“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman
You have this big project you want to start. It will change your life. Well, maybe it will. You don’t know yet because you’ve never done anything like it before. But it seems that the only way to find out is to give it a shot and see what happens.
The problem is, even thinking about taking some real action towards your goal scares the crap outta you. It’s as if you were a child again, lying in the dark waiting for the monster to crawl out your closet. You’re terrified.
Yet there is this feeling in your gut that tells you that this might be an awesome adventure and lead to opportunities that you don’t even dare to dream about at this point.
Here’s the thing: You’ll never be a bestselling author if you don’t write that first book. You’ll never land your dream job if you don’t do the soul searching to figure out what you want. And in my case, you’ll never make a living from your blog if you don’t start blogging. Simple, eh?
But how on earth could little you dare to do something so bold, so big and so effin’ scary?
“This is too big for me”
That’s exactly what was going on in my head when I had decided to start a blog last spring. I wanted to write a blog that matters, that changes the world and allows me to make a living doing what I love.
This project scared the crap outta me.
Who was I, the broke 20 year old college student, to dare say I wanted to change the world? What if no one would care about what I have to say? And how on earth should I be able to deal with all those technical HTML weirdness that comes with blogging?
All I had was a burning desire to write about the topics that fascinated me most: “lifestyle design” (create a life on your terms) and “personal development” (grow as a person to live your best life) and world change.
Yeah, those were vague ideas at best. So…
If we’ve never done anything like it before, how dare we think we can make this work?
How can we be so foolish to even take the first step?
These kind of doubts arise naturally when you decide to do something meaningful. They have stopped countless people before you.
I don’t want you to be one of them.
Your dream is worthwhile it’s bold, brilliant and innocent. Taking the first steps and then sticking to it is hard, but you and your dream deserve it.
I’ve learned a thing or two about starting big scary projects as I launched Bright Little Socks. Today I’ll be sharing with you the key lessons I learned so you can go out there and create something meaningful.
The 5 essential steps to starting any meaningful project
Do you really want this?
Sometimes it’s easy to think that we want to do big bold thing x because we know it would make our daddy proud. The thing is, if you don’t really want this yourself, you’re going to burn out pretty quickly.We don’t want that. So take a moment (feel free to grab my best friend, Mr. Journal) to reflect on your WHY behind starting this project.
Don’t reinvent the wheel.
It’s unnecessary and takes more blood, sweat and tears than needed. No matter how out of space your idea is, there’s probably someone who has done something similar before.
Find the person who has done what you dream about and see if she has a process you can follow. If not, ask amazon’s book section.When I got serious about starting a blog in 2012, I bought a course on the exact topic by Corbett Barr. He had done what I wanted to do, so all I did was follow his action plans because I knew they would inevitably lead me to launching a decent blog.
Bottom line: You don’t have to do this all on your own. Find someone you can model and do it.
Limit the time you spend in research phase.
Maybe you’ve escaped into books and blogs to learn everything you can about your topic to be as prepared as possible. The problem is that most of us never stop preparing. Spend two weeks researching, find someone whose process you can model and then get to work.
Set deadlines and tell people.
It took me two months after I had setup my blog domain to finally commit to a launch date. Deadlines are scary things because they somehow make the project seem more real which can cause panic attacks.
Needless to say I had to push back the launch date twice, but without the deadline, I’d probably still be talking about launching my blog someday.
You can also tell 3 people you trust what you’re about to do, and of course tell the people you want to get advice from (only take advice from people who have done it before). This will give you a sense of accountability.
Just do it.
There’s no shortcut that allows you to skip this step. You’ll feel scared no matter how prepared you are. You don’t need to have it all figured out at the beginning. Clarity comes through action, not from thought. Get that? So take the first step, no matter how small it is. Then take the next one. If you fall behind and let the project slide, accept it and get back to work.
When I launched my blog on October 9th 2012 I was terrified. I had to take about 3746 deep breathes before I found the courage to remove the maintenance plugin and reveal it to the world. And guess what happened? Not that much. Then slowly people started noticing. I got my first comments, my first email from a subscriber and I could start to see where this project could be going.
Finally launching a project often feels like the end of the journey, but it’s really just the beginning.
You don’t need to have it all figured out. Clarity comes through action. So go take the first step.
Hi Iris! I love your blog, it’s pretty cool and .. different!
I’m actually one of your subscriber so no wonders I’m here reading this post.
I have been wondering one thing: I’ve already launched my blog and beforehands spent like 3 or 4 months reading about blogging, SEO, Internet Marketing … do you think applying to Corbett’s course would still be worthwile? I’m sure there will be many things to learn, but… I’ve already read quiet a lot about blogging, so …
sorry, I had to dig up your comment out of the spam folder. Not sure why this happened.
The question is: Have you also applied the things you’ve learned through your reading? In general I would always recommend to keep on learning. I’m always doing courses and learning new things.
I’m not sure which course you’re talking about, do you mean Start A Blog That Matters or fizzle? Both are absolutely worth their price, but fizzle is a much broader online education membership that will help you with all aspects of online business. I hope this was helpful :)
In the spam folder? Well thanks for digging it up! And i’m sorry to hear this, I swear to you i’m a regular human being with three arms and 12 fingers :D
I was talking about Start A Blog That Matters… But I heard a lot about Fizzle lately….
You’re totally right about always learning new things but what scares me is to learn something that totally invalidates what I did before – and thus I’d have to change everything in my blog for example ;)
Plus, there are so many offers, and it’s hard to choose the best one – although it’s true I’ve heard so many great things about Start A Blog That Matters :-)
Anyway, I might follow your advice :)
Thanks a lot Iris!!
I know what you mean, too many choices can be paralyzing. I think SABTM is a very good choice if you want to go over the basics again and also learn a little about how to take your blog to the next level.
Even if the course shows you that you’ve made some mistakes, once you implement some of the ideas and see the results you’ll be happy you very brave enough to take an honest look at your blog. :)
I’ll think about it :-) In case I decide to go go for it, any link of yours I could use?
Thanks so much for asking. :) I do have a link you can use: http://blils.corbonya.hop.clickbank.net/
Let me know if you decide to do SABTM. I’ve been digging it up and doing a lot of the work from the first weeks again to clarify the message of Bright Little Socks. It’s an amazing resource. :)
Congratulations! It can be tough deciding to start but running a blog, no matter what your definition of success is, can be incredibly rewarding. As someone who’s trying to accomplish the same thing I commend you. Keep killing it! Subscribed.
Thanks a lot, Joshua :)
Blogging is incredibly rewarding and such an adventure! It’s one big experiment and I guess that’s what I like about it.
Good luck with your own adventures.
Again very straight forward and to the point. Thank you Iris. You’ve given back my courage.
This is so good to hear Wieke. Keep going for your dreams and let me know what you need, maybe I can help.
Enjoyed the post. Getting a blog going, like any worthwhile adventure in life, is built on loads of tiny decisions and tiny actions. The trick is not to get stuck, enjoy the scariness and keep doing things that move you forward.
Very well said!
Great advice! I always get caught up in research. I might be the worlds best researcher by now ;)
Dreaming and thinking of what you’re gonna do is so much easier (and safer?!) then actually doing it!
Dreaming about what you wanna do is easier, but doing it is a lot more rewarding. And daily babysteps really are the secret to success.
And I know you can do it! So take those steps :)
Just wanted to let you know I really like your blog!! – I actually commented on this article but I think you didnt approve my comment for whatever reasons :-(
Anyway, keep the good job!!
Thanks for reaching out to me, Nicolas. I looked through 120ish spam comments and was so happy when I found yours!
Thanks for looking :)
I needed to see this now more than ever, lol. I started a science page on facebook in November, mostly for fun, but also because all of the other science pages were just reposting stuff and not explaining anything. Unfortunately, my page didn’t seem to take off well (only half of the people on my friend list even bothered to check it out). I know science isn’t for everyone, but that’s why I tried to make it fun. I sort of burned out on it and got busy with school. I’ll have to take your advice and try and model some other people and see if my page grows that way. As always, I love your blog and I think you’re amazing!! :)
I love the idea of heavy science made lighter. If you wanna get serious about it, I suggest that you check out sites like thinktraffic.net to learn how to get people to your site. It will most likely take off if you commit yourself to it and take the right action. :)