rugbyWhen I finally upgraded my YouTube subscription to allow ad free, offline playback on my lockdown walks, I’d stumble across content creators who have successfully managed to build their audiences and work full time working everyday on something they loved. From photographers, musicians through to productivity gurus and consumer tech reviewers, they all managed to build incredible income from simply turning on a camera, editing a video and then millions of people would tune in and listen to every word.

I’m not alone when it comes to being drawn to ideas of not having to work for someone and making money off the internet. I feel like I’ve had two opportunities to capatalise on this and I’ve failed both times. First when I was a Uni student 10+ years ago and a few years back when I was playing rugby full time and was trying to figure out my pathway once I became too old for the game.

Both times I would say that I failed and I was good at finding the excuses to go with the failure: ‘the market wasn’t quite right’, ‘if only I had a certain amount of money to invest into (insert weird unruly fact here)’ and ‘if I had more time, I would’ve been able to do it’ as I spent another concecutive day trying to do the side missions on GTA V.

As I watch (or listen) enviously to these content creators on my isolation walks, I figured why this never happened to me:

I didn’t give it enough time

In both occurrences, I noticed that I was looking to expect results around six months. Looking at some of my favourite creators, it took them a minimum of two years. Learning this has really changed my perspective on the whole ‘quit your job and follow your dreams’ approach. It’s possible but if someone told you it was going to take 24 months and about 10 hours a week (excluding extra effort on the weekends) it suddenly doesn’t come across super appealing.

The focus was on monetisation not on value

I was always focusing on the pathway to monetisation not the actual elements that create leverage into monetisation. As a sales person I would look at the addressable market, make up a price point and tell myself - ‘If I can achieve 1% market share, then that’s more than enough for me to live off’. Then I’d go about trying to retro-fit a product (most likely an idea of a product) into a made up price point that undercut smaller organisations but would add more value that large organisations to make me competive.

This was a fundamental mistake in both instance because value encompasses the entire supply chain of your value proposition making the sales pitch and marketing deck only a small part of the equation. Value is investing in tools that can get you an outcome faster. Value is looking at ways to smoothly invoice customers, resolving customer complaints and finding win-win outcomes when inevitable scope creep or the personal inability to manage expectations rises.

I found ways to be busy, not productive

I’d read a whole bunch of books on entrepreneurialism, time management and business. I’d watch the videos, buy a course and use my audible credits to buy the latest audibooks around wealth. I’d build these massive knowledge repositories on getting started and trying to minimise that leap. I’d build out the website and map out the journey for the hoard of customers that would be knocking on my door and condescendingly smile as my ‘digital edge’ would get me more customers.

Truth of the matter is that all of those things, whilst important, served as mere distractions. They would help to get customers but I wasn’t actually ‘working’ on getting customers. Sure I’d make sales here and there but none that could ultimately create a sustainable living. I was always trying to find a way to explain it and I came across this video and it talked about action faking and delves into the deeper issues around how the personal development industry shows you how to build better plans of actions as opposed to executing on a plan. This is something I’ll look to blog more about in the future.

So whilst I’ve shared three reasons as to why I couldn’t make it, here’s ways that you could make this a reality:

1. Side hustle first, pursue dream second

Exchanging your time to work a side hustle allows you to approach business at a lower risk barrier. You’ll need to do the opposite of what I listed above (which is giving it time, value first and being productive) in order to give you the most valuable asset from your side hustle: experience.

Experience with your side hustle is similar to savings habits - if you don’t know how to save small amounts, there’s a high chance that you won’t be able to save when you recieve large amounts (it’s the reason why so many lottery winners go broke).

2. Look for business ideas that solve problems in your life.

It’s really easy to try and copy ideas and start paving your way to becoming the Uber for ‘insert industry vertical here’. However the thing with Startups valued over a certain amount is that they literally have the capital to pay decent wages for people to get to market quicker than you can. All your favourite startups eventually build out teams of people to execute on that vision. As an individual, your consumer habits, professional abilities, income levels, demographics and much more serve as potential markets that you’re part of and you can solve problems. I’m a massive fan of music which is why I lease beats as my side hustle.

3. Building a clear mind can build a better pathway to pursuing your dreams

And I mean this hollistically. Mind, body and soul come into the equation for you to be able to execute on these things. If you’re overweight, work on that, if you’re in debt, pay it off, if you don’t know about something, google it. The easiest way I can tie this together is in a sports perspective. If you take care of all these things, when you play - you’re able to produce a valuable outcome in your position. Your personal flair, capability and the enthusiasm to

In conclusion, in 2021 and over the next few years, it’s very much possible to quit your job and pursue your dream. However you need to give it time, provide an overwhelming amount of value and remain productive. Doing these three things is a great foundation and if you combine it with going for a side hustle first, solving problems in your own life and holistically taking care of your own backyard, you’ll be right as rain.