How I became a full-time writer/athlete.
Technically, I’ve never had a “grown-up job”.
All I do all day is train and teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and write on the internet. I work out and write — all day long.
It’s a more attainable reality than you might think.
My journey with solopreneurship started in 2020. I had barely any skills, zero interest in working a 9–5, and even if I did want to, I was rejected and ignored from every job that I applied to.
Perks of graduating college during a global pandemic.
I was forced to figure out my own way for the first few years of “real life”, and now, at 25, I have no intention of looking back. Once you get a taste of freedom, you’ll likely be the same way.
Here are the steps that I took to build my “dream job”, despite facing constant doubts from myself and others, incessant burnout and injury, and of course, the labor recession of the global pandemic, which is still impacting the world to this day.
Read also: The healing power of laughing at yourself (Highly recommended)
First, I took some jobs I hated.
I’ve never been good at taking orders from people.
Yes — I can listen when people talk and I can do as instructed, but I’ve always been much more of a curious leader than a loyal follower. In high school, I was always the guy at work (I worked in a restaurant) who was butting heads with his superiors.
It’s a character flaw I’ve worked on, but really, I just don’t like being told what to do — I never have. I think it’s an ADHD thing.
When I finished college, however, I didn’t really have any other choice. I had to take some jobs that were less than ideal so that I could start making money.
However, there was one thing that I did that most people who take less-than-ideal jobs don’t do:
After 25 or so failed job applications, I read some articles on Medium and decided that I needed to triple down on online work right away. I joined Upwork, started connecting with random people on LinkedIn, and started emailing every local business that had an email I could reach out to.
I became a digital contract worker. In the first few months after I finished college, I sent more than 150 job applications — most of them were for freelancing gigs.
Early on, I only got 3 responses, one was even for a gig that couldn’t even afford to pay me yet. I had pretty much no qualifications to do any of the work I applied for, but based on the sheer volume of my applications, I still found work.
Knowing this, I took those 3 clients and gave them everything I could during my working hours. I wrote all different kinds of content on all different kinds of things. I made videos. I took pictures. I wrote sales emails.
I became a bit of a jack of all trades in terms of creating content.
Although I hated doing all that work at the time, the experience I gained through this taught me so much about the internet that I still use to this day.
As I worked those less-than-ideal jobs, I put all my free time into my passion projects.
The most important part of building your dream job is a little dirty.
It requires you to cheat on your main gig with your passion project.
Some people don’t like that idea, and other people love it. That idea is like pineapple on pizza or dipping your french fries in your milkshake. Either way, with entrepreneurship, it pays to be a little bit out there.
If that’s not you, that’s totally okay, but you’ll always struggle to own your time if you aren’t willing to fight for it early on.
If you aren’t willing to do the dirty work to reach your passion, this article is not for you.
See, my goal in the long term is to own all of their time. That’s my ultimate goal, and I’ve slowly been buying it back since I got into this game 2 years ago.
That’s why I wrote this article.
This article is for people who are where I was in the world of digital entrepreneurship 3 years ago — lost on where to start, full of self-doubt, and obsessed with the idea of doing work they love, all day long.
You need a step-by-step approach.
Those 3 problems — being lost on where to start, full of self-doubt, and being obsessed with the dream are the biggest problems you face in the early days.
Here’s how I got through them:
First, let’s figure out “where to start”.
When you begin as an online entrepreneur, you probably feel overwhelmed with possibilities.
You could be anything.
You could blog, you could create courses, you could start consulting, you could write ebooks, or you could try any of the other zillions of options for budding digital entrepreneurs.
This is overwhelming for a lot of people. It was especially overwhelming for me, a broke 22-year-old kid with ADHD.
However, as a beginner, it’s important to remember that you know so little about making money online that nothing you do will be wrong. At worst, you’ll learn what you shouldn’t do.
I knew I liked writing, so I went the writing route.
Later, I started adding digital courses, one on one coaching, and more.
Now, for the self-doubt.
Confession time: I have a growing online business, and I’m kind of a mess.
I have ADHD, I have social anxiety, and I battled suicidal depression in my early 20s. I’ve had traumatic relationships. I’m a “professional writer” and I got a C in my college writing class. Sometimes it feels like the only qualifications I have to be a writer are trauma and a history of mental illness.
I’m not saying this to play the victim, I’m saying this because I, like everyone else, have reasons why I shouldn’t be successful. We all do.
Tim Denning has battled severe mental illness. Tim Ferriss almost killed himself. These are just 2 guys who I like to read, but they are by no means the extent of digital entrepreneurs who also know what it’s like to feel broken and full of doubt.
Your pain and doubts or your “lack of talent” are valid, but they are probably not the reason you will fail.
If you fail, it’s probably because you’ve given up.
When it all seems unpredictable, your obsession with your dream needs to carry you.
I still feel obsessed with my dreams of blending writing and Jiu-Jitsu into a unique digital career.
I still have nights where I struggle to fall asleep because articles, books, tweets, techniques, and course outlines are just flying through my mind.
That passion is one of your best allies. One thing I’ve made strides to do in the last 6 months as I’ve started to make more money is I’m working on buying back my time so that I can reconnect with the passion that was the reason I became obsessed with building my “dream career” in the first place.
Protecting my time has allowed me to:
cut out exhausting people
focus on projects that excite me
work with better quality when I do work
Quantity gets attention, but quality pays your rent.
Your time, your passion, and your skills are your most important tools as a digital entrepreneur. Protect them at all costs.
Read also: 7 essential life lessons you can learn from failure (must read)
This article could be way longer.
I could have added stories about all the times I almost gave up, all the times I got lucky, all of the times I failed and got unlucky, and all the times my hard work paid off.
However, that isn’t the point you should take from this article. The point you need to take from this article is that a little more than 2 years ago, I decided that I was going to build a life by doing things I love.
I made this decision, and despite all the successes and failures and weird experiences along the way, I have never stopped.
Success comes from consistency, nothing else. You can’t have your dream job today or tomorrow, but who knows where you’ll be in 6–12 months? As you build momentum, your growth will compound.
You’re probably more talented than me, and I got here with a little over 2 years of taking shots online.
Sustained discipline toward specific goals paired with ambition is the path to building your dream job.
Take it from someone doing the thing: no one making money online is “special”. We’re just as messed up and confused and flawed as you are. This is a game, and none of us is anything more than a player.
Most people who are “living their dreams” are just taking shots and hoping they go in.
Oh, and we want you to come and play with us. You’re not too late.
For a complete guide on how I’ve redesigned my life, become happier, and built my dream job all at the same time, check out my free ebook here.
Contributed by Chris Wojcik
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