Starting A Project You’re Passionate About
Pick a Dream and Run
Before you get a project off the ground, it’s absolutely critical to have a project first. But where do you find the inspiration to start a project that you can actually follow through with?
When I first started working with Superhero Academy, I was inspired from a dozen fronts at once- I had just taken some of the biggest risks of my life, and was met by some of the most outstanding opportunities. Clearly, they paid off, because here I am a year later, thrilled to be writing this very article.
But while I was finding my focus, I had plenty of people in my life that had no idea what to do next. So I created The Slacker’s Guide to Getting Your S&*t Together.
Really, it’s ten simple steps to figuring out your passion and getting on the path to pursuing that successfully.
But for now why don’t we keep it simple- two easy rules to help you pick your first project.
Rule Number One: Start a Project You’re Passionate About
Maybe you already know what you’re passionate about. One student in the Academy, Jason England, is dedicated to soil free, low-water consumption agriculture which he calls The Drought Gardener system, because he wants to turn the tides on the issues caused by the massive droughts in the west. Another student, Michael Richardson, is passionate about jumping out of airplanes and conquering his fears.
Anyone can make money. It’s easy enough to monetize a junk content website through Google Adsense, or resell batches of bulk printed t-shirts with quotes you stole from memes. But to create a project worthy of an everyday superhero, one that you can really dedicate your time to and feel proud of its impact on the world, well…
Those projects thrive because of the passion behind them. Nobody wakes up saying, “I just don’t want to do this anymore,” and, in fact, they wake up everyday going, “How can I do this better?”
This dedicated vitality not only makes follow-through easy, but keeps you innovating, stepping up to challenges, and constantly trying to learn and improve your own skills in order to be worthy of the project you’ve embarked on.
Rule Number Two: Commit for Six Months
Some people just know what they want to do- but not everyone is like that. For some of us, we have a thousand hobbies and passions. We’re prone to even job hop a little, getting extremely excited about something one day, but switching to a new idea less than a week later.
The problem with this is two-fold; first off, you never really get anything done at all. But secondly, and often worse, you end up so scared of choosing the wrong project, that you end up choosing none at all.
The solution to this is simpler than you might think; pick one single project and draft out everything it would take to get to the minimum viable product– the smallest finished product that you can monetize or sell. Then, work on that project relentlessly for six months. If you get a new idea, jot it down in a notepad, and then return to work.
(Okay, so you might want to cheat and commit to three months if you can get something substantial done in that time. Create your own rules, but stick to them!)
After six months, you should have something to show for your efforts, and then you get to ask yourself the golden question, “Is this what I want to be doing?”
The reason this strategy works is because you never over-commit; starting a million projects never threatens to consume your life, and it never excludes your other passions. In six months, you get to see what you’re really capable of with a single idea, what it can earn you, and whether you love it or not. Even better, if you’ve documented the process properly, then by the time you’ve hit this point, you’ll already have an audience that can tell you if you’re on the right track or not.
You always have something to show for your labor, and you’re never wasting time with indecision.
Starting Somewhere- Let’s Get Some General Skills
If you read through the first section and still feel stumped, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you need to sit around and worry yourself to death about what project you should start.
Honestly, you might even start helping someone else with their project before you work on your own. That’s what I did, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
Can I be happy working for someone else when I claim to be an entrepreneur? Though the textbook definition disagrees with me, I don’t see any contradiction with starting by working on somebody else’s project and being an entrepreneur.
The point in creating your own path is having the ability to choose your own opportunities. Foe example, educating and inspiring people to become their best self fits my passion; I wrote the Slacker’s Guide before I knew what Superhero Academy even was, after all.
But most importantly, it has given me the chance to practice first-hand the skills that I need to start my own project down the line. Plus, while I’m focusing on honing my best skills, I don’t need to be distracted by all of the various elements of founding a company or starting a project; team-building, product pitches, marketing, etc.
I just have to learn to be great at what I want to do.
So if you’re stuck between passions, or you don’t know what you’re passionate about at all, ask yourself that question; what skills do I need most to help me start my project?
You can never go wrong with basic entrepreneurial skills, and you’re already in the right place for that. In the next few articles we’ll cover how to build an audience, how to get funding, how to sell a product, and even how to automate your business so you can scale it up.
But what about studying skills more specific to your craft?
The trick is to find a professional to work with or learn from, or to find somewhere to practice.
For example, if you want to educate, practice answering questions on a platform like, Quora.com, or study answers from people who make their living doing what you want to teach. Or, if you want to build or design houses, go work with a construction agency or study with some architects.
And did I mention Superhero Academy boasts a 52 class course on everything you need to know about starting a project, creating value, and making money?
Someday, your dream project might fall into your lap- you should be doing everything you can to be the person ready to handle it when it does.
A Jack of All Trades is a Master of None
I don’t want to give the impression that all you should be focusing on is picking up any and all skills that come your way. Not that those extra skills will hurt or won’t come in handy, but your focus, once again, should be on pursuing your passion with vigorous dedication.
Remember that when you really get started on your project, you’ll have a team of specialists to support you in your endeavors.
Then ask yourself- ‘What will I be the specialist in?’
And while you’re thinking about that, ask yourself this as well: ‘If someone were to hire me for this position right now, would I be qualified ?’
Think of this as the other side of the general skills discussion. You want to be ready to do as much for your company’s needs as possible, but you also want to make sure that you’re an expert in what you’re bringing into the world.
Think about any Superhero that you loved growing up (or still love)! Spiderman is known for slinging webs, The Flash is known for being the fastest in the world, Sentry is known for his strength of 10,000 burning suns…
The point is, they specialize. Each hero had something iconic about him. Not only does specialization help with branding, but it also helps you understand where your strengths and weaknesses are.
And if you know your strengths, you know exactly what features of your project you should be responsible for starting and running in order to guarantee they’ll be successful.
And if you know your weaknesses, you know exactly which team members are most important to recruit to help ensure that those don’t become your achilles heel.
Trust Your Team
As you start your project, nothing is more crucial than forming a team you can trust without question. You now know what you want to do, and what you’re able to do on your own, but if your team can’t cover your weaknesses, how will it ever get off the ground?
It’s not uncommon for skilled people to back down from starting their dream project because they don’t think they have all the skills to make it work on their own.
Maybe you are an excellent salesman- you could get a grandma to buy a racecar and thank you for it later- but you have no skill at marketing.
Well, you can’t very well sell a product if you have nobody to sell it to.
The first step to building a team is creating an honest analysis of your personal skills, your project’s needs, and any skills you already have covered by existing partners.
What obstacles are the most intimidating between you and your minimum viable product? If, like we mentioned before, you are great at sales but horrible at marketing, then you know you need to hire or recruit a specialist.
If you know that your audience is online, but you don’t know how to make a website, then start looking for a web designer.
Interview each potential team member, make sure that they understand your vision, what their responsibilities are, and have the skills to accomplish those. From there on out, it’s all project management, which we cover in-depth in the Academy’s class by the same name, and will touch on briefly in a future article.
You’ll know you have your basics covered when you wake up in the morning knowing exactly what you have to do, and you don’t waste all of your time worrying about everything else that needs to get done.
A team that’s as passionate about your vision as you are will carry you through the hard times. They’ll even get you over the six month hump when you’re wondering whether you should back out.
There’s no glory in being a solopreneur. Share your success, and your team will be there to share theirs right back.
Time and Scope are Your Biggest Enemies
A word of advice for starting your forthcoming project; there are enemies lurking in the shadows before you even have the first concept written down.
Every project requires a certain amount of time and effort to accomplish. That’s the whole reason we start with a minimum viable product, after all.
You might be really passionate about architecture, so you might dream of the greatest building in the world. It’ll have everything! Three hundred stories tall, with slides between floors and swimming pools on every fifth and… Well, you get the picture.
Remember that honest assessment of our skills we talked about earlier? Think about how much work you actually get done in a week. More importantly: How much work your team can get done in a week.
Then look into your savings and think about how long you can afford to pay yourself, or your team, without seeing any revenue coming into your project.
If you don’t set a project scope that’s clear enough and reasonable enough to turn a profit by that deadline, you risk having to abandon the project altogether, or watching your trusted partners run off to greener pastures.
This doesn’t mean don’t dream big- it means that you need to figure out how to turn your big dream into smaller pieces. Perhaps you don’t start with the skyscraper- but every time you hit your six month goal, you scale your company up, you move your ambitions to your team’s new limits, and you get a little bit closer.
And don’t worry- you’re not alone. Every step you take, Superhero Academy will be here to help you get ready for the next one.
What if you really need to get some more eyes on your project now that you’re getting it started? How could you possibly build up an audience to spread your ideas, buy your products, or fund your work?
Click here to find out 😉