How to get better at what you do

To get to the point where you’re sure you’re good enough to charge more money, you might need to get better at what you do. Or at least feel that you’re good enough at what you do to charge a good rate.

If you’re not sure that the software you’ve developed is good enough to price at the top of the market, what do you need to do to make it better?  Are you the best yoga teacher in the world?  Or at least in wherever you live.

Do you make the cutest teddy bears or the best environmental cleaner that you can possibly make?

If your answer is a resounding yes, then skip ahead to the next blogs on marketing to find out how to make yourself look good. If not, here are some thoughts on how to get better at what you do.

Here’s how to get better at what you do

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The people I’ve worked with who have been very successful and charged a lot of money for what they do, are people who have spent a lot of time learning how to do what they do well.

I don’t mean, go and do a degree or an MBA, but watch a YouTube video on sewing techniques to help you make your teddy bear leg seams stronger, take an online course on new programming techniques, go on a super advanced yoga course to find out about extreme breathing techniques.

getting better in business

Learn around your subject

Most people learn about their area of expertise and define that quite narrowly.  But the people who are exceptional (and therefore who can easily justify charging the top prices) tend to learn about all sorts of stuff around their subject.

So, if you want to sell the cutest teddy bears, maybe you need to know about the history of teddy bears, what makes for the highest-priced collectable antique bears, and a bit about child psychology and attachment theory.


Malcolm Gladwell says that you need to have done 10,000 hours of something to get good at it.  That’s about ten years of doing 4 hours a day of what you do, every working day. That’s a hell of a long time.

Quick side note – Malcolm Gladwell actually got this 10,000 hours thing a bit wrong. Here are some tips on Peak, the book by the original researchers of the 10,000-hour rule. They have some great ideas on how to get better at what you do, using deliberate practice. Read about Peak here…

If you’re new at what you do, then get in as much practice as you can. Maybe you are a trainer, find groups that you can train for free, just for the chance to get in a room and do your thing. Or if you make exquisite high-end corsets, you need to do a lot of practice pieces to get better at what you do.

Doctors practice suturing on pigs trotters for hours on end before they get to have a go on humans, so think about what is your equivalent of the pig trotter.

getting better in business


Get an advisor

I don’t necessarily mean a business advisor like me (although getting business advice can be a good idea too). Find yourself, someone who is already good at something similar (but maybe non-competitive) and see if you can hang out with them and help out.

A trainer might want to volunteer to co-facilitate at a meeting with someone who trains in a different area, to get the practice of being in the room.  Or she might volunteer to work alongside someone who is experienced in working with a difficult group, such as working with unemployed people who are learning maths.

Hang out with other people who do something similar

It’s often beneficial to be around people who are interested in the same things as you.  If you’re a designer, you might want to join a design networking group, and immerse yourself in the world of people who care about typography.  If you can’t find a similar group near you, find one online or set up a Meet-Up yourself. Being around other people who are better than you, helps you to get better at what you do.

getting better in business

How this works in practice

Often, when I suggest this to people, especially if they’re pretty experienced, they can be sceptical. Especially, when I’m effectively telling them to do work for free when we’re supposed to be working on getting them more money.  But, as long as you’re not giving your real work away for free, this strategy works well.

Firstly, you’re getting practice which is always going to make you better at what you do.

Secondly, you’re gaining more confidence (especially if you do things which are slightly outside of your usual way of working like working with a difficult client group). Eventually, you’ll end up being confident like Tigger. 

And you’re establishing a group of people who know you and know your work. So there’s a good chance that they’re going to recommend you for something that you can get paid for.

If you need to get better at the business side of things

My business advice clients come to me because they need some help in getting better at the business side of things.

They might be already doing some of the things I talk about here to get even better at what they sell, but admit that they don’t know how to do the business parts, the marketing, finance and business process elements that go towards having a great business which makes good money for them.

If this sounds like you, and you’d like to have a chat about how we could work together to get your business rolling, here’s how it all works.

You can book a preliminary coffee and cake session (including coffee and cake by Zoom) to talk about whether this is the right help for you, right here.


Photo credit – Rafael Montilla, Erik Brolin and Marlon Lara from Unsplash, and Vervate