10 ways to turn your inexperience into an asset

You’re starting a business. But you lack experience.

You’re worried that people won’t take you seriously or that they will question the level of value you can provide. You’ve heard the “fake it ’til you make it” motto, which is easy to say but difficult to live out authentically.

Good news: I’ve been there. So has every other business owner. Ever. Don’t let your inexperience keep you from moving forward and even succeeding in your new business. If you feel that you lack the experience necessary to be successful, here are some ways to turn your lack of experience into an asset:

  1. Become a “newbie-expert” — someone who soaks up the lessons of the existing industry experts and distills it down in a way that other inexperienced people understand. Don’t try to be the peer of the expert. Instead, become an expert to the people who are just like you. You’ll have the advantage because you’re speaking their language!
  2. Become an innovator. You don’t have to have experience if you break new ground in an industry. You can enter this new industry and break the rules that industry insiders think are unbreakable.
  3. Research the gurus in your market right now and find the common things that they are all saying… then say the opposite. Become the contrarian in your niche.
  4. If someone calls you out on your lack of experience, point out that you aren’t shackled by the preconceptions held by most of the others in your industry.
  5. In industries where prospects put a lot of trust into you as an individual (i.e. if you’re a financial advisor), sell your “hunger” and “hustle” as the real reasons people should hire you. Lots of people like someone with hustle compared to an experienced and successful person who is complacent.
  6. As a new person in an industry, you’ll be able to clearly see problems and gaps that the more experienced people have ignored and worked around. Solve THOSE problems and fill THOSE gaps and you’ll carve out a unique place in an existing industry!
  7. If you’re moving from one industry to another, don’t discard everything you learned from your previous industry. Leverage your previous industry experience by finding ways to weave it into your current work. I know a real estate investor who used to be a cop. Two different industries. But he is very good at weaving his law enforcement background into the due diligence and mentoring he does as a real estate investor. Find ways to bring best practices from your old industry into your new industry.
  8. Even though there might be industry differences, some things don’t change from one industry to the next. For example: Prospects with problems buy products or services that provide a valuable solution. That’s the same no matter where you go. So instead of getting specific about your experience, generalize your previous-industry experience to make it relevant to your current-industry.
  9. Start a blog and write about your foray into a new industry. That becomes part of your story. You’ll quickly gain experience AND respect as people see you learn. Keep the blog going as a journal of your experience. It will become invaluable to you and to others.
  10. If it’s business experience you lack, don’t try to start something on your own. Partner with someone else (perhaps someone who possesses business experience but not industry experience!) and put your individual expertise together.

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