I was about to give up on this.
For the last few weeks I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an e-book on bike rides around Los Angeles and selling it on my bike blog.
But when I went out on my favorite local ride, thinking about this more and more, I decided that most of the people I could reach probably already knew the routes better than me.
Then a spandex-covered, gloved and helmeted, racing-fit biker in a yellow jersey pulled up next to me on a pricey carbon frame decked out with halogen lights and a GPS odometer and clock.
We talked shop for a while. He was from the neighborhood, and was out on an after-work ride. From his outfit and his talk I knew this was the ideal customer, and I assumed by his garb that he already had a lot more knowledge and expertise than me.
But when I told him I was doing the “Mission Triangle” that roughly goes from my home in Silverlake to the San Gabriel Mission, across to San Fernando and back home, he asked a lot of questions about the route. He wanted to know the distances involved, the difficulty of the ride, and so on.
Clearly I had something to teach him.
You’re smarter than you think you are. If you spend time and effort studying (or better yet, doing) just about anything at all, you’re going to acquire knowledge that others don’t have.
In the information age, your most valuable resource is–well, information. You can set yourself up as an expert by posting a good blog, publishing a newsletter, giving out (or selling) ebooks, or best of all, writing a book.
In our information-heavy age, people are used to finding what they need, and almost nobody falls for the cheesy commercials that drew money from our grandparents’ wallets. You have to build trust and authority, and the best way to do this is by sharing your knowledge.
All you have to do is get over your terminal modesty and remember that you do have knowledge worth sharing.
I can say that for the past two years at least, all the really good clients I’ve acquired came to me because of the copywriting tips and marketing ideas I’ve shared in my newsletter and on my blog.
In those rare times when business has gotten a little slow, I’ve always just responded by giving away ideas for free, telling people what I was doing to get more work and urging them to do the same, sharing stories, posting more tips… and always the work has come back.
There was a time when I told myself, “My clients are successful business people. I don’t need to share this with them. Surely they already know.”
I thought about that as I huffed and puffed alongside my fellow roadie, whose far superior rig (and probably better conditioning) made me struggle to keep up.
“Where are you headed now?” he asked.
I told him the street name, and he shook his head. “Never heard of it.”
The next left turn, there it was. I turned away down the street a local biker had never heard of. As I said goodbye, he asked me, “You ever thought of writing a guidebook?”
You know more than you think you do.