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What They Don’t Tell You About Being a Writer Online

"It takes about six years of hard work to become an overnight success"--Seth Godin


OMG these poor people are going to think I’m a lunatic.

They’re going to realize I have no idea what I’m doing and bail on me.

You’re such a fickle woman, just make up your mind and stick with it.

I must not be cut out for this, I must not want it badly enough.

I’m just not one of those people that can start a business and have everything I dream of.

Clearly I wasn’t born to do this, I’m a fraud.


When you look at businesses, brands and writers who are really killing it, who are succeeding and making power moves, we are blown away by them. We assume that they have something special, that they had it all figured out and just did the damn thing.

And then, when we’re in the early stages of trying to blog, or write, or turn our writing into a business, we struggle, flounder and compare our journey with the wrong part of their journey and assume we’re not cut out for the job.

That we’re failures. That we weren’t born with that thing. That we’ve pushed so hard, shouldn’t we have made it by now?

So when I switched my approach and my focus for my business and brand yet again, I had all these negative, shaming thoughts going through my mind.

That I wasn’t cut out for the writer/online entrepreneur kind of life and I should just get a job and stop trying. I thought there was clearly something wrong with me and I needed to stop pretending I could make something of myself.

Which quickly led me to writing this article, because if I’ve learned anything about trying to start a business and brand from scratch, it’s that there are a million ways to skin a cat.

As horrible as that imagery is, the fact is: no one’s journey is the same, and if you compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, you’re going to have a bad time.

As Seth Godin says:

“It takes about six years of hard work to become an overnight success”

Six Years!

Hell, it took Steve Jobs nearly two decades to become an internet billionaire.

And most people throw in the towel only after a few months of trying.

But I believe there’s a lot of the story of what it means to be a writer, thought leader and internet entrepreneur that’s being left out. And if people knew these things, maybe they would hang on just a little bit longer.

Because usually the moment you want to give up and stop, is just before the break through.

So here’s 4 things they don’t tell you about trying to be a writer online, so you can stop wasting time and start writing already.

You will change your mind, like a lot.

For years I have been flip-flopping. I am the idea-generator, much to the detriment of my close friends and family (who get to hear all about my latest).

Now, in October 2017, I finally let myself have what I really wanted, which is to be a writer. So I started writing, and now that I’m trying to find my niche, I’m once again on the flip-flopping train.

There’s a few reasons for this, and one or two of them might resonate with you:

  1. I have a lot of emotional baggage around what I really want to do, so I make lots of excuses and come with tons of new ideas so I don’t have to do the thing I really want to.
  2. We’re multi-faceted human beings who have many different passions and beliefs that could easily turn into a business.
  3. We’re terrified of actually succeeding, so we change our minds at the last minute to avoid actually succeeding.

I’m sure there’s plenty more to add to this list, but these three are what I come up against most frequently.

Now, some people will know 100% what they want to do, and will start with that and go on to create successful businesses with their idea. Basically, there is an endless spectrum of human beings, and some of us happen to be more fickle than others.

But if you’re like me, and change your mind frequently, just know it’s part of the process and you’re probably working through lots of emotional baggage.

Eventually, to actually call yourself an entrepreneur and actually make all your lofty dreams come true, you will have to pick something and run with it, but it may take some time to work out the kinks.

Don’t be shamed into thinking you don’t have what it takes to pull off your idea just because you’re testing the waters. When you finally commit to wanting your dream, you will have to go through these stages.

The best thing you can do is hire a coach or find a mentor who has no emotional baggage tied to you and your life.

They’ll be able to see through your bullshit (ie: “ooooh, what I really want to do feels too vulnerable and out there, I should probably just be a fitness coach instead”), and nudge you back onto your path.

This is basically why I need a coach in my life, because my fickle heart and frequent idea generation will have me stuck spinning my wheels forever unless someone keeps me on track.

Spouses, family and friends do not make very good unbiased bullshit-meters, fyi. There is way too much history and emotional baggage for your close relations to give you a completely unbiased opinion on what you should do with yourself.

No one is actually paying that much attention to you

This is meant to pull the weight off of you and help you make your art and start your dreams. It’s not meant to make you feel bad.

At the beginning, you’re not going to have a lot of attention. This is a beautiful thing for a newbie. It means you can flounder around, change your mind, try new things, and make really great stuff without all the fear that comes with recognition.

Once you get some traction, this is the emotional place you want to be doing your work in — that no one is paying attention to you — so you don’t stagnate or start creating crap because you’re paranoid of people not liking it.

So take heart in knowing that people don’t really care, we’re all just trying to navigate our own lives and generally don’t have a lot of brain power to think about the fact you’ve changed your mind a thousand times.

We just don’t care. We love you, but we just don’t care that much.

I find this really comforting, knowing that people aren’t breathing down my neck and watching my every move. It allows me to keep going, and get myself back on the right path if I’ve taken a detour.

Everyone has a specific way they did it, you will have your own (and they won’t be the same)

In the beginning, tons of people are going to try to sell you on their way of doing things.

But like I mentioned earlier, there’s a million ways to skin a cat, and you’re going to see a never-ending stream of “how-to” ads until you die.

When I was first starting out, I was convinced there was only one way to succeed at being a blogger. You had to start a website, write every day and eventually climb in ranks on Google, and then the people would find you and you would be an internet star.

Clearly I’ve left out some details here, but don’t get stuck thinking one person’s way to success is the only way.

There are so many ways to be a writer/start an internet business.

If for one second you feel like that because you’re not doing your thing like successful Joe-Schmo is doing it, that you’re wrong and won’t amount to anything, you need to knock it off.

Yes, there’s specific things you need to do in order to pull off being successful:

  • Offer something valuable to people
  • Market the hell out of it
  • Sell a thing (or many things)

But the way you do these things is a vast and endless sea of possibility.

If having a Facebook group doesn’t resonate with you, then don’t have a Facebook group.

Invest yourself in what works for you and where your audience is.

Work hard, hustle and grind consistently to get your thing out there, and then watch yourself grow into a success.

The only thing successful internet entrepreneurs have in common is they focused on one thing and kept going until they succeeded. The rest is just details.

Success is hinged more on upgrading your environment to meet your goals, than talent

Being able to string a sentence together helps if you want to be a writer.

Knowing about publishing books helps if you want to start a business helping people publish their books.

But the biggest thing that people overlook when trying to start anything is their environment and lifestyle.

I’ve talked about this a lot, and have learned so much from the master himself, Benjamin Hardy.

If you want to succeed in any goal you have, you need to make sure your environment and lifestyle match that upgrade in your life.

Every next level of your personal and business growth will require a different you, and your current environment supports the person you are right now (not the person you’re trying to become).

Your environment and lifestyle is:

  • Your habits
  • Your routines
  • Your social circle (friends, family, coworkers)
  • The physical things in your life (ie: the TV with the cable, the junk food in your pantry)

All of these things support the person you are currently. And in order to become the person who is the successful writer/internet entrepreneur, you’ll need to upgrade your environment to support this new person.

You’ll need to start waking up earlier to get yourself primed for work by: working out, meditating, journaling, etc.

You’ll need to avoid people that hold you back, and make you lazy, and you’ll need to find people that hold you to a higher standard and remind you of the person you want to become.

You’ll need to have less focus on entertainment (the TV, YouTube videos, Netflix) and put more focus on learning (reading books, joining groups, etc).

Successful people know these things, it’s what keeps them going. They curate their lifestyle to only include things that make them better at what they do.

Tim Ferriss eats a very specific and controlled diet to keep his mind and body sharp.

Tony Robbins does breathing exercises and cold water plunges before he gets to work every day.

Ryan Holiday doesn’t watch the news because its addictive, and puts us into an emotionally reactive state where we’re constantly distracted and pulled away from what matters.

If you want to have the success these people do, you need to start crafting and curating and environment and lifestyle that supports your success — right now — or else your chances of pulling this thing off are slim.

Conclusion

Are you comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle?

Are you shaming yourself into believing you don’t have what it takes?

Is your environment supporting your goals?

Is the idea of other people watching/judging you keeping you from making your thing?

Take stock of where you’re at right now, and know that it’s all a part of the process, but there’s things you can do to avoid hitting the brick wall of failure.

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!

Originally published at medium.com

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