The first step most people take to becoming a musician is to select their instrument. They may choose vocals, guitar, drums, bass, sax, piano, violin, trumpet or one of a hundred other possibilities.
Once they have settled on the instrument/s of choice, they get busy improving their skills and ability to play and perform.
Entrepreneurs start businesses in much the same way. First they identify the area of expertise they want to develop and take to market. No matter which field or profession you have chosen, from plumber to doctor, from accountant to hairdresser, from business coach to gardener, you will be required to develop your skills and knowledge in that particular field.
Clearly developing your talent levels is important to your success. But you may be surprised to learn it’s not as important as you might have first thought. Most entrepreneurs are victims of what I call ‘the big lie’. The big lie is built on the belief that success is determined solely on your skill and ability at your chosen profession. This is simply not true. In fact, for many business owners this belief is at t08he centre of their problems. To explain, let me start by asking you a question.
Do you know people in your own industry or other fields who, despite being less talented than you, are earning more money?
When I ask this question to most audiences I speak to, I hear a resounding and usually frustrated YES. So how is this possible? How can someone with less skill, talent, training or knowhow attract more customers and generate more money? Easy – They don’t believe the BIG LIE and as a result they place their focus elsewhere.
When you believe in the big lie (as most business owners do) you believe that by focusing your energy, time and resources in to getting better and better at what you do, that eventually, one day everyone will come to realise just how talented you are. Now the ‘dam wall’ will finally break and the ocean of customers you’ve been dreaming of will come pouring through the door. No they won’t, because talent alone is seldom enough to create a river of new clients.
This lesson was hammered home to me as a musician. Like many people I began my musical pursuits with the belief that getting the ‘big break’ relied on being the most talented muso. How wrong I was. In my nearly ten years of playing in bands, I learnt many things about music, business and life. But one lesson that I got loud and clear was that talent was no guarantee of success. The fact was that during nearly a decade of playing music, I met some insanely talented musicians. These people were truly extraordinary, yet despite their immense skill and ability, you have never heard of them and likely never will. Conversely, somehow people with significantly less ability have gone on to become household names.
To demonstrate why talent isn’t enough, take a look at the diagram below and answer two important questions below. As you answer each question I’d like you to take out a pen and place an ‘X’ on the line to represent your answer.
Novice Competent Mastery
Q1. Where on this line would you place yourself in relation to your talent and ability to do what it is that you do? In other words, how good are you at what you do?
Q2. Where on this line would you place yourself in relation to your skill and ability to market that talent to other people and attract them to buy? Put simply, how good are you at marketing what you do to others?
I have asked these two questions to thousands of business owners at my live presentations and the responses seldom differ. Around 90% of respondents place themselves between Competent and Mastery in relation to their skill, and 90% place themselves between Novice and Competent in relation to their ability to market.
The truth is the bigger the gap, the less likely it is you will succeed. By now hopefully my point is becoming clear. Your success is less dependent on your talent than you may have originally thought – and much more reliant on your ability to market what you do effectively.
Only recently I was confronted by an entrepreneur who was a victim of the BIG LIE. She had come to one of our Ultimate Business Accelerator Days and during one of the breaks, she came over to talk to me about her business. She explained that she had recently started a life coaching business and was having difficulty attracting clients. She said, “I think the problem is I need to do another course in (Blah blah blah)”. To be honest, I’m not sure what she said because I know the reason she’s not attracting clients has nothing to do with this extra qualification.
This is a prime case of someone believing the BIG LIE! The truth is, she could do another dozen courses, but unless one of them was going to teach her how to MARKET her services, they would not solve her issue.
If you want to achieve a serious jump in your income, then you must do one thing above all others. You must shift your focus from trying to be the best doer you can be, to being the best marketer possible. When entrepreneurs truly GET THIS, is when they see an almost magical transformation begin to take place in their results.
So if you realise you are already talented enough to deliver a quality product or service, then it’s time to switch your focus to marketing what you do as I can promise you, that’s where the money is.