Why I Stopped my 100-day “Headline Challenge” without Regret

by Alessandro Perta

If you’ve been an early reader of Misfit Hustler, you know that I started a Headline Challenge.

The goal was to write 10,000 headlines – 100 headlines a day for 100 days.

But if you’ve found a link to this challenge and these headlines – in Google, Twitter or somewhere else – you might wonder:

“Wait, where are the headlines?”

Sorry, you won’t find them – I stopped doing this challenge.

And the reason I stopped after 18 days and 1,834 headlines is simple:

Writing these headlines took me way too much time.

The harsh reality is: your time is limited

A good writing session would take me 1 hour. Most of the time, it was more like 1.5 hours.

Add the time it takes to then:

  • re-read all the post and correct the typos
  • format the whole thing
  • create a thumbnail picture
  • post on social media
  • sending an update email to my list (I only did it twice, oops)

… and all of a sudden, I was looking at a 2-hour task per day. Every day.

And that’s not the problem, per se.

I’ve done many things at nighttime that took me 3-4 hours, like writing blog posts or editing videos. I still do.

But the problem with this challenge is:

The time I used to write these headlines is time I couldn’t use to write useful content.

And that’s a big no-no.

Misfit Hustler is set to become a business (at helping you build on online business). So I just couldn’t justify and waste time writing headlines for at least 3 more months straight.

This makes no business sense.

Because a good post takes me around 4 hours to write, it would have meant sacrificing 50 articles that could bring value to you in the long term.

These headlines? I doubt they would really teach you much (unless I told you how I wrote them, and why I wrote them that way).

Also, there are other things that are really important for me (and for growing my business), like reading more – both physical books and online courses I purchased the past few weeks.

So continuing to write these headlines meant sacrificing content creation and education… I don’t know about you, but to me, this sounds like a terrible trade.

What I learned by writing 1,834 headlines

Sure, I learned a lot. Mostly that:

  • I can pretty easily find ideas on topics who seem difficult to find headlines for
  • there are endless variations on the same basic selling proposition, it’s just a matter of digging
  • writing a few ideas down gives birth to a whole new set of (better) ideas

But I also learned that I don’t need to write 10,000 headlines to:

  • get the gist of it – after 10 days, I pretty much understood the mechanics. Use people’s most painful pains, trigger their curiosity, and do this in the least amount of words
  • become better at it – I will now try to come up with the best headlines for my blog posts and YouTube videos every time I need them (for myself and my clients), and accept they’re going to get better with time. Honing a skill is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • prove anything to anybody – I’m done with this stuff since a looooong time ago. I’m not 16 anymore (unfortunately)

But for me, doing this challenge for 18 days and deciding to stop it contains a broader, more important lesson in business:

Choose your battles. Stop what doesn’t bring value to your audience and focus ONLY on what does. All the rest is noise.

And after 18 days of writing headlines, this felt like noise.

Why this is a beginning, not an end

I have big plans for Misfit Hustler.

I gained a lot of clarity these past few days, and I now know exactly what this site is gonna be about (check out the homepage).

And because there’s so much stuff I want to talk about, so many tips I want to share with you and so many hours in a day, I just can’t afford to continue this challenge.

Yoda said: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

So I’m not gonna try to make this challenge work. I’m gonna choose to NOT do it anymore, so I can focus on what really matters.

Lesson learned.

So where do we go from here? Well, here is a much, much more interesting challenge (for you and I):

Write genuine, helpful content on this website on a regular basis.

No public tracking of this with a table of content, links and everything – that would be a waste of time – but this is my goal from today on.

Now THAT, to me, is a challenge worth pursuing!

I can’t wait to start.