How to Grow Your Side-Hustle Using Your Subconscious Mind
Before you get all woo-woo on me, I’m about to share some powerful tools to help grow your side-hustle, using little more than the meat between your ears. Your subconscious mind is the strongest part of your brain.
The weaker part of the brain—the conscious mind, does something like 20% of the overall work of the mind.
While the conscious mind is the doing part, all your best ideas—the growth parts—come from the brain’s powerhouse, your subconscious.
However, nature’s gift also comes with some fine print. You can’t just access your subconscious mind for great ideas at-will. If you’re thinking about using your mind for great ideas, you’re actually using your conscious mind.
I get it.
Think of your subconscious as the a-ha! part of your brain.
The subconscious can work on multiple problems at once, unlike the conscious mind, which can only focus on one thing at a time.
As we move throughout the day, the subconscious hums in the background, working hard on the problems we’ve given it to solve. If we give it the wrong problems, we’ll produce answers we may not want.
I’ll share more about the right/wrong problems in a minute.
For now, understand you’ve got two brains. You can’t live well without either. Without great ideas, we’d have useless action. Without action, our ideas won’t mean anything.
The Right Food Daily
The right subconscious food has nothing to do with your diet. We’re talking intellectual food here. If all you do is passively digest entertainment, your subconscious won’t have any additional food to produce better ideas.
- We need audio books
- We need podcasts
- We need to read articles
- We need books
- We need educational videos and lectures
- We need to have deep conversations with real humans
When we put the good food in, we’ll get the great ideas out.
As James Altucher tells us, when we combine two already great ideas together, with what he calls idea sex, you can build a combination idea that’s greater than the sum of the parts.
You don’t have to try and force great ideas. Remember, your subconscious works based on the questions you ask of it and the food you put in.
When we add a large variety of new ideas into our mind, the innovative output will astound you. Start with the right food.
Our brains are built to be their most-creative while in-motion. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a treadmill desk. You can spark your creativity with something as simple as pacing the room or taking a shower.
Part of my morning routine is my daily workout. I do a lot of this workout in my kitchen, and the rest in my basement gym.
The entire time I’m exercising, I listen to podcasts and audio books. I also have my capture device nearby (more on the capture device in a minute).
I start my day with the right questions for my brain. Then, set the system to work, by exercising and doing some basic, mindless chores (like laundry and dishes).
As I move through my morning, my subconscious works hard, grinding-away at my problems, looking for a solution.
There are many ways you can move for ideas:
What is NOT moving:
- Sitting at a desk
- Sitting on the couch
- Doing nothing at all
Our minds were designed to move for great ideas. When we sit and try to be innovative it’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, get up and moving. The subconscious will do the heavy-lifting while your conscious mind is distracted with other tasks.
The great ideas will come.
The Mental Appointment
Sleep is a critical piece of the subconscious, creative workhorse. We need 7-9 hours. You know this. Not only does your brain metabolize waste while you sleep, but the right amount of sleep is a great time to spark some business-growing ideas.
Before bed, set a mental timer on your subconscious.
I know this might sound a little crazy but it works.
In your mind, before bed, give your subconscious mind a problem to solve. Yes, you’re using your conscious brain to give the subconscious a chore to do.
If you want to solve a more traffic problem, tell your mind, “tomorrow morning I want you to give me a new idea for additional traffic.”
I gave my mind a deadline (overnight, or this week works well).
I gave my mind a problem to work on.
I gave my mind a goal to produce an idea, not the solution.
Your subconscious is the idea machine, not always the answer machine. You’ve got to implement the ideas to see if they become solutions.
You’ll be surprised at how many new ideas you generate while you sleep. Remember to get enough sleep and stuff your mind with the right food in advance.
The Distraction Journal
I got this idea from a study-expert YouTuber named Thomas Frank. As Thomas sits to do his daily reading, he keeps a distraction journal on his lap.
When we read, our mind might race with all kinds of side-tracked ideas. If we want to stay focused on the content at-hand, we need a place to off-load our random thoughts.
In comes the distraction journal.
This is a random catch-all for anything that dumps in our head. Put a date at the top of the page and write any idea that pops in your melon.
- There’s no judgement.
- There’s no order or organization.
- The entire purpose of this book is to free your conscious mind to pay attention to the reading at-hand.
A Capture Device(s)
Your capture device is separate from your distraction journal. This can be a pocket notebook, your phone, a digital recorder (great for notes in the car. I have one.), or a finger on a fogged mirror. I even have a waterproof notepad for my shower.
When your subconscious gives you the gift of a great idea you better be ready to capture it.
Many times, we’re given the gift of an idea once, then it’s gone to the next person. If we don’t capture these gifts as they’re given, we’ll lose them.
Develop a simple system to collate and categorize all your ideas once you’ve collected them. Once a week I go through my digital recorder. I delete any irrelevant notes and record the ones I want to keep.
The simple process of sorting and collecting will help you sift through all your ideas, so you can curate only the best ones later.
Never rely on your mind to remember a great idea.
Have all your capture tools at the ready, so you never miss an opportunity to record a gift from your subconscious mind. There’s nothing worse than being sure you’ve remembered a great idea, only to forget it fifteen minutes later.
You’ll lose some of your best ideas if you don’t capture them as they come.
Take dovetailed notes. What might feel clear in the moment won’t be clear tomorrow. Tomorrow you’ll be flooded with more great ideas. Once you put your subconscious mind to work for you, the rewards will come fast.
Don’t judge your new ideas as they happen. Make sure you capture them immediately and curate later. Sure, most of your ideas won’t work/won’t be great. But the gems will shine-through.
If you edit your ideas as you think of them, the negative, inner-voice might stifle your best work.
The editing/curation side of our brains is the conscious mind. The editing happens later. Capture as many great ideas as you can. Don’t question them until you’ve had time to let each idea simmer.
As you’re given these great ideas, the other part of the equation is action.
We must take action on our ideas, or they’re nothing more than wishes. If you want your side-hustle to benefit from your subconscious gifts, we must mold them into a plan, then take action on the plan.
Your subconscious gives you the gifts of ideas, but the conscious part of your brain turns those abstract ideas into measurable action plans.
Action doesn’t have to be a grand gesture either. Action can mean outlining a plan of attack, developing a project timeline, or completing one step out of many.
Great ideas love action.
When we act upon these subconscious gems, we’ll develop baby ideas that make our business even better.
As with taking action, it’s important we ship our ideas fast. If you’re a writer this means publishing your first book before you start the second. And you don’t wait three years before you publish.
When you ship fast you learn fast.
No, you don’t want to ship anything less than a great product, but there’s no such thing as perfect. You’ll wait a long time if you wait until you’ve got a perfect product before you ship.
Shipping fast is why we have minimum viable products and software versions.
Accept the gifts from your subconscious.
Capture these gifts as you receive them.
Make sure you take action now and ship your work before you procrastinate your great ideas to death.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell that work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.