Are you holding back on starting your business because you're worried you’re not qualified enough? While obviously knowing enough to be able to do your work is vital, often we underestimate just quite how much we already know. Today we’re talking about whether you should take qualifications or not to start your business.
We are brought up to go to school, go to university, get qualifications, and find a job in that industry, so it’s natural we think we need another qualification to start our business. But for so many information based businesses, there often isn’t even a qualification that’s relevant. If your work is based on life experience, like parenting, divorce, quitting your job - often there is no degree teaching this!
Now, naturally there are some industries that require qualification - for good reason. Medical, financial and legaladvice all fall into this bracket. If you want to become, for example, a freelance accountant, you will need to be qualified and registered in the jurisdiction you want to market in.
But all too often, we simply procrastinate through study: delaying starting a business until they are "qualified" is probably the biggest hold up I see in my readers. More often than not, their qualification is really just an excuse not to build a business because they don’t feel worthy of helping others, or ready to be seen as a leader.
Here are my tips for making sure you choose the right qualification for your business - if any at all.
Get Clear on Your Niche First
You always need to be competent at the service you offer - you need to get your clients results. The experience and qualification you require depend on what you want to help your clients with and how much this audience already knows. Your ideal clients should be a few steps behind you in experience in whatever you want to help them with.
As an example, my business mentoring clients are brand new to business, and I’m a few steps ahead of them with my experience building and running a six-figure revenue business. But I don't work with multinational companies, or online business owners running seven figure businesses, because that is not yet my area of expertise.
Understand who you want to focus your services on. What are their pain points? Can you help with that? Remember that life experience trumps a qualification any day. Think about it - who would you rather learn about business from, someone who just graduated with a generic business degree, or someone who had actually built and run a successful business in your sphere?
Don’t Jump into a Qualification Too Soon
It’s important to choose the right qualification for your business. Be aware that your niche or direction will likely pivot in the first year as you learn more about your ideal clients and their needs. Taking a qualification too early might mean it’s no longer relevant when your business shifts focus.
As an example, I first got into coaching as a health coach. Because I would have the word “coach” in my name, I felt I should take a coaching qualification. However, as my work changed to a business focus, I started offering mentoring services as opposed to coaching. Nowadays, I barely use the skills I learned in my coaching qualification.
Even if your chosen area has qualifications (health coaching, for instance) you may have enough experience to get going now. When I first started health coaching, I felt I “should" take a nutrition qualification, but when I took the course, I realised I had already learned everything in my own research for my health issues. I only took that course because I felt I “had” to.
Make Sure You Keep Building Your Business
Don’t allow “getting a qualification” to be a procrastination method. It’s all too easy to feel that happy buzz of doing ‘something’ - but it’s not always something that will actually move your forward.
If you choose to do a qualification, you still must work on your business as well during that period. It will take you at least six months to get your business ready to take clients - that’s if you are in a structured mentoring programme like my Become Your Own Boss system. If you’re trying to DIY, it will take you much longer - 1-2 years minimum. So even if your qualification will take a while, start building your business and your audience from the start. It makes it so much easier to make sales with a bigger, warmer audience you’ve offered lots of free content to while you are still training, than have to start building your audience all over again once you’ve qualified..
It’s Not a Tick In the Box
Most people view a qualification as a necessary tick in the box to get them started in business. But it’s not about learning everything at once - you should always be learning and developing your skill set. I continue to join coaching programmes, take online courses, be mentored and learn even now. I use this new knowledge to update my programme content regularly, as well as developing new programmes as well.
Consider your education as a continuous process. Start building your business now with what you have, and take it from there. You have the rest of your career to become an expert, no need to wait until then to start helping your clients along the way.
Are you considering taking a qualification to start a business? What are your thoughts now? Leave a comment and let me know!