Alyssa Hunt is the creator of The Life Hunt, a blog aimed at motivating people to hustle toward their business and financial dreams while navigating everyday life. Alyssa successfully paid off $30,000 in student debt by the age of 23 and started a business two years later. She is currently getting a Master’s degree in English Literature and spends her free time chasing her true passion: screenwriting.
Where did the idea for The Life Hunt come from?
I developed the idea for my website a few years ago when I was sitting at my full-time job feeling overwhelmed. I found that I was struggling with balancing my time between my writing ventures and my full-time job. When I looked on the Internet for advice on how to balance both, I didn’t find what I was looking for. So, I created a website dedicated to helping people chase their dreams while working-full time.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I work a full-time job and I am a full-time graduate student, so I only have a limited amount of time to work on my business. Since my time is very limited, I have to be extremely organized to ensure everything gets done. To be productive with my website, I batch my workdays so that every Monday is a writing day, every Tuesday is dedicated to marketing, Wednesday’s are for email, and so on.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I keep a journal with me everywhere I go because I never know when an idea will strike. As soon as an idea pops into my mind I write it down, even if at first the idea is silly or underdeveloped. I usually let an idea sit in development for a few days before acting on it so that I can assess it from every angle. Since I’m currently operating as a one-woman show, I might run my idea through one trusted and likeminded friend. I enjoy talking through possibilities and receiving constructive criticism.
What’s one trend that excites you?
So many people are looking to ditch their standard 9-5 to pursue side hustles and business ventures of their own. I’m so excited to see people, especially the millennial generation, taking control of their future and financial standing.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Every week I have a meeting with myself about my goals, progress, and tasks. This takes no more than 30 minutes on Sunday nights, but it is the most important thing I do all week. Every week is not successful for me, so this 30-minute meeting allows me the opportunity to reflect on my success and areas of improvement. It also helps me make a realistic to-do list of my upcoming tasks and goals for the week.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start sooner rather than later. There are so many reasons to put off starting a business whether it is fear, lack of funds, no time, no support, or whatever else holds you back. For me, I let those limiting beliefs stop me from starting a business for years. If I could talk to my younger self I would make sure to emphasize that fear is common and even expected, but that is no reason to put off your goals.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You don’t have to be a morning person to be an entrepreneur. I have had multiple conversations with entrepreneurs in various business ventures and stages of success and many of them believe that you have to wake up at 5 am to be successful. I am not a morning person and when I tried doing the 5 am schedule I failed miserably. Instead, I choose to stay up late. I get my energy and creative vibe around 10 pm and therefore I utilize that time for my most important work. It’s a myth that entrepreneurs need to be morning people.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I believe in taking solo “retreat” days. These are days that I drive out of town, sometimes overnight, to focus on my business and personal life. These trips allow for an uninterrupted opportunity to reflect on where I’m at with my business, where I want to be, and how I am managing all the stress I have in my life. I believe in being alone with your thoughts because it’s one of the only times you can be truly honest with yourself.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
When I first started my website, I wasn’t very consistent. There were times when I had plenty of creative energy and focus, and there were other times that I felt a complete creativity block. Too often I let my creative block disrupt my consistency, which hurt my business growth. My business is most successful when I’m consistent so making sure I stick to a schedule makes a huge difference.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started my website, I wanted to go from A to C without focusing on B. This happened because I was too focused on other peoples journey and not my own. Skipping steps wasted a lot of my time and money and only doubled my workload down the line. I’ve since learned not to focus on what other people are doing because it can be distracting and disheartening. Now, I admire people from a distance so that I don’t lose sight of my journey.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Printables are really popular these days. If you’re good at design, making one-page printables for bloggers and websites can turn a nice profit and develop into a good side hustle.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Pinterest is a huge part of my business but it can be time-consuming. A few weeks ago I invested in Tasty Pins which is a plugin for my website. It has helped make my Pinterest strategy go from 2 hours to roughly 15 minutes.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Canva for all my designing. It helps me be productive because I make templates that are easily customizable and quick to use. This is one of the best free services out there.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The first time I read it, I read it twice back to back. I believe that the book speaks to a reader on two levels. The first level is through a well-developed story, and the second level, which is the most important level is through a challenge from the author to follow your dreams, decide your destiny, and chase after success. And, if I might add a second book that has stuck with me as an entrepreneur, it’s Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know For Sure.
What is your favorite quote?
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving,” Warren Buffet.
One category on my website is dedicated to personal finances. I refer to this quote often because it is so important to get financial control over your life. The only reason I was able to comfortably start my business was because I had enough money tucked away in my savings.
• Keep a journal with you everywhere you go to be prepared for any idea that pops into your mind.
• Schedule a weekly 30-minute meeting with yourself to reflect on your successes, areas of improvement, and to create your weekly to-do lists.
• Don’t focus on other people’s journeys. Instead, admire them from a distance so that you don’t lose sight of your journey.
• Start sooner rather than later. Don’t let limiting beliefs hold you back from starting a business and chasing your dreams.
• Consistency is vital. If you wait for a creative spark instead of being consistent, it can halt your business growth.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.