In corporate America, the biggest boogey-monster of them all is getting downsized.
The first time it happened to me, I was 28 and just out of design school. I worked for an architecture studio – what had been my DREAM job – and I took the layoff so personally. I was bummed out because this was the job I had wanted all through school.
Thankfully, it took only two months for me to find a new job; I got a huge raise, but it was also very dull and very un-glamorous. Within six months, I was bored and resentful.
I wish I could tell you that I decided to start a side hustle, made a plan, executed the plan and finally quit my job in a really triumphant and badass way. But the truth is that I languished in that job for a total of THREE years before finally getting laid off unexpectedly.
This time, I wasn’t upset. I had dreamed of getting laid off, but I thought it was unlikely. I may have thought, “wouldn’t that be nice to just get downsized again?” but I didn’t actually think I would be lucky enough.
In the end, what got me out wasn’t a plan, or even collecting a dime of income from my non-existent side hustle.
WHAT GOT ME OUT OF MY DAY JOB WAS HAVING A VISION.
I imagine you’re here reading this because you also want out of a day job. Or, it could be that you’ve had a dream for some time and you want to make it a reality. Or maybe you’re just bored and need a new adventure. Whatever your reason, let’s talk about how to make this side hustle happen.
STEP ONE – UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT
Creating something from the ground up requires vision. Even if you’ve signed up with a network marketing company and all the products and protocols are established, you still need a platform from which to sell.
Your first step is creating a vision for what you do and how it serves others. This can be something that’s anywhere on the spectrum from practical to inspirational. You do not need to create a widget that saves the world to be successful, you just need to be totally authentic and helpful for some.
Notice I didn’t say “helpful for everyone.”
You’re not here to please everyone. Just figure out two things:
What can you show/teach/provide where you have experience, expertise, and/or specific credibility?
What on-going journey can you share that is highly-relatable?
Demonstrating credibility with an audience is a huge factor in building an audience of people (on any scale) who will be your customers, readers, etc. But you also need to build a strong bond, and you’ll want to consider what makes you real – what makes you human – that you also don’t mind sharing with the world.
STEP TWO – DREAM BIGGER
When I said come up with a vision, I didn’t mean “think of low hanging fruit and ask what can you reasonably accomplish.” Nothing against easy and practical, but that’s not a vision, it’s a plan.
Remember, we’re not creating a detailed plan. We’re building intuition and savvy. If you don’t have these two, you’ll flounder around in your side hustle/future business because you’ll always be seeking advice, opinions, the newest/bestest way to do what’s not working for you … and so on.
No, you need a mutherfucking vision.
You need to dream up something so audacious, so desirable to you, so authentic to the most true expression of yourself that you can’t help but daydream about it all damn day.
When I was in my last job, I used to strut around the campus I worked on believing I was too good to be there so much that I believed it. Once I connected that feeling of utter disgust/annoyance with something I could deliver myself to, I got laid off with a nice severance.
My vision at the time was to be a thought leader in fashion, and making that vision my obsession delivered me right to it.
So dream up something you can’t stand to be apart from and just let your infatuation with it do all the work.
STEP THREE – LOOK FOR EVIDENCE
Now that you have a vision in place (it’s okay to keep it flexible), your job is to start looking for evidence that you’re on the right path.
What we’re looking for are synchronicities. Start to look for where the dots connect themselves.
You need to ask someone’s advice, but aren’t sure how to reach out to them? Be open to connecting with someone who is a mutual friend.
You need someone to help you get your website up and running? Be open to meeting a developer just by chance.
You need money to build that website? Maybe there is some money lying around that either you forgot about or weren’t expecting to come to you.
Let the dots connect themselves rather than “making shit happen.” Drive is good, ambition is good, but overdoing it can cause you to run in circles. It’s exhausting.
STEP FOUR – TAKE INSPIRED ACTION
You have a vision, you’re keeping an eye out for evidence, now what do you do?
Simply ask, “what is the next best step?” What can you do next that is the best course of action that will a.) get you closer to your vision and b.) feel true and aligned in doing it?
Do you see the difference between this and making a giant list, putting a ton of pressure on yourself, detailing a rigid plan, etc?
When you feel rushed because of your own, arbitrary deadlines, you’ll just fuck shit up. Trust me; I worked under my own, self-imposed pressure for years – and none of that stress and feeling like I was a big slacker ever made me more effective or successful.
Instead, find the flow. Do one thing, then the next. Remember, the whole point of this is to break the pattern of being in the corporate rat race and creating something new and exciting.
Don’t burn yourself out because you felt like you had to realize your vision RIGHT NOW. Allowing things to fall into place might actually deliver you to your vision faster and with fewer steps.
STEP FIVE – GIVE IT UP TO A HIGHER POWER
You don’t have to believe in any specific deity, but you do need to believe there is a higher power benevolently guiding you to your destiny. You must believe and you must connect with this power every single day.
Look, you can either do this alone, or you can do this with a very powerful, imaginary friend. It’s your choice.
For the longest time, I didn’t want anything to do with religion – and, technically, this isn’t religion – but what I didn’t realize was that I was cutting myself off from a direct connection to a stream of infinite wellness and intelligence.
It’s out there if you believe it is, right?
Your job is to figure out whatever your dedicated, higher power is and make friends with it.
If you believe in God, pray to him every morning.
If you believe in the Universe or Source Energy, create your best vibrational energy.
If you believe in a Higher Self or a Spiritual Guide, imagine hugs and words of encouragement from her. She’s got your back.
The great thing about having a side hustle is that you get to exercise some creativity and create whatever you want, something you probably have very little opportunity to do in a job.
Having a step-by-step plan doesn’t allow for intuition-following, aka: personal growth. It’s actually mindset that is the most effective vs. a rock-solid plan.
This is all about mojo, using “the Force,” rock-solid belief in an unrealized future. If there’s not the cosmic energy of hope, and possibility, and passion, virtually any plan can fail.
Success comes from being in a state of excitement for what’s to come, then letting the details of the how go.