“Define yourself by your effort, not your suffering.” James Clear- Atomic Habits
Do you have a dream, a pain, and a fear? Anyone or all of the three. I do.
I will tell you my story. The story of how I found my niche. A dream to express myself, a pain to let go of my stifled emotions and a fear to get lost in mediocrity.
This is my Ikigai. The triad of Dream – Pain – Fear. It took some time to find it. A lot needs to be done and yet I can now focus on the road ahead.
How did I land up with Content Writing as a side hustle?
It all begins within. Our dreams are created way back in our childhood and try to find an outlet in our unique style when we express ourselves.
An introvert child withdraws within. Reading became a passion. It also didn’t make me get on the stage. I slowly created my dream world.
Over time I developed a decent control over the pen almost unknowingly. Journaling became a hobby. Here at least I did not need anyone’s approval to feel good. I let my emotions flow.
Fast forward two, three, four decades of pain is born and so did my fear.
The pain of throttling my own expressions, thoughts and feelings and a stifling sense of always playing the second fiddle.
And my fear. Of not being good enough, of being redundant, passed over, exploited. Fear of poverty, debt and bankruptcy.
All the wordy principles came up short. The walls of glass that I built have become so thick that they drained all my energy to break them even slightly. Freedom outside calls out as I suffocate within my dungeon.
Can I really walk my talk? Do I have it in me to fight to the finish and be ready for some more? Can I suffer the pain of discipline to overcome my pain of regret? The door is locked from within. Only I can unlock the door and get out.
Journaling may not pay. It can be good for a hundred likes on a FB post. But it will not get me paid. Do I need money? Why not pursue this as a hobby? I gave myself this excuse for a very long time. I needed the money. Yes, I do.
To pay my website fees, to prove that my skill as a writer has any demand at all, to invest in my learning.
The utility of a sword is known in the battle. I have to prove to myself that I am worth it.
Yet emotional journaling will not pay. The search continued. Can it be my side hustle?
“Scratch your itch and see how you can make it go away” I read somewhere. So I created my Ikigai.
The common ground between my Dreams, Pains and Fears.
Fear is crippling. I must face my fears. My fear of not speaking up, my fear of losing my job. I must become afraid to be afraid.
On the Path to be a Content Writer
What am I reasonably good at? Writing. Ok.
Will my skill pay me? Not yet.
Do I need to upskill myself? Heck yes.
What next? Search.
Find a mentor. Start learning and implementing. Get overwhelmed. Keep learning.
Stay hard. Persevere.
I read up a lot about blogging. Got nowhere. It needs a website and a working knowledge of digital marketing.
Digital Deepak lighted the way. From 100 Day Blogging to DDIP. I witnessed the transformation of an action taker.
Yet I was so programmed to external factors to push me, that I fell back into my old routine the moment the course was completed. No implementation.
Without a definiteness of purpose, there can be no burning desire. I seem to understand Napolean Hill years after I read the book.
It is not about reading a book, but using the book.
How I Found My Niche
My search continued through Passionpreneur till a deep baritone drew me to HIIT Content @ Sanjay Shenoy, Batch 6.
I loved to write. Yet to write professionally in the present market demanded a different skillset.
It is a different universe. Understanding the market, the customers, creating user personas, and the different types of content.
The best part. Getting into the finisher mindset. Submission deadlines have to be met. 10 weeks of intense workout. Again a fear crept in. After the paybacks and the certificate, what next? I must have my answer ready to counter that small but dangerous question else slip back into nothing.
Fortunately, I did find a decent foothold. How to own a piece of the digital space and set sail came to me in the form of HIIT SEO.
I understood I needed to learn SEO at least for my own blogs and articles to rank, my own website to shine. “beunretired” evolved out of some brain wracking.
Evolved out of my dream to express myself, the pain of a mid-career plateau and the fear of an insufficient retirement corpus.
I understand it will take time and patience and relentless action. Childhood waves a flag, four groups or houses, named after teachers in school, each with an amazing tag line. I belonged to Henderson, blue jersey and the motto “Ever Onwards”. It chose me way back.
I now know I cannot rest easy. Fight I have to like a soldier does, wherever I am and with whatever resources I have. This introvert broke the shackles once and beat twenty colleagues to win a pen engraved “Dale Carnegie” in a Sales Masterclass. The pen is very symbolic.
Emotions do not pay. Monetization is a must – for sustainability, for passion, for self-worth. Very soon, in another three to four weeks I must have my answer to what next?
No SOS this time. One road, one direction.
Sunlight filtering through the window does not burn the paper on the table.
But focused through a lens, the energy creates a fire. Friction is essential for growth and forward movement. It is nature’s law. I must wear the garland of failures on my road to ascent the peak.
Content writing, copywriting. Social media offers a vast practice pitch for creating a personal brand. Multiple sites have guest posting options to sharpen my skills and create my portfolio.
In today’s short attention span of probable customers, infographics and visuals play a major role in attracting and holding focus. Content and copy have to be peppered with a dash of enticing visuals to draw attention. A flower draws the bees and butterflies with its colour and smell and honey.
Gap analysis becomes important. What problem I am facing that I can solve for myself? Can I serve others to solve a problem of their own?
Platforms will keep changing the basics will always remain the same. From Orkut to Facebook, from emails to what’s App and Instagram and the whole lot one has given way to the other. Principles remain timeless – create a personal brand with my expertise and content, draw attention with a headline, hold on with reasons and benefits, and build trust with serving. Transactions and monetization will be the outcome. Let my customer buy without me selling.
I am walking in the valley of the peak I want to climb. I will push through the challenges. I will live my Awakened Dream.