“Real artists ship.”
– Steve Jobs
This article is for:
- Aspiring content creators
- Dreamers with big ideas still figuring out how to execute
- Anyone feeling “stuck” with a tendency to always be privately preparing but rarely publicly delivering
In this article, I share:
- Three strategies anyone can apply
- How to use these strategies to “invert” failure in this area
- How I’m personally using these strategies today
Tip #1 – Build One Thing (Sharing Your Journey)
If you have a problem starting and not finishing new projects (starting a new youtube channel, planning yet another new book idea), why not shift to focusing on building one thing: your online presence as a content creator sharing the journey?
Perhaps you have a tendency to set ambitious goals for yourself that take so long that you become a different person with different goals before you accomplish them.
What if you focused on sharing the journey as the main project, sharing your ideas and things you’re excited about learning along the way as your primary mode of online publishing?
How little would it matter if some idea you had for a big project never happened or evolved into something completely different when you’d have still successfully shared the greatest things of value with the world along the way regardless?
Shifting to building this “one thing” – your online presence as a content creator sharing your journey – can mean finally starting a project you commit to for the rest of our life!
If that sounds appealing, this might be the strategy for you.
It can also mean only needing to build one audience for the rest of your life! Something you can start doing even while figuring out what your area of focus or niche is (As opposed to starting over and struggling to build an audience from scratch with yet another new social media account or youtube channel again and again.)
Using Your Name <- Start Here
Consider organizing your online content using a website and social media accounts that feature your name (whether whole or in part). This can be much easier than coming up with a name broader enough that you’re unlikely to feel the need to change it and related logos, etc… a possibility for those brave enough to try.
Since my full name was taken as a dot com, I did this by using my initials in DJWCreates.com
Please don’t think this means you have to become another content creator guru focused squarely on broad education or that you can’t have creative projects all your own! If it was, I wouldn’t be interested in doing it myself.
Instead, this is about:
- Having a singular banner under which to feature your different projects (of whatever kind and focus you care to pursue)
- Seeing value in sharing as you go so the value isn’t lost that doesn’t make it into a finished product (optional but helpful to benefit others and build an audience along the way.)
You can gain a lot of momentum by literally “getting your crap together” in one place…
…by making your “one thing” project you as a content creator and inviting others to share your journey.
Tip #2 – MVP Everything
There’s a saying from the world of Tech Startup companies (popularized by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup):
Minimum Viable Product
The idea is to create the most basic version of an app idea and put it into people’s hands as soon as possible so that…
- You find out quickly if people even want it
- You don’t waste months or years paying a team to develop a more complete version of something no cares about
- You learn sooner if people use the app in a different way… and know if there’s a better overall direction for the project early on
Peter Sims, in his book Little Bets, shows that this concept is also used in other industries such as:
- Comedians testing new jokes on small audiences
- To eventually collect into a full routine for a recorded special
- Pixar testing different animation sequences with story boards in house, amongst employees
- Before using the best collected together for the actual animated film
You might not have the budget to pay for an app prototype and have it user tested or have a well financed animation company to privately test ideas internally amongst an army of employees.
But today, if you’re fortunate enough to be alive at this point in history, you do have the biggest network that’s ever existed at your finger tips: The Internet.
Minimum Viable Publish!
For aspiring content creators with a tendency to take on private goals that take so long, they often die in development, a more minimum or minified approach might be the answer.
The tech startups, big entertainment companies and the professional comedians don’t wait until they have a fully formed polished product to start socially sharing and testing their ideas – and neither do you!
And in fact, if you do wait… you’re going to have more work all the more to get what you’ve created in front of the right audience. When all the while, you could have instead been building an audience by sharing bits and pieces of what you’re working on along the way.
Ask: Is this the simplest way to express this idea a bit more fully?
Austin Kleon, in his book Show Your Work!, shares a similar idea of finding a way to share something small every day from your process be it something inspiring you, that you’re learning, your work process or rough drafts, the finished product or “deleted scenes” material, stories of people interacting with what you made, etc.
Whatever you do, if you’re on the path of building endlessly in isolation, please consider exploring another approach. The modern internet makes a very different path possible and the former approach arguably often just “old world” thinking worth leaving behind in the dust bins of history.
Tip #3 – Gamify the Process
One last disguise.
– Andrew Schwab, Spy Hunter (song)
If you’re like me, old habits can die hard and even a commitment to a new approach can breed opportunities for the trap of “endless tinkering” behind the scenes to take root.
For example, my goal of relaunching my online projects via DJWCreates.com nearly took my down that same path again via a desire to create the perfect website before being “ready” to start the new process of sharing the journey with “Minimum Viable Publish(es)” each step of the way.
That’s when I decided, I would MVP even work on my platforms, my website or social media accounts (Minimum Viable Platforming?) and could only “unlock” a new enhancements to them in exchange for new published content.
I like the analogy of video games where you complete a quest to earn gold that you can then use to upgrade your armor and the like here.
In any case, the idea is to ensure the tendency to fall into “endless private preparation” is short-circuited even with tasks that are by necessity “behind the scenes” (setting up web hosting, working on seo, etc) by coupling it with MVPs (Minimum Viable Publishes) that “unlock” the new background work – one minified enhancement at a time.
Bonus Tip – Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
One more tip for the road, don’t reinvent the wheel or try bring everything to the table!
Focus on bringing your unique contribution you’re passionate about to the table as simply as you can.
Avoid this trap by:
- Learn from others ahead of you to save time
- Re-purpose common solutions: templates, design patterns, etc
- Collaborate with those with the strengths you lack.