November 1, 2018

How To Become Successful

In this episode of the Mattie James podcast we’ll be discussing the 4 Seasons of Success and exactly what they look like. There’s a misconception that success should happen faster than it actually does, when achieving success actually has various seasons. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight and to become the successful version of yourself, you’re going to have to go through each season no matter who you are. Identifying these seasons has helped me to be tremendously aware of where I am in my journey as an influencer and entrepreneur and by the end of this episode my hope is that it’ll bring you much awareness as well.

SHOW NOTES (transcript)

I’ve been a full time influencer for the last 3 years and many of my followers have found me in this current season of my career. However, it wasn’t always like this. Success did not happen overnight. In fact it didn’t even happen in a year. Listen, it takes way longer than you expect it to even if you have realistic expectations. It took me several years to reach the level that I’m currently at in my career. Success doesn’t just happen. It is a steady journey that has seasons everyone must go through to become the successful version of themselves. And those seasons must go in order. Since I have identified what these seasons are, they have put the work I do into much perspective and given me the clarity needed to take the next step and reach the next season. I’m going to share with you exactly what those four seasons are.



The first season of success is the homework season. This is when you have to do much homework, research and deep diving to become aware of the work you need to do to become the most successful version of yourself. This may mean going to school, taking online courses, reading endless amounts of blog posts & books and even listening to countless podcasts. And if I’m being honest, doing your homework will and should never end. It’s  just necessary to staying on top of your game and getting better. However, in the beginning there is a season of doing your homework relentlessly to learn the ropes and get thoroughly informed of your industry, career choice or the business you’re trying to start.

The reason why this is the first season is because the knowledge is necessary. And it’s not only about the external homework – research, learning, note taking, etc. – it’s also about the internal homework as well – the mindset, goal setting and getting to the bottom of why you’re going after the goals that you’ve set. It’s easy to say that you want to be an influencer because you want to work with brands, but when you dig deeper, you may learn that you actually want to work for yourself so you can control your schedule to spend more time with your family since you have young children.

Things like prayer, therapy and journaling can help you so much with your internal homework. Many people overlook this ground work in the Homework season, but it is so important. Doing the internal homework helps you conquer the external homework faster so you can graduate to the next season of success.

With the external homework, attention to detail and studying is key. It can be incredibly motivating to take an online course or read a book, but it’s all about retaining the information so what was learned can be put into practice.

As an influencer, content creation is a huge part of my job. So I have collections of what I call content arsenals to help me develop ideas for paid brand campaigns. These are everything from secret Pinterest boards and Instagram collections of various types of content like outfit posts, email campaign ideas and info posts on a variety of topics. To build these content arsenals, I’ve had to make time to do that homework even when I was no longer in the homework season. Studying my craft is what keeps me ahead in my industry.

No one is winning by accident. Winning requires doing your homework beforehand.



The next season of success is the hustle season. If you lack hustle, you will lack success. This is the season where you take the things that you have learned in the Homework season and put it into action. It’s the season where you get your hands dirty. You make mistakes and you find the solutions to fix them.

As an influencer, the hustle season required me to learn how to shoot, edit, format and publish content. It was quite the learning curve, because even when I got a fancy smancy SLR camera, I had to learn how to use it to get the results I wanted. And no matter how much research I did, nothing would teach me quite like experience. This is why the hustle season is vital. Because I didn’t have the budget to pay a photographer in the beginning of my blogging career, I learned how to pose in my photos my using a remote and tripod with my camera. While this was a lot of work and a whole lot of trial and error, by the time I could afford a photographer, I lcould shoot rather quickly and knew what to do in front of the camera.

The hustle season is also where I did a lot of free work. While building a career on free work is not the goal, doing brand campaigns in the beginning for free product allowed me build my portfolio, collect receipts and grow as a content creator. And because I knew doing this was only for a season, there was a willingness to do the work and get better as I went along. Could I have charged in the beginning of my career? Absolutely. But I was way more committed to growing pass the point where I would’ve charged $250-$500 for a blog or social post to the point where I could charge $1500-$2500 per post.

Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any field. The hustle season is where you want to get to that 10,000 hours. Depending on your intentionality your hustle season could take you 3 years or 10 years. It’s not necessarily about rushing through this season, but more so about making sure you leave the season better than you came. Ideally, you want to leave this season an expert at what you do.

The hustle season is also where you’ll want to build your work ethic muscle. Just like you build physical muscle, you need to build hustle muscle. No matter what you want to do – reach a certain level on the corporate ladder, start a clothing business or blog full time – it will be way harder than you think it is. Hustle requires you to perform at a high level on a consistent basis simply to prove that you are qualified. Hustle is inconvenient, tiring and necessary to succeed. Hustle shapes you to be persistent and tenacious while teaching you that rejection is simply a comma in the success sentence and not a period.

Typically, the hustle season is the longest season of success.



The third season of success is the habit season. This is where you take the work ethic and expertise developed in the hustle season and streamline it into a process that results into consistency.

Once I learned how to create content at a high level, the habit season taught me the process of doing that on a daily basis. Anyone can do something good or even great every once in a while. Success is about doing something great on a consistent basis. Because excellence isn’t an act, it is a habit. The transformation from hustle to habit requires consistent effort.

The reason why we miss the mark on so many of the goals we set in the Homework season is because we overlook the work ethic necessary to execute a process. Case in point: a blog post.

If you’re a content creator or blogger, how many times have you set a date for a blog post to go live only for you to miss the mark? That’s because we make the assumption that a blog post is a one and done process. The truth is: the result of a blog post is singular but the process behind it is quite layered.

For instance, when I execute a sponsored blog post for a brand, many steps are involved. I have to review the scope of work provided, schedule a time to shoot the content, make time to write the content, actually shoot the content, edit the photos, send content over to the brand to be approved and then make any changes before it is actually scheduled to go live. With everything I just listed, a sponsored blog post is an 8 step process. It is not as simple as picking a date on when you want an idea of a post to go live.

To make this process a habit, doing the homework to acknowledge the steps necessary in the process and cultivating a work ethic to perform at a level where you won’t cut corners is a requirement. Only making it apparent that the skills developed in the Homework and Hustle season are needed in the Habit season.

Aside from processes, the Habit season also requires routines to maintain your current success level. How do you maintain growth of your career? Your following? Your customer base? Routines – like email marketing, content publishing and even meetings to cultivate relationships – will need to be established to maintain your level of success. Those routines will need to be done on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis to continue to grow. While the work is continuous in the Habit season, it is a lot more steady than the Hustle season where opportunities can be sporadic and require a short turnaround.

As an influencer, the difference of the two seasons for me was pitching brands and creating as much content as possible to master my craft in the Hustle season versus having established processes in place when brands pitch me via email every week in the Habit season.



The last and final season of success is the Happen season. This occurs when you have mastered all the previous seasons and can do one or both of two things:

1. Automate the processes that you developed in the Habit season.

2. Can delegate the routines created in the Habit season with the expectation of work ethic from the Homework and Hustle seasons.

The Happen season is usually when you have taken your side hustle, good idea or scatterbrain effort and turn it into a business. It’s when success actually happens for you. It’s when you arrive to the version of you who is working with the clients you’ve always dreamed of, your work speaks for itself and you’re operating at your highest level.

This is the season where you are more concerned with the results than you are the plan simply because you’re so attached to making it happen period.

As I grow as an influencer and entrepreneur, I am currently in the transition phase of the Habit season to the Happen season. I am blessed to have a team and my goal as a leader is to put them in a position to execute at a high level where I am not needed at every single step. It’s so tough because after doing things for yourself for such a long time, you’re tempted to stay 100% hands on and hustle. But I didn’t work this hard and come this far to stay in the same season forever.

My goals is in the near future include having a full time photographer and videographer, an office and selling my own private label physical products including apparel and paper goods. Be sure to listen to episode 13 of this podcast where I share the 3 Business Goals I’m Working Towards To Help Me Grow This Year. I’ll be sure to link to it in the show notes. I’ve done the research to know what that will require on my end to make it a reality, I’m willing to do the work and I’m currently creating both the processes and routines needed for my employees when I do hire at a full time level.

While the 4 Seasons of Success are not easy seasons to navigate, they are required to become the most successful version of yourself.

Hopefully this episode has been helpful to you. If you like it, send me a message on Instagram @themattiejames letting me know that you listened and how it’s helped you.

If you love this podcast, please be sure to subscribe to it on iTunes and take the time out to rate it 5 stars and review it. I truly appreciate it.

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