I don’t suppose that there is any problem with being too good at something. Being an expert. In fact, you will always find me saying things like “do something to the best of your ability.” And one may live for a thousand years and never quite reach the best of their capability. Because one cannot max out the capacity of human beings to improve. It is infinite, and good. 

But there is a small complication that comes with being too competent: isolation. I once read an article by Al Kags titled Lonelyness At The Top Is A Real Thing. And it is true. There exists a hierarchy of competence, and like most hierarchies, the majority of the people are at the bottom than at the top. There are people who know how to do something well (the majority), then there are those who know how to do this thing better (guys in the middle of the hierarchy), then there are those who know how to do this thing in the best way that exists at the time (the experts). 

Come back up for this one.

Now it takes a lot of material and immaterial investment to get to the expert level. It takes interest, money, time and commitment. Take a photographer for example. At entry level, an aspiring photographer freelances as they try to get their act together. Their quality is not so good and they probably do not have any equipment of their own. If they do, it is also entry level. Or if they come from a well off family then they have fairly good equipment that they do not know how fully make use of to get the best outcome. 

As their interest grows, they make it their responsibility to take the best photos that they can and so they commit to improving. They may do this by investing in masterclasses and equipment such as a better camera and various lenses. Over quite some time, they become good, then better, then best. Each of these levels (hierarchies of competence) cost differently. A good photographer is cheap, a better photographer costs more than the good one but is still fairly affordable, an expert photographer costs more than the latter and the former and is out of reach for most people. 

Part of the reason why I think expert people charge more than anyone else is because of the investments they make as mentioned in the 3rd paragraph. Another reason could be that they tend to offer better outcomes/results (unless one is a fraud). I think they also know that they are few and so you have fewer options to choose from if you want top class outcomes, so they command the price. [These are just hypotheses, and they are disputable or improvable].

The world is composed such that majority of people are in the poor and middle class sections. These two groups are inclined to go for good and/or better instead of expert. And not because they would not want the best, but because they struggle to afford it. (I also think that the poor, for example, don’t know any better and could care less because of the way their priorities are organised).

This thus isolates the experts to the rich. While the rich have no problem paying experts (mostly because they can afford it and also because of their position in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs), they occupy a small proportion of the population. So the quantity of their demand is less as compared to the sections below them (the middle class and the poor). I also think that because experts do their job well, it reduces the frequency in which they need to be consulted. [The upside is that experts do not always rely on economies of scale: One good deal and you are good for a longer while compared to the non-experts]

Hii utafrahia Pia.

It is lonely at the top because when the frequency of purchase from your rich clients reduces, then you are left with nothing other than your knowledge. You face two main challenges:- 

  1. Being broke (your income greatly reduces). 
  2. The perception that you are expensive causes the middle class and poor people to tend to avoid you – because you are expensive. 

The solution I offer to this problem is as follows; experts should divide their services into packages. Have packages that you sell to the rich, then have other packages for the rest of the demographic. This way, your dynamic nature allows you to sustain an income without going through long dry spells.