I am my own worst enemy at times. I have so many ideas that I want to work on but many of them never see the light of day, even less of them make it to a note in an Evernote notebook. Over the years I have somehow led myself to believe that if I am going to execute on an idea that I have to have time to give it 100%. When I start on an idea, it has to be polished and up to a level of quality that I feel acceptable. Even if I do start on an idea, it has to be top notch, or it will sit in a folder on a hard drive until it is too out of date to be relevant.
Here is a prime example: Almost two years ago, I put up a free photography course on an online educational site called Udemy.com. The course took off pretty quickly gaining hundreds of new students each week. It was pretty cool. The course was geared at the type of person I encounter at weddings and events who chat me up about photography. I never would have thought that photographers and photography enthusiasts of all levels would end up taking this course. I should have started engaging with the students of my course right away. I should have gotten started on producing more content, but I told myself that I didn’t have the time to work on that. I love teaching. I really enjoy helping people do something new. I am a problem solver. I could have been almost two years into building a community of photography enthusiasts around the photography and life through the lens. Almost two years later, I am just getting started on that path. I have created a Facebook Group and a Podcast that I am using to get started. My podcast is on episode four, but it could have been on episode 204 by now.
Getting started is the hardest part because we tell ourselves that we will get started right after we finish “x.” Whatever “X” is, is our excuse. X is always standing in the way, or at least that is how we make it seem. X is not really in our way and it would gladly share it’s time with us so we could work on a new passion or idea. X is actually us. We get in our way and we need to learn how to stop doing that so we can try new things.
I have wanted to start taking a spin class again, get to the gym at least 3 times each week, ride my bike more, get back into golfing, take my go-kart to the track at least once a month, do more activities with my kids and take my wife out on more dates, but I get tired. I let myself get tired and I give myself excuses. After enough excuses, that tiredness becomes routine and routines are hard to break.
As a website designer and online marketer, I have spent the last ten years building websites for small businesses and non-profit organizations. I have poured countless hours of ideas into my clients. I want to see each of them succeed so I don’t just build what they ask for, I coach them along through the process. I learn what it is that they want to accomplish and I set them up with the tools they need to achieve that. From these ideas I have drafted over a dozen small business courses I have wanted to record and publish online. I have ideas for just shy of 20 Ebooks. Some of these ideas are now common practice.
This blog has been a hundred or more things since I first launched it in 2005. It has been a journal, a marketing website for my website design services, a photography website, a photo blog, and now it’s back to being a regular blog again. I have used it to post about whatever is on my mind at the time and I don’t make it here often enough. I often think about this blog and wonder what I should do with it. I get stuck in the mindset that everything needs to be specific and this blog is anything but.
I am going to set a new goal for myself and it starts right here with this post. My goal is to work on ideas regardless of the amount of time I can give to them. You never know if an idea has any weight to it unless you get started. I have started to work on ideas in the past only to toss them but I would have never known if it was a good idea or not if I had not started on it. The only reason I am able to provide for myself and my family is because I started on an idea. The reason I will be celebrating my 15th year as a self employed entrepreneur next year is because I chase ideas. The idea I started on almost 17 years ago is no where near what I am doing today, and that is ok. Ideas come and they go, but if you never start on one you will never know what it could become.
I have wanted to start a blog focused on turning ideas into a business for a long time. So many of my clients over the years had an idea and came to me to help them market that idea. I have also done the same thing for myself several times. I have been a retail store owner, online store owner, website designer, professional photographer, speaker, videographer, blogger, podcaster and several other things. All of them started as an idea and either became something or was put aside to work on something else. The most important thing that has happened as a result of any idea I gave a moment of my time to is that I learned something new. When we are trying things, we are learning. Even if we fail at it, we are learning. Some of the best lessons come from having tried something. The outcome is not as important as the lessons learned. It’s easy to get hung up with other things and forget to try new things.
Though this is not the place I envisioned blogging about business, this is where it will start. As with many of my other ideas, I should have started this years ago. All of the emails, text messages, conversations over coffee and lunch should have been an indication to me that I should have started this earlier. I don’t have all of the answers but I know a lot about business and online marketing. Beyond that, I have always had the desire to help other people. I want to see their ideas grow just as I want to see people learn more about their cameras through my Ditch Auto community. It will have to start here, on my blog, in my home office that is overtaken by my wife’s craft materials.
If I could offer any advice at all at this point, it would be to get started. Just as there is no perfect time to have children, there is no perfect time to start a new project. You will never be 100% prepared and if you wait for that perfect time to start, you will probably have missed the opportunity.