How Mice and Zorro Led to Smaller Goals for my “Side Hustle”

side hustle, mouse goals, Zorro, Zorro Circle, small goals

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how failure is necessary to move forward in life.  At the present time, I feel like a bit of a failure.  I’m still in the process of building so I really shouldn’t call it that but I haven’t found the success I’ve set for myself.  I’m talking about the “side hustle” I officially communicated to the public in July of 2015; VNC Image & Leadership.  I’ve had many individuals connect with me to say things like “I love what you’re doing”, “there is such a need for this”, “what a great idea” et cetera.  That was encouraging.  I quickly set up some workshops and spread the word that I was ready to take on participants.  Two individuals signed up.  Not the number I hoped for but it was a start.  The next set of workshops, one person signed up to which I had to cancel because I couldn’t run a workshop with only one.  With the third set of workshops, I decided to offer them in a larger centre with added advertising in hopes of boosting registrations.  No one registered.  I was very discouraged.

Going to Side Hustle School

In appreciation of the lessons I learned and the contacts I made along the way, I’m still moving forward, just not at the same pace.  I began listening to a podcast by Chris Guillebeau called Side Hustle School.  It’s a daily (that’s right – daily) podcast that is intended for the busy person who has a steady day-job but is exploring an entrepreneurial part-time gig on the side.  Chris shares stories of different individuals with “side hustles” and everyone’s definition of what makes them successes is distinct.  Some wanted to replace the day job, some wanted ways to make extra income and others just liked the thrilled of making a few extra dollars through their own entrepreneurial execution.  One of the best parts about it, is that each episode is approximately 10 minutes long.  I can typically listen to 4 episodes on my 40 minute commute to work.  It’s quite inspiring.  After each story, Chris gives a summary of ideas, tips and thoughts about the episode’s “side hustler” and includes show notes online for links and further discussion.

Episode 43

Although I understand that my 3  underwhelming workshops are only the beginning, I still find comfort in hearing that other’s have similar stories.  Before they could reap rewards, many learned lessons from failed attempts.  One story that particularly caught my attention was Epicsode 43; Miserable Day Job Turns Into $100,000 Side Income.  I felt it had similarities to my situation. Shaunta Grimes had a job but started an online resource about what it takes to write a novel.  It attracted a lot of subscribers.  She created a course on how to write a novel to which her subscribers were alerted.  From there she ended up with “side hustle” that was earning her upwards of $100 000.

Mouse Goals

Because I have a blog and am trying to increase subscribers, I felt a connection to Shaunta’s story.  I was hooked by her writing style and subscribed.  Not long after subscribing, I received an email from Shaunta that led me to her Medium post Of Monster Dreams and Mouse Goals.   That got me to thinking about the difficulties I was having with my “side hustle”.  In her post, she wrote:

They’re the little things that stand between where you are now and your Monster Dreams.

I call them Mouse Goals because when I say baby steps, I mean it.

These are itty, bitty, teeny, tiny little goals.  In fact, my go to for Mouse Goals is something that I can finish in 10 minutes.

 I have this theory that if I do anything for ten minutes a day, in 100 days I’ll have developed a rock solid habit.

Mouse Goals are those habits.

It made me think, maybe I made my goals too big to start.  I just designed a workshop and expected people to come.  Perhaps, I needed to backtrack and start with something smaller.

Zorro’s Circle

Later that same day, I opened up one of the books I’m reading currently, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  The chapter that I was on was entitled, The Zorro Circle: How Limiting Your Focus to Small, Manageable Goals Can Expand Your Sphere of Power.  I got it.  The universe was telling me to make smaller goals.  As Shawn wrote:

Don Diego didn’t teach young Alejandro how to be a swashbuckling swordsman overnight.  Zorro started small, then little by little mastered his ever-widening circle.  His legendary success followed from there.

My Small Goals

With this new epiphany before me, I planned to work on building my audience. This would come by consistently getting the word out through my social channels and blog.  Also, by the creation of a book to demonstrate my vision for my “side hustle”.   These goals are as follows:

  1. Write for my blog 10 minutes everyday (that means write, not necessarily publish).  This should allow me to post at least 1 post per week
  2. Write for my book 10 minutes everyday
  3. Read 10 pages worth of personal development books everyday to maintain focus, inspiration and growth
  4. Walk or exercise for 30 minutes everyday to maintain a healthy body and mind

So far, I’m 4 days in and I’m on track.  Any encouragement would be greatly appreciated.


Vicki Noels-Cornish

An effervescent personality with a passion for courtesy,manners and civility. Leadership Consultant specializing in image, leadership and career development

3 Discussion to this post

  1. Kim says:

    Love this post! I know you can do it – you are so determined!

  2. […] you recall from a couple posts ago, How Mice and Zorro Led to Smaller Goals for my “Side Hustle” I’ve set some “mouse” goals for myself.  These are small goals that I aspire […]

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