You think about it on your commute. While you’re waiting in line at the grocery store. Any time you’re put on hold for more than a minute. During commercials (even the ones with really cute puppies). You especially think about it while you’re sitting at your desk at the office between 9am and 5pm. Sound familiar?
You know what we’re talking about: your side hustle. That secret idea you have somewhere deep inside your brain (and heart) that maybe, someday, you just might consider sharing with the world. If you can relate, we want to help you move your (undoubtedly brilliant, innovative) passion project onto its next stage. We talked to experienced side hustlers, career entrepreneurs, and motivation experts to get their takes on which excuses are responsible for stalling these bold leaps of faith — and how you can overcome them.
1. “I don’t have enough time.” We know you have tons on your plate. You’re already juggling a day job, a social life (we hope!), and other adult must-dos like getting to the gym and cleaning your kitchen. The thought of adding a full-blown side hustle to the mix is, understandably, a little overwhelming. Breena Fain — who runs a content marketing studio (formerly a side hustle), and who recently launched a podcast and social group — advises that you cut yourself a little slack, then get to work. “Side hustles don’t have to happen all at once,” she says. “Just start with what serves you most today, and go from there.” As a first step, Fain suggests practicing and learning to trust the story of your side hustle so you can effectively share your passion for it with other people. Other entrepreneurs suggest taking advantage of the vacation or personal time that your current employer grants, or committing as few as two to three hours each week to your hustle.
2. “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Do any of us ever know what we’re doing? About anything? Sure, going all in on a passion project has higher-than-average stakes, but you won’t know how much you can learn until you jump in and give it a try! Meghan Ely — whose consulting group grew out of her event-planning side hustle — remembers her learning curve-related concerns well. “I was very hesitant to get things started in fear that I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and that I didn’t have a team of experts in place to assist,” she recalls. “But here’s the thing: There are countless free and low-cost resources out there that want you to succeed.” Take a page from Ely’s book and research online resources and local programs that can give you the tools you need.
3. “I can’t make it work financially.” Brittney Atwood recently left her full-time, salaried job to pursue her side hustle: a company that coordinates real estate transactions. Like anyone with bills to pay, student debts to keep up with, or even a Starbucks habit, Atwood was nervous about the prospect of shaking up her stable finances. Her advice for getting over these concerns? Prepare and plan. “Make sure you set yourself up well before you leave your [day] job,” she says. “Use personal time to get started, create a website, set up systems, etc. I also saved some money so I would have [money in the bank] for the first few months. Once I actually committed to my side hustle, I was set up really well for success!”
4. “The timing isn’t right.” You’ve been dreaming of taking your knitting hobby to the masses by selling cozy pom-pom hats, but the cold temperatures are months away. Better to wait until the winter to get started on that hustle, right? Wrong! According to Elle Mejia — the founder of the #PrettyGirlsWork platform, among many other entrepreneurial roles — timing should never be an excuse for aspiring side hustlers. “The reality is that the right time to get started on what could be the greatest career move you make is yesterday,” she says. “If you’re a few months off of what the seasonal high is for any given industry, that’s fantastic! That’s months ahead of you to work out the kinks and curate your brand story, so that when it’s time to hit the ground running, you’ve got all the tools you need to race forward!”
5. “I might fail.” Putting yourself out there is stressful, especially when you have what feels like millions of eyes watching you via social media. But take it from life coach and coaching platform founder Kali Roger: Your potential mishaps are not what people will notice. “By going after what you want, people will notice your courage, not your setbacks,” she says. “You have more cheerleaders than you think, and you owe it to yourself — and to them — to give yourself and your company a shot.” Be open to making adjustments to the plan as you go, but don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from jumping in and trying it out.
6. “I don’t want to waste my time.” What happens if you successfully get over all of your hesitations and start actively working on your passion project, and it doesn’t quite feel like it’s working? You may have already played out this scenario in your head, and decided that the risk of time wasted is too great to take on. To help you move past this excuse, Neil Soni — who recently launched a brewing company — suggests that you commit to working on your project for a pre-determined time period, regardless of the obstacles that might come your way. Using this strategy will ensure that you give your business a real shot at getting off the ground, but it will help you stay grounded and be realistic should you hit major bumps in the road.
7. “My idea isn’t unique enough.” Thanks largely to social media, it often feels like we are constantly bearing witness to great inventions, exciting start-ups, and generally cool ventures. As a result, it’s easy to feel like the market you’re interested in breaking into with your side hustle is already oversaturated, but the truth is that in today’s fast-moving, ultra-connected world, there’s room for infinite ideas to be successful. This is especially true in creative industries. “Every creative can personalize a service or product to a market of their own,” says entrepreneur and event planner Andrea Henning. “Find your niche. Then, go out and find the target market. If you build it, they will come!”
8. “There’s not a market for what I want to do.” For what it’s worth, we believe you totally have it in you to create the market you feel you’re missing, but if that pep talk isn’t sufficiently reassuring, maybe this more strategic advice from Mignon Gould, entrepreneur and founder of The Chic Spy, will help. “Perhaps there is a market for a similar business that you can start,” she says. “You can eventually scale that business into the other [one] you envisioned initially.” Get creative about launching your hustle in a market-driven way that will meet the existing demands in your network and community — but that will still leave you plenty of room to go after your wildest goals in the future.
9. “I don’t know how to start.” If you’re a rookie entrepreneur, especially one with little or no business experience, even the first step of launching your side hustle can feel like a giant leap. It’s all about baby steps. “Once an idea is conceived, taking just a small amount of time during the day or week to nurture it by getting organized, doing research, or working on a website is all it takes for growth to happen little by little,” says interior designer and blogger Candace Green.
10. “I don’t think I can do it.” This is probably the most basic of all excuses, and it’s at the core of every last little insecurity you’ve ever felt. The good news is that there are tons of creatives and entrepreneurs out there who have experienced the same fear, pushed beyond it, and grown their hustle to a point of success. Take heart in knowing that you’re not the only one. “Don’t let fear define any decision,” says Megan Driscoll, CEO of marketing and communications agency EvolveMKD. “Fear isn’t the same as intuition. I always thought that if I was afraid of something, that meant I shouldn’t do it. I’ve learned over the past two and a half years [since launching my agency] that the presence of fear only means that it’s something that’s even more worth doing, as it has the potential to take the company and my experience to places I’d never expect.”
How do you stop making excuses and get things done? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)