Starting is Hard
Getting started can seem so daunting you want to give up before you even start. In starting a life of freelance I’ve had to start a whole lot.
I’ve been working on my own website for quite some time and it probably took so long because of how hard it is to just start. For example, I wanted to use a new tool to build the site but I had to learn how to use the tool before I could implement it. Then I’ve got to actually design the thing which you’d think is simple cause you’re working for yourself. You quickly realize how little you know yourself and end up having to go on some journey to find your spirit animal.
“Doing something difficult requires us to hit the wall that feels uncomfortable, causes uncertainty, and makes the sweat pop out on our forehead. Sometimes the hard work requires us to do something we haven’t done before. Other times we’re using skills we already have, but the nature of the work requires decisions to be made as you build, and decisions are hard (what if I make the wrong one!). Having to make many decisions even harder.” —Chris Bowler
All of this work takes time and energy that you might spend doing something that’s already familiar and comfortable.
So why do we do it? Why push ourselves into new uncharted seas when the current stream is quiet enough?
Taking back control
I think for me part of it is taking back control.
One of my motivations for going freelance is taking back control. I’ve been working retail for nearly 8 years now, and I’ve worked at some pretty awesome places, but one thing is starting to wear me out is the fact that I can’t dictate my own schedule. I knew what I was signing up for but working evenings and weekends away from your family eventually breaks down your relationships and work-life balance.
“Evaluating where you’re at with yourself, regardless of how busy you think you are, needs to be a priority. If you are too busy to see you’re pretty much only doing shit you don’t like to do, you’re going to keep on doing that shit until it’s too late.” —Paul Jarvis
Getting started is all about pushing a bit further every day. It doesn’t have to be much but each contribution adds up.
Just Ship It
I’m a perfectionist. I find it incredibly hard to “just ship it.” I dwell on things for too long, making sure they are just right, but often by the time I make a decision, the moment has passed. I might not have actually made any better changes anyways! Breaking tasks down into smaller pieces, even if it doesn’t seem like it adds up to much, can make large tasks seem much easier to take on.
“A Minimum Viable Product isn’t about making a bad first product. It’s about focusing on what’s most important and what solves the problem you set out to in the quickest and easiest way. After that? Well, that’s when the fun begins.” —Mikael Cho
Learning to just let things go and to put them out there as a minimal viable product has really helped me to stay motivated, learn from feedback, and then reiterate on this to actually be productive.
Getting over the fear of failure
“…fear is a romantic fallacy that we appropriate to create inaction within ourselves, making actions seem as though they have insurmountable odds, so that we don’t even try. We feign safety; we remain motionless. With that we create depravity within ourselves, and we limit our own very potential in life.” —Sean Smith
Crippling fear of failure? I’ve got that. What if this doesn’t happen…what if this does happen?
So what? So what if you don’t succeed right away? At least you’re doing something different and hopefully more in line with your true goals. And heck, if the ship starts sinking you can always swim back to shore and regroup before venturing back out into uncharted seas. I’d rather be failing at something worth doing than succeeding at something I hate.
At some point you just have to start. It can be the smallest of steps or the largest of leaps but one way or another, if you ever intend to do something worth doing, you have to begin.
“Stagnating on an idea, or failing to act leads to anxiety, bitterness, and all around angst. We have to let that go, we have to act, we have to move forward. We have to recognize fear for the fantasy that it is, and act logically towards what will make our life, and those around us better in the end-game.” —Sean Smith