Most of us aren't short of dreams. Plenty of people spend their working hours daydreaming of escaping their cubicles and finally starting that taco truck next to the beach or luxury dog walking service. The problem isn't that they don't have a vision. It's that they're overthinking it.
What if it doesn't work out, they worry, when they should just get cracking on putting up that website offering delicious Mexican catering. Aren't there already plenty of people doing the same thing, they ask themselves, rather than researching a fresh angle on their chosen industry. Or that classic: how will I pay my rent? Instead, they could work on a budget.
So how do you escape this analysis paralysis and simply get cracking? Susie Moore, a coach who helps people build their side hustles and author of What If It Does Work Out?shared a handful of helpful tips with me via email recently.
1. Schedule what's important, not just what's urgent.
There are two types of tasks, according to Moore: the urgent and the important. Urgent tasks are all the things you need to do for someone else - the report that must be written by Tuesday or the cupcakes you need to make for your kid's bake sale. No one is asking you to do the important tasks that will build your side hustle but you.
That makes is easy to rationalize putting off them off. Fight that impulse by actually sticking them in your calendar, Moore advises.
"It's critical that you schedule time for the important tasks. Life is busy. People ask a lot of us. If you don't block out time for the important tasks, you're never going to work on them. The urgent tasks will always weasel their way in," she cautions.
"When I was starting out in my side hustle, I scheduled time for my coaching appointments. Writing time. Time to pitch. I never felt like I had 'enough' time to do these things. But I knew they were important. Much more important than the urgent things filling up my inbox. So I made it my priority to schedule the important tasks before responding to the urgent ones," Moore adds.
2. Remove distractions
It's easier to get distracted with your phone on. That's just a fact. So help yourself by putting the thing in a drawer or otherwise out of sight once in awhile. "Shut down all social media. Make yourself unavailable for anything or anyone during your hustle time," Moore urges those hoping to get a side hustle off the ground.
"You will find the freedom quite addictive," she notes. "Who cares if someone updates their LinkedIn status or tweets about the news?"
3. Know your flow
It's harder to overthink things when you're in your flow, and it's easier to get in the flow some times of day than others. "For me, I can write like nobody's business in the early morning. When I was building my side hustle, I could finish an entire blog post before I even got dressed and ready for work. But after dinner? I was completely useless," Moore offers as example.
Take full advantage of your own golden hours, whenever they may be. "When you understand your peak hours, it takes your productivity to a new level. This allows you to optimize your schedule and accomplish more in less time," she says.
4. Give yourself deadlines
No one is nagging you to work on your side hustle, so you're going to have to nag yourself in the form of deadlines. "What does success look like for you and your side hustle? Give yourself a clear, achievable and realistic deadline to make it happen, e.g. within six months I will have finished my novel," recommends Moore.
Then, "break it up into small, bite-size deadlines. It makes you accountable along the way to have some guideposts. (Twelve chapters in total, two to be completed per month for the next six months)," she adds.
"A side hustle - when you consider the freedom, creativity, and cash it brings you is the biggest gift you can give to your future. When you've had one month of applied activity towards your goal, treat yourself! A massage, new motivating book, or glass of champagne will inspire you to keep going," Moore (happily) suggests.
Her bottom line: don't over-complicate your side hustle too much. "People spend years thinking and planning and talking but rarely doing so you're already one step ahead of the game by pushing your side hustle forward," she believes. "An average idea acted upon is better than the greatest intention or idea which has not seen the light of day."