In December I had a video my YouTube channel go viral. What’s “viral” mean on YouTube? It means it was getting hundreds of thousands of views every day, amassed 6 million views in less than 2 weeks, I spent an afternoon at the top of Reddit, and The Daily Mail featured me in a post. In this post on the Daily Mail, they referred to me as a “lifestyle guru. I’m not really sure what being a “lifestyle guru” means but if it means I’m a guru at life that’s definitely not true. I consider it a win if my socks match so there’s still a lot of “life-ing” I have left to perfect. But, I digress.
I didn’t really think anything of it. The word “guru” is thrown around like confetti nowadays so what the hay, call me what you want. But, then I found myself in the comments of this post. Oh boy, they are worst than the trolls on YouTube. Comment after comment saying:
“Lifestyle guru, go out and get a real job!”
“So, what is her job again???”
“I love that nowadays, lazy people give themselves pompous titles…The word of the day is J-O-B!”
Hold up, buttercup… Now, alongside writing in this blog and creating YouTube videos that make me equivalent to a normal American’s salary every year…I’m also a manager at my company where I am employed full time (thank you very much.) You can call me a lot of things, but “lazy” is NOT one of them. Naturally, the irony of these people’s comments made me feel so defensive. So, after seething in anger for just a few minutes I realized something: there are so many people out there that don’t understand this industry. They don’t understand that there are people making six-figure incomes writing blogs from their sofa or by filming videos in their spare bedrooms. This seemed a little surprising to me at first since I’m SURROUNDED by amazing people working hard at their side hustles. But, the truth is there is a huge fraction of the population that stills believes the only income to be made is from an office building.
The truth is there is a huge fraction of the population that stills believes the only income to be made is from an office building. Click To Tweet
The landscape of jobs is changing. Even at my 9-5 job, in the last 3 years we went from everyone working on-site to about 1/4 of the employees working remotely. More and more people are starting freelance work on the side, working from their home offices, or working for themselves as creative entrepreneurs, travel bloggers, and (dare I say it) lifestyle gurus.
So, today I’m going to share some of my best tips (bullshit-free) for starting and working at a side hustle. It’s not always pretty. You might work really hard to have someone tell you to “get a real job.” But, it’s hands down THE most rewarding thing you’ll ever do for yourself. I encourage everyone who doesn’t have one to get a side hustle.
1. If you are waiting for perfection, you’ll be waiting forever.
I work with a lot of people across a lot of platforms. From fellow bloggers to website and SEO clients, to small business client, there is one common thread I see in the people bound for failure: they obsess over tiny details that don’t matter.There is one common thread in people bound for failure: They obsess over tiny details that don't matter. Click To Tweet
Let me clarify.
I’m not saying that obsessing over details doesn’t matter. Personally, I’m not a detail person, but I understand the importance of them and many successful businesses have been founded on people who take GREAT CARE in their attention to detail. What I’m referring to, however, is the people who obsess over every non-important step of every process. “What am I going to have for dinner” is an important question that needs an answer, but “which fork from my cutlery drawer is the best one to eat dinner with” is a little less important. So many times in our life we let our brains answer these little pointless questions for us. But, when it’s our side hustle and we’re building our business, we can get caught up on the minute details.
As a “side hustler,” you have will have a list of never-ending tasks. In order to get anything done you either need to learn how to delegate tasks properly, or be willing to sometimes say “good enough” in order to move forward and progress.
What I am trying to say is…so don’t wait. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for everything to be just right when sometimes you just have to jump.Don't make the mistake of waiting for everything to be just right when sometimes you just have to jump. Click To Tweet
2. Be Ready to Work
You’re not starting a side hustle so you can relax more. You’re also not starting it to get rich and go on elaborate vacations. Well, maybe you think you are…but you aren’t. You’re about to work your tail off, harder than ever before. You’re going to work nights and early mornings and weekends.
But, what matters is it is going to be the most rewarding work you’ve ever done. That “doesn’t feel like work” kinda work. You know what I’m talking about? When you’re working for you on something you care about it doesn’t feel like work. Cliche much? I know, but it’s true.
When you’re ready to dive into a side hustle, do it knowing you’re gunna pull the weight and make it happen.
3. Be prepared for negative feedback
Listen, the internet loves to tell you its opinions even when you don’t ask. And, just like my Daily Mail story I shared above, you’re going to get pinned up against ignorant folks who don’t understand.
It’s ok. It’s not for them to understand. One of the hardest things about a side hustle is that you become your own boss. And, because of that negative feedback will sting harder. You need to have two things to combat this: a thick skin and a belief in yourself. No one is going to believe in you stronger than you will, and that belief will help you brush off the negative comments. Think T-Swift songs for this one like “shake it off” or “all you’re gunna be is rude” or “people throw rocks at things that shine.”
4. Use competition to inspire you, not hinder you.
The competition is out there. As strongly as you believe in “community over competition” and “there’s room at the top for everyone”….there’s still always going to be people ahead of you. And, there will still always be that LITTLE notch in your subconscious that’s a little bit competitive about it.
But listen, competition is NOT always a bad thing. It inspires us and pushes us further. Without competition, we’d all be complacently happy at “good enough.” Competition can help you reach summits you didn’t know were possible (kinda sounds like a line to a Dr. Suess book, doesn’t it?) Allow competition to push you in a good way and inspire you to continue to improve your craft. Don’t let competition smother you and make you feel “less than” or “worthless.”Competition is NOT always a bad thing. It inspires us and pushes us further. Click To Tweet
I listened to an interview with the creator of the first Bluetooth connected home alarm system. You know, one of those doorbells that has a camera and you can see people at your house in Connecticut from your smartphone in Fiji (in my dream world). He told the story of coming up with the idea and getting his patent and name. Then, right as he was getting ready to start…he learned there was someone else in this market doing a very similar product. He shared how instead of paralyzing him, he has actually enjoyed the competition. He says it forces him to constantly innovate and get better and improve. That’s what your competition should be for you.
5. Stop pretending like you know it all.
No one knows it all. Let’s just be real here. It’d be sweet if we did, but we don’t. In the side hustle world, you wear A LOT of hats. You’re probably your marketer, photographer, editor, CFO, admin assistant, and talent all rolled into one. That’s part of what makes a side hustle so neat…you get to do a lot and learn a lot.
But, there comes a time when delegating your tasks instead of trying to reinvent the wheel is not only going to save you a TON of brain power but is going to help you be more successful. Learn when it’s time to say, “I don’t know how to do this” and let someone else do it for you.
This could be hiring a website developer, getting a freelance editor to read over your content, swapping services with your graphic designer friend for some new graphics. Whatever it is, you’ll hit a point where you need someone else’s expertise – accept that.
6. There is no right time to start.
A question I get asked all the time: What would you suggest to someone wanting to start a blog (or YouTube channel)? The answer is always: To do it. There is no RIGHT time.
I’m about to hit you with a true story right here: When I started my blog I was 26 and I worried I was “too old” to start blogging. What?! Enter *expressionless face emoji* here. What was I thinking? I laugh at that now thinking about some of the women I look up to in this industry who started at 30 or 40. There’s no such thing as too old or too young or too shy or too “insert stupid verb you use to hinder yourself here.”
If you’re waiting for you “have more time,” or “have more money” or “have a better camera”… you’ll be waiting forever. This kind of goes off of tip #1, but the point is…if you’re waiting for your sign that it’s time to start, here it is.
Oh, lordy. This was a wordy one wasn’t it guys? I hope you had a nice cup of coffee to read it with. I hope some of these tips help you put a little bit into perspective, encourage you to delegate tasks, inspire you to start, etc.