Happy and Sad Lessons from Two Years of Hoodie Chew Chew
Hoodie Chew Chew turns TWO this July.
I'm not new to entrepreneurship, but I am new to creating, producing and launching a product. And MAN is it different from pitching services to people.
I've learned a lot. I've been sad a lot. And also happy a lot. Like all anniversaries I'm reflecting on what that means, and all the stuff I've learned and remember from the past couple of years.
Figuring out all little stuff you should do everyday is the big stuff.
If you're working on a plan right now. Any plan. Write down the one of the big things you need to do - if it's marketing related think - get national press.
Now write down all the little things that will make that happen. Building a list. Sending emails. Writing emails. Keep going. Until literally every task is on that list. Then work those tasks every single day.
All those little tasks matter the most. Not just because they'll get you that national press you want. But because all the little steps turn into habits that you'll transfer across everything you do, and those little things are what actually make things happen.
I was so focused on big stuff that it took me a while to find the habits and tasks I needed to make the big stuff happen!
It's a grind. And burn out doesn't feel like what you think it does.
If you've met me in person, you know there's a TON of stuff I'm happy to rant about...HELLO TOXIC PRODUCTIVITY! I definitely bought into some of this culture for a while...how to get more done in hour. Get up earlier. Stay up later. Blah. Blah. Blah. There's been twice since I started Hoodie Chew Chew that I needed to take some time to address burn out. And it was worse because I didn't realise what it was at first. I didn't feel tired, I felt wired, overstimulated, and unfocussed. I tried focussing harder. I tried working more. And then I realised. And I rested.
I still work a lot of hours a week, it's unavoidable. There's just a huge amount of work that needs to be done every week.
But, it's a marathon, not a sprint, and most things can be accomplished, eventually. If I'm a little late with something, I forgive myself, accept that I am human with physical limitations, think about what I'll do next time, and move on.
Focussed time and boundaries will keep you healthy.
If you start with having times when you just never work, you incidentally create hard deadlines for yourself. Those boundaries will keep you sane. It took me way too long to figure that out. It's not easy to stick to the boundaries, and things will find a way of pulling you back, but eventually, the boundaries can stick.
People aren't always nice, but it doesn't really matter.
The times that were the hardest were the times when people were just not being cool. There's a lot of out reach, opportunities for collaboration and hard to answer questions that come when you're starting something new.
It's always a risk to put yourself out there, to try to find common ground, to figure out the hard stuff. Rejection is unavoidable, but the rudeness or dismissiveness you can get from trolls, or worse businesses and people you respected, can be so ....deflating. And when you work on your own a lot, that sense of deflation last for days and really mess with your head.
The cool thing is, is that it doesn't matter. Those people don't matter. And they can only take what you let them. They suck. You don't. Leave it at that.
People are also super nice, and that really matters.
For every jerk you meet, for every person who tries to steal your sunshine, there's amazing people who will lift you up and support you as you struggle. And it is a struggle.
Our culture really celebrates ideas of a "final" success, but doesn't seem to give much of a shit about the journey to get to that final success.
When you find people who care about your journey, as much as everyone else seems to care about your "end" success, hold on to those people.
They'll sustain you as you keep going, and on the tough days, that's all you need to remember. Just keep going.
Thanks for reading! If you're out there in the trenches - please reach out! I love hearing from other entrepreneurs and product designers.
I'm not one of those people who suck, and if I can ever help you on your journey, I'd be happy to.