Choosing to start a side hustle can be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. Trust me, I know. Whether your goal is to contribute to a greater purpose than your day job, to earn a little extra income, or otherwise, having a side project can benefit all areas of your life.
However, the moment you begin making progress and ramping up your sales, you’ll start to face rejection, challenges, roadblocks that’ll drain your energy and cause a dip in motivation. Sometimes you might feel powerless, confused, or in doubt of your original motives.
Well, this cycle is natural—and you’re not alone. It’s in these moments of rejection and self-doubt that you must remember why you’re committed to pushing forward.
To help you stay motivated with your side hustle in the face of rejection, I want to share with you my personal favorite motivation techniques, and the quotes that inspired them.
1. “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
What separates successful people from the average one isn’t the thing they do; it’s the habits they carry. Focus on the long-term habits and processes that will take you far away, not the shiny new tactics you read on marketing blogs. Make a list of all the tasks you need to do to succeed, and decide to tackle each one on a daily basis. For example, if you need to generate your first sales, decide to make 20 sales calls every day for one month. Consistency beats talent in the long-run.
2. “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
Giving up when things go south is tempting. But there’s a difference between failing and giving up; the former is temporary, the latter is permanent. Next time you feel like giving up with your side hustle, remember to differentiate your temporary setbacks from larger failures. Maybe you need to change your marketing or selling approach; perhaps you need to talk to your customers more before continuing to build your product. Whatever that is, if you keep improving, you will succeed.
3. “Success is never owned; it is only rented—and the rent is due every day.” – Rory Vaden
Once your side hustle starts to succeed, you’ll feel like your success happens because of you. This can lead to complacency, which will make you less attentive to what your customer tells you. Eventually, your success will slow, and you’ll wonder why that happened. Don’t rest on your laurels; every day is a new day to prove yourself to the world.
4. “There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.” – Tony Robbins
Just as you can’t take success for granted, you can’t take failure too seriously either. Failure is something humans invented to identify the outcome of an action that doesn’t match with their interpretation of success. That’s all it is, a perceived outcome. Every time you face failure, however small or big it is, remember it’s all in your head.
5. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Sometimes when people face a difficult challenge, they believe there’s nothing they can do about it and throw the towel. Martin Luther King Jr. says you need to do whatever you can to keep going. Next time you don’t know what to do with your side project, think about the smallest thing you could do to keep going. Talk to your friends, ask for feedback in forums, or Google your challenges. It’s likely others have faced your problems before, and have an answer ready to help.
6. “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Let’s face it, no one likes to fail. The key isn’t to reject failure; rather, you need to accept it and keep going without feeling like you fail due to your own fault. You made the best decision possible with the information you had available at the time. Keep your chest up and be proud of the progress you make, as little as it may be.
7. “You need to be willing to lose if you’re truly committed to win.” – Unknown
Losing is a strong word society considers as negative. But is it truly a bad thing to lose? As the saying goes, “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” It’s a numbers game; whenever you make a decision, you are facing uncertainty. You will make mistakes, but if you are committed to bringing your side hustle to life, you are already succeeding compared to others.
8. “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
Everyone wants to start a business, but few are willing to actually get started. It’s easy to dream, but you know better. If you want to start your side hustle, get started right now. You’ll get far by just putting one foot in front of the other. Set a date for launching your project and making it publicly available. Then work backward to make your vision come to reality.
9. “You can’t sell others if you aren’t sold yourself first.” – Unknown
One of the keys to selling is to be convinced that your product (or service) is the best out there. If you wouldn’t personally buy what you’re selling, then why are you selling it? First, have something worth selling, then be honest with yourself: do you think your product is the best out there? What makes it so good that you’d buy it? Be sure to know the answer to these two questions before you build a sales process and start trying to scale it. Your prospects will know if you don’t believe in your offer.
10. “Don’t wish for things to be easier, wish for you to be better.” – Jim Rohn
Life isn’t supposed to be fair or easy; instead, you should know what to do about whatever problem you face. If you can’t sell your product, invest in learning how to get better at pitching. Adopt a growth mindset and strive to learn more than the rest. Your positive attitude will guarantee your success. It’s not what you can’t do; it’s what you can.
11. The difference between fear and excitement is the way you think about it. – Unknown
The way you perceive reality matters a lot in business. If you feel afraid of doing something, it’s because you decide to feel that way. You can easily take that energy, and transform it into something positive, like excitement. Instead of thinking, “I’m afraid I will fail,” you can turn it around and say “I’m excited to see what I can learn from this.”
12. “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” – Thomas Watson Sr.
You can spend a great deal of time dreaming, planning, and organizing your side hustle, but nothing will happen until you start making sales. If you take something from just about any sales motivation technique in the world, remember this principle more than anything else. Stop planning and start doing. Pick up the phone and start making calls that’ll bring customers.
13. “Done is better than perfect.” – Mark Zuckerberg
As a side hustler,it doesn’t matter if your project doesn’t look as nicely as you wished, you need to get things done. Remember what Reid Hoffman said too, “if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Stop waiting for perfection and keep moving forward. Write down the thing you believe needs to be perfect. Then, think how much money and time will that task take, and how much revenue its completion bring you. If you can’t justify a certain amount of revenue from it, then leave it aside.
14. “Kill your goals. Create habits instead.” – Unknown
From all the motivational quotes in this article, this one is my favorite. Everyone talks about the importance of goals. It’s true; they matter a lot. But instead of chasing goals alone, remember that what matters is consistency. Think about the habits you need to develop to reach your goals. Do you want to make five-figures a month with your side hustle? Then what do you need to start doing every day to reach that goal? What new habits will sustain that goal?
15. “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem
It’s easy to doubt yourself before doing something that scares you, like launching your idea or picking up the phone to make cold calls. Your doubts will stop your progress and make you waste time thinking instead of learning by doing. Whenever you have a doubts, start by making them crystal clear by writing them down. Once you know what your doubts are, embrace them. Don’t fight them; accept that they are trying to tell you something. Then, do that scary thing anyway.
16. “Fear is your road sign to growth and success.” – Unknown
Fear isn’t a sign of weakness, as it’s portrayed so often. Rather, it’s a sign that tells you that need to do the thing that scares you, so you can grow from the experience. Expose yourself to your fears and confront them. Change your perception of your fear by facing the challenge ahead as an opportunity.
17. “Good things happen to those who hustle.” – Anais Nin
If you’re waiting for your side hustle to grow itself, you won’t ever make progress. It’s called “side hustle” for a reason; you need to hustle to succeed. If you spend more time than reading and talking than you do working on it, it’s time to change. You should be working at least 80% of the time on it, and the remaining 20% learning, not the other way around.
18. “The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.” – Unknown
I’m sure you love to wake up and think about all the great things you’ll achieve once your side hustle starts to make money. Unfortunately, you won’t make that dream come true unless you start hustling today. It’s that simple. Next time you catch yourself dreaming, stop. Remember you need to work on your dream to make it real.
19. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
People often think creativity has a limit. Actually, creativity never stops working. Everything you do and any experiment you try, adds to your creative flow. Whenever you do something that gets your creative juices flowing, remember that the more you give yourself permission to be creative, the more you’ll get out of them.
20. “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey
As I said before, what matters isn’t what challenges you face; it’s how you perceive them. Think of your challenges as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your business, and others (like your customers and your competitors). Don’t fight your challenges, embrace them and grow thanks to them.
21. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
When you aren’t used to failing, you’ll feel like you are the failure. Actually, it’s not that you failed, it’s that you learned a new way of not doing something. Next time you fail, remember that you’ve learned a very important lesson, however small it may be. Have an optimistic attitude towards failure and you’ll reap the benefits of unlimited growth. Never stop learning.