How to Beat Imposter Syndrome as a Blogger or Freelance Writer

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 08/22/22 •  6 min read

There’s a real problem in the blog world right now.

And it’s not what you think. It’s not about traffic, sales, or leads.

It’s about credibility.

With millions of blogs on the internet, people want to know that they’re reading the right people.

But don’t stress…

…Because you don’t need to be an absolute expert to run a blog that gets traffic and makes sales. You just need to know what you’re talking about.

Let me explain.

The Two Types of Experts

What do your local newscaster and your kid’s soccer coach have in common?

They’re both relative experts.

Generally speaking there are two different types of experts:

  1. Absolute Expert
  2. Relative Expert

An absolute expert is the person who has put in their 10,000 hours of practice, and knows their skill or topic inside and out. They can talk about their craft at a high level, and there are generally few questions they don’t have a good answer for.

Jimi Hendrix was an expert at guitar. Picasso is an expert at painting. Roger Federer is an expert at tennis. They each know more about their craft than 99.99% of the population.

A relative expert rather, is someone with a perceived level of credibility due to the fact they know more about a subject than the person they’re talking to. The level and depth of the knowledge of a relative expert can vary greatly from person to person.

For instance, we often look at the nightly newscaster as an expert, because they always appear to be knowledgeable in politics, business, or whatever else is going on in the world. The reality is the only thing they’re actually an expert at is reading the teleprompter. Yet, because they generally know more than we do about world happenings, to us, they appear to be an expert.

Or what about that middle school soccer coach? The whole team looks at them as an expert because she is the one in charge and is teaching kids how to dribble, pass, and play as a team. But if they were an absolute expert, they’d probably be coaching or playing at a college or professional level. But to the kid who is just starting to learn the game, they appear to be an expert on the game.

Look: You Don’t Need to Be An Absolute Expert

Every day I see people who don’t pursue a business or skill because they aren’t an “absolute expert”. Often times there’s a mindset that if you don’t know everything, you don’t know anything.

This leads to imposter syndrome and can paralyze you from doing anything. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

As long as you aren’t playing yourself off as someone who is an absolute expert, and you’re honest with yourself and others about your abilities, there’s a ton of opportunity for the relative expert in the world of entrepreneurship.

You could start learning a skill today, and within a couple weeks be able to help a lot of people with some of their basic problems. You just need to have the motivation to do it.

I quit my job and moved to Thailand to start a business. I chose search engine optimization and in a matter of weeks was already making a significant impact for my first client. It only took about 8 weeks before we saw our first $5,000 sale due to me learning the basics of SEO.

Am I the worlds best at it? Hardly. Do I know enough to provide significant value for someone who knows nothing about how to properly optimize a website? Absolutely.

To become a relative expert at something, you just need to be willing to devote enough time to learning the essentials of the trade, and then get hands on with your own projects to put the knowledge to practice.

This can be said for just about any business that can be run from a computer, whether it be web design, development, copywriting etc.

So that said, how do you use the idea of being a relative expert to actually boost your credibility?

The Three-Step Formula for Becoming a Relative Expert and Beating Imposter Syndrome

1. Prove that you actually know something.

This can be as simple as a blog post detailing tangible results, or by putting up a new website that you designed and coded all by yourself. Once it’s established that you know a little bit about a given topic, it isn’t hard to make the leap to relative expert status.

2. Offer Help.

Whatever area you decide to specialize in there are always beginners looking for assistance. Use Twitter Search to find them if need be. Be willing to offer as much advice and help as you can, while asking for nothing in return. If you do this well, to them you’re immediately a relative expert. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, so by helping a handful of people it may not be long before your reputation grows.

3. Continue Building Your Skills.

Don’t trick yourself into believing you’re an expert because you know some basics. That isn’t good for you or anyone else. As you become recognized in your field, you need to challenge yourself to up your game, and continue adding value. The only way to do that is to consistently be learning and building your own knowledge.

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How to Overcome Imposter Snydrome as a Freelance Writer

Maybe you’re not a blogger. Maybe you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, and you’re having trouble truly embracing the fact that you are a true, bonafide freelancer.

You’ve got imposter syndrome.

Don’t worry, it’s ok. You’re not the only one.

In fact, I’ve had half a dozen Location Rebel members email me this week alone telling me they’re feeling this way.

The good news, is it’s pretty easy to overcome as long as you’re willing to embrace your feelings and be willing to push through them.

This video tells you exactly what you need to do:

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to know everything to be useful, you just need to be confident in what you do know.

That said, if you make a commitment to gain knowledge in a subject matter of your choice, and stick with it, it may not be long before you’ve got the know-how and the reputation to build a sustainable business around it.

Want our free email course on building a lifestyle business? Check it out here.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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2 comments on "How to Beat Imposter Syndrome as a Blogger or Freelance Writer"

  1. Michal says:

    Seems like you’ve had a good time in Amsterdam, Sean!

    There’s a great upside to tip #2: offer help –> you actually become an expert by learning what are the problems of people you’re helping and solve them.

  2. Deidre Stein says:

    I can absolutely relate to this topic in so many ways, but it was your reference to being a few steps ahead of the person you’re looking to teach/guide.
    A few years back, I studied Ballroom and Latin dancing (which I loved and miss terribly) and I even scored a job as Studio Manager at one studio of a popular franchised brand where – get this – I was roped in to teaching a few beginner’s classes! It was fun and I handled it extremely well; the new students had fun, learned some basic steps and even signed on for more lessons (this time with a real expert, though, not me).
    But it worked mainly because – whilst I was a “relative expert” compared to the newbies – I LOVED dancing and my passion and enthusiasm for the subject shone through, inspiring them to want to do more.
    It was very much a win-win situation!

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