Since starting my own business, I've become increasingly aware of the sheer number of quick fixes, 3 step processes and hacks that all promise to make you an instant millionaire entrepreneur. But these "get rich quick" schemes are false. The silver bullet doesn't exist. It takes hard work, time, expertise and a lot of testing and learning to build a business.
So why is there a lucrative burgeoning industry around these types of alluring offers? I read a great article recently which called this content 'Hacktics'.
For example, I've observed this in my field. I mean, a lot of people TALK about brand. Some promise to build a brand in one day. Others claim to be able to do it in a morning. And there are those who throw in a free 'brand' when they are selling other services. (NB this is never a brand. At best it will be a logo that only works in the context of whatever they're actually selling). And this is not just limited to brand. Just ask anyone who works in the medical profession about our good friend, Dr Google.
So what's the difference between professionals and businesses who promise hacks and quick fixes?
Being a professional is not just about getting paid for your services. Unfortunately there are people who charge for services they can't really deliver. What makes a true professional is a commitment to mastery.
Mastery creates experts. It's what separates true professionals from those offering silver bullets, hacks and quick fixes in place of long term effective business solutions.
Before I set up my own business, I worked both agency and client-side. In my agency life, I was lucky enough to work at some of the world's leading agencies and as a result, I got to experience mastery on a daily basis. And when I moved client-side (working in house for companies and charities alike) I received so many daily sales calls and emails, I soon learned to discern the masters from the hacks.
So how can you tell mastery from a hack? Here are my observations:
- Proven breadth and depth of experience (backed up by real and tangible examples of what they've done).
- Mastery is about asking the right questions, without expecting you to have all the answers, because they will work with you to find them.
- In-depth and current knowledge of the field (which means that others in the field reference and look to them).
- True masters of what they do are open to collaboration so you learn too.
- They focus on solving your problems not making a sales pitch.
- With mastery, the approach is tailored and flexible, not one size fits all
And there are probably more. Feel free to add them in the comments below.
Understanding how to spot mastery when looking for suppliers or commissioning work is really useful. It means you will get better results in the long-term but also maintain long-lasting and rewarding supplier relationships. When I come across a master of what they do, I tend to work with them again and again.
Mastery is also a really important factor when thinking about your own brand (personal or business). It can be a real differentiator. One of the questions I always ask my clients is 'what are you really good at?'. I encourage them to be really specific when they answer. And I ask them for tangible examples to back it up. If you identify what you're brilliant at, commit to it and use it to help solve your customers’ problems, this will make you a master too. If you stick to it - it's not a one-off aim but a long-term commitment. Building this into your brand makes it an ownable strength that sets you apart. Plus other masters will want to work with you to create great work. So it's a win-win!
At Brand by Me, we're always looking for true professionals to work with and create great work. Sounds good? Do get in touch today!
PS if you want to read more on mastery, check out this other great article.