6 shitty reasons you won't succeed as a #creativepreneur
What a depressing title, huh? Who wants to fail at their passion biz? Um, not me and I hope not you. So today I want to share six things you might be doing that will keep you from being successful.
And what you can do to change your fate before it's too late.
1. | You struggle to focus
Life can be chaotic, I know, but when you let that chaos into your head from the outside world, you're hurting your ability to stay focused on your work. And you can't succeed if you can't put in the work.
I could tell you to let other people's BS stay other people's BS (and you should), but that's not the whole story. You've got BS of your own, don't you? Things like:
- Family drama
- An argument with your S.O.
- A frustrating day job
- Cats that walk on your face at night while you're sleeping
- Car problems
- A leak in your plumbing
- Health concerns
- Financial concerns
And so on. The list could be endless because life is a constant stream of variables — some you can control and some you can't even influence. You have to learn to work with these things, influence and adjust where you can, and let the others flow past you.
Resource: 4 Relationship Traps to Avoid & Other Tips to Keep Your Love Strong @ Tiny Buddha — my personal story!
So how does all this affect your focus? It steals your mental energy and redirects it to those BS things. This is what I call mental clutter, or chaos. It's impossible to create a completely chaos-free life (and how boring would that be, anyway?) but that doesn't mean you should just embrace every little BS thing that comes your way.
You have agency over many things. Probably more than you think you do. Express that agency where you can:
- Unfollow family members who post inciting crap on Facebook
- Learn, understand, and apply (together) the Four Horsemen of Relationships so your communication with your partner improves (see my post at Tiny Buddha on how)
- Stop procrastinating and call the plumber/mechanic
- Set up solid financial maintenance and monitoring tools — I love Mint for seeing an overview of all my accounts and Digit (affiliate) for easily saving little bits of money here and there without even noticing
- Do everything you can to take care of your health, see your doctor, and try not to fret the unknown
I don't know how to solve the cat walking on your face problem, but if you do, please let me know in comments. I tried kicking her out, but she just yowls at the door all night instead.
2. | You aren't sure of your life direction, so how can you be sure of your biz direction?
You've got an idea of what success looks like. Probably a variant of: Happy + freedom + money.
The problem with that is that you don't know more than that. You want to succeed with your passion and make some profits from it, but you don't have a clear idea of what that means for your life as a whole, or what a day in this Ideal Life would be.
But if you don't know what your end goal really looks like, how the F are you ever going to get there?
That's a legit question. Do you have your answer? If not, think about this:
- What makes you passionate about your passion? Is it the work itself? The finished product? The satisfaction of your efforts helping or entertaining others? What is it?
- If you had to work on your passion to support yourself, would you still love it? Could you find peace with the administrative "blah" work so that you could keep doing it?
- What does a day look like in your passion-filled future? What does a week look like?
- Would you be able to self-motivate yourself to work on your passion biz?
- Would you be able to self-motivate yourself to stop working at the end of your workday and on weekends?
These questions will give you some insight into your end goals, and from there, you'll be able to reverse engineer a path to get to them.
Without a direction, you'll wander aimlessly forever, and that = zero success. Don't skip this step.
3. | You are often too tired to do the work needed
I recently learned that only one in seven Americans ever wake up feeling refreshed. WOW. That's a sobering statistic, huh? That means that 85% of Americans wake up and could still use a nap.
I'm going to be honest with you: I'm one of those people.
I've struggled with fatigue for a few years now. My tiredness stems from years of overflowing stress + anxiety that led to some adrenal fatigue... and that annoying cat I mentioned in #1.
I'm working on fixing my overtaxed adrenals by getting exercise, eating clean, and using morning and evening rituals to teach my body when it's appropriate to be asleep and when it's appropriate to be awake. It's a process, but I'm seeing good results from it.
So what happens when you're chronically tired? You struggle to work.
Brain work is, in my experience, way harder to do when you're tired than body work. Run a mile on 4 hours of sleep? I won't be happy, but I'll still hit my stride and be able to finish it, maybe slower than normal. But ask me to write a chapter in my novel or an email for the Alchemists Guild? It's like trudging through a deep, dark morass.
In short: I'd probably drown.
So what do you do when you're always tired? I've got a few tips for you:
- First, make sure you're actually getting at least 6 hours of sleep at a minimum, but aim for 7.5. Try a sleep monitor, like Fitbit.
- Create evening and morning rituals to train your body when to sleep and when to wake up.
- Quit the caffeine with your lunch. You can have a last latte or tea with your lunch meal, and then it's water or herbal tea for the rest of the day, okay? It really does make a difference.
- Have a chat with your PCP to make sure all your levels are good.
- Do a stress-relieving activity every day — yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and sex (!) all count
- Eat clean, take a walk every day, and live well.
Resource: 11 Reasons You're Always Tired & How to Fix It via Dr. Axe
4. | There always seems to be something else you need to do first
"If I can just finish this one project, I'll have loads of time for my biz!"
Is that you? That was definitely me for a long time, and it was the main reason that I could start three thousand projects all at once, and not finish any of them until months or years later. If I'd just worked on my priority, instead of trying to finish every other little thing first, I would've accomplished big things in very little time.
But it was hard for me to get started on my BIG passion project because I wanted to finish all the little straggler projects first. It's like Dave Ramsey's financial snowball method (works fine for paying off debt, but can be big setback for getting things done).
Because there will always be more to do. There will always be another little, straggler task you need to get done.
You can fix this by dedicating specific blocks of time to getting your passion biz work done each day or each week.
Yes, you still need to buy groceries, but you can fit that in in the evenings when your brain is worn out from all the good work you've been doing that day!
I recently read an answer on Quora that really made me think. It touched on why we all work 8-hour days and 5-day weeks. But for those of us in the knowledge worker sector, we might need to stop at half that to be at our best and most productive. Which means that your passion business doesn't have to take 40 hours a week to run; in fact, you might see better results at 20-30 hours per week.
And that makes it all feel a lot more attainable, doesn't it? You'll have plenty of time for groceries.
Resource: I love answering questions on Quora! You can follow me here to get all my best answers to questions on productivity, life hacking, and more!
5. | You find yourself less and less motivated to work on it
This happens when you've been struggling with the first four items. They all lead to overwhelm and overwhelm leads to burn out.
I've been there, and let me tell you: It sucks.
It's a lonely, disheartening, hopeless place to be. You start to feel like you're a failure at everything and you're the worst at getting things done.
I don't want you to get to that place. I learned that lesson for you already.
If you're starting to feel the first tinglings of consistently low motivation to work on your passion biz, then you need to take action ASAP.
Here are 3 things you can do to get motivated again:
- Realize that you might need a break. We all overwork ourselves sometimes. Your low motivation could just be that you need a nap. (Have you read my post on the 7-day nap experiment I did, yet?) And sometimes, we need an even longer break than that. If your brain is kinda fried right now from all the work you've been putting in, set yourself a little mental vacation for the next 3-7 days. Don't work on your biz for those days — automate the administrative tasks or pass 'em off to a VA or a spouse if you have to.
- Take a single baby step. Sometimes we lose motivation because we don't see ourselves making progress. You can make a project task list with all the big projects that you need to do for your biz, and break those projects down into a task list. Then work on the first one and check it off. Try to do 3 tasks a day in the beginning. You may find that you get too energized by the checked-off action items that you don't want to quit again!
- Let yourself daydream about your passion for a while. And sometimes, we just need to be reminded of why we started this in the first place. Remember your daydreams before you got started on this path? Remember how exciting and energizing they were? But now it's all work, work, work with no time to daydream. You are allowed to fantasize about the end goal for your passion. What does your work day look like? Who are your clients? How often do you get to vacay and work in your undies? If you let yourself daydream about what you're working towards, you'll find that you're guaranteed to get a burst of motivation.
Resource: Workflow Automation 101 and The Ultimate Guide to Time Management Systems @ Brittany Berger - she is THE expert on automating your biz as a creativepreneur. (PS: I had a chance to meet her and she was lovely! Check out her Build Your Own VA course, too!)
6. | You're starting to wonder if it's even worth it
It's not surprising that when you suffer from the first 5 in this list that you'll start to wonder if this whole business thing is even worth it.
For the record: IT IS.
It's not stupid and it's not worthless... nor any of those other terrible adjectives you might've given it if you're feeling this way.
Whenever you start to feel that way, just remember that I Can Haz Cheezburger is a roaring success and it's basically just cat photos with bad spelling on top.
(And if I can go a little #shrillfeminist for a quick second: I want our history books going forward to have just as many amazing contributions from women as they have had from men in the past. Women have always been just as visionary and amazing as men, so let's make sure that your passion becomes a reality. It could be one for the history books. )
The bottom line is that if you love it, then it's worth it. And you never know, it could just change the world. Do us all a favor and keep trying. :)
If you're feeling any of these 6 shitty things...
Then I may have just the answer for you!
I've been listening to what readers are asking, and now I've made something super useful and cool for you to get started solving those problems! The 7 Day Refresh is a free email course to help you get started cleaning some of the mental clutter so you can focus on what's important: your passions. Click to enroll here ⤵
Tell me... did I miss any? What would you add to the list? Lemme know in comments.