Side Hustler’s Series Part 1 of 4: 3 Levels to Find Your Wolf Pack
Humble Side Hustle Beginnings
“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”
— Ziad K. Abdelnour
I’ve been side hustling for a hot minute now. One of my bigger side hustles was right out of college when a buddy and I started a clothing brand called Daydreamin’ Clothing Incorporated. We quickly changed it to Company because we were far from a corporation, but it just sounded cool.
Before lettering was a thing on Instagram, I was making hand-lettered logos and graphics for our brand back in 2010.
We started off with our logo on a few shitty Gildan logo tees, then ordered some business cards through Vista Print and called ourselves a business.
While our original launch was hot garbage, I’m proud of it because we were young dreamers taking big action.
Those first few logo tees evolved into more complex designs as we filed an LLC.
Two years into it, we were sponsoring rappers, skaters, motocross bikers, and local “influencers.”
Three years into it, we were hosting events at clubs, doing pop-ups shops, and getting in brick and mortar and online stores like Kazbah.
We were making shit happen and figuring it out along the way.
My partner was the point-of-contact string-puller, accountant, and fulfillment manager.
I was obviously the artist, designer, and the marketing/promo lead.
We balanced each other out well and brought in help for extra support.
In our fourth year, we were getting serious and ready to elevate our product offerings.
We lined up a huge investor and locked down a warehouse for creating custom threads and patterns for whatever we could scheme up.
This was the turning point—it became a shit or get off the pot kind of thing.
The Banana Split
My partner was all-in and ready to quit his job to pursue this.
I was in the middle of changing day jobs, had a new mortgage, and was sitting on a pile of private student loan debt. I wasn’t as eager to take the risk and wanted to keep doing this as my secondary “full-time” side hustle.
Things went sour when we discussed splitting shares of the company if we went with the investor. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on percentages and my partner felt like he could make this dream happen on his own. We ended up making like a banana and split.
That’s when I started Perspective-Collective in 2014. I had made up my mind I was going solo, and I thought I didn’t need anyone’s help to get to where I wanted to be in life.
I spent the first year obsessively learning hand-lettering and posting daily on Instagram. I slowly began developing my style, finding my voice, and growing an audience.
I hit a wall the second year.
I felt called to do more than just share pretty polished Instagram posts. However, I was trapped in my little Cedar Falls, Iowa, bubble and had no idea what the next step was.
I felt so isolated and stuck, but the cure was doing something radical to rattle my comfort cage.
Rattling the Comfort Cage
I found the Creative South Conference through Instagram and made a decision I was going to find a way to attend.
After my successful proposal to my day job, I flew to Columbus, GA, for a life-changing experience in April 2015.
This conference allowed me to attach myself to people doing things I didn’t know were possible. It revealed the next steps and provided answers to questions I didn’t even know I was seeking.
Most importantly, it showed me the power of getting around like-minded people who knew more than I did. This is the power of community.
I went home on fire and immediately joined the Seanwes community. They welcomed me with open arms at the conference and eliminated the feeling of isolation. It was a pricey investment, but definitely worth it in the grand scheme of things.
Find Your Wolf Pack
From there, I joined an accountability group for the next level of connection.
Along the way, I would pick up mentors like Jason Craig and Brian Manley, who took me under their wing in regards to public speaking.
Every year, my side hustle evolved as I added something new to the tool belt. Drawing turned into blogging. Blogging turned into speaking. Speaking turned into a podcast. Somewhere in between, I started teaching workshops and selling products.
Doing all of this outside my day job has helped me build my own community. It’s put me in a position where I can pursue coaching other creatives to build something of their own outside their day jobs.
The point I want to make? None of this would have happened if I thought I had all the answers and had been too prideful to ask for help. I’ve had help at each step along the way.
Yes, sometimes, you have to to be the lone wolf and make mistakes in order to learn and push forward.
In my experience, seeking out a wolf pack and asking for help allows you to bypass obstacles and get on the fast track for growth much quicker than being a lone wolf.
Wolves survive and thrive by being in packs.
If you’re tired of feeling stuck and isolated on an island, I have a few levels for finding your wolf pack.
Level 1: Find Community
Finding community was the spark I needed to get off my island.
Going to a conference—where I didn’t know a soul—and leaving with people I considered family changed the game.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get around like-minded people who are doing or strive to do the same thing you’re trying to accomplish.
Finding a community doesn’t have to revolve around money. If you can’t afford a conference or an online “gated” community, don’t sweat it.
There are free communities on Facebook, Slack, Instagram DM Groups, Online Forums, etc. that you can start with.
In fact, it’s the main reason I created The Perspective-Collective FREE private group. I want hungry side hustlers like you to be able to access like-minded creatives across the world sharing feedback, resources, and encouragement.
This could be a great wolf pack to start with and we’d love to have ya.
Level 2: Join/Create an Accountability Group
Once you join a community and start building a rapport with people, you’ll notice there are certain individuals whom you most vibe with.
These are perfect candidates to start an accountability group with.
Think of this as your tightest homies in the wolf pack. You guys form your own mini wolf pack.
When I was in the Seanwes group back in 2015-2016, I had a lot in common with people like Colin Tierney, Eric Friedensohn, and Terence Tang.
We were all lettering artists who focused on kicking out content, producing products, and growing an audience.
We formed a little accountability Slack group where we’d do weekly Google Hangouts.
This consisted of sharing:
- weekly progress updates
- short-term and long-term goals
- big wins
- areas for improvement
- things we could use some extra accountability on
We slowly expanded our circle with more unique and like-minded people.
Our group is still going and growing, and it’s like a family reunion when we link up at conferences.
Level 3A: Join a Mastermind
If you’ve outgrown what your community and accountability group can offer, a Mastermind could be what you’re looking for.
It’s typically an exclusive niche group of high-performers in the same focus as you. You’ll usually need an invite or have to pay to become a member.
For example, someone like Lewis Howes has a gated community called the Inner Circle. If you want more access to him, extra accountability, and greater exposure to people who are doing what you do but at a higher level, you could pay and apply to join his Mastermind.
This isn’t always the case though. If you and a few from your accountability group are all hyper-growing in the same direction, you could evolve and create a tight-knit Mastermind that’s laser-focused on helping each other scale your businesses.
However, sometimes you may want something more intimate, hands-on, and more direct to someone. You just may need a coach or a mentor, which is where I am today.
Level 3B: Hire a Coach or Mentor
There’s a bit of a difference between coaching and mentorship.
Coaching is more of a short-term structured relationship while a mentor is a long-term relationship that could expand from coaching.
Hand Holding & Holding Feet
In 2019, getting a coach has single-handedly elevated my side hustle business to the next level.
Back in episode 101 last year in October, I talked about how my gut was telling me to take my business and podcast in a different direction.
I knew I was ready to niche down and make a bigger impact in a focused direction, but I wasn’t sure which steps to take.
In February this year, I was fortunate enough to link up with Tom Ross, CEO of Design Cuts. In May, I started meeting with Hand Lettering Educator and Coach, Mye De Leon.
Both immediately started helping me shape the bigger picture and held my feet to the fire to take action.
I was stumbling in the right direction on my own, but progress was slow. However, getting help from coaches helped me gain clarity and traction quickly on this new path.
These two have already accomplished what I strive to do and have helped others achieve similar results. I desperately needed them to hold my hand and teach me the ropes.
Tom helped me embrace my identity as the Side Hustle Guy and how to communicate it to others. He also helped me build the Side Hustler’s War Chest and explode my email list in the first month.
Mye De Leon has been teaching me email marketing, copywriting, and setting up this 3-month Side Hustler’s Coaching Program.
Both have played pivotal roles in helping me lay the new foundation of Perspective-Collective moving forward.
Not going to lie, coaching and mentors are an investment. However, you’re able to easily get your ROI plus more if you find the right fit and apply yourself.
The Biggest Names You Look Up to Invested in Help
The people you see making the biggest waves in the creative industry have all sought out help one way or another.
The following friends of the podcast are making huge waves. However, investing in business coaches or creative mentors sparked their breakthroughs. Read through their testimonials to see how a coach helped guide them to success.
Pandr Design Co.
After the first few months of starting our business, we knew we didn’t know how to run it, what to charge, or how to get clients. Investing in a coach was the best choice we made for our business.
The first 6 months we had an hour-long call every week, and the last 6 months we had an hour-long call once a month.
Working with our coach helped us set bigger goals, get consistent clients coming in, have a pricing structure, etc. It built the foundation for the 6-figure business we run today.
I was just starting to think about life as a full-time freelancer. I knew nothing about running a business, so I knew I would need to do something to educate myself.
I hired a coach running a summer special for two 1-hour phone calls for $500. She helped me get my thoughts aligned, pushing out the negative ones, and making sure my thoughts were on things like my goal, salary, marketing, etc.
After our coaching sessions, she’s also hired me for 3 mural projects and gives me great exposure across Cleveland.
Mye De Leon
My progress was slow. I wanted to move forward faster and leverage the knowledge of someone who’s been in the trenches and can teach me how I can reach my goals sooner.
I found community first and then was recommended the right coach. We met twice a month and regularly chatted via Slack.
Coaching helped me massively increase my email list, where I was able to pre-sell my course for $17k. I recommend getting a coach because it helps you achieve clarity and focus and gets you to where you want to go faster.
I had grown a large audience on my old design blog, but it was very disengaged and felt hollow. I was relying on advertising income and felt like I hadn’t built something truly long-term and meaningful.
Meeting with my mentor once a week led to the biggest win of gaining clarity. I dropped all the annoying ads. I focused on engagement over vanity metrics.
Truth be told, success came further down the line, in the form of my current company Design Cuts and my personal brand. But none of this could have happened without getting that earlier foundational clarity.
Accelerate Your Growth & Provide Clarity
To summarize, being the lone wolf is hard. It’s a lot easier to survive and thrive when a wolf pack of like-minded savage beasts has your back.
It’s doable, but side-hustling solo is hard. Attaching yourself to a community, accountability group, mastermind, coach and/or mentor will accelerate your growth and provide clarity.
Don’t be too proud to admit that you don’t have it all figured out. The answer is always no if you don’t ask for help!
Having people help wall you through the forest is way quicker than blindly stumbling through it on your own.
Get off your isolated island and find your wolf pack.
Need Some Extra Help? Check out The Side Hustler’s Coaching Program
If you’re finding that you want some extra hand-holding and accountability to take the next step, sign up for the Side Hustler’s Coaching Program now to join the waitlist for September 16th’s launch week.
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