How I Became a Part-Time CreatorDec 03, 2023
Sometimes it feels like entrepreneurship is only reserved for those who don’t work a day job. The general consensus? We should all escape the trappings of the 9 to 5, find a quiet little spot in Bali, and become masters of our own destiny.
It’s a nice image. It’s an image I’ve succumbed to more than a few times but here’s the deal… as nice as that image is, it takes real work to be in a position to quit. And honestly? All my worst decisions when I didn’t have an escape route but desperately wanted out.
Over the years I realized the pattern in my own thinking: desperation equals bad decision-making and avoidance of the one thing that was going to get me there — the work.
Over the last 3 years, I’ve kept my day job built an audience of over 80,000 on the internet, and made an average of $10k a month this year.
I want to show you how I’ve kept my day job and built a business on the internet, so you can too.
Step 1: Creating the space to build
I was sabotaging my own success for a long time. I wasted hours and hours hating my 9 to 5. Instead of focusing on building something I was lost in my own desperation.
I needed to shake the habit.
It started with a new way of thinking and defining a new game plan, here are the steps I took*:
- Figure out why I’m unhappy (what about the job didn’t I like)
- Find a new job that had the things I liked to do
- Figure out my ‘JSF’** and start building
Once I’d bagged the new job I started figuring out how I wanted to build on the internet, for me that started with creating content. I’d tried starting a business without an audience, the result? Zero sales.
Then I started building my audience first, and things took off.
You need to start by creating the mental space to build.
*This isn’t a ten-minute process and takes some deep thinking and lots of back and forth but to keep it short and sweet I’ve simplified.
** JSF we talked about yesterday, job skill fit. Take a look at yesterday’s email for more details.
Step 2: Find the time to create
I’m a morning person, always have been.
For me, it makes the most sense to get up early, crank out the work for 2–3 hours before the world wakes, and then when it comes to 5 pm, I’m all done and dusted.
Your best bet for building a consistent habit is to find the time that works for you and stick to it. In the first 20 days of creating, you should focus on short bursts of time to get you going.
For my first 20 days, I wrote for 20 minutes per day. That’s all.
Don’t go too hard too quickly. Avoid it at all costs. You’ll shock your system and throw in the towel. It’s not about ‘5 am starts’ for the rest of your life (if you’re used to getting up at 8 am).
A better idea is to get up at 7:40 am tomorrow and write for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Develop the ‘FTW mentality’
Once you start writing online you will have an urge to check your stats.
I started doing this in the early days and it nearly caused me to quit. Don’t want to fall into the bad habit of refreshing your stats every five minutes, it’ll drive you mad and you chip away at your own motivation.
Instead, focus on your controllables. For me, they were simple:
- How often can I show up and do the things I said I would?
- How present can I be when I show up to write?
- How much value can I give?
It’s what I call the ‘for the work’ mentality.
I consciously unsubscribed from the idea of checking my stats in the early days because I didn’t want to tie myself to that as my self-worth. Instead, I wanted to measure how I felt.
Pro tip: fall in love with the work, the rest will take care of itself.
Step 4: Progressively overload
Over time, showing up will get easier.
Your body clock will adjust, your thinking will shift and your mind will be able to show up day in and day out*. Once you start feeling comfortable with your 20 minutes every morning (or night), you can start to progressively overload.
For me, I started with a few days a week getting up a little earlier. My routine roughly looked like this:
- Mon, Tues, Thurs — 7 am start (20 minutes writing)
- Wed, Fri — 6:45 am start (35 minutes writing)
And as I got more comfortable, I incrementally built my stamina. Think of it as training for a marathon. Slowly but surely I got to waking up at 6 am and writing for 1–2 hours before work.
*This isn’t every single day come rain or shine without fail #grind, it’s just a 90% average.
I’ve been there. Trying to get rich quick, investing my time in the wrong place. Here’s the truth: if you want to build a following and an internet business it’ll take time.
Emotional management, time management, and looking after yourself, are all key deciders in whether you will play the game long enough to win (we’ll chat more about those tomorrow).
Not everyone wants to move to Bali and be a digital nomad. For me, I wanted to build a business on the internet around something I loved. That all started with content. I kept my 9 to 5 and I write for 1–2 hours a day.
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