Get Clarity and Be Authentic Online

Get Clarity and Be Authentic Online

March 30, 2024
Assalamualaikum!
Had a conversation with an aspiring coach the other day who said, “I don’t know which business idea to pursue… My dream coaching niche would be Z. But that’s for the future, I’m not at all experienced/ qualified to coach that right now. The ideas I have right now are A and B. But I don’t enjoy idea A and while I enjoy idea B, I’m not sure if I can help others with that as I have never helped others before.”

 

Lack of clarity is the first challenge every new entrepreneur has to face.

And a challenge you’ll face many times over in your entrepreneurial journey. 

It’s logical why lack of clarity is such a big problem for entrepreneurs.

We have:

  1. No knowledge of the future
  2. We can only rely on observing patterns of success and patterns of failure (based on our own experiences and those of others)
  3. No certainty or guarantee in life

 

You might as well learn how to master the skill of getting clarity.

If you want to start your digital career as a knowledge worker and you’re lacking clarity, your interests likely fall into one of the three categories:

 

1. The interests you WANT to share and help others with, you can’t

 

This is when you are thinking about the future. 

On your time horizon of self-mastery, you are wondering where you would be 10 years from now and settling on that as your ‘future niche’. 

This exercise is not pointless. It’s important to dream BIG and have a long-term direction to steer your present towards. 

Having clarity on your long-term vision is excellent. But it’s not needed for you to begin.

You don’t need to have a 10-year vision sorted to start somewhere today. 

Most people can never get clarity on their 10-year vision because people don’t know what they want. 

Even successful entrepreneurs you may know who started with a 10-year vision and achieved it successfully had to be flexible on how to bring that vision to reality to accommodate unforeseen opportunities.I call it the evolution of self-mastery.

For example: My 10-year vision includes writing a book, public speaking, and coaching on leadership. This could change and I’ll be flexible in that. 

But if I had focused and worried about my 10-year vision, I would have surely stayed stuck.

The irony – 

> People who savor dreaming about their long-term vision and have no plan of action for the present sadly end up never achieving their long-term vision.

> People who may not have clarity on their long-term vision, but are proactive with a plan of action for the present, always end up figuring out their long-term vision. And they usually achieve something better than what they envisioned.

“Know you not that Allah knows all that is in the heaven and on the earth?
Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz). Verily, that is easy for Allah”
(Qur’an, al-Hajj 22:70)

TAKEAWAY: Set a 10-year vision and then forget it. Focus on what you can do NOW.

That brings us to the next category of interests…

 

2. The interests you CAN share and help others with, you don’t want to

 

If you’ve noted all your skill sets, and experiences and pinpoint all the things you’re good at…

…and you’re wondering whether you should pursue NICHE XYZ, but you feel zero excitement towards it…

This is probably because you are looking at other online entrepreneurs/ knowledge workers, and assuming that talking about TOPIC XYZ is going to be more profitable or will help you succeed. 

For example; I am skilled in interior design, and web design. 

I also have the knowledge, the formal degree of Medicine and experience working as a Doctor. I could have created an online training and my company for supporting doctors in their career development. 

Or created an interior design agency or a web design agency business.

Why didn’t I dedicate 5 years to that?

Because that’s not what excites me or is aligned with my purpose – to serve the Ummah with my knowledge (writing, speaking, coaching), to study Deen full time as my job, and to help create educational leaders, Daees and coaches. 

Over to you – what ideas are you holding on to that do not excite you and will not serve you in the long run? 

Let go of them.  

 

3) The interests you WANT to share and you CAN help others with, you doubt yourself whether you should

 

This is where you’ll succeed.

The most successful educators and content creators are authentic. Unfortunately, most people are not. 

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you can explore your natural curiosities without worry.

You are not tied or forced into speaking only of things relevant to a hyper-targeted customer. 

To build a personal brand, you must explore and share your interests proactively. 

That’s the only way to enjoy creating content and serving people with your products and coaching. 

Exploring your curiosity and sharing your interests is the only way to stay in the game of educating and serving people with your knowledge for more than a decade (and not be miserable!). And you can only truly succeed by being consistent in something.

What do you speak about excitedly with a few select people in your life who “get you”? (hint: your future online audience will be of these people)

What are you always learning about in your free time?

You can be passionate about lots of things. That doesn’t mean you need to share your life publicly and become a social media “influencer”.

Which of your interests are worthy of your time spent exploring and sharing? Which of your interests can help the Ummah the most? 

Is there a way you can create an overlap of your interests and service for the Ummah?

Most people lack development in certain areas of life. This is why they’re afraid to share about their interests that lie under those weaker areas. Because that’s all they are – interests.

Interests that are not followed by action don’t have a lot of weight in them, yes? 

To add weight to your interests so they become worthy of sharing, here’s what to do:

 

A) Decide your 1-3 content pillars 

 

You can decide your pillars to be broad topics of interest such as “productivity”, “parenting” or “home organization”, etc.

No need to copy other people. Pick what you love and is authentic to you.

These pillars should be your pillars of strength. Meaning, your natural dispositions, skills, and strengths overlap with those pillars. 

Here’s an example of how to do this in Notion: 

For example:

PILLAR: Home organization – your strength should be organization and creating structure.

PILLAR: Gardening – your natural dispositions could be love being in nature and getting your hands in the dirt.

PILLAR: Parenting – your strength could be understanding child psychology.

Remember – You can only help someone in an area of life where you’re stronger than the people who are a few steps behind you. 

If you’re the weakest person in every room in a particular pillar of interest, don’t choose that as your content pillar for now. 

You can always keep that as a personal interest and can add or remove pillars from your brand as you evolve with time. 

 

B) Start developing yourself in your content pillars 

 

Surround yourself with books, people, coaches, programs and environments where you can infuse knowledge and reduce the friction to taking action under those pillars of interest. 

Become a member of free and paid communities looking to become skilled in those pillars.

Create a habit and routine of consuming knowledge related to your pillars of interests. 

Don’t just consume for the sake of “sounding smart” – be CURIOUS! 

Contemplate every new thing you learn and observe the unique challenges in that field of interest. 

Come up with new ways to solve those problems and record the outcomes – what happens when you do XYZ? How can you improve to get better results for yourself? Can you put your learning into a SYSTEM? 

Just like a skilled doctor is spending their free time learning and revising from books and courses under their field of specialty. Then they practice their knowledge in the hospital on their patients to develop and refine their skills. They always observe their patients for signs and symptoms of different ailments (problems). 

 

You Will Attract A Larger Like-Minded Audience By Being Authentic 

 

Do interesting things.

Then speak about what you did or are doing. 

And then share how your life experiences and knowledge can help a person like you.  

That’s how you become authentic and create value for others. 

Doing interesting things doesn’t mean recording yourself jumping off a plane or traveling the globe taking selfies of magnificent places and sharing your whole life publicly on Instagram. No, thank you. 

There is a way to protect your private life from the public eye and share your knowledge freely to impact and serve others. The internet has made these things possible. 

And remember – your brand, your rules.

You get to set the rules of how you want to show up online. Do you want to cover the face? Do you want to create a brand name or just use your name? Do what you believe is best for you! With the help of Allah SWT, anything is possible.  

Become a trailblazer and set an example for the newer generation of Muslim content creators, educators, coaches, and entrepreneurs. 

Here is an example of how to implement this: 

If you’re a health coach for Muslim women and you’re interested in helping others without restrictive dieting, try following a few different diets for 30 days, and report your findings online to build your audience.

You can tie your learnings (no matter what the topic) to the teachings of our Deen if you want to focus on serving a Muslim audience.

The difference between an audience/ reader who’s consuming content versus a content creator and coach creating value is that the coach must implement their knowledge and create “experience”. They must articulate and share their knowledge and experience in a simple way that the reader understands and can implement. 

A reader by definition only has to “read” – in other words, consume knowledge. 
Reading and learning about business does not make someone an entrepreneur. To become an entrepreneur, one has to learn, implement, and build experience in business. 

Remember – When you talk about what you do, people remember.

You’ll be authentic.

Authenticity builds trust. 

The best thing is that you don’t have to try so hard to be authentic.

We are “being authentic” ALL the time in our family, in front of our friends, etc. 

All you have to do is to bring the best of that authentic energy into your content. (Tip: Every time you create value online, imagine if you’re speaking to yourself from the recent past.)

BTW, if you’re still “figuring things out” in certain areas of life, who isn’t? Who has it all figured out? 

So don’t be afraid to share the lessons you’ve ALREADY learned in your life with others… just like you can’t stop talking about those things you’re passionate about with your friends, family, and co-workers. (they’re not interested in listening much to your rants because they don’t share your interests! But the audience you build online will be like you and they are interested in similar interests as yours!)

Tie everything you learn and experience under your pillars of interest to a bigger mission.

When you do that, you’ll attract an audience of people with interests just like yours who want to learn from you. They want to create the same experiences that you have created to solve the same problems that you have solved and to enjoy outcomes that you are enjoying. 

And people who are like-minded to you likely have access to other like-minded people. 

If you have 500 followers and every person in your audience who finds value in your work shares your work with ONE like-minded person in their life, your audience would double to 1000 with no “marketing”. 

 

Conclusion: Your Job as a Knowledge Worker

 

Your job as an online educator / knowledge worker is to:

  1. To identify your pillars of interest 
  2. To educate and develop yourself in those pillars of interest 
  3. To practice what you learn, solve problems for yourself and gain experience 
  4. To make sense of things for yourself and other people like you 
  5. To articulate what you’ve learned and share it with others 
  6. To offer higher levels of support to help others implement and solve those problems (this is where monetization comes into play) 

 

As with anything that is given time, YOU, too, will evolve and grow.

Once you do the above for some time, you’ll hit a new level of experience in your Evolution of Mastery.

Then you can speak to those learning at an experience level below as well as those learning at your level, while developing yourself further to reach the next level if you want. This is how your audience expands. 

You can monetize by offering your time and a high level of support to those people. 

People pay to learn from someone who is doing what they want to do and is at least a few steps ahead of them. 

The bigger problem you solve for yourself on your evolution of mastery, the greater you can charge for your coaching/ service. Remember – People don’t pay a lot of money to solve small problems. 

When you’ve reached a new level of experience, that’s when you can add a new pillar if you want. Until then, develop yourself in your pillars of natural curiosity. 

That’s the path I followed to get started on my digital career & legacy, and turn my idea into Muslim Empowerment.

If you want me to personally help you start your online coaching/ course business as a busy working Muslim professional, I run a 1:1 as well as a group coaching program that does exactly that. I’d love to talk and work with you. Fill out this 2-min form here to book a call with me

 

What You Can Do to Start Small in Ramadan

 

Ramadan is the blessed month of making your dreams come true by asking Allah SWT. It is the perfect time to begin a new chapter of your life with the blessings from Allah SWT.

Let this be the month you begin thinking like a knowledge worker for the Muslim Ummah, making dua for your dream lifestyle, and mark the beginning of your digital brand + legacy In Sha Allah. 

Set a date for after Ramadan in your calendar when you’ll create your first post. Go update your social media profiles to start your digital career this weekend. 

I pray Allah SWT makes your path incredibly joyful and easy. Ameen.

I’ll be writing to you again after Eid In Sha Allah!Until then – Take care, have a blessed last Ashra of Ramadan, avail Laylat-ul-Qadr, and remember me in your duas! Eid Mubarak in advance!

🕋 Ayah of the Week

“He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself” (Quran: Al-A’la 87:14)

 

🕌 Hadith of the Week

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan due to faith and seeking reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. Whoever stands in prayer during the Night of Decree due to faith and seeking reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1901, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi)

 

🤲 Dua of the Week

 رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْوَهَّاب

“Rabbana la tuzigh quloobana ba’da idh hadaytana wahab lana min ladunka rahmah innaka antal Wahhab.”

“Our Lord, do not let our hearts deviate after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from Your presence. Indeed, You are the Bestower.”

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