In 2020, at the age of 24, I quit my job as an engineer to focus on my the hustle and bustle side of travel blogs. That turned out to be the best career decision I’ve ever made.
My blog, light packagesgenerated more than $170,000 in gross revenue last year, thanks to sponsored social media posts, blog articles, and B2B marketing inquiries.
But my success was not easy. When Packs Light started, it was just a hobby, and I had no idea how to create content that would increase readership and attract customers. I had to find mentors, ask questions, and accept failure.
The good news is that I can now give advice to people who want to turn their side job into a profitable full-time business. While you may not be able to anticipate every single thing that will happen on your journey, knowing the obstacles you will inevitably face can help you stay motivated and mentally prepared.
Here are four things I wish I had known sooner:
The key to success is being an entrepreneur and a continuous learner. If you are serious about building a business, you must be willing to take on as many roles as necessary.
As a content creator and marketing consultant, I’ve worn every hat you can think of: writer, photographer, graphic designer, copywriter, accountant, and marketing. I also had to teach myself how to do all these things.
I regularly applied for business grants and pitching contests. And to save money by not hiring a web designer, I launched the Light Packs website on my own.
doing all that work and working a full-time job was exhausting. But I’m glad I did, because you can’t start delegating until you have a solid understanding of how every aspect of your business works.
Once your business starts to grow rapidly, don’t operate with the mindset of trying to do everything yourself. Plan ahead and strategize how you will build your team.
Today I have a personal assistant, a blog manager, a management agency, and a whole bunch of contractors. But I wish I had known sooner that growing a team is a key ingredient in creating a sustainable business and work environment.
On “the big jump“Psychologist Gay Hendricks says there are four work zones:
- The zone of incompetencewhere you’re doing things you’re not good at and therefore wasting your time.
- The Competition Zone, where you are doing the work, but no better than the next person.
- The Zone of Excellence, where you’re doing things you enjoy and are better at than most people.
- The Zone of Genius, where you’re doing things that you’re intuitively amazing at and that only you can do.
Time is the most precious resource. And Hendricks says that to see the best business results, entrepreneurs should spend as much time as possible in The Zone of Genius. Growing a team as quickly as possible allows you to outsource the work you’re not good at and focus on the tasks you excel at.
When I shared that I had made $170,000 in my first year of blogging as a full-time business, I received many congratulatory messages. But some were less supportive.
People online said I was wasting my engineering degree, while others suggested I was lucky with my success.
Now, when I face criticism for my business or entrepreneurial lifestyle, I don’t allow myself to feel bad. I watch Brené Brown’s Netflix show, “A call to courage.” In it, he quotes Theodore Roosevelt: “It’s not the criticism that counts. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
Do not accept criticism from people who are not willing to bet on themselves and risk pursuing their passions in life.
Having a six-figure year as a small business will mean different things to different people. It can mean breaking out of the five-figure bracket the first time, but it can also mean reeling with $1 million.
Economic milestones are fun, but at the end of the day, they’re arbitrary. It’s more satisfying to be able to say “I’m financially free” or “I do what I love every day” or “I’m making an impact.”
Enjoy the milestone, but don’t get caught up in the race to your next dollar figure. To be successful, you must remember your “why” and move on. Financial success will eventually follow.
Gaby Beckford is a digital nomad, travel blogger, content creator, and TEDx speaker. She educates and empowers young people to seek risks, seize opportunities and see the world through her website, packages Lright. follow her on Instagram and tik tok.
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