9 Years of Research With Nothing to Show For It

I can still remember stumbling upon a blog called Smart Passive Income about 9 years ago and thinking to myself, I could do that. Here was this guy with much less knowledge of the internet than myself, yet he was willing to put himself out there and had created a healthy, full-time income for himself — all online.

So my obsession with learning how to create income online began. Over the next 9 years leading up to today, I’ve listened to hundreds of podcast episodes, read what feels like a million articles, and watch as many youtube videos as I can find that talk about creating a business, and income, online.

Yet, here I sit today with nothing to show for the 9 years I’ve spent in research mode. Sure, I have the knowledge and insight into how the internet business process works, but I’ve never actually taken the first step to creating something for myself. Basically the last 9 years have been nothing but procrastination.

Action beats knowledge every time

My brother-in-law started bugging me a couple years ago about helping him start a blog. I obliged, but really never got around to helping. I finally told him how to start a couple of weeks ago and today he posted his second blog post. I’m super proud of his willingness to put himself out there — the exact thing that has terrified me for the past 9 years.

I have 9 years of research, but he has already taken more action than I have.

What am I so afraid of?

Embarrassment. Failure. Criticism. And so many more words I could think of to describe what really just amounts to fear. This fear takes on so many roles when it comes to why I haven’t taken the first step in creating content online and building an online business for myself. Here are two main ways fear has crippled me — and I’ll answer each fear with the truth that should allow me to move past that fear and finally do what I’ve been so eager to accomplish for the past 9 years, or at least take the first step.

I’m afraid of putting myself out there and being criticized or judged for what is sure to be a poorly written piece of content.

Go look at every successful blogger/content creator you can find. I guarantee every one of them struggled to write their first post. I bet it’s nowhere near the quality of their most recent posts. When I first started playing baseball, I sucked. By the time I reached college, I was competing with some of the best players in the country and had established myself as the #1 starting pitcher my sophomore, junior and senior years.

I’m no expert. What makes my content worth reading?

Well, right now that’s true. And right now, my content may not have a lot of value. I’m not an expert on the topics I want to create content around: screen printing, small business marketing, etc., but I know more than some people. Being an expert is relative. To someone who’s never even heard the phrase “screen printing,” I’m an expert. To the seasoned printer who’s had their own company for 20 years, I’m a rookie and have little value to provide. I’ll focus on creating content for the first person and if I can write something that helps 1 person, then this is all worth it.

Starting today

My brother-in-law’s second post today was about his struggle with being discontent in his career. He talked about being uncomfortable and how discontent can cripple us if we let it, or if we attach it to the wrong aspect of our lives. He was attaching it to his career. But we can also see discontent as a catalyst for us to strive for more. The quote he used from Thomas Edison was:

Restlessness is discontent — and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man — and I will show you a failure.

That’s what I needed. For 9 years I’ve made excuses for why I can’t start creating content and building a business online. Today I was reminded why I continue to be so restless in my career and in my business efforts. It’s discontent with my current situation, knowing that it could be more if I would just start. It’s that same discontent that will drive me to create what I’ve dreamed of creating all these years.

Today is step 1. Just hitting publish on this post will be a big accomplishment for me. I will be tempted to delete this tomorrow, but I’m not giving in anymore.

I’m not sure if you’re dealing with the same sort of fear, or perhaps it’s in a completely different area of life but you can relate, but if so I hope this has given you some hope to press on, some hope to hit publish — to start what you’ve been so afraid to start.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1

Originally published at Jesse Poteet.