Build a successful side hustle with these *tiny* lifestyle changes and mindset shifts.
Finding a way to monetize something you enjoy doing is fun. It’s also one of the most character-building things you’ll ever do.
You borrow time from your main gig and rest to build something that might either become impossibly big someday or utterly go up in flames.
The uncertainty can get to you at times. The constant rush of switching between your job and your passion might exhaust you.
With certain mindset shifts, you can train your mind to succeed at your side hustle.
I started writing as a side hustle in 2020. A year later, I quit my job. Now, it’s something that lets me afford a life where I can book impromptu holidays without informing anyone, and afford flights and hotels without worrying about the prices.
Based on my experience and the stories I’ve heard from my friends, I’ve put together a list of tiny mindset shifts that’ll help you achieve success in your side hustle.
It doesn’t matter what the nature of your side hustle is. As long as you adhere to these mindset shifts, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the results you desire.
1. Failure doesn’t exist.
You either win or you learn; you never fail.
This mindset shift took me the longest to build. When I first started my writing side hustle in 2020, any article that made less than $10 would make me cry.
I’d sit for hours trying to understand why it didn’t work and try to game the algorithm by deleting it and reposting it on a different date.
These gimmicks rarely worked.
When you’re working on your side hustle, a lot of things aren’t in your control. Obsessing over success every step along the way will only make you frustrated and stop you from getting what you want.
Instead, look at failure as a way to learn and grow. Rewire your mindset to understand it isn’t such a bad thing for fate to not go the way you want it to. Look at failure as a lesson or redirection to turn emotionally bulletproof.
“A lot of people are so used to just seeing the outcome of work. They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome.” — Michael Jackson
2. Consistency isn’t a means to an end.
“If I can write an article every day for 3 months, I’ll never have to worry about money again.”
That’s what I told myself at the start of my writing career. In a way, this was true, like how after the 90-day writing marathon, I could establish myself as a writer and it became easier to monetize my writing.
But my dreams of passive income never materialized. Even after three years (two of which, I spent being a full-time writer), I still have to write every day if I want to be a successful solopreneur and have a dependable income from my writing.
As a new side hustler, don’t think consistency is something you have to keep up until you reach a particular goal. If you want to be successful, let consistency become your second nature.
The more you practice your craft, the better you’ll get at it, and the easier it will be to reap the rewards of your hard work.
3. Know what’s more valuable than money.
For me, this will always be time, freedom, and relationships.
Time to devote to things that make your heart sing.
Freedom to not have to worry about losing money every time you do something outside of work. And to be able to take vacations or delve into new projects without seeking anyone’s permission.
Relationships that act as your crutch and cushion on hard days, and your confidante on the days things all go well.
While the latter two will come in a few years, you can start buying your time back today. Ruthlessly budget your time and cut off anything that takes too much of a drain on this valuable resource. Double down on the highest ROI activities you can perform.
Here are some other ways you can get better at time management:
- Say no to low-paying gigs that require you to spend hours of your time only to be paid in pennies.
- Say no to clients and tasks that yield no results, but take a huge toll on your time.
- Prioritize tasks that leave you energized, even if they have no tangible impact on your side hustle.
- Prioritize working your main gig first, and then devote whatever remains of your time to your side hustle.
4. It’s better to be bad than to be absent.
I’ve lost count of the number of first drafts I’ve discarded because I felt they weren’t “perfect.”
When I look back at my “Unpublished” folder, there are pieces that could potentially be blockbusters, had I taken the time and patience to complete them.
But in my youthful quest for the elusive perfectionism, I didn’t even finish the work on them, believing they’ll never be good enough for the public eye.
Don’t be like that past version of me.
That your work needs to be perfect before you share it with the world is a myth. Show up, present your best work, and you’ll be good.
If you wait for things to perfect and all the stars align in your favor before you publish your work, your side hustle will fall before it even takes off.
"Perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it." ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
5. When you don’t know, ask.
As a hyper-independent person, seeking feedback is one of my weakest points. It’s cost me many sleepless nights and hours of frustration that could have been avoided had I learned to ask for help.
The world might make you believe you’re a lone wolf working on your side hustle in stealth mode. But things don’t have to be that way.
Let go of your inhibitions and practice asking for help.
When someone rejects you, ask them why. Then, work on their feedback and ask them for another review.
They might say no, but then again, what if they say yes? What if their feedback lets you polish your work to become a version so good, the end result leaves you shocked?
"There has to be a willingness to constantly accept critical feedback and rapidly iterate to make things better." - Sam Yagan
6. Keep your goals “small”
“I’ll write a book in 1 year” is such a humungous goal, just thinking about it makes my brain freeze. Instead of thinking about how I can go about it, I start thinking about all the ways I might possibly fail. This leads to an endless loop of “what if”s in my head, and before I even begin, the battle is lost.
Break down your lofty dreams into realistic action points if you want to succeed in your side hustle.
In this case, a better goal would be to “I’ll write 1000 words of my book every day.”
This is simple and structured, and my brain doesn’t start immediately throwing excuses about why this will never work.
The mindset shift here is to break down bigger dreams into small, achievable steps that you can tackle right away. Dream big, plan small, and execute the plan to achieve success in your side hustle.
Which of these mindset shifts resonated the most with you, and which ones feel too impossible to ever work? Let me know your insights in the comments.
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