What Makes You Qualified

May 22, 2024

You may have a great idea for your own microbusiness. It fills a need in the world, creates something beautiful, or serves a certain community in a certain way. It’s your passion. But what are your credentials? Who gets to decide when you’re qualified to do what you do? How will you know you’re ready to put this offer out into the world?

Owning your own business has never been more accessible. With the internet and the incredible tech tools available, you can take your passion, experience and solution to a problem and turn it into an income.

Back in 2012, Chris Guillebeau wrote a book called, The $100 Startup. In it, he chronicles many business success stories – people who just decided to put something out there to make money and make the world a better place.

But what qualified them to do it? Who gave them permission?

No one, it turns out. They had a spark and they brought it to life on a budget and now they are enjoying an autonomous income stream.

Many would-be microbusiness owners are held back thinking they need some outside source of legitimacy, credential, certification or license.

If you’re in a licensed field like law, massage or counseling, then yes. But no, if you want to teach people how to decorate cupcakes, read tarot cards, or train their dog to stop barking. (All successful online businesses.)

Also, no, if you want to coach, mentor or consult on any variety of topics. No, if you’re already trained or certified in a service like Reiki, yoga therapy or editing – you don’t need more. Yes, you’ll continue to educate yourself. You’re probably a continuing education junkie like me. We’ll never stop learning. But don’t let it stop you from starting your own stream of income now.

The best education there is - is experience. You’ll learn by doing, see the gaps and fill them as you go. Waiting until you’re as fully credentialed as the most experienced person in your field of interest is a huge mental barrier.

If you’re passionate about wardrobe styling, event planning, organizing, or meal prep, you can teach others how to do it based on your unique experience and perspective. That’s enough to be of great help to others.

Much of entrepreneurship is mindset. It’s a Wild West pioneering type of attitude to build it as you fly, learn along the way and fix problems as they arise on the journey. Your credentials are born of experience. Your degree is in the school of life.

One of my favorite sources for travel advice comes from the person I meet at a café who’s just been where I’m going. They didn’t write a travel book, they’re not going to be a guest on a popular travel podcast. But they have the exact right experience and perspective that I need. I don’t need an editor from The Lonely Planet.

What your right-fit clients and customers need from you is a little bit more experience than they have, not a Harvard degree in your topic of interest.

Because you’re a sensitive person, you’re also likely very contentious…veering into perfectionism. You want to get it right, do the right thing, check your facts and check all the boxes. If I was writing to the more cavalier and reckless among us, this could be construed as bad advice. There are many charlatans out there who have no business selling what they do. They are out of integrity. But you likely fall far on the other side. So much integrity, it’s holding you back from stepping onto the field. This field is now level and you belong on it as much as anyone else. The world needs your integrity, your sense of justice, fairness and quality.  And, they need the cool thing you offer, problem you solve or experience you can give them.

Erin Frey is a former competitive figure skater. She’s also a kids yoga teacher. She’s highly sensitive and dedicated to her work. During our work together, we talked about shifting her work toward middle and high school athletes. She wondered if she was qualified. She thought of the coaches and other sports professionals in the space. I reminded her that she’s done what her kid clients are doing. She knows the mental health challenges, the stress and the pressure. That’s her credential. Plus, her decade of teaching children self-regulation skills and mindfulness that’s sorely missing in youth sports.

She thought, “What credentials qualify me to do this?” She was feeling insecure, even though she lived and breathed sports as a child and young adult. She reflected, “I’m not a therapist, I’m not a sports psychologist, but I am experienced and well-trained and it’s my passion. This is what I offer and I’m confident in that.”

“But there is some self-doubt still.” She shared. She told me our conversations about what she has to offer being something more than what others know and are capable of teaching was helpful in overcoming her doubts. She discovered, “I don’t have to be this end-all-be-all expert.”

She feels most confident when she’s doing the work. She’s in the zone with these teen athletes when she’s sharing valuable tools and insights. One of her students said that learning to stretch and take care of her body helped her enjoy her sports more. Another student said it helps them feel calm and safe both on and off the field. Her students feel stronger and more confident too. If she wasn’t confident in sharing her gifts none of the kids would get these benefits.

To convince yourself, it may be helpful to collect your experiences and training onto a single document. Write down all your education, from formal college to online learning to community classes. I bet it’s a lot. Plus, all the books you’ve read, videos you’ve watched and conversations you’ve had. Then, write down areas of interest you’ve pursued, experiences you’ve had. Which ones light you up the most? This is probably a good business idea to pursue.

There are no qualification police. Waiting to be qualified in the eyes of others is one of the biggest obstacles to building your personalized income stream.

You already have everything you need to succeed. There’s no outside source or higher office that can bestow upon you permission to share your gifts.


If you'd like to explore what it means to have your own microbusiness, set up a free session with me to explore the possibilities.  

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