Everyone wants to be successful overnight.
We just never dare admit it. But it’s true. This problem forces us to play the side hustle game like an amateur. The biggest problem I deal with when talking to fellow side hustlers is patience.
One LinkedIn creator reached out to me. “It’s been three months. Nothing is happening. I think the platform isn’t good anymore, so I’m going to quit if things don’t change this month.” This person isn’t going to make it. That mindset destroys so many side hustle dreams. It’s probably going to happen to you unless you read the rest of this article.
Patience is where the results happen even if you’re mediocre (like me). Read that line back a few times.
Even if you’re not that good at your side hustle, you can beat 99% of the competition when you optimize for patience over side hustle stats.
The proof to hardwire your thinking for patience
Youtube is a great side hustle. Many people try it. Most fail. Failure is built into the Youtube algorithm. You can’t make money with Youtube until you hit 500 subscribers.
Wanna know a big secret?
Almost all platforms run by tech companies have a patience metric built into their algorithm. Sites like Youtube know we’re likely to give up and they don’t want to build their business on impatient failures. So, they make you invisibly prove your commitment to your side hustle before they open the gates and let you play with the big boys/girls.
How much my YouTube has made per month [Source OhHaiAndy]:
The breakthrough doesn’t happen in the first year
Andy shows us clearly that if you’re looking for results in the first year it’s unlikely. Look at creators that turn their side hustles into empires — Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, Mark Manson, James Altucher. These dudes all started out as WordPress bloggers.
Individually they’re pretty normal people. Their side hustle success happened because they weren’t the best in their field. No. They were the most patient. They were happy to create for a crowd of no one and see what happened.
My journey is similar. I got no money or results for several years. I had no gorgeous stats dashboard to keep me motivated. I got no monthly bank deposits to pay for food. I had to work in a pain-in-the-ass call center on minimum wage and be a good little patient boy. That’s the side hustle game.
My breakthrough happened around year five. I suddenly crossed some magical threshold. Money started to come in. People wanted to hear my opinion on random stuff. So I combined patience with a ruthless series of writing habits and upped my game.
If Tim Ferriss had to do it. If Andy had to do it. If Ryan Holiday had to do it. If Mark Manson had to do it. If James Altucher had to do it. If I had to do it. Why doesn’t side hustle patience apply to you?
The way to defeat romantic side hustle fantasies that won’t come true in a year
Patience is the competitive advantage, not a series of shortcuts that will lead you to the land of nowhere. Trust me.
Many people get caught up in clickbait content that paints side hustles as Romeo and Juliet love stories. This isn’t reality. It’s good copywriting that leads to a coaching program. Let’s get real.
The kind of feeling that makes hearts beat
One year will bring you a few data points. Most of all, it will help you see whether you like your side hustle. If you don’t love doing it then no amount of vanity metrics or financial rewards will work. A friend asked me how I keep the writing side hustle going.
“Don’t you get burned out?”
How? I love writing. It makes my heart beat a little faster. If today was my death day and the last thing I got to do was write then I’d be extremely happy. Words have the power to shift minds. Words rearrange consciousness. Responses to my words are better than fifty bitcoins and a Shrek green Lambo.
I’m happier than pig in sh*t, as my friends say, when doing my side hustle. The fact you can smash a keyboard for a side hustle and get food and shelter is amazing to me. Call it woo-woo gratitude or what you will.
A side hustle you love doing isn’t work. That’s why you don’t need motivation or carrots dangled in front of you like a bunny rabbit.
Lower your expectations like this
I saw a creator the other day complaining about having their work seen by 300,000 people. It’s 100,000 less than the month before. False expectations destroy side hustle dreams.
The internet has messed with our brains. If you wanted to start public speaking and I told you that the audience for your third speech was 300,000 people, you’d be overwhelmed and think I’m lying. That’s a bigger audience than the President of the United States gets for most of his speeches.
The solution: change your expectations to enhance your patience.
I have the 1000 true fans mantra tattooed on my brain. If I can get 1000 people over my lifetime to become superfans of my side hustle then that’s success. Anything above that is a gift from a higher power. When your expectations are low, it’s easy to be impressed by your side hustle efforts.
Those who succeed have the lowest quality
This is a paradox to live by. Notice how the people who started a side hustle and had a lot of success aren’t the best at what they do? Look at me. Am I the best writer you’ve seen? Nope. I can’t even figure out where a comma goes.
The trick I learned early on is to put in more effort, instead of aim for high quality. Quality is subjective. Quality leads to overthinking, procrastination, and a lack of results that causes you to give up like a sucker.
Prioritize effort over quality. How? Build strong side hustle habits. My side hustle happens two full days per week. It’s scheduled in my calendar for the rest of the year. Appointments and distractions can only fit around my side hustle, not smack-bang in the middle.
What if habits and discipline were the answer and not quality and shortcuts?
It is. James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” had a profound effect on me. It’s like I walked through a hidden door into another universe. All my previous failed side hustles — drums, djing, social media, eCommerce — finally made sense. I could have been the next world-class DJ. I gave up too soon. I got signed to two record labels and expected to be a breakout success in a year.
What if I knew what I now know? That’s a question I ask myself a lot. A Grammy could have been in the making. But I became too impatient to build a side hustle routine and stick to it with discipline.
Don’t be stupid like me. Be patient and stick around for enough years with your side hustle to get your version of a Grammy.
Takeaway (Call to Arms)
Impatience is a pandemic that’s killing side hustles. Loads of Grammy-worthy creators are letting their side hustles die for no reason.
This is a call to arms. I’m begging you! Yours can still be saved. Go back to your side hustle. Or give your side hustle mouth-to-mouth and CPR to revive it. Let’s start with a clean slate.
Do your side hustle with patience. Then call me in a few years. Let’s do matcha lattes and discuss your success over some sushi. Deal?