Regrets. We all got ’em.
We’d all do something differently if given the chance. And after you get your side hustle off the ground and then do some post-launch reflection, there’s no doubt you realize certain things could have been done better.
When I started my voiceover business, I spent a long time learning how to read/interpret copy, how to use proper mic technique, as well as how to market myself to bring in gigs.
And, all three of those things paid off. Over the last several years, I’ve brought in well over six figures and now have Fortune 500-level credits in multiple companies.
However…I could have done it better from the start in 3 ways.
#1 Mistake I Made: Not Hiring A Coach From The Beginning
When I first started my career, I went through an in-person training course. And it was a terrific starting platform.
However, you don’t learn how to be great at something in six weeks. And even though I stumbled my way into success, I could have gotten better faster if I’d had someone there along the way to help me navigate the waters.
Part of it was stubbornness, pride, available cash, etc. But the bottom line is that no amount of research, though valuable, will teach you what a coach or mentor can.
I’ve worked with mentors in other areas of my life, including my time as a real estate investor/flipper. Their lessons drove me to push past my comfort zone, do things that scared me, and reflect on what I could be doing better.
In other words, they held up a mirror and said, “Fix this, and you’ll win.” It’s hard to do that by yourself.
#2 Mistake I Made: Not Using Leverage From The Beginning To Get More Done
When you’re starting a business, side hustle or otherwise, you spend an IMMENSE amount of time on things. And a lot of us feel like we have to do everything ourselves.
But you don’t. Truthfully, you’re often better off hiring people to do things for you.
“But I don’t have the money to hire somebody…I’m just getting started.” Yep, I was too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start small right from the beginning.
One of the labor-intensive activities with my voiceover business is marketing. It involves dozens of hours of research, hundreds of phone calls and follow-up emails, web design, etc.
Looking back, I could have easily found a freelancer on Upwork to handle some of the research for me, even if that was $3/hour for 5 hours. That amount could easily be made up with (much less than) ONE voiceover job, and it would have saved me a ton of time.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t learn how to do it. I hire out a lot of my audio editing now, but I learned how to do it myself first.
Certain things you should definitely do yourself. Others, consider handing off to a freelancer. The time you save on busy work leaves more time to get more gigs and make more $$$.
#3 Mistake I Made: Letting All Criticism Be Constructive, Even If It’s Not
I’ll be the first to admit that “having a thick skin” is not my strongest attribute. I take things personally, and if a client has especially harsh comments about one of my reads, my first instinct is to take it personally, where it then rattles around in my skull like a pinball in a machine for hours, if not a few days.
The metaphor of “having a thick skin” has never really meant much to me. Instead, I developed a visualization that has made all the difference.
Picture yourself surrounded by electricity. Bolts whizzing around you, chaotically making contact with random surfaces. Then you hold up a perfectly round ball, and immediately all the electricty is drawn to that ball, like a lightning rod.
In the metaphor, the electricity is people’s opinions, and the ball is the “thing” you’re creating, or the work you produce in your Side Hustle. This doesn’t have to be voiceover; it could be a cake you baked for someone’s birthday, someone’s tax return, the painting you painted, etc.
People’s opinions are relevant to that product. But they should not reflect upon your feelings about yourself.
You are whole. You are capable. You are talented.
You are also flawed. And you can always improve what you create.
Opinions and criticism help you do get better. So take criticism as a vehicle of getting better, and allow them to funnel into improving your work; not a reflection of how good you are or aren’t at something.
It’s tough to do at first, but the more you focus on improvement versus the work representing you, your reputation or your ego, the more those opinions will help you get where you want to go in your business.
Comment below and let me know some things you wish you could have done differently in your own side hustles.