Is it possible to succeed in the health industry without being a medical professional? Do you think it’s possible to make a lot of money from any field without being an expert? Well, I’m not just here to tell you that it is possible and happens every day; I’m here to show you how to be successful in any field without being an expert in that field. Before we get to it, be sure to subscribe to After School Africa for more insightful videos like this.
Have you ever read part of a book that wrote something like this, “Please note that this book is based on the experience of the author and does not guarantee that you will get the same result. I advise that you seek professional advice before making a decision.” Or this one from one of my favorite YouTube channels, “Don’t take advice from a random guy on YouTube”
By definition, an expert is someone who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area. If you want to build a house, you look for expert building construction engineer. If you are sick, you go to a trained medical doctor. If you want a plastic surgery, you know who to go to. If you have a legal issue, you meet your lawyer. These people have invested years of study and practice to attain their qualification as experts. And you, my regular friend, cannot take their place.
If you want to profit in any of these fields or any field you have interest in, you have to think like the ancient military general in the book Art of War. There are two important lessons I find particularly enlightening in the book;
Number one is: Know your strengths and weaknesses: if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
Number two: Know when to fight and when not to fight: avoid what is strong and strike at what is weak.
Let me explain these two lessons in the context of this video
Know the enemy and know yourself
I am co-founder of a library technology company. We offer technology services to help schools and higher institutions automate their libraries for easily access to materials. The major founder of the company has an engineering background, and just happened to have had a bad and good experience with using the library in Nigeria and the UK respectively. He brings the technology and business development, while I support with business development and marketing. None of us has a background in library science or core education background. But we’ve managed to pull this off successfully; and have delivered services to a number of institutions. We handle the professional side of the business by learning and working with library professionals.
You see, when you are going into a field you have no expertise in, your enemy is the field you are getting into; it’s the enemy you want to conquer. Knowing yourself is accepting that you don’t have the skill or qualification of, let’s say, a librarian or an academia. It’s also identifying what skill or strength you can bring that will make this possible. You choose you battle. My partner chose the battle of figuring out the technology and business requirement. I chose the battle of bringing my business and marketing expertise. Then we chose to learn the basics of library management that will inform how the technology is developed. And then hire the service of actual experts. We know ourselves and we know our enemy. That’s how we are playing in a field we are not experts in.
Avoid what is strong and strike at what is weak
I think I’ve already explained this. But let me use another example. Imagine you want to profit from in the Artificial Intelligence revolution. You have no technical background. You are just a writer. You can either choose to motivate yourself that you can be whatever you want to be, and start learning the technical skills of artificial intelligence; which is a battle you have little chance of winning. Or you can deploy your writing skill to write about what AI technology is all about, how it will affect our lives and why we should or shouldn’t care about it. You help people and create the awareness about this relatively new technology. Now you are fighting a battle you have a high chance of winning because you are playing in your own domain.
How to Be Successful In Any Field without Being an Expert
You see, in the past you had to spend several years in isolation studying about a subject before you are qualified to practice and provide any solution to the market around that subject. But in today’s world, by the time you are done schooling, about 80% of what you learned would be outdated.
I know people who have great ideas they want to implement but continue to amass certificate after certificate because they never feel qualified enough. And there are people who just sit back and do nothing because, well, they are not experts in anything. Truly, the more knowledgeable and skillful you are about a thing, the more advantage you to succeed in that field. But you don’t have to be an expert to profit from any field. Here are four things to keep in mind to succeed where you are not an expert.
- Be genuinely interested in the field
You cannot stick very long with something you don’t have an interest in, especially when you are not skilled in that area. Your interest may not necessarily be in the exact field but in solving the problem people face in that field. For instance, with our library solutions,, we don’t have any particular affection for libraries. We are passionate about making library usage more appealing to learners because we understand its importance to our education system. So to succeed where you are not an expert, you have to be genuinely interested in that field.
- Serve a market that needs your skill level
You don’t have to be an expert software developer, for example, to offer website development services to businesses. You can start with building simple websites using templates, while you develop your skill. Not every technology solution requires the service of an expert developer. You can serve a part of the market that can benefit from your level of skill and make money as you learn and improve.
- Work with smarter people
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, is known for admitting that he is still a novice with how the technology works. Yet, he has built one of the most successful technology companies today. He focused on his area of strength which is building and managing a team of smart people and following through with doggedness.
You can partner with someone who is more knowledgeable or skillful than you are in an area. If you are a developer and want to start a telemedicine business, you can work with or partner with medical professionals to provide the expertise and credibility, while you provide the technical knowledge.
- Commercialize your journey to become an expert
Digital media has created a lot of unconventional business opportunities. We’ve had people build a brand from sharing their journey to weight loss, overcoming depression, paying off their debt, traveling to different countries, and overcoming any obstacle a lot of people can relate to. Some of these people end up becoming influencers and building a successful business in their niche, without an institutional expert status.
It’s people like this that often leave comments like, “Seek professional advice”. You can profit in an industry merely from your journey in that field. There has been a rise of perceived experts over the internet over the past decade. These are everyday people who consistently share content online around a particular field of interest and gained a huge following. By the share volume of their audience engagement and consistency, they are perceived as experts in that subject. These people turn their interest into a business before becoming experts or without becoming institutional experts.
You don’t need credentials to venture into any industry if you approach it the right way.
- Know your limits. Don’t pretend to know what you don’t know. Don’t offer medical advice when you don’t have the required qualifications.
- Choose your battle. Identify your strength and what you can offer.
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