What if I’m not an expert?

A reader recently reached out to me and shared that she had some ideas for new services to offer through her blog, but she was worried because she’s not a well-known expert and wasn’t sure if she had enough credibility to sell her services.

Let me tell you a secret: Everyone starting out shares this fear. Nikki Elledge Brown spent nearly 2,000 hours teaching communication at the college level, and yet she still needed reassurance that she was absolutely qualified when it was time to sell her services online. I had spent two years working with WordPress, and another six working with code before I started my business, and I still totally wondered if anyone would actually pay me to help them.

What if I'm not an expert? from elembee.com

Here’s the thing: To be an expert, you only need to know more than the people you are selling to. Don’t get me wrong — that is not permission to overpromise on what you can actually deliver. What it does mean is that people need help at different levels, which means experts at all levels are necessary in the marketplace.

When I first started out, I created really basic blogs at a super low price point. And guess what? There’s a lot of people out there who need really basic blogs at a super low price point. They didn’t care whether or not I knew everything there is to know about WordPress — they just wanted me to make their site as pretty as my own was. And that’s the key — when I didn’t have any clients yet, I used my own site to show what I could do so that potential clients could see an example of my work.

The more work I did, the more confidence I gained to increase my rates and start trying new things. When people asked for something I didn’t know how to do, I gave it a try. Then I put it in my portfolio and charged more for the next person who asked for it. The more you can show what you can do, the more you will build your level of expertise in the eyes of your potential clients (and, naturally, your expertise will increase with more practice).

I know some of you are entering a completely new field and may not have the years of experience I did before selling my services online. That’s totally OK! It actually gives you a unique position in the marketplace as you can more easily relate to your customers’ struggles since you recently went through the same ones. Plenty of people need the kind of entry-level help you can provide, and they’ll be grateful to work with someone who understands exactly how they feel.

Bottom line? Everyone has to start somewhere. You will never become an expert if you don’t do the work. If you can keep moving forward one small challenge at a time, it won’t be long before you start feeling like the expert that you are and can confidently sell your work.


  1. Thank you so much for this amazing post!

    I’m just starting out with my business and I really struggle with the fact that I’m not yet an expert. I don’t know everything, I haven’t had a hundred clients, and there are thousands of people out there who already do what I want to do and have been doing it for a long time. This post makes me believe that there’s is room for me too.

    Thank you for being open about your own process. It’s really helpful!

    Posted 1.24.16

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