Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 9:00pm by Site Administrator
It’s been said that to be an expert at something, you must spend 10,000 hours at it. In the normal course of a 40 hour/ week career job, that takes about five years at 50 wks/yr. This includes continually learning what you can about the subject at hand, not just doing the necessary activities.
This unwritten rule of 10,000 hours supposedly applies to everything (including meditation to become a monk, as I found out). But as with all such rules, there are qualifying conditions and exceptions. I’d have to say that when it comes to online endeavours, 5,000 hours of concentrated effort at some role can put you into the rank of an expert. That is, if you spend that time increasing your knowledge of the subject.
That’s about 2.5 years, if you’re working only 40 hrs/wk online. (Which may be a reason not to have a 4-hour work week.) But as any entrepreneur knows, they’ll spend a lot more than 40 hours/wk bootstrapping a business, not to mention more than 4 hours/week – though that could change with the profits that Internet businesses are generating for an increasing number of people.
Even those people working online spending 12 hrs/day, 7 d/week, only have to spend under 2.5 years to qualify as an expert of 10,000 hours. If we redefine the rule to be 5,000 hours, would you be willing to dedicate less than 1.5 years to spend 12 h/d, 7 d/wk to be deemed an expert at something?
You can start off just blogging about a topic, earn some money and a reputation, then find your self in the 8 circles of blog revenue. That is, you may find yourself being asked to write e-boooks, give seminars and workshops, consult, etc. After that time, you could quite possibly command top speaking rates or what have you, and thus reduce your work week.
This all sounds like freelancing, not so much entrepreneurship. But if you jump off from these activities and the reputation you can build, then launch a startup business, it’s quite possible that you can compress the bootstrapping timeline.
To summarize a potential course of action, from zero to entrepreneur:
- Build your knowledge.
Work very hard for a year and a half, learning everything you can about the niche you’d like to launch a startup business in.
- Prove your expertise.
Blog about it constantly and consistently during that time, setting the infrastructure for you to later give talks, workshops, or write an ebook you can give away.
- Leverage your expertise.
Now you can do those workshops and conferences, and probably write an ebook that you can sell. Just do the math: write an ebook and sell 100 copies at $47, and you’ve earned nearly $5000. Just make sure you have a free teaser to give away, say an 8-page excerpt. Repeat the process again and again. You have the expertise now.
- Save the capital.
While your blogging, talks, and ebooks are earning you an income, save capital towards the startup business you’d like to launch.
- Leverage your brand.
If you’ve built up yourself as a brand, you can leverage that, your blog, your talks, towards your startup business. You may have to launch a CEO/corporate blog, too, but at this point you’ve established yourself enough that you can draw some attention to your startup project.
- Command funding.
All the groundwork you spent that tough first year or two to establish yourself will quite likely help you gain funding sooner. That’s if you want it.
- Sell and start again.
If you accept funding, at some point the loaning party will want to sell the business. Take the profit and start another project. You are an expert now. Or at least you’ll be perceived as such.
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