These are the most common habits that keep people from reaching success.
I have been working on my side hustle for almost two years now.
The first year was more of a joke than a real hustle. I didn’t know anything about what I was about to do. And quite frankly, there are many things I still don’t understand. But I have been learning some lessons on my path here. Some of them were harder, and some were easier. But I found 7 reasons I was still unsuccessful and understood to invert the trend.
Why I Was Unsuccessful
Since high school, I knew I didn’t want to work a 9–5 job. I admire people who find happiness in the simplicity and safety of employed work, but I am not one of them.
So I started trying out many side hustles since then. I tried writing fantasy books and even a couple of free blogs. But the language was always a barrier to achieving a big audience, and I couldn’t level up my game until I got better at English.
Two years ago, I started creating content and working as a software developer to finance my growth as a writer. And one year later, I built my first hosted blog, which had some high heights and many lows.
Until today, I discovered many problems that prevented me from reaching success, and you may have experienced some of these issues too. So here are the 7 reasons why you are still unsuccessful and how to solve them.
Believing Success Is All About Money
Many years ago, when I started thinking about being my own boss, I focused on the money-making part of it. I thought success was all about making as much money as possible. So I tried many tiring side hustles because they were more remunerative than others.
More than five years ago, I started my first YouTube channel about self-improvement. I knew many videomakers built a gold mine making content, and I wanted to build one for myself too.
But video editing was horrible. The skill gap was yet too big for me. And even if I loved talking about self-improvement topics, I couldn’t improve my craft as much as I wanted, so I quit.
Do not only focus on money when searching for the side hustle that will make you achieve financial freedom. Success is happiness, love, liberty, and especially mental health.
Money is a big part of the picture, but not its entirety.
Trying To Reach the Success of Other People
When I see other people reaching their goals and dream jobs, I admire them (maybe too much sometimes). I know most of them worked hard to achieve their goals. And, being in the side hustle environment, I know how many failures you have to accept to find the success formula.
But sometimes, their stories capture my attention too much. And I start imitating them, hoping to reach their same success in less time.
I don’t blame myself or anybody else for doing it. Who would hate to find a shortcut to success overnight?
Yet shortcuts are dangerous because they forbid you from gaining the necessary experience to thrive. And they make you compare your failures with others’ successes.
Every time you compare yourself with others and feel the strong desire to reach the same success, pause for a minute. Realize you haven’t seen their full story. And they might hide your same failures, or even more, behind their public curtain.
People often hide their failures because it would make them vulnerable. But without failures, there is no growth. And without it, you cannot expect success. Maybe this is one of the 7 reasons you are unsuccessful.
Success, no matter in which form, requires discomfort. But at the beginning of my career, I was so afraid of failure I avoided it at all costs. So it took me months to learn what others experienced in a few days.
Yet fear blocks creativity. It stops you from trying out new things, so you remain in a stagnant environment that keeps you from growing. And for many months, my style did not evolve, and I learned nothing new.
When I stopped trying to avoid failure, I found a type of content that worked better than others. Most of my experiments failed, but some succeeded. So I studied them and tried to write similar content until I worked with some influential publications and clients I never thought I could reach.
If you want to be successful, you need to learn many things, and learning sucks until you get better. So embrace the bad moments, expect them, and don’t try to avoid failures.
Avoiding failure keeps you stagnant. While embracing it opens new paths that could work better than the current ones.
Not Having an Idea of Success
What do I want to achieve? Which is my idea of success?
When I started my writing career, I embraced the success idea of others. So I wanted money, fame, a big home, and higher social status.
But over the last years, I understood I give much more value to other things like family or mental health. Of course, I want financial independence, and it would be amazing to own a fast car and a big house, but it wouldn’t matter without a loving family that supports me. It wouldn’t matter if I had to give up my mental stability for a few extra bucks.
Success is personal. And just because other people branded you with their wishes, you don’t have to replace your idea of success with theirs.
If you want money, go for it. Make money. But if you want something else, follow your goals, and stop corrupting them with what other people think.
Express what success means for you, and do whatever it takes to reach it.
Not Being Helpful to Others
Human beings exist to reach success because that is what they seek all their lives. It doesn’t matter whether it might be financial, material, or spiritual.
And at one point, we finally reach that success or realize we were searching for the wrong things. But if we only feed our ego, it won’t feel like a victory.
When I was younger and experiencing various side hustles, I always did it only for myself. I didn’t care about others because I only focused on my goals. But even when I was reaching them, I felt unfulfilled.
So one of the 7 reasons I was unsuccessful was that I wasn’t helping others. And when I fell in love with the self-improvement wave, I understood that was the only path toward satisfaction.
Whether your goals are big or small, it doesn’t matter if you won’t help others while reaching them.
When you lose hope and patience, you need an external power that pushes you. And helping others is the strongest force you will ever experience.
Taking Things Too Seriously
If you are having success, you can use goal achievement as a motivational boost to improve your success even more. Your head enters a win-more mindset where you don’t need external motivation to keep going. Your business is giving you everything you need. And you can only fix minor things that interrupt your workflow.
Yet if you are not successful, you will struggle to find motivation every day. So you either have fun working or will not continue for long.
Being a foreign writer is harder than it should be because you need to deal with double the struggles. So when I started writing, I wasn’t having fun, and I took things too seriously, which made me quit.
But after finding the motivation to write again, I knew I had to rely on having fun more than success. So I didn’t care much about harsh criticism, haters, or failures. And this helped me remain motivated even when the odds were against me.
The first years of any online career suck, whether you are a content creator or any other side hustler. So you better pick an activity you enjoy doing and focus on becoming better more than reaching success.
You will have time to transform your passion into a job in the following years. And sometimes, you will even hate that job for how oppressing it could become. So enjoy the early years, and don’t take things too seriously.
Working Too Hard
If there is one thing I learned from working out is that our body grows through the alternation of stress and relaxation. If you work out every day, you don’t give your muscles time to grow, so they don’t. And, of course, the other extreme doesn’t work either.
You can apply the same principle to side hustles and content creation. If you work too hard, you prevent your body from learning from its failures and stop your growth. But you also neglect your social life and forbid your friends, partner, and family to help you. So your support system collapses.
Since I am a workaholic, this is a problem I need to keep under control. But sometimes, I get too excited about a new client or opportunity, and I still work too hard. Then, my support system shorts out, and I have to start over.
To avoid working too much, I use restricted time slots I try not to break. For example, I never work more than four Pomodoro sessions on the same task, like writing or editing.
So find a way to avoid working too hard if you want to learn and grow with constancy. Sometimes, you may confuse progress with spending time on a task. But they rarely are the same thing.
I have been working on my side hustle for two years, and I am finally experiencing the first achievements of my effort. It has been a bumpy road full of deep holes and steep hills. But I am glad I never gave up.
Some people experience success in less time. For others, it takes ages. But if you don’t fix your idea of success, you will never get to that point.
In my experience, I found 7 reasons I was unsuccessful. For example, I used to believe success is all about money. I avoided failure, and I compared my achievements with the wrong people. But with time, I understood success sleeps deep inside each of us, and the only way to find it is to go ahead, whatever happens.
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Cover photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash for 7 Reasons Why You Are Still Unsuccessful (and How To Fix Them).