Entrepreneurship isn’t a feat meant for all. Countless hours, stress, lack of social life, and self-doubt can be some of the most crippling factors in becoming successful. Ultimately, some businesses come down to mastering a skill set, and knowing how to sell it to someone else while running with the punches. Whether you’re just starting your entrepreneurial career or have owned a business for years, you have to be willing to outwork and outsmart everyone else.

Nicholas Kirchner, Founder and CEO of Pixsuls, ensures that his skill set is applied to each and every client in the digital marketing realm. Focusing on targeted, paid advertising, Kirchner consistently yields a “Measurable return on your advertising efforts”. These claims do not come from a place of overly optimistic vision, but a sense of mastery and understanding of the advertising industry. So you may ask yourself, “How does one master their craft in an ever-evolving industry?”

Information Is The Edge

Sir Francis Bacon, the world-renowned English philosopher, once said, “Knowledge is power”. In today’s fast-paced, interconnected society, knowledge can only get you so far.

Having intuition is a key element in gaining an edge against the competition. “I constantly ask myself ‘how could someone in my space beat or outperform me?’ Asking myself how someone could do that, paired with being honest with myself, allows me to get the insights I need to get to the next level,” said Kirchner. “I’m obsessed with learning what others are testing/doing because even if I’ve already tried it, I want to make sure that I’m not missing something.”

Entrepreneurs must work tirelessly to obtain the required knowledge to keep their competitive edge, but Kirchner has a very simple philosophy when it comes down to it, “It just takes a willingness to put your butt in a chair and work. Have the discipline and focus to out-learn everyone else. Most people won’t do that.”

Being the Smartest in the Room PaysSometimes

Nearly everyone in the business world has heard the quote, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Nicholas is no stranger to this concept. With an infatuation for personal growth, he often puts himself in the right rooms.

“Why would you want to be the dumbest in the room? So I can shut up and learn from people who are further ahead than I am,” Kirchner stated. “Most people who don’t know much on a subject will sit down and do all of the talking. When you do this you leave the conversation with no new information, because you just repeated everything you already knew and didn’t hear anyone else’s perspective.”

Ultimately, Kirchner uses this humble attitude to his advantage. “If you stop and listen, especially when you’re in the room with people ahead of you, you walk away with insight you would’ve spent years acquiring on your own. When I’m in the room with Tai Lopez, Ashton Kutcher, Sergey Brin (Co-Founder of Google), and other billionaires, CEOs, etc. I keep quiet and become a sponge.”

But even learning from billionaires and CEOs isn’t enough to be proficient in your field of choice.

Learning Isn’t Enough

Becoming an expert in your niche takes a lot more than just absorbing all of the information you can on a topic. Not only does it take time to truly process what you’ve learned, there is a key step that takes place after educating yourself that truly sets apart the winners from the losers.

“There’s a huge difference when it comes to mastering something vs. just knowing about it.” Kirchner states, “You won’t get anywhere just reading books. You won’t get anywhere just taking courses. You get somewhere by learning and then executing.”

Execution is the difference between mastering your craft and squandering your potential success. But going out and aimlessly trying things doesn’t help much when there is a lack of awareness of the situation. Mastery comes about when someone has the ability to sense what their next move is.

Kirchner commented, “When you master something you’re able to adapt and make decisions despite any situation. Curveball? No problem. In my case with advertising, and more specifically Facebook & Instagram ads, it’s almost instinctual on what I might test or adjust next.”

At the end of the day, a blend of trial and error along with a developed instinct is a lot of what it takes to get to the next level. When asked how trial and error has helped Kirchner, he had a surprising yet humbling answer.

“I would never have gained the experience I have now if I hadn’t collectively spent millions on Facebook Ads. It’s just what had to be done to truly learn the principles of the game and develop a gut. No course or book can teach you how to be a great practitioner, that’s on you. And that’s what makes an expert an expert.”

Doing Whatever it Takes

Entrepreneurship is like a game of chess. There are times where you have to be willing to sacrifice one thing to gain another in order to place yourself in a winning position. But in the world of business, in order to truly make meaningful strides in the right direction, sacrifice comes in the form of time. 

“I’ve missed holidays, family parties, nights out with friends etc. but doing whatever it takes is necessary to truly master your craft. Sacrificing now for more upside later just comes with the territory of entrepreneurship; if it’s what you really want, you’ll have to be willing to do whatever it takes.”

But what truly divides those who succeed and those who merely get by is how their time is spent while dedicating themselves to their craft.

“I’ve spent the last 36 months studying, executing, and learning everything I can about advertising, psychology, and why humans make the decisions they do. In that time I’ve read over 400 books on sales, marketing, branding, psychology, persuasion, and negotiation,” Kirchner stated. “I’ve spent a college education on coaches/mentors, and programs, even though I’m a dropout.”

Closing Thoughts 

Having a true understanding of a skill (or multiple skills) is one of the pillars of running and growing a successful business. Once you realize that you will always be a student to the game of entrepreneurship, and are okay sacrificing the time and energy to improve your skills day in and day out, you’ll find yourself closer and closer to mastering your craft.

Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Jennifer Spencer

At 23, I was content but not satisfied. I was living in Maryland with a secure job, family and friends nearby, but something was missing. I decided it was time to make a massive move out of my comfort zone. I moved across the country to San Francisco to take on a role as a Content Marketing Manager for a tech startup. Inspired by Silicon Valley’s environment of driven entrepreneurs I decided to go a step further and start my own company using my Marketing and PR skills to help entrepreneurs share their stories with the world.