Photo by Hillary Ehlen
So you have a side hustle that you want to turn into your main source of income. It’s your passion, you talk about it to your friends all day, and sometimes it keeps you up at night. You have weighed the risks, and you are still determined to soldier on and chase that dream. You decide to follow that burning desire to move down that path that you truly believe will impact your life in meaningful ways.
We are irresistibly drawn to success stories. Not just success stories, but those seemingly improbable stories that have truly inspired generations. The world is full of unimaginable accounts of triumphs and we hold them as examples of how resilience and good old-fashioned hard work can turn your dreams into a success story, your ideas into something tangible and probably the next big thing. But no matter how brilliant your ideas are or how fluffy and cushy your bank account is, chasing your dreams is a risky endeavor. So much so that it has become an age-old wonder.
There are musicians out there roaming from bar to bar with guitars and loop pedals. Artists stuck in their windowless studios, serving coffee in the morning or moonlighting as a bartender later in the evening. To the budding entrepreneurs and would-be novelists still toiling away in your apartments, can someone really just quit their job and follow their dreams and pull it off? The beauty of life is that no one really knows, and to survive as a creative usually depends on many factors. Nonetheless, here’s a cheat sheet of sorts, a list of beliefs and opinions worth exploring as you hustle.
You’re Not Crazy
Reject the popular aphorism that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Creative people don’t repeat their perilous patterns out of blind compulsion but because this is how they become better. Only after a lot of iterations and making subtle transformations do we evolve. In science, repetition is the driving force behind evolution. If you’re putting in work, and have an unusual persistence and rare grit, it’s not madness, it’s perfection.
If there’s a common trait among successful creatives it is that they are not afraid of pulling an all-nighter producing. To consistently and constantly produce art or music or any other product requires a lot of time and work. Your prospective clients are not concentrated in one place, they are usually in a variety of venues and locations. In order to do this, you need to have a strong, large body of product present in multiple locations. Ultimately, the sure way to achieve this is to take the plunge and produce.
Be A Visionary
A creative person usually sees things that others are not able to imagine. To be a visionary is to create the demand of goods and services that customers didn’t even know they wanted or had ever imagined. Visionaries pave a path where none existed. However, people don’t just fall in love and walk that path, it’s the ability to hold on to your vision that brings people around. This is a tremendous challenge, and no one should expect to come through unscathed.
Get Your Affairs in Order
To discipline and organize yourself is critical to the success of your hustle, and by far the most challenging. But to be able to make a living from your hustle, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get down to the real business. You have to keep track of all the moving parts of your work (i.e time, revenue and expenses). If you are well organized, you actually have more time to focus on creating.
We Need You
Believe or not, your community needs you. The world needs more innovators, artists, teachers and people who have a desire to create, build and grow things. Communities grow and thrive around people like you. If you have an urge to create something that will bring a fulfilling engagement and meaning to people’s lives, we need to see you putting in work. We need you to hustle like your community depends on you.
Don’t Delay The Inevitable
For each success story you’ve mused about, there are countless other failure stories. Every creative genius has this compulsion for the repetitious betterment of their work. The truth is, nothing will ever emerge fully formed in a flash of inspiration as if you’re a goddess. There will be countless iterations that you will try and they will fail. Failure is inevitable, you simply need the courage to test out your ideas, fix the flaws and do it again. Failure is temporary, it only becomes permanent when you say so.
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