Growth takes time and effort. A professional today wasn’t as fast ten years ago as he is at the moment. Most times, the curious of heart wants everything at the moment—disregarding the process it takes to get everything. Talent cannot take the place of hard work or patience. Two artists who are equally talented may not have the same level of expertise. One may be faster than the other; one may understand the application of colors than the other; one may understand dimension than the other. The difference in expertise level between two people of the same talent is usually caused by external factors such as: length of practice, hard work, self-belief, psychological state, and emotional state.
The four phases of career or entrepreneurial growth are: The mud phase, the phase of initial exchange; the phase of expanded knowledge and the phase of high level exchange.
The mud-phase: The mud phase is the phase of groundwork. It’s like the foundation upon which a house is built. The mud phase can also be called the phase of apprenticeship. It’s the phase where an entrepreneur realizes his/her talent or purpose and begins to learn everything there is to learn. Learning can be formal and informal. A law student training to become a lawyer is receiving formal knowledge while a young person learning sculpture at an art studio is receiving informal knowledge. Formal or informal, learning is essential—after all, we cannot give what we do not know. In business, an entrepreneur may work on an idea, making little profit, yet learning the length and breadth of the industry. Such entrepreneur at some point would have understood the necessary factors to ensure business success within such industry.
The Phase of Initial Exchange: An irony of life is that some people do not have anything to offer in the market place, yet they want to earn an income, while others have good and marketable talent, yet they are too scared to offer such talent for income. The phase of initial exchange is the phase where the lessons of the mud-phase are delivered as skill to clients, while the clients pay money for such skills.
The Phase of Expanded Knowledge: When one earns an income from a skill, it is expected that one takes advanced lessons and training on such skill. Knowledge is kinetic—it changes, modifies, and gets better. An entrepreneur must offer updated skill to clients in order to stay relevant within the industry.
The Phase of High Valued Exchange: If one goes through the first three stages, one will definitely get to a point where one’s skills, profession, or service will become highly valued. A writer who passes through the mud-phase (such phase could begin from the time when such writer was a child and his mother would read the great works of J. K. Rowling), and at twenty three, starts earning income as a freelance writer, might decide to improve his craft. In doing so, his fee as a freelancer should also increase—until he gets to a point where he charges for professional service. Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs have the courage to charge high even when they know that they offer professional services. A freelance writer once commented that he charged $10 per hour for a gig until he realized that his friend charged $75 per hour. This revelation made him realize that even though he offered the same quality of service as his friend, he undercharged seven times lesser than he should—and this is under the assumption that the friend isn’t undercharging.
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