How to Get Your Side Hustle or Project off the Ground(Without Quitting )
I care about you more than almost anyone in the world outside of my family and friends.
Well, maybe not you specifically, but the entity you represent. The creator, the dreamer, the aspiring hustler. You have a blog, a podcast, a Youtube Channel, an e-commerce store, an Etsy shop, a Patreon.
You want to sing, write, sell stuff online, dance, become a comedian, start a charity, play video games for a living, paint, design, start an agency, code, turn your white-collar job into a business. I could go on forever.
Either you’ve started or you’re thinking of starting.
Most importantly, you have a dream.
You doubt whether or not you can turn it into reality, but you do have a real dream. That’s more than most people can say. You genuinely want to get your thing off the ground. You’re sincere.
But it’s hard. Much harder than the gurus tell you it is. You have the steps and then the micro-steps within those steps. You have to learn the skills and then the micro-skills within your skills.
Then, you have to deal with nobody around you even really believing in or understanding what you’re trying to do (That doesn’t change by the way.)
You have this side hustle, project, or idea you want to get traction with on top of having to deal with, you know, being a human being with responsibilities.
I get it.
I always try to dig into my mind and discover the truth about how I really managed to pull it off myself. I don’t want to b.s. you. So here’s my best shot.
I’ve been you.
Let me show you how to become me.
Fuel Your Own Fire
I love seeing pictures and videos of successful creators before they got traction. There’s one with Diddy (is that his name right now?) and he’s sitting in a dingy office. He gets off the phone after landing some sort of deal and damn near breaks the receiver with how hard he hangs up. Then he gets up and starts yelling with pride.
I know that feeling.
You feel it in your bones. In your soul. I can fucking do this.
But before you get there, though, you have to start.
I recorded a podcast episode with a friend from college the other day. I’m featured in episode number two. I can barely remember blog post number two. There have been hundreds.
What I do remember though, in general, is that feeling of finally stepping a centimeter outside of society’s guidelines. It feels good. You have hope. Regardless of where you are in the process, hold onto this feeling for dear life. It’s the only thing you can rely on.
Then, you do the work again and again and again until you have one of those “Hell yes!” moments like Diddy. And each time you have one of those moments, the path itself becomes more certain. You deposit an investment into the “I can do this” account. And it grows. It accrues interest. It snowballs.
Your confidence will grow.
You will gain momentum.
But I can’t do the starting part for you.
Your views will be low. The sales will not pour in. Your channel will be a ghostland. You won’t have a bunch of raving fans. You’ll feel like quitting well before you reach any sort of inflection point. The technical difficulties alone will be enough to make you want to pull your hair out.
It is what it is, though. And it does get easier. I promise. You’ll get better. That’s the thing you have to remember. You will get much much much better.
Get Better By Getting Over Yourself
I have a masochistic joy when it comes to looking at my old writing. It’s so bad. It feels like another person wrote it. You simply won’t understand how good you can get until you come out on the other side.
Regardless of the lane you choose, art or business, you’ll get so skilled and you’ll laugh at how small your ambitions were, to begin with.
You have no idea how high your ceiling is. You probably don’t even have one.
Are you willing to fight through that period where you’re not very good?
As far as motivation for that goes…
The way I look at it, you don’t really have anything to lose. I know you know that, but success starts to happen when you just embody it and think about it deeply enough until it sticks.
Nobody cares about your Youtube Channel or your blog or your online business. If it doesn’t work out it just doesn’t work you. You suffer no physical harm. Side hustles are cheap to start. There’s no such thing as “burning the bridges behind you” because you can always just get a job.
Why so serious?
Why do we even take ourselves seriously at all? I wonder about that, a lot. Why aren’t we all just confident by default? Why should we care what anyone else thinks, whether or not we fail, or how successful we become?
I often credit the fact that I didn’t take myself seriously to begin with as one of the reasons I got started in the first place. I wasn’t some MFA nerd who was hell-bent on becoming a writer. That seems like a lot of pressure. Sure, I always knew I wanted to be one, but I never forced it. The opportunity arose and I took it. I got lucky.
Let me be that person for you and help you see the opportunity in front of you.
You can do whatever the hell you want. There are so many resources out there to help you. Just start.
I Swear, If You Just Do This, You Will Be Successful
You have to learn how to follow directions. Not the directions minus the hard parts. If you read “the ultimate guide to blogging” and it has 27 steps in the guide, do all 27. Not 26, 25, or 24.
If you buy an online course about starting an online business, finish the online course. Launch the product and get zero sales if need be.
Publish the shitty book.
You have to rewire your brain to believe you are capable of finishing something.
The online education for creators is pretty damn good. You can get information for free, pay the price of a nice meal out, the price of a car note, or even spend a pretty penny on high ticket stuff.
The funny thing? Basically all the options are cheaper than college, even the “expensive ones.” That’s another blog post.
Anyway, pick somebody to take directions from and just take the directions.
I learned how to blog from Jon Morrow and Jeff Goins. I learned how to publish books from Chandler Bolt. I read their blog posts and implemented the advice. I took the courses and got the exact outcomes they promised.
It’s not them. It’s you.
Always. It’s always you.
Sometimes the directions aren’t always fun. The other day I spent multiple hours looking up competitor metadata to grow my Youtube channel. Not fun. But having a Youtube channel with 100k subscribers five years from now? Hella fun.
You don’t get to separate the two.
Just do the damn work, will you?
The Grass is Definitely Greener
Like I said before. I care about you. I love you.
Hell, I probably know you better than your friends and family do. Not the ‘fake you’ the world tries to mold you into becoming.
I know the real you. The one who wants to make stuff, and get paid for it, and believe that it’s possible to do all the above.
You have so much you want to share but you have a hard time putting all the pieces together. You look at people who pulled it off and look at them like they’re superhuman.
They just did the work. Work you’re capable of doing.
The world thinks you’re crazy. I don’t. I think you’re saner than them all. The world is crazy.
Squandering your life away without putting your art into the world is crazy. Hiding and dimming your light to make others feel better is crazy. Not hitting the publish button, finishing the canvas, making the sale, shooting the video, or closing the deal is crazy.
Fuck everybody else. I hate what they’ve done to you. They just don’t get it. But I do. Success is our revenge.
As far as what’s on the other side of all the work? It’s as good as you think it is. So go do it.
We need you.
I hope that helps.
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.
Originally published at http://ayotheauthor.com on November 7, 2019.