Cut the shit.
So many of you could be uber successful, happy and fulfilled if you stopped waiting for the savior on the glowing white steed to come save you and say, “yes, you’re special! Now go!”
I hear it every day, and I went through it all myself:
I can’t be a coach because I’m not an expert.
I won’t get that job because everyone else has degrees and I don’t.
I can’t travel the world because it’s expensive.
I can’t be successful and be a great husband/wife and have a healthy family life.
All of these beliefs have the same origin: you’re waiting for the white knight.
You’re waiting to be chosen.
Stop Waiting For Prince Charming & Your Savior (He’s an Uggo, Anyways)
ALL of these have the same underlying feeling – we’re waiting for someone to come along and give us a pep talk.
You are good enough.
You can do it!
And those thing are great, if you have them. But if you don’t, then what?
YOU need to choose YOURSELF.
I’ve witnessed these incredible transformations – you see a person who is on the fence, or who is highly doubting herself and the second you tell her that 100% of her excuses are legitimate bullshit, she opens up.
She takes action.
The fear goes away just 1% – enough to allow her to see success.
She finally commits, takes off, and then flies.
What changed? Almost nothing! I gave her permission – I said, “these are all bullshit, so get creating and get started.” And it’s amazing what actually happens when you give someone permission to act – they act.
So many people are sitting around telling themselves some bullshit story about why they aren’t doing well, and I went through the entire goddamn list myself.
I’m an introvert, I suck at making friends.
I’m a first time business person, I don’t have any skills.
I’ve never done this before and I don’t know any other people < in this field >.
How in the hell do I even do this, anyway?
At the end of the day though, I didn’t possess some magical confidence, the only thing I possessed was an utter hatred of my daily life, imagining the cubicle existence of the average person who dies before having done anything they want in life.
How I Chose Myself (And Figured It Out)
When I started Milk The Pigeon, I started it because I didn’t see a single person that was living out their dream. In other words, a conscious life they had created mentally, that they then created in the physical world.
I didn’t know one.
So I figured, “Fuck it, I’ll be the first then.”
Even though I later realized that there are lots of people like this (thanks internet), for whatever reason I was frustrated and pissed off enough that I told myself I would do it and figure it out.
The very first article I ever wrote was “The Generation of Dreamers is Dead.”
I wrote how I was beyond frustrated that I couldn’t find ANYONE that was committed – as long as it took – to create that dream life.
I didn’t have a SINGLE friend who was willing to be poor for a decade, start and quit 7, 8, 9, 10 jobs (yes, did that), and suffer to the point of depression because he or she had so much commitment to the dream.
Needless to say, it’s been a long (and often lonely) few years, but there’s something else here: I chose myself.
How to Become “Expert Enough”
People have introduced me as an “expert” because my book is an Amazon bestseller, and has really good reviews.
One thing that comes up a lot here is that people wait until it’s the right time, until someone says “yeah, you’re good enough!” or until they’re an expert to begin.
It’s almost that perfectionism, the feeling that a lot of guys in their 20s have that, “I can’t get married or settle down until I’m already successful.”
Clearly it makes no sense.
But if you wanted to theoretically acquire the skills required to be skilled enough to be paid for your skills, here’s how.
Don’t forget, the line between expert and non-expert is blurry.
Does it require a PhD? An M.D.? 10 years experience? Or just the ability to get people results? For example, I wrote my book which became an Amazon bestseller, but a lot more importantly, has great reviews because it’s helped people.
I’ve never once called myself an expert, but lots of people do once they see my book and the reviews its gotten.
So who’s right?
Even though I took a lot longer (e.g. I’ve been lifting weights in the gym 4-5x a week for 10 years now – since I went into college at 18), you could actually acquire the skillset required to be proficient enough to sell your services in 6 months or less.
The 6 Month “Expert” – Getting Paid For Actually Helping People
Does putting extremely pretentious modeling pictures of myself like this on my “about” page make me an expert?
What does an expert know that you don’t?
Well, most experts I’ve met know a lot more than the average person, but that’s really not that impressive since the average person knows jack shit and watches endless TV rather than taking time to read / grow / improve.
Here’s how I view an “expert” on writing, for example:
- They’ve read other experts on writing
- They know the basic principles of writing
- They’ve written
So what are these major categories?
They’ve read about the subject (consuming).
They know the basic principles (the skeleton skillset).
They’ve written (concrete skills).
And seeing how many “social media experts” I’ve seen come up over the last three years, who are so laughably bad, the bar is set pretty low.
But here’s what you can legitimately become a freelancer with:
Month One – Modeling
Here’s the first step: read the other ‘experts’ on your craft.
- Go to amazon.com
- Type in “web design” for example or “how to write” or “programming” or “video editing”
- Order the top 10 books that are highest rated
- Read them (approx. 7 hours per 200 page technical book = 70 hours of reading)
Month Two – The One Page Summary
Put together one page summaries on the key principles in the books.
Structure them like this.
The Big Idea is:
The core, tactical principles are:
Three habits I can start doing today:
Month Three – Synthesize
Synthesize the basic principles.
Okay, so you’ve read ten of the top books. Now what are the similarities in the principles?
If you’re a fitness coach, you might have realized, okay, diet is 80% of the work.
And X Y and Z are the main principles I need to help my clients with in order to get them results.
And you can use weight training for both men and women to tone them up, then intermittent fasting as an advanced concept.
If it’s writing, you might learn about storytelling, sentence structure, beginning stories in media res, etc.
If it’s programming, you might have learned what the heck programming really is, and how it works.
Month Four – Six: Deliberate Practice & Skill Acquisition (One Hour a Day Philosophy)
At this point, theory virtually doesn’t matter, because if someone is paying you, they just want results.
So in month four, the key thing is to get three free clients.
If you’re a programmer, just try creating something (you’re own web page).
Set aside 1 hour a day.
If it’s writing, just start writing articles and pitching them to The Huffington Post or other websites that are smaller that you’re currently afraid of.
If you’re a designer, offer to design a friend’s website for free. Get the actual skillset, break shit, and then figure out why you broke it.
If you’re working on coaching, coach a few friends for free! Do hourlong coaching sessions, get their feedback, see if it helped, etc.
You’ll quickly realize if you’re good, what needs improving, what you may like or not like, etc.
Month Five – Get A (or More) Free Clients
The next step is to actually get more clients, free ones (or if you feel comfortable, paid ones).
First, go through friends, then just go to local events using meetup.com, post your services on craigslist, or start setting up a website.
But by this point, you already have a skillset that’s valuable and you’re good enough.
Month Six – Make It Happen
It’s time to start charging. I’ll keep it simple, because even though this is another huge mental hurdle for new people (please don’t charge $10/hour), it’s best learned in the trenches.
1. Charge monthly (because you can’t feed yourself on hourly jobs)
2. Charge more than you feel comfortable with
If you feel like $50 a month makes you comfortable, charge $100 a month.
Stop Waiting – All The Greats “Figured” It Out
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
– Leonardo da Vinci
It’s a little secret that most successful people just “figured it out.”
Entrepreneurship (like life) is sometimes like running face-first into a wall, smashing your head, and then trying to figure out how it got there, and how to get over it or around it.
You just look around, test, and figure it out. There often isn’t a roadmap.
Guys, do you think I had a damn clue about how to build a business?
How to write a book?
How to have a remote job, or how to write, or how to give talks, or how to travel on a shoe string budget?
You can figure all this shit out.
And as long as you have that mindset, you will be successful – because anything can be learned. Literally almost anything. And you have the most unfair advantage of all – the internet. Consider that no one in human history has had the internet like you do now.
You can google something and half a second later have a dozen tutorials on how to learn a skill.
Do you realize how unfair of an advantage that is over anyone else that has ever existed in history?
Look, you can come up with a story all day long, or you can get your ass to work, but you can’t do both.
Choose yourself, stop waiting for prince charming (or your mom, or a mentor, or me) to tell you you’re good enough, and figure it out.
You can do it.
We all start somewhere – so just start.
Thoughts on this? Share them below.
Images: “Dreams” used with permission from freedigitalphotos.net,