yesterday I worked 14 hours and made $0

In building a business, stories, Unreal Collective by Jay Clouse

At the beginning of September when I returned to Columbus from Los Angeles, a lot of people asked me how “things” were going.

And, very sincerely, “things” were great! I went on to explain that the progress that members of Unreal Collective were making was inspiring, I was getting more clarity around the direction and positioning of Unreal moving forward, and I was spending my time on activities that I loved to do.

“My biggest bummer right now is that I know things can’t stay this good forever!” I said.

This is still true. My days are spent working with members of Unreal or other individuals I’m working with 1-on-1. If I’m not meeting with them, I am likely either meeting with someone new (as I wrote about recently) which may set myself or members of the Collective up with immediate or long term opportunity.

And if I’m not doing any of those things, I’m creating an asset (writing my newsletter, creating a course, working on the website, editing video, or preparing for a workshop) that I’ll soon be able to leverage.

All of these activities feel right in terms of setting myself up for long-term success. Much of it is geared for a much larger launch for the next class of Unreal Collective, which is set to kick off in January (join the waitlist here).

But that is three months from now.

Right now, I’m working 10-14 hour days and generally bringing in $0. I’m not currently actively selling anything, which is a challenge for cash flow.

Even though my gut tells me I’m doing the right things, I have a constant refrigerator-hum of anxiety saying, “Are you ready to start selling these things yet? Why aren’t you selling these things yet?”

I love being independent. But it’s worth acknowledging that the 1000 day rule is a real thing, ala the classic Tropical MBA blog post:

People don’t understand they need to be poor for 1000 days.

Our basic hypothesis: you’ll be doing worse than you were at your job for 1000 days after you start your muse business. I’ve seen it happen a bunch of times.

For many of us it’s been almost exactly those 1000 days it took for us to get back to the level of income we enjoyed in our corporate days.

It isn’t sexy and it isn’t easy. But I prefer it.


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