Ever find yourself thinking about starting a new side hustle, but not sure which idea to run with?
At once, our limitless options and opportunities are a blessing, but they can also be a curse.
Our world of abundance and millions of different choices can be a curse when hinders the decision-making process. It’s called “paralysis of analysis.”
There are so many enticing choices; how do I know which one to pick? How do I make sure I make the right choice?
I have some bad news: You can’t know for sure.
And you can’t do everything.
So you have to choose.
And it’s not just in business. It’s everything. For example, this is the toothpaste aisle at my local Target:
I just want something to clean my teeth. Any one of these tubes will get the job done, but now I find myself reading the labels, comparing features, benefits, and prices.
In another example, I’m embarrassed to say how much time I spent shopping on Amazon for an iPad case. An iPad case. Another commodity product where literally any of the options would get the job done.
And it’s not like I was going to stumble on some crazy price/value arbitrage — all the choices were between $20 and $40, just like every toothpaste is between $2 and $4.
On the surface, more choices are a good thing. Right? You’re more likely to get exactly what you want, right?
Well, there’s some evidence to suggest that more choices actually lead to us choosing nothing at all. In fact, you’ve probably read about a famous case study in which a grocery store sold more peanut butter when there were 6 varieties than when there were 24.
Why are we so indecisive when faced with too many competing options? The fear of making the wrong choice is scary!
OK, now back to the business stuff.
How can you overcome the paradox of side hustle choice? Here are my 4 steps to break though the paralysis of analysis and get on with life.
1. Just Pick Something!
Get started. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Like stressing over the right tube of toothpaste or the right iPad cover, it doesn’t matter.
Everyone who started a blog this year wishes they’d started it last year. Everyone who started a podcast this year wishes they’d started it last year.
Consider this: Have you ever heard ANY entrepreneur tell their story and say, “I really wish I’d waited another few months to get started.”
Someday starts today.
My wife and her friend are the perfect example of this with their photography business. They could have let the excuses bog them down:
- We’re not good enough yet
- We don’t have the right equipment
- We don’t have a portfolio
But instead they took a stand and got started. They started advertising their service, booked clients (at a steeply discounted rate), and by the end of the year they’ll have 9 weddings under their belt!
After all, what better way to:
- Improve their skills
- Fund the right equipment
- And build a portfolio
than by actually doing the work? By starting this year instead of next, they’re a year ahead of where they’d be in both experience and pricing power.
Switching gears, let’s say you’re interested in building a niche site, like Spencer described in last week’s podcast. You now know the exact steps a seasoned professional takes to get started. What’s stopping you?
2. Go All In
By “go all in” I don’t mean risk everything or invest your life savings.
I mean “go all in” in terms of effort and focus. Basically, don’t half-ass it.
If you half-ass it and fail, you’ll never know what truly doomed the project; your effort and execution, or the idea itself.
Learn everything you can. Implement the best practices and apply the top strategies of those who have gone before you. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
3. Measure Your Progress
Give yourself a measurable target to shoot for. It can be anything objective you can gauge progress against.
Examples of measurable side hustle progress might be:
- 100 website visitors a day
- $100 in adsense earnings in a month
- 2 recurring clients paying at least $500 a month
Find out what metrics are important to you to measure initial success. This is called a KPI (key performance indicator).
As you track it, and the work that influences it, you’ll see a meaningful impact toward building a sustainable and profitable side hustle.
4. It’s Just an Experiment
Remember, when it stops being fun or interesting, you should probably stop and try something else. The last thing you need is a side hustle you begin to dread.
I like to look at each new project as an experiment. It’s a chance to try something new.
If it works, great! If not, hopefully I learned something I can apply to the next one.
And on to the next side hustle idea I go.