business. And I think we, we live in a instant gratification world. And as business owners, especially when we’re stepping into the education realm like we immediately want to be, we want to immediately claim that title educator, we want to immediately start selling the the products and the services and get on the stage and all of that. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because that’s just a natural progression. But it’s okay to take a little bit more time to actually do this as a service first or beta test your product before you call yourself, the expert and whatever you’re doing, and let somebody else like you said, If you wrote down on a Google Doc, a concept or a topic and you handed it over to somebody else, and see what they say, did they get a result? Did they see some sort of transformation as a result of what you know, intrinsically? And if yes, yeah, go for it, start teaching that, right. But when you are, you know, you when you are like in the mode of almost regurgitating information, it’s really dangerous to start saying, Hey, I’m the expert in this field. Right? Because now we’re talking about selling things to other customers. And that is not helping them we taught we started this episode with, like, turn around and help the person behind you. But don’t trick the person behind you. Right? Amen.

Unknown Speaker 26:30
Mm hmm.

Kat Schmoyer 26:32
Right. And don’t just, we don’t need to monetize everything we do. Like we just we don’t and and this is the three who’s money motivated segments to y’all right now. Like, we don’t need to monetize it. And so that’s not

to say there’s anything wrong with having educational offerings, both Mandy and I do our businesses are built on educating others, we believe in that so deeply. But sometimes, the monetization takes time. So giving yourself that permission slip to take a step back before you go forward. And make sure you really do feel like you have your ducks in a row to either use that term expert in your Instagram bio, or start charging higher prices, because

Megan Martin 27:16
you’re calling yourself the expert in whatever. Just give yourself the time to determine if you really feel like you are. Yeah,

I think we should wrap this episode up by reiterating the fact that I know me personally, I believe that if you have a gift, a talent, or a strength or a skill, I believe in turning that into some sort of offer. I mean, literally, my whole business is about helping people take what they know, love do and already have within them into what they can sell, right? Like, that’s my whole business. And so I just want to encourage you in the last moments of this episode, that if that’s you, and you have not been doing that thing, that skill that you’ve not been cultivating that talent for years, please hear us out. When we say we don’t think that that means you can’t create an offer, we don’t think that means you can’t start talking or sharing about that thing that you that special thing that you have, do it, go for it. Just be honest, be honest, in your copy, be honest, in your product messaging, be honest, when you show up on social media to say, Hey, this is my experience. This is how long I’ve been doing something, this is what I got as a result of this experience. And I think it can be really helpful for you. And I think that even if you’re not the quote unquote, expert who’s gotten a degree or whatever, whatever we want to claim as the metric for an expert, that’s okay. And don’t be discouraged because we all have to start somewhere. But honesty is always going to be the best policy. Absolutely.

Kat Schmoyer 28:49
I mean, we’re living proof that we believe in biz besties and competitors like it can happen believe in turning around and reaching out to the person behind you and reaching out to the people beside you. So I hope that this just has sparked great conversations that like you can have with yourself and conversations that you can have with your business see on like, what does this look like in your business with the offerings that you have in place, or the educators and you know, so called experts that you’re learning from and we’re definitely here to even continue this conversation with you guys too. So reach out to us individually if you want and let’s keep talking about it. Alright, friends, it’s been a fun yet a little bit nerve wracking one, but we cannot wait to catch you in the next conversation.

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Transcript: Should You Call Yourself an “Expert”? A Candid Conversation

Transcript: Should You Call Yourself an “Expert”? A Candid Conversation

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