If there’s one social media platform I’m on every day it’s Linkedin. Nothing against any of the other social media platforms. I have no issue with social media usage if it’s done productively. Anyway, one of the things I do on Linkedin pretty often is scroll through the content feed to see if I can pick up any nuggets of info I like. Also, it helps me formulate ideas for my own content. Earlier this week I saw the following passage from a user I follow on there:
The easiest way to start your first side hustle:
1. Take whatever thing you do at work
2. Talk about that thing daily online
3. Find companies who need that thing
4. Do that thing for them too
You have a side hustle.
After I read someone’s content, if I like it I might scroll through the comments to see if there’s anything interesting. In this particular case, someone’s comment as well as the author’s response spoke to me. Here’s how it went:
- Response: I mean.. it’s a LITTLE more complicated than this, no? You still have to A) Do something that’s valuable to others B) Know how to express that succinctly and how to take it from your job to your brand and C) attract those companies..
- Author’s response: Of course, but the more you complicate it, the less likely people are to start. When people start, they figure out the complications.
And that response friends, is why I’m writing this here article. The user’s response spoke volumes to me. On the one hand, it points to being analytical and awareness. On the other, it points to what I think plagues the majority of people who want to start business. This response is the typical response and it’s also the most dangerous one.
Why most people fail to start businesses
For the record, I want to say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the user’s response. They are showing that they A. Paid attention, B. care about starting a business, and C. that they want to take starting a business seriously. But there’s also a D here. D is that sometimes people get too wrapped up in the questions that they forget the most important part to starting a business: the starting part. I don’t have any statistical proof of this but I’m guessing that a humongous percentage of businesses don’t succeed because they never started in the first place. As soon as someone starts saying “but” the business is doomed. The most successful business leaders and creators rarely think about the “how” in the beginning. They worry about that later. They’re simply fixated on what they’re trying to accomplish. Do you really think Elon Musk thought to himself “how am I going to get people on Mars?” No, he just knew and knows that he one day hopes to get people on Mars. And to this day he still doesn’t have all the answers. In fact he may never have all the answers. But you can count on this to be true. While he’s still seeking answers, people will be living on Mars. It’s what separates the greats from the ordinary. The greats just know they’re going to do it and think about the “how” along the way.
Paralysis analysis is just fear
There’s nothing wrong with analysis. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with assessing risk. But at some point you just have to go through that green light. The issue is that most people don’t have that kind of motivation or courage. So instead of starting they get into this mode of “everything has to reach this set of circumstances in order for me to start.” And by the time you even reach said set of circumstances, there’s a competitor out there who’s either beaten you to the punch or is way ahead of you. Again, think on ideas. Try and come up with outcomes and strategy. That’s definitely part of the process. But it’s also you’re biggest enemy when it comes to actually getting the process going.
So then how do you start?
You find yourself being that person who analyzes too much. You find that you’re the one that asks way too many questions instead of just going for it. And you sit there wondering, “well then how the hell do I become one of those other people?” I wish the answer was easy. I truly do. It’s like asking a person to change from being someone who likes black coffee to all of a sudden start drinking coffee with milk in it. It simply doesn’t feel natural. But with all things that don’t feel natural, the way to make them a part of you is similar in all aspects of life. I equate it to building muscle and building a tolerance.
You see, there are those who are natural go-getters who are just motivated as all hell. But most of us aren’t wired that way. And that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes. It just means you require more discipline than those who gravitate towards taking action more. Approaching being aggressive is like approaching anything else you have little to no experience with: you start off small and you work on your consistency.
Jumping into starting a business can be daunting for most people. But like I said before, I look at it in the same way as I would look at working out, dieting, or a number of things we tend to have a hard time with. Let’s use working out as an example. If you’ve never worked out before but have a goal of completely transforming your body and sticking to that transformation, do you start off going to the gym 3 hours a day and seven days a week? Of course not. Not only will you get injured doing this, but you are more than likely to break down mentally before you even break a sweat. So then what do you do?
You start off small. In the case of working out you might have a goal of going one day a week for just a half an hour. You do that for 3 weeks. After that you up it to 2 days a week for 3 weeks. Then you up it to 3 days a week for 3 weeks. After those 3 weeks you then up your time to 45 minutes. So on and so forth until you reach your goal of whatever it might be. Then, by the time you’re at say 5 times a week, 45 minutes per session, you’re not only used to it, but it’s not a big deal. The entire thing takes about 6 months to a year. And after that year you’ve built up a skill you can take with you forever.
It takes patience and time – as in years
Just like in the gym example, if you want to start a business, start of small. Have a large goal in mind, and then take gradual steps until you’re firing on all cylinders. But the journey to get there needs to be gradual. It needs to be slow. It needs to be intentional. And it WILL have setbacks. Bouncing back from the setbacks is just as important as getting through the sessions. However, if you can do this, if you can get through that year, 2 years, 3 years, you’ll have built an invaluable skill you can use forever.