How to be a Newbie & Succeed

Written by Chase Reeves

Here’s a challenge we all face, whether we’re bloggers or podcasters or freelancers or makers or hopeful entrepreneurs of any shape…

We’ve got to be experts to succeed.

Or, at least we have to look like experts, right?

Or, at least all the people that you follow are experts, right?

But in Fizzle’s forums I’ve had so many damn conversations over the past 3+ years with entrepreneurs at all stages of the journey. And I see people making a very common mistake in how they think about themselves.

Here, watch the video for the skinny (and my John Mayer impression):

(BTW, if you like that video subscribe to our YouTube channel and like us on Facebook because I’m making more of these suckers.)

The gist is this: I see now that it’s common to think you’re further along than you actually are.

You might think you’re further along than you actually are if:

  • You’re not making progress on your thing. You’ve got ideas but they’re not getting done.
  • You don’t have results. You try stuff out but it doesn’t work.
  • You aren’t asking questions. You’re pretty sure you know exactly what you should be doing.
  • Your mood shifts often from very excited to super frustrated or depressed.
  • You feel like you lack motivation.

Here’s the thing, it’s really common to believe you’re further along than you actually are.

Here’s how it happens:

think like a newbie and succeed experts vs us

That black dot at the bottom left is you — let’s say you’re just starting out.

BUT, you’ve been watching an expert for a while. Maybe it’s Seth Godin or Elizabeth Gilbert or (my favorite) Guy Fieri. The expert is the open circle at the top.

You see exactly where the expert is right now and assume that’s what you’ve got to be like if you want to succeed.

But you don’t see all the shit that’s made them who they are.

think like a newbie and succeed experts journey

That dashed line is the journey the expert’s been on since they started as a newbie so many years ago. This line represents the challenges, fears, triumphs, failures and successes that the expert has attempted between where they started and where they are today.

But you don’t see that. All you see is where they are right now.

think like a newbie and succeed all you see is the expert level

We don’t see the journey. All we see is where they are today. And that’s where we think we need to start from.

That’s dangerous.

The danger

I’m telling you all this because it’s really dangerous to think you’re further along than you are.

You’ll never ship anything. You’ll never try anything.

And that’s dangerous because as indie entrepreneurs we live and die by the work we produce… if we’re not creating and making and connecting with our audience we aren’t growing.


Instead, embrace being a newbie. Accept being a learning. Realize that your path to success will be as windy and (cork)screwed as others.

It will take time, it will take sweat and it will be exhilarating.

A quick trick

Here’s one quick trick I’ve been using myself to embrace my newbie-ness:

think like a newbie to succeed sentence trick

Here’s a few examples:

  • I want to get more politically active: It’s not like I’m going to be Ghandi, but I can at least host a documentary night with my friends.
  • I want to do more wood working: It’s not like I’m going to be an episode of This Old House, but I can at least take a stab at making a coffee table.
  • I want to be a public speaker: It’s not like I’m going to be Tony Robbins, but I can at least try to get a speaking gig at the local Rotary Club.
  • I want to blog about motherhood: It’s not like I’m going to be The Dooce, but I can commit to writing 10 posts in the next 10 weeks.

It’s a simple trick, it may not work on you as well as it does for me, but it helps me get over my precious sense of how professional or cool or mature I am.

Shit man, it sucks to suck at stuff, and we all suck at first. I see too many of us freelancers and creative business people putting too much pressure on ourselves to be better.

YES, push to be the best.

YES, give it all you’ve got.

SURE, fake it till you make it and every other trite piece of advice out there.

Sure, do all that stuff. But maybe there’s a way through where you embrace your newbie-ness, get enthusiastic and be authentic instead of just another posturing internet person.

We at Fizzle will be right there along side you every step of the way.

Thanks so much for reading!

Earn a living doing something you love.

Grow an audience and get paid for your work as an independent creator. Fizzle is where creators come to learn, share and make progress toward their online dreams.

I’ve taken a lot of courses and been involved in several paid communities since I started my business, but I’ve never ever felt like anyone CARED as much about seeing my reach my goals as the Fizzle Team. They show up for me as much as I show up for myself. Thank you SO much, you guys!

Claire Pelletreau

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