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3 Toxic Side-Hustle Habits That Are Actually Quite Advantageous

How your laziness and procrastination are assets — if you know how to use them


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Jon Brosio

3 years ago | 6 min read

You don't need to reinvent the wheel or become a world-class productivity Queen (or King) to build, grow, and scale a viable and successful side-hustle endeavor.

In reality, it's quite the opposite, depending on where and how you look at what you're already doing every day. Many side-hustle and entrepreneurialism "gurus" will tell you you have to:

  • "Wake up at 5 am, get two hours of work done before work, and then another four hours from 7 pm to 11 pm."
  • "Market yourself on every social media channel to interrupt and stake your claim in the digital network."
  • "Take cold showers and fast for 23 hours a day so you can maintain kick-ass energy levels throughout the day."

Of course, none of that really works — at least sustainably over the long haul. What if, however, there were habits and behaviors that you were already performing on a regular basis that were actually helping you get closer to your side-hustle and entrepreneurial goals? What if, with just a tweak or two, you could leverage the routines that others think are "toxic" to pull yourself ahead in the marketplace competition?

The good news is there are some toxic habits that you may be performing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that actually can help you in your side-hustle endeavors.

Many people lock their schedule in, air-tight, and leave no room for tomfoolery; for the rest of us, we need to utilize the toxic habits we're already performing to our advantage.

Complaining

Do you know who George Crum is?

Even if you don't, I'm sure he and his creation has impacted your life — probably within the past week or so. George Crum was a 19th Century chef who worked at the Moon Lake Lodge Resort in Saratoga Springs, New York.

One night, in 1853, while working the dinner service, an order of "french-fried potatoes" was sent back to Crum in the kitchen because they were too musky and thickly.

Perhaps it's was a long night for Crum and he wasn't in the most patient of spirits. After the order was sent back, Crum decided to cut the new order of fried potatoes so thin and fried them in oil so as to spite the customer.

The reaction was unexpected: The guest loved the crisps. It created such a buzz within the establishment that other guests began asking for them as well, and soon Crum’s “Saratoga Chips” became one of the lodge’s most popular treats.

A few years later, Crum opened his own restaurant, “Crumbs House,” near Saratoga Lake where he catered to an upscale clientele. Guests are said to have included the likes of William Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Jay Gould. One of the restaurant’s attractions was a basket of potato chips placed on every table.

What we're getting at here is how a man's invention was created due to a complaint. Now, as a side-hustler, I'm sure you don't want to complain and have someone else take your idea, do you?

No.

But what is going on in your life right now that really grinds your gears? What system or product do you use or understand that you know you can make better? Complain about it with your network. The key here is to not stop at the complaint but to take it a step further — how can you take this pain or annoyance and transform it into a side-hustle asset?

Bingeing the endless pit of YouTube, Instagram, etc.

I'll admit it, I waste time on YouTube…

There, I said it. Phew.

The first step is admitting it, no?

But you bet your bottom dollar, I don't waste time on YouTube. As a marketer and content writer, YouTube is a goldmine of research — if of course, you know how to recognize it. The internet is the ultimate breeding ground for business competition.

According to statistics, in 2017 there were an estimated 1.76bn sites on the internet. Furthermore, according to YouTube's blog, there are approximately 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute.

The name of the game is attention.

Now, there are ways of ethically gaining attention and there are ways of scraping the bottom of the crusty barrel to get eyeballs. The average consumer of content can generally spot clickbait material, although sometimes it's harder to spot.

If you're a side-hustler or entrepreneur, you're also, by the transitive property, a marketer. I would argue that the marketer side of your business is the most important to your overall success.

When I binge YouTube, I think about the newer content that I click and I ask myself a simple question,

"What did this creator or business write in their headline to convince me to click?"

I literally keep a GoogleDrive file of the headlines that I find convincing and click. If you want your side-hustling endeavor to actually connect with people, you're going to need to develop your copywriting abilities. YouTube and the creators already on the platform are your cheat-code to getting better at this.

Lying to yourself

What's worse, people lying to you or you lying to yourself?

It depends on how you look at it. If your network continuously lies to you and you succumb to their spell, that's pretty bad. If you lie to yourself constantly regarding your abilities and what you can accomplish, that's also pretty foul.

But what about the lie we all feel as creators?

I'm talking about that feeling that we're an impostor. I'm talking about that feeling when you're unable to accept your progress or successes in a specific endeavor. According to the APA, Impostor syndrome affects millions of people.

What are we to do?

Are we to listen to that voice in the back of our head that confirms our beliefs that we're a fish out of water? Are we to pack up our goals and dreams and confirm the idea that we're striving for better?

Many creators and side-hustlers deal with this phenomenon. That's perhaps because there is no "playbook" for building something of meaning. That's the whole point. No one has done before you what you're trying to do, in your specific manner.

To get to where you want to go, you're going to have to go where no one has been before. All you can do is lie to yourself and try your best.

Yes, you’re an impostor. So am I and so is everyone else. Superman still lives on Krypton and the rest of us are just doing our best. Isn’t doing your best all you can do? Dropping the narrative of the impostor isn’t arrogant, it’s merely a useful way to get your work done without giving into Resistance.
— Seth Godin

Closing thoughts

Most people believe you have to develop iron-clad, Elon Musk-esc habits to build a viable, sustainable, and scalable side-hustle endeavor. Listen, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that if you're a complete slob, you'll make something of yourself — every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows that's snake oil rubbish.

One of the hardest things we humans deal with is developing new habits. It takes a lot of inventory of what we're already doing, setting up cue and reward triggers with our behaviors, and more.

Instead of remapping our entire daily behavior map, what if there were some "toxic" habits that we could reformulate and pivot to use to our advantage.

Here are three toxic side-hustle habits that are actually quite advantageous if approached the right way:

  • Complaining about the world around you. Examine the things in the world that are making your life harder. Complain about how dreadful they are. And then make the world better.
  • Wasting time on YouTube and other social media sites. This new digital and connected marketplace is about attention. What are the already successful marketers doing that is getting your attention? Then ethically steal their work.
  • Lying to yourself and accepting that you are an impostor. Many of us are in the same boat. What voice are you going to listen to? The voice that says you're treading unknown waters and should turn back (which is the truth) or should you lie to yourself so you can get the work shipped.

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