You're not as "slept on" as you think you are

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“You don’t know what you don’t know.”

What a time to be a self-starter. The possibilities are endless.

We’re finding our footing and chasing our dreams in the midst of an era where barriers to entry for entrepreneurism and creative expression are lower than ever. Exemplary success stories are abundant. Opportunities are waiting to be created.

Want to launch a t-shirt line? Cool. Accessible illustration, printing, and drop-shipping platforms are one google search and three clicks away.

Want to start a YouTube channel? Awesome. If you have a smartphone and access to a room with good natural lighting, you have all the tools necessary to create captivating video content.

Want to sell your expertise as a consultant or coach? Bet. There’s a platform out there with the infrastructure and you need to attract, educate, and impact your ideal target audience.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to start your next “thing.” No one does.

Here’s the thing. It’s easy to start something. It’s far more difficult to ensure that the thing you started is sustainable, profitable, and unique. Once the thrill of launching a new venture subsides, you need discipline, expertise, and a plan to stay on track. After you’ve done all the announcing and launching and branding, it’s time to establish a new “normal” that works for you.


“We can’t afford to let surface level news stories and unrealistic narratives dictate our understanding of how the world works, businesses are built, and success is sustained.”

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We see extreme success stories amplified on the timeline, but we rarely pay as much attention to the process that brought those stories to fruition. We see the big breaks, not the years of work behind the scenes that engineered them. I don’t believe that we’re averse to hard work or long processes, but I do believe that the comparative inclinations of internet culture make gradual progression feel like a failure.

We can’t afford to let surface level news stories and unrealistic narratives dictate our understanding of how the world works, businesses are built, and success is sustained. Easier said than done. I know. We spend hours per day on social media platforms that are engineered to maximize profitability. Clicks. Likes. Impressions. Comments.

Twitter doesn’t care if you actually read the article with the powerful headline and poignant header image that you retweeted. Instagram doesn’t care if you actually watched the whole 60 second video before you put a Black fist emoji in the comments section. Facebook doesn’t care if the viral “news” video your grandmother shared is accurate, unless the government gets involved.

We exist in a culture shaped by privately owned social media platforms that will string you along with immediate, meaningless incentives for as long as you’re willing to pay attention to them. Social media isn’t primarily designed to disperse pertinent information or help you make friends. Social media is primarily designed to be addictive.

We’re slowly drowning in an endless whirlpool of information, content, and loudly voiced opinions.

Digging deeper requires intentionality, consistency, and vision.

The rewards come when you use the access, connectivity, and resources to learn consistently - not when you glance at fifty pieces of content per day without giving them constructive thought. You have to be intentional about how you consume content on platforms that are designed to keep you scrolling until your fingers fall off.

That overnight success story that briefly inspired you was the 30th chapter in a 50-chapter story that’s still being written. That moment of inspiration quickly gave way to a longer lasting feeling of apathy when you started putting pieces into place and realized that the puzzle is much more complex than it appeared to be from the outside looking in.


“You have to be intentional about how you consume content on platforms that are designed to keep you scrolling until your fingers fall off.”

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You found consolation in adopting the belief that it simply isn’t your time yet. You labeled yourself an underdog, and used it as a crutch. There’s a degree of charm and relatability that comes with being an underdog.

It’s easier to say that you’re “slept on” or “overlooked” than to study the nature of the game you’re trying to change. It can feel better to blame factors out of your control than to look inwards when you come up short. It won’t feel better in the long run. More often than not, we’re not the underdogs that we think we are. Our “haters” aren’t haters, they’re just indifferent, busy, over-stimulated internet consumers who don’t owe us anything.

At some point, being an “underdog” gets old. You’ll be faced with a choice: become complacent, change courses, quit entirely, or figure out how to level up and get the things that are meant for you. When that happens, it’s time to pay a bit more attention. Evaluate the details and how they’re potentially limiting your progression. You need more analytics to verify your assumptions. You need more course changes as you evaluate what works. You need more iterations and experiments to stay ahead of the curve. You need to do more research to expand your understanding of what’s possible. You need the endurance to win in due time.

You don’t know what you don’t know, but the era of the internet provides you with access to information about almost any topic under the sun. If you have a wi-fi connection and a pulse, you have access to almost infinite examples of successful strategies, processes, and stories - both within and outside of your areas of interest. Read them. Watch them. Take the time to interpret those stories and pick them apart.

Those of us who are serious about digital content creation, entrepreneurism, or any other venture that requires a strong digital presence owe it to ourselves to study the game consistently instead of relying on poorly informed assumptions, surface level success stories, and fickle moments of inspiration to dictate our strategies.

Let’s win.


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