When people ask me about how I got started with this career in freelance writing, I half-jokingly respond that it happened “accidentally on purpose.” It’s my go-to answer. What I mean is that I’ve always had an interest in writing, and have been doing so on the Internet for 20 years, but I didn’t really see it as a viable career option growing up. I thought I wanted to be a paleontologist or an architect or something.
After graduating from university, I took on a junior editor job at a local organization. While there, I applied to an online technology magazine on a whim. That tech magazine ended up being my first freelance writing client, and my career sort of snowballed from there. I applied for other gigs, I met John, I expanded my portfolio, and here I am so many years later, still writing online and making a middle-class income doing it.
In the early years, my parents figured what I was doing was a “harmless hobby” that I could pursue until I got “a real job.” To them, it was impossible for me to run my own business as a “kid” fresh out of college. It was impossible for me to eke out a relatively comfortable income doing it, with almost zero capital investment. I was just “playing on my computer,” in their eyes. And yet, here I am.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
I imagine the overwhelming majority of people who first met John Chow back in 2006 felt the same way. That was the year that John decided to monetize this blog for the first time. His goal was to make a full-time income from part-time blogging. People thought that it’d be impossible to earn a “full-time” income on just a few hours each week.
And yet, here we are today with John raking in six figures every month. That’s decidedly better than “just” a regular full-time income, to be sure. But so many people thought that such an endeavor was practically impossible. And maybe it was… until it was done.
“Impossible is nothing” – Adidas
It’s not to say that John and I are examples of overnight success. (And John is certainly more successful than I am by a long shot.) But there is something to be said about ignoring the naysayers, throwing logic and caution to the wind, and simply pursuing a grand passion or endeavor because it’s something you love and believe in.
Do you think you can make it as a full-time YouTuber? Then, make it happen. You will likely struggle in the beginning. You could get kicked out of the Partner Program. You could get demonetized or you may not attract as many views as you may have hoped. But you’ve got to keep pushing if you really believe you can make it.
Impossible is nothing more than a mindset. And if you want to success, you need a different mindset.
“Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week.” – Jay-Z
Not too long ago, I came across a success story that I thought was particularly inspiring. Growing up in a relatively poor immigrant family, she didn’t have the biggest of prospects as a child. When she found herself as a single mother at the age of 18, with practically no support from her family and working an $18,000/year job, her prospects weren’t great either.
But she persevered. It was overwhelmingly difficult. Impossibly difficult even. But through night classes, online classes, side hustles, and a steadfast dedication to proving everyone wrong, she broke through it all. Today, at the age of 35, she’s a successful attorney earning a six-figure salary, living in a 3,000+ square foot home in the suburbs with her partner, who is also a six-figure lawyer. Needless to say, they’re more than comfortable today.
Most people would have looked at that 18-year-old single mother and told her that leading such a life 17 years later would be impossible. She didn’t believe them. Because it always seems impossible until it’s done.
What’s your mission impossible? What steps are you taking to conquer it?