In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell posits the 10,000-hour rule: it takes 10,000 hours of work to achieve expert level proficiency. This path to become an expert seems simplistic. We could argue that 10,000 hours or 250 weeks of full-time employment does nothing other than make you used to doing the same thing over and over again. We could say that an expert has to know the right people to be thought of as an expert.
10,000 Hours: The Path to Expert
The problem with arguing with something as easily demonstratable as the 10,000 hours rule is you just end up creating a more complicated rule. You need 10,000 hours and… You need 10,000 hours, but… With the right teacher, you can do it in 5,000 hours. Pick your argument and you will realize that you are not arguing against the hypothesis that 10,000 hours makes you an expert. You are modifying the hypothesis.
So many small business owners start their business with little but a desire to serve and an opportunity to earn an income. I definitely did.
In order to be a caretaker for my beautiful family, I could not look for traditional work. I started my business when I was helping my wife care for a beautiful baby who was having some major difficulties eating.
My first blog writing gig was at $4 an hour ($2 for 500 words). Depressed after trying to write faster and get that up to at least minimum wage, I found one site that was willing to pay me 4 times that for half the writing.
Granted, when you charge more per word, you have to write slower. Edit more. Plan better.
When I found my first American writing gig, I was able to earn $12 an hour.
I wrote and published over 300 blogs at that rate.
Almost 10,000 Hours: My Path to Expert
Since then I have published an additional 400 plus blogs on that platform alone. My team regularly writes blogs for our private clients and I have edited hundreds of pages of books and academic writing. Although I could track how many hours I have put into just my writing craft while building this business, this is the point that the simple proposition of 10,000 hours breaks down for me.
Some hours I stare at a screen and end up doing something else. Sometimes I can write 1000 words in under an hour. Practice makes perfect; and for me, I practice building businesses. Yes, writing is a key skill I use to do that, but I have not set on a path to become one of the world’s best writers.
I have set on the path to provide for my family, and to build a business that provides for ministries, schools, and both our customers and our employees.
So, my 10,000 hours includes time spent emailing freelancers. It includes time spent talking to people at coworking spaces and striking up conversations with strangers at Chick-fil-A. My 10,000 hours includes time spent driving a car from one frustrating missed appointment to the next; and, it includes moving from success to success as if I’m invincible.
In 2020, my business will have been running full time for 5 years. In that time, I have realized that running a business, building teams, landing and retaining clients, creating product and service funnels, building your brand, and so on are hardly the realm of experts.
Running a business is new every morning; new problems and new successes. But, I am progressing towards expert on many, many things. Although I could probably say that I have spent 10,000 hours practicing the following crafts in my decades on earth, that is not important.
What is important is that these are all skills I know that I am proficient in and confident that I can do as well as possible.
I am an expert singer.
I am an expert writer.
I am an expert violinist.
I am an expert father.
I am an expert husband.
I am an expert in ministry.
I am an expert teacher.
I am an expert editor.
I am an expert marketer.
I am an expert blogger.
I am an expert business strategist.
Your Journey to Expert
When you got up today, what tasks did you have on your plate? How can you practice them to become an expert?
Leave a comment below about areas you have put in the time and learned the lessons to be an expert or tell me the types of skills you are working on becoming an expert in.