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When I started the Bright Cents website, I was in a completely different place in my life. I was working a full-time job without a clue that I would become an entrepreneur.
Hell, I was just starting my foray into digital marketing (if you didn’t know, I run a marketing agency/freelance/do other side projects).
I was in a relationship that wasn’t 100% right for me (which I don’t think either of us realized at the time), and I was very lost in my own head.
Bright Cents became the place where I could solely focus on improving one aspect of my life – my finances. I wrote about paying down student loans, the mindset involved in taking on such a big project, and the (many) mistakes I made along the way. I even publicly shared my debt numbers each month.
I became passionate about the topic and met a lot of great people through that community. I would hear from friends and family members who secretly had tons of debt, but told me that one article helped them that week – that was HUGE.
It felt like the first time I really impacted someone in my life. It may sound pathetic, but my life seemed so meaningless until that point.
Before the blog I was just walking around blind, not sure what I wanted in life or who I was going to be, and blogging really helped center me into a sole focus.
Something I could improve upon, learn about, and teach others some cool ways to save money.
While I was passionate about it, I didn’t exactly become some financial coach – but the point is that it helped me find my way. I started realizing that my words on the screen were helping people in small ways.
I became addicted to that feeling of helping people – it made me want to write more so I could keep informing people and hopefully make some small change in their life.
New Goals Meant Writing Was On Hold
Fast forward a year and a half when I came to the realization that I wanted to start my own business and ultimately quit my day job – it was an exciting time, but it also broke my heart.
Why? Because I knew I had to stop writing on the blog. My boss and coworkers were reading posts pretty regularly, and I couldn’t just be honest in the blog about this new plan.
Quitting writing meant that I had to stop being that case study people could look to when they needed help improving their own lives.
I wanted to keep writing, but it didn’t feel right to pretend I was still so passionately focused on getting out of debt, when I was secretly stashing away money for a runway for my side business. It just wouldn’t be genuine, and I felt I owed my readers more than that.
So, right or wrong, I effectively stopped blogging from December 2015 until June 2017.
But that strong desire for helping people simmered in the background while I saved enough money to feel comfortable leaving my day job. I couldn’t write about it yet, but I tried helping people in other ways – it wasn’t the same.
So now that I’ve quit my day job, I want to get back into helping more people – I feel like a blog is a great place to start doing that again. I can help more people – some of which may never reach out (but I sure hope you do!).
Bright Cents, however, is not the place. The brand just doesn’t speak to me anymore – to my new goals and mindset. So I’m rebranding it to Hustle to Startup – which started as an instagram feed for me to “secretly” share my journey via inspirational quotes and stories, but now will become much more than that I hope.
Why Write About the Journey of Entrepreneurship?
The Short Answer?
It’s the path I’m on right now. I am the closest I’ll ever be to these ideas and topics. I feel like I can potentially save some people a lot of time and wasted energy.
The Long Answer?
I want people to be able to find the resources they need when they’re in some of these precarious situations – (like hiding from your coworkers that you’re planning on quitting your job, or building up a side business but not having many people to talk to about it. 😉 )
I searched high and low for articles about problems I was facing at the time and came up pretty empty.
What I find when I read stories from the already successful entrepreneurs, there seems to be this window of 5-10 years where they offer up one or two tips about how they got to where they are.
“I worked so hard I only slept 4 hours a night.”
“You should just network your ass off. Put yourself out there.”
“Sell yourself everywhere you go.”
But there are no real stories in there. No stories like:
“I told someone at a networking event that I was planning to leave my day job in 6 months. Come to find out that they are the VP’s nephew and know that I work there. What do I do?!” <–true story
“I stayed up until 4am last night because I couldn’t stop thinking about my new project. I’m so nervous about doing something wrong that I was tossing and turning in bed trying to figure out what to do.” ←–roughly a weekly occurrence
As a friend recently said, the successful entrepreneurs seem to “go from nothing to a unicorn who poops out rainbows.”
And it’s true! A lot of what you read is all based on what they remember of that time. I can’t blame them, it’s the best they’ve got to offer when they look back on it all.
But they’re giving advice on how they think they were successful at something which is not (in my opinion), the greatest stuff to read regularly because you’ll end up feeling like a complete idiot – when in reality you’re a normal human because we’ve all experienced those things.
I’m taking advice from one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Gary V, who has been consistently telling his audience to “document, don’t create.” And that’s what I’m doing here.
“That’s Awesome! But I Can’t Do That.”
Lastly, I want to share my experiences because at the conferences I’ve been to lately, when I mention that I quit my job to take my side hustle full-time, people’s eyes would light up and they wanted to know all about it.
This was especially true for those people who have thought about leaving their job at one point or another – but everyone had a million questions. “How? What? When? Why now?”
The questions made me excited because I know there are so many people like me out there hungering to do the same.
But they also made me sad because I could see some level of defeat in their eyes – like they think they would never be able to do it. Or they wouldn’t know where to start.
I want to turn those questions and doubt into action.
I’m the most boring person you’ll meet – okay not really – but I am a mediocre human and I was able to do this – which means anyone can if they want to.
The Reality of Entrepreneurship
And I also might fail. That’s a real possibility. Actually I’ll probably fail a lot (hopefully not to the point where I am living on the street), but I want you to see that if you really want this, you can at least test-drive it.
If you have any inkling that leaving your day job, or even just starting a side hustle, is right for you – you’re in the right place.
Remember, I’m totally new to this, so my advice may not always be best, but it is what’s right for me at the time. I may only be one step ahead of you, but hopefully I can save you a headache here or there. THAT is the goal here.
But I don’t want this to be a one-sided thing, I have a LOT to learn, and I’m hoping this community will help when I do something completely wrong too. Call me out, please. 🙂
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Max Planck was a nobel prize winner for his discovery of energy quanta in 1918. Regardless of it you know what that is or not, the man discovered something others up to that point in time had not. He had truly taken his own advice and used it to discover something new. Take a look around you and change your thoughts, whether that be going from negative to positive mentality, or taking a concept many perceive as "the way to success" and find another way. Build your own path and once you find a better way, then watch how many "haters" want to talk to and learn from you. Be yourself, open your mind, and learn from life's experiences. The most valuable lessons are often hidden in plain sight.
I’d also be lying if I didn’t mention that the idea of documenting my journey is so compelling. Being able to look back in a few years and laugh at how little I knew when I did x, y, or z is my secondary reason for wanting to publish this on the internet.
I plan to write about issues I face, mistakes I made, wins I’ve had, processes I implement, people you should be following, books that have helped me, blog posts/videos/podcasts that change my ENTIRE way of thinking, and LOT’S of other topics that come out as I learn what you all want to hear about.
My goals here are to:
- Help someone get out of the rut they’re in.
- Share stories of real experiences and how I worked through them (or have you help me work through them).
- Be able to laugh at myself in a few years.
Simple as that. So follow along, share this if you find it interesting, and most of all, sit back and enjoy this mess I’ve embarked on. There’s a lot to laugh about already, and I’m sure that will only continue. 🙂