I’ve been thinking a lot about failure. In general, things haven’t been going as well as they have in the past. This past week was perhaps one of the most challenging weeks I’ve had to go through since November 2016. This week, I’ll need to make a major decision.
I’ve been wanting to seriously launch my own business since 2014. Before that though, when I was in college, I almost launched a business but because we are told we are supposed to graduate to get full-time jobs working for someone else, I never pursued the idea. Fast forward a year after graduation and I attempted to build something out again. Yet again, life and work commitments got in the way and we never went beyond our initial brainstorming meeting. Throughout 2014–2015, I would just think about what it would be like if I started my own company up but never did because my wife didn’t work and I was the only one working with a baby and mortgage to pay. Then, in 2016, a friend approached me with an idea which like you probably guess it, never materialized. Once 2017 rolled around, I started reading a lot of books. I spent 2017 learning, not creating. Then in 2018, when I was finally ready, I dropped the ball and didn’t do anything again. It wouldn’t be until late 2019 that I would pick up the book Side Hustle in 27 days that I would start to take this serious.
And serious I finally took it. I wrote out my business plan, started a YouTube channel, launched a wordpress site. I did everything I needed to do to get started. Finally! And going into 2020, I posted videos on YouTube and was finally living the dream. But then the pandemic hit and over night everyone’s life changed and I lost momentum. It wouldn’t be until July 2020 that I stumbled upon a tweet that would change my life.
In July, I found out that my city offered free services to help people launch their business. I jumped on a call, expecting to just be a spectator. After a couple minutes into the call, my name was called and asked to explain my business idea. Well I panicked because I wasn’t ready to start sharing my ideas with the world. I went with my gut and just started talking about the one thing I had wanted to build since 2014, so I went with that. These folks move fast because by the end of August, I officially had an LLC! After August, I returned to the YouTube scene, started a podcast, and began blogging even more. My wife and I also started making websites and found three partners that were willing to risk it with us and gave us a chance to create their website. It was awesome and then I made my first dollar. I couldn’t believe it, I made a dollar from something I created. It was mine, not someone else’s dream that I was contributing to. It was my dream, my work, my efforts, that made me that dollar. That was the best dollar of my life. My wife and I continued to make videos, produce podcasts, and write. Slowly, but steadily, over the last 5 months, I’ve watched my business grow from what was 6 years of just being an idea to something that was actually gaining traction and having an impact on people’s lives.
Around the holidays in 2020, I started to really think about my side hustle. Actually, it’s all I could think about. Day and night, all I could think about was how to improve things, ideas for future videos and episodes. I would call my friends that were also building a business because no other conversations I was having in my life were satisfying me. I have to admit, I got the entrepreneur bug and I got it bad. So much, that I began to lose focus on my 9–5 job that was and is paying for my multitude of bills. And here we are, mid January, and I have to decide if I will continue down this path of working to fulfill someone else’s dreams or if I take a gamble on myself and go pursue my dreams. As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m not afraid of failing. My wife and I have at least 3 backup plans should things go really bad, but what I am afraid of is being a failure.
Since I could remember, I was never really good at anything. I never did sports, never was in any clubs, and I graduated from college with just a B score. I never excelled at anything and while working in the defense industry, I always got by with just giving my minimal amount of effort. Because of these traits, I feel like I’ve always just been a failure. It’ s not to say that I ran away when things got hard, but it’s hard to stay in a fight when your heart is somewhere else. I’m really hoping that I feel like I’m a failure because I’ve just been doing the wrong thing for so long. I’m hoping that the reason I feel this way is because I’ve never chased my dreams and I’ve failed at working for someone else’s dreams. I’m very scared of being a failure though. What if I’m not good enough to cut it in the business world. What if I can’t get any clients. What if I get stuck on something and someone else depending on me to come through. What if no one listens, watches, or reads anything that I create. These are things that keep me up at night and these are the things that are preventing me from taking that leap I so desperately know I need to take.
So, on this day, I’m taking that leap. I don’t want to do it. I rather stay in the comfort of my very nice job that pays me extremely well. But then when the problems arise at work, I just don’t have the passion or energy to resolve them which then directly impacts my performance at work. It’s not that I can’t solve the problems, it’s just that I don’t believe in their Why. I don’t believe in the company mission. And leaving to another company, I feel is just going to yield similar results because my heart is telling me that I need to be focusing on my dreams. Will I do it then? Will I either get laid off or will I quit because I really want to just see if my dreams are worth it? Or will I chicken out like I have over the last 7–8 years and just become another cog in the wheel.
I honestly feel like I can offer the world so much more. I really do want to go make a difference in the world. I want to go create something and even if it takes me 50 iterations before something goes viral, I really do want to go create something with my mind and hands. I just need to shake off this fear that I have. What I don’t want though, is to be 80 years old and look back at the life I had full of regrets. I believe I have so much untapped potential, but I’ve been held back by living the life that society said was safe. I don’t want to live that life anymore.