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Is your idea attached to you personally?

You should take it personally but don't take it personally. What the heck could I possibly mean by that? It sounds like I'm just contradicting myself. Let me explain.

What exactly do you mean by attachment?

Attachment is when you become emotionally invested in your idea's outcome, when you become really, really invested in the outcome. Often too much so.

You should take your idea personally.

On the one hand, you should definitely take your idea personally. Meaning that you're invested in it, you are willing to spend the time it takes to create your idea.

That you are willing to sacrifice whatever you need to sacrifice for your idea, within reason, of course. You pour your heart and soul into doing the work.

Notice all this is about the creation of your idea. When you take it personally, it gives you energy, motivation to see it through to the end. That is important.

But you also need to realize that your idea is not you.

You should not take it personally.

Your idea is something you created; it is not you. This is why you should not take it personally. If something happens and your idea fails, your idea has failed, not you.

Do not become attached to the outcome.

It's an important distinction to keep in mind. If you become so totally attached to your idea that your life revolves around its success, you could be heading for a problem (and your well-being).

Businesses often fail. They don't always fail because of something you did or didn't do. Sometimes they fail because the market wasn't ready for what you created.

Or it could be a great idea, but you presented it to the wrong audience at the wrong time.

In essence, any number of circumstances outside of your control.

I guess my point is there are a million variables that could affect your idea. You don't want to tie your personal success to one idea.

You can have more ideas.

Sometimes you'll run into somebody who holds onto an idea like it's super-secret or something. They say, "oh, I got this really great idea. I don't wanna tell anybody yet, but can you help me with it?"

I always tell them no for a couple of reasons. Chances are, the idea they think is so great has already been thought of. And if they want to keep it secret, chances are they won't execute on it anyway (or worse, they'll do it poorly).

Both are a recipe for disaster. And often, someone like that will really take it personally when their idea doesn't work.

Don't be like that person. Share your ideas, guard your execution -- and work to serve the people you seek to change.

Be ready for failure, just in case.

What does being ready for failure mean? Well, for one, it means don't beat yourself up when your business doesn't work out the way you had hoped.

It means to take the next idea and combine it with what you learned from this failure.

It means don't go so all-in that you can't recover if it does fail (especially if you have a family). Tip: if an idea is so big you feel you have to go all-in with everything you have, perhaps you need a partner or a team to share the responsibility with.

But don't give up too soon.

Now, this is the hard part. Businesses don't often succeed quickly, but worse, they can fail slowly too. Sometimes, it's hard to tell if yours is failing or if it's going to be successful later.

Take blogging, for instance. You write an amazing article that will someday rank number one in Google, but it's gonna take 35 weeks or more before you see it there. What if you give up on week 12? It'll never have the chance to rank number one.

This is very common because new blogs take a long time to start gaining an audience. That same problem crops up in any business.

It is challenging to determine if you're on your way to success or if you're already in the middle of a long, drawn-out failure.

I don't want to freak you out too much because that thought can be pretty scary... there is a trick to give you clues you're on the right path.

Look for signals of success.

After hours, days, weeks, probably months or more -- of pure focus... you will worry if your idea is becoming a success, or if you were in the middle of failure and don't know it yet.

Here are some things to look out for as hints you are on the right path.

1. Are some people are using it?

That's clue number one, at least one person (who is not a friend or family member) enjoys your product or service. Chances are there are others like them.

You can also ask these early adopters for feedback and gain wisdom about how they use your idea. You could even use the material in your marketing efforts later.

2. Conversations about you

Look out for conversations about your brand. If you did not start the conversation, that's a signal; you have some level of success.

Of course, we like to talk about our own products and services, but that has extra meaning when someone else does. That means you were worth remarking about. That is the definition of remarkable (is there something remarkable about your idea?).

Take the time to master the skill of monitoring for brand mentions.

3. New customers without advertising

Do you occasionally get new customers without advertising to them? That is another signal of success. It means your product or service can sell itself.

This is actually a powerful signal. When you do spend the time to market, you won't need to spend as much to gain new customers.

An idea that can sell itself is invaluable. If you indeed have this, you are almost certainly on the path to success (no guarantees, though).

Be resilient, but be wary too.

You want to be strong, resilient in the face of hardship in your business. But you should also be wary. Watch for signals of success, be prepared to shift and pivot where you need to. If you're a side hustle, remember, you have a ton of flexibility.

It's this flexibility that is both a blessing and a curse. You can move, dodge, pivot, and strike whenever you want. The problem is, you could dodge when you shouldn't have. You'll never know until you know either.

But that's the beauty of doing your own thing.

You've got this. Good luck!