I’m incredibly frustrated with the atmosphere and overall mindset that exists in the blogging world right now. The common message is that the way to make money (and of course you must make money in order to be successful) is to position yourself as an expert and to market your supposed expertise to others through courses or ebooks. Which, if you are an expert, is awesome! We live in a wonderful age where it has become easier and less expensive to share expertise with others. My issue is how apparently everyone is an expert now – with little to no training and that following this path is encouraged! I’ve even seen people saying it’s okay to market your knowledge even if you aren’t an expert, because at least you know more about it than someone else does.
Merriam-Webster defines expert as “one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject“. Not someone who simply knows more than the next person. Not someone who took a quick coaching tutorial on another blog, taught by a self-proclaimed guru. Someone with knowledge representing mastery.
There’s very few things I’d want to learn from someone who is not a master. I don’t want to try recipes from a mediocre cook who hasn’t trialed the recipe and adjusted ingredients and amounts as needed. I don’t want to follow a workout program from someone who isn’t a master and not get the results I’m promised, or worse, end up injured. I don’t want to take advice from someone who can only offer anecdotal advice from their own experience. And I would never, ever, ever want to be the one giving that sort of advice, especially as a way to make money.
I think it is so important that we are honest with ourselves and especially others about what we can offer. I also think there’s a difference between overcoming imposter syndrome and in outright lying. As bloggers, we have a responsibility to our readers to be honest about who we are, what our background is and what level of mastery we’ve obtained. Within that honesty, if we want to share about our experiences and thoughts in our posts, we have that freedom (to an extent), but when we cross into marketing our “knowledge” and framing ourselves as “experts”, especially in exchange for money, we need to be so, so careful, not only to avoid legal ramifications but to remain ethical as well.
Sometime in the last decade, blogging and the often-related online coaching programs have become the “get rich quick” scheme that MLM’s (aka pyramid schemes) have been. Minimal upfront monetary or time investment. Promises of getting rich quickly. A requirement to recruit a team, or followers or a tribe…sound familiar? It is incredibly easy to create a decent looking blog, relatively easy to throw up some posts or put together courses, and off you go! If you can just get so many people subscribing to your courses and telling their friends and sharing about it on their own blog, then you too can be rich and quit your day job!
And I’m not knocking the honest to goodness coaches and experts who are utilizing online courses, because especially during the last year, these have been lifesavers for connecting and educating. True experts deserve to be reimbursed for their time and expertise. But I’m a firm believer that if you are going to sell something and if you are going to portray yourself as an expert, you have to have received education from another expert (or have incredible and extensive life experience), you have to be committed to ongoing education and you have to be honest about what it is that you’re offering.
So please, before you dive into the blogging world to make a quick buck, before you put a course together to share your wisdom, take a step back. Do you have the time and the patience and the energy to invest into this? Because this is not a get rich quick scheme, like so many people want you to believe. Do you have the knowledge to call yourself an expert? Do you have a field of expertise (this whole “selling a lifestyle” fad can stop any day now)? Have you learned from another expert? Are you willing to continuously gain more knowledge in order to maintain your status as an expert? You owe it to yourself and you owe it to any potential clients to be brutally honest in answering these questions.
So where does this leave me and this blog? What can you expect when you’re here? You’ll notice there are no courses on the site or ebooks to purchase. Because I’m not an expert in the area of mental health or even childfree living. I’m living through a journey of mental health struggles and I’m working to become an expert through a degree, but I’m not there yet. I’m currently on the journey of living childfree, but I’m far from being an expert on what it entails. I’m simply sharing some thoughts and experiences and if I do share advice, I try to back it up with evidence from the experts. I really want readers of this blog to see authentic, honest sharing, because this is so rare in the world. I hope my posts help in some way, if only to make people feel less alone. I hope my ramblings and rants resonate with someone. I hope sharing some of my experiences makes things easier for others. I hope by talking about things that are often unspoken, others feel heard. I don’t have some secret formula, I don’t have a little niche, and I’m not here to make a quick buck. I’m just over here sharing about life. I think we are sometimes too focused on marketing and monetizing and not focused enough on connecting and sharing.
That’s my goal, and for me, that’s enough. So thanks for being here! ❤