When you’re starting or already running a side hustle, it’s common to worry about what your competitors are doing. You may even have a lot of concern over what specific customers have said to you about your business. Even though it can be a good idea to give these things some thought, you have to be careful to avoid obsessing over it.
Doubt can also be a huge factor in the success or failure of a new small business. When you have confidence in your ability to succeed, you’re actually much more likely to reach your goals. However, when you doubt whether you can do something, you often end up failing by simply talking yourself out of trying. I have a lot of personal experience in this area from both sides of the fence, so I have some really useful tips to share with you in this post.
Avoid Your Business Foe
I have a long-time friend of mine that knows a lot about my online side hustles and businesses. We talk about them all the time, and I’m constantly sharing my tips and experience with her to help out. She used to run a really successful online business. However, it wasn’t a very friendly community. A number of competitors banned together to spread lies about her. It somewhat worked, since there was always a group of people ready to repeat the rumors they had heard. However, she actually had a much larger following that did believe in her and were regular customers.
She still dabbles in that business, but nowhere close to how it was a year or two ago. For months now, she’s been talking about whether to try to reboot things or even start a completely new business. The one subject that keeps coming up though is the group of people that don’t like her. She has this ongoing fear that even if she does something completely new, those people will find her and try to ruin it. That fear then causes her to avoid taking any action. Again, this has been going on for months – about five months actually.
Even though you don’t know the situation with my friend, think about what I’ve told you. Who does it sound like her #1 business foe is – herself or her competitors? It’s not right what they did to her after all of the hard work she put into building that business over three years. However, I truly believe that her main competitor and foe is actually herself. The Internet is a big place, so the chances of her running into the same people in a completely different industry are slim to none. Fear is overpowering logic in this case though. During the time she has debated about what to do or even whether to try, she could’ve built a new blog and published hundreds of articles on it. Surely taking action, no matter the outcome, would be better than inaction because she’s afraid of what could happen even if it’s unlikely.
Be Your Own Cheerleader
The point that I want to make here is that you have to believe in yourself or else nobody will. I know what my friend is capable of doing, since her business was making $300,000 per year in revenue for a few years in a row. The problem is that she doesn’t believe in herself, so it stops her from getting motivated to take serious action to achieve her goals.
Even if you have never tried a side hustle or online business before, you can still believe in yourself. Maybe you won’t get everything right on your first try, but as long as you can dust yourself off and try again, you will find success eventually. A lot of people will talk themselves out of trying the first time. Those that do try and fail, most of them give up. It’s the people that persevere through those hard times that find success in the end.
I’ve been a cheerleader for my friend both in the past and now. However, no amount of encouragement or reassurance seems to make a difference. She ultimately has to dig deep, remind herself that she has done this before, and hit the ground running to do what is necessary to reach a new set of goals. With this in mind, don’t look to others to build you up to give you the power to strive for your goals. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. You don’t have to sure that you’ll succeed, you just have to try. I’m going to talk more about success and failure later in this post.
Besides believing in yourself, the next biggest thing that I can recommend is to be decisive. When you have a choice to make, do a reasonable amount of research when necessary to get all of the important information and then make a decision. Stick to your choice to see it through until the end, right or wrong. Here’s the important part to remember. It’s great when you make the right choice, but it’s often impossible to be sure which option is the right choice until later. With hindsight, it’s much easier to focus on the flaws in your logic, which can lead to criticizing yourself. You then seek to avoid this uncomfortable feeling in the future by being indecisive.
Sometimes you just worry about making the wrong choice and failing. This causes you to procrastinate the decision, constantly going back and forth between the options. While all of this is going on, something really important is happening that you don’t even notice. Time is passing you by. This indecision may be a few days or a few months, but it could also end up being years or even a lifetime. It’s quite possible my friend may spend the rest of her life in a state of indecision without actually taking any meaningful action towards her goals. I’ll do everything in my power to help avoid this happening, but the choice is ultimately up to her.
I like having all of the relevant knowledge that I need before I actually decide on something. I’ll research the choices available to me, and then I will examine all of the evidence together to see which options seem better than others. Very rarely will I let a decision last for more than a few days unless it’s something truly important. When it comes to business and various side hustles that I run, I often have to make many different decisions in a moments notice. In some of these situations, I simply don’t have the time to spend hours researching, so I just make the best choice with the knowledge that I already possess. Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I’m wrong. It doesn’t really matter though. By simply making any decision, I allow progress to continue, and that is what really matters.
Take Baby Steps
The friend that I’ve been talking about also tends to get overwhelmed when it comes to large tasks and long-term goals. When she’s thinking about starting a blog and considers that she may need a few thousand articles on her site for it to make a full-time income, the exceptionally large undertaking seems impossible. The goal isn’t the problem, but the mindset of trying to achieve it is incorrect. She doesn’t have to sit down today and write a blog with thousands of pages. When the focus stays on that long-term goal, it can stop you from taking the steps necessary to achieve it.
I highly recommend codifying (breaking down into steps) any large task or long-term goal. This can be actually be done and quite useful with the largest and smallest of projects too. Imagine teaching a kid to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Tell them to get the supplies they need: a plate, a knife, the jar of peanut butter, the jar of jelly and a loaf of bread. Lay out two pieces of bread on the plate. Open the peanut butter and spread it on one side with the knife. Do the same with the jelly on the other side. Put both sides together, and then cut in half with the knife if desired. This seemingly simple task can be described in a series of individual steps to take.
Now think about a much larger job or a long-term project. My friend’s 1,000 page blog, as an example. The task list shouldn’t read: “sit down and create a 1,000 article blog”. First she should decide on the blog topic and name. Then register a domain name and set up the website so she can start building it. Then she may need to spend a couple of days setting up a basic design for the site. Now the task of writing articles begins, but this is done one page at a time and not 1,000 pages all at once. Make a list of 20 topics to write about. Sit down each day and try to write a single article, then cross it off your list. You may even boost your publishing rate to two or three a day after you get more comfortable with the process. When your shorter article topic list runs out, make another short list. Continue this same process, and the long-term goal will eventually get achieved.
I hope you can see from my examples how you can take a huge task that feels very overwhelming and break in down into much smaller steps that are easier to accomplish. You could technically even make a todo list for each of the individual items on your main list when you work with something really complex. This strategy is my personal favorite approach to almost everything that I do. If you struggle with large tasks, try it out for yourself.
Nobody likes to fail. It feels horrible, and can even demoralize you from trying again. Sometimes failing causes you to lose money. You may even cause a friend or family member to lose faith in you if you fail. People don’t even like to talk about their failures. When you read crazy success stories online, you only get to hear about the good things. If any bad existed, it was skipped over and only the achievements were glorified.
Here’s the thing that most people don’t talk about. Pretty much every single success story is full of failures. People often have to work really hard at something for years, failing over and over again, until they find success. Loftier goals bring a much higher chance of failure too. As a result, it’s common to see a success story, try to emulate that success, and then quickly give up when it doesn’t work for you.
Despite all the success I’ve had with online businesses, I’ve also created plenty of them that were complete flops. I didn’t get discouraged when something didn’t work out though. In fact, the opposite happened. It motivated me to try harder and to do better the next time. As long as you can identify your mistakes in hindsight, learn from those mistakes, and then make corrections for your next attempt, you can eventually succeed at anything you try. I truly believe that this is one is the most important factors to my success over 27+ years of making money online at home. When I fail, I improve. All of the cumulative mistakes in my career haven’t made me a failure, they’ve made me better and more successful long-term.
Never Give Up
The real secret to finding success with a new side hustle or small business is to simply never give up. Every single business you attempt may not be a success. However, if you can identify why a business failed and avoid that mistake the next time you try, this is how truly great people are made. This all ties back into what I was talking about earlier in this post – believe in yourself. When you trust that you can correct problems and do better, you can really help yourself to steer away from feeling demoralized about a defeat.
Set some short-term and long-term goals for yourself and your business. Always keep those goals in the back of your mind to help yourself stay in the right mindset to remain motivated. Examine your efforts periodically to see if you’re on track to succeed. When necessary, correct problems that you’re able to identify or even pivot to an entirely new business when necessary. As long as what you are doing is helping you to make progress towards reaching the finish line, then you’re on the right path.
I have even had really successful businesses making six figures a year complete collapse before. It sucks watching years of hard work go down the drain. As they say, don’t cry over spilled milk though. Sometimes the best thing to do is to stand up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward.