Stop Dabbling – Rule of Thumbe: If you can’t make a serious 5-year commitment to a given career path, it’s not your path.
If you want to start on a serious career path, don’t even think about giving up during the first year. Very little happens during the first year in terms of results. Most businesses aren’t even profitable in their first 2 years; it takes them that long just to become sustainable, even for fairly small businesses.
So many would-be pro bloggers give up in their first 6 months. They get bored, lose interest, or get a “better” idea for some other venture. I see them change topics or URLs and start over once or twice a year. After five years of this kind of dabbling, they’ve still barely gotten anywhere. They keep erasing what little progress they’ve made, so they never have the chance to develop anything serious and enduring.
It Takes Time
When it comes to building any sort of business, either online or offline, this dabbling approach is a bit ridiculous because the real payoff from business comes from consistency over a period of years. It takes time to build a following, attract customers, develop products and services, gain links and search engine placement, generate referrals, develop good business sense, acquire expertise, and figure out how to generate income from your work in ways that feel congruent to you.
Most professional bloggers, however, give up well before they reach this point. They see weak financial results during their first year just as I did, but they conclude it’s not worth continuing if they haven’t made it sustainable by then.
If you want to generate serious income and enjoy an abundant lifestyle, it’s crucial to get past the dabbling phase. For starters the incessant dabblers are perpetually broke. They keep giving up and changing their minds well before they’d otherwise begin reaping the long-term benefits of sustainability and growth. Before they even have a chance to experience serious results, they pull the plug.
Build not Dabble
The truth is that you can generate serious income from just about any form of creative work — writing, audio, video, art, music, programming, design, etc. Others who came before you have already made millions from these paths. But most of them didn’t get very far in their first 6-12 months. It’s the ones who stuck with it for 5+ years that are reaping the biggest benefits. They’re builders, not dabblers.
Most successful people in business had at one point having to make the decision to get serious about their work. They decided to stop dabbling, stop drifting, and stop coasting. They committed to a particular path and doubled down on it, intending to stick with it for years so they could really master it. Consequently, those same people are enjoying serious results. Meanwhile, the dabblers are still looking for that next Get Rich Quick idea that can grant similar results within a matter of months.
If you ask your friends what kind of work you’ll be doing 5 years from now, what will they say? If you’re not sure, go ask some of them. If they give you answers you don’t like, or if their answers are inconsistent, why is that? Are you broadcasting that you’re a dabbler? Do you have a history of dabbling? Are you being wishy washy and noncommittal? If you think you’re committed, but the people around you don’t perceive that commitment, you’re probably not committed.
If you’re on a strong and successful path, the people in your life will likely be able to predict what field you’ll be in 5 years from now. It will be the field you’re committed to right now.
If you want to build up some abundant income streams and enjoy the long-term benefits of stick-to-itiveness, pick an interest that you expect you’ll still be passionate about 5 years from now.
Don’t overplay today’s fleeting interests when you think about making a serious commitment to a career path. Look instead to the interests you had 5 years ago that you’re still seriously interested in today. Chances are you’ll still be maintaining those interests 5 years from now. If you’re going to have these interests anyway, why not bet bigger on them and commit yourself to mastery?
If you’re okay being no better off in your career 5 years from now, then there’s no need to commit to mastery. Keep dabbling, or keep doing what you’re doing without making a serious commitment. But if it’s not very palatable to you to stagnate, or if you desire much stronger results 5 years from now, then it’s time to think about getting serious.
If you want to dabble for the sake of exploration, that’s fine. But don’t pretend you’ve chosen a career path. You’ll only look foolish when every 6 months you’re telling your friends that your career path has changed yet again. Know that you’re exploring, and do it to learn. Then when you’re ready to get serious, commit to building something that endures, and don’t even think about quitting during the first year.