It has been a personal philosophy of mine for many years — and I’m sure many of my fellow hustlers out there have a similar mentality — that you’ve got to have as many “sticks in the fire” as possible.
For me, the “sticks” are opportunities, or methods, and the fire is success… or money. It’s a business theory that I’m certain many men can relate to when it comes to dating (it’s a numbers game). Amirite?
As a solopreneur, I’m not just sitting at home, waiting for clients to call me. Instead, I’m putting sticks in the fire, and I’m tending to the ones already there.
A few of my sticks are maintaining profiles on freelance websites. Right now, I have three profiles — each on different sites. If I’m not getting invited to jobs, then I’m applying for them, and if I really am having a slow week, I’ll upload more things to my online portfolio or take online tests to post to my profiles.
Another one of my sticks is this blog. I make a little bit of money each month from ads. But, even if it’s not the ads, I can use my blog as proof to potential clients that I can write, I can blog, and I can maintain a content calendar.
My blog courses at UT are two other sticks. And my online blog class is yet another. My Etsy shops are two more sticks. And I also currently have more than 50 items listed on eBay and Poshmark — even if some of my items only sell for a few dollars, it all adds up in the end.
Even if it’s not directly making money, I still count sticks as things that support my work and productivity. This can be things like cleaning my office area in my apartment, or getting out of the apartment to go to yoga four times a week, or even taking a real lunch break and reading a book.
Before I was a solopreneur, I had my hand in many different things, and I believe that’s one main reason that making the switch to being my own boss has worked out so well.
There was a time in my life when I was between jobs, and instead of just having one part-time job, I had three, and on my off days (which were rare), I did freelance work and applied for full-time jobs. It wasn’t necessarily a happy time in my life, but I made it work, never missed a bill, and it made me realize just how much I’m capable of.
If you’re thinking of quitting your day job — or even if you’re not — instead of looking at the money saved in your bank account, look at the number of sticks in the fire.
Yeah, it’s great if you’ve got six-months’ worth of salary saved up, but no matter how much you have, one day, it’ll be gone and you’ll have to look to what you’ve earned on your own to make things happen.
When I decided to become a CEO, I had about a month’s-worth of cash saved, and had really no clue how I was going to make it. But I threw all my sticks in the fire, and there’s no sight of things dimming any time soon!
But, I have a list of additional sticks should I need to reach for more — networking events, colleagues to reach out to, ideas for self-made projects, etc.
Even if you’re not thinking of quitting your 9-5, I encourage everyone to toss a few sticks into the fire. It won’t take long for you to see how much better it feels when you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket.