We live in interesting times. The world’s information is at the end of your fingertips, and all you need is a computer (or a mobile device) and internet connection. I believe that this is an amazing opportunity to learn new skills, start creating cool projects and to keep growing. It would be a waste to let it slide!
So today I would like to share with you my personal experiences as a creator and my point of view regarding the process of starting your own project.
I hope that by the end of this post, you will be aching to start your own project TODAY.
You can learn anything by yourself!
I started my studies as an aspiring software engineer but ended up as a Multimedia Producer. My will to let creativity flourish was too strong, I think.
This change of career path gave me the basis to create pretty much anything media related, which seems pretty cool, right? Well it is, and sure, I learned a lot and created some cool projects, but at the end of the day, I still had to learn a lot of things by myself.
Hell, I can firmly say that I’ve learned the skills I use the most nowadays by myself, through the use of uncle Google.
Take web development, for example. Even though I had some lights about web development on my course, I ended up learning all the meaningful aspects of it by myself. Nowadays, that’s my specialty.
Another example is computer building and hardware maintenance. During my academic years, I ended up paying a lot for computer repairs (never lucky with technology), and so I decided to start learning hardware by myself.
After spending thousands of euros in hardware repairs, I sure had the motivation needed.
And you know what? This skill became really useful on my life! Hell, on my previous job, I was the go-to guy whenever a computer got problems.
Creating projects is the best way to learn
There is no way around it! Putting concepts and knowledge into practice gives you practical experience on whatever you are doing. This means that you can learn skills and create cool projects at the same time.
Let me give you an example.
When I started focusing my attention on Web Development after finishing college, I quickly noticed that I’ve lacked so much knowledge on how to create a finished website.
At that point, I knew I had to learn Bootstrap and improve my JQuery skills in order to get a job on this field. So, I decided to create my personal portfolio (now an old version of it) with this tech. I needed an online portfolio for myself, so win-win!
After that it was not long before getting a job that required precisely those skills I’ve been practicing on my website.
As you can see, you can start learning a skill by creating a project at the same time. I did it several times, and so can you!
Sure, your projects won’t have the same refined finish as if you had previous experience on that skill, but you can always start a project just for the sake of learning.
It’s awesome to bring your ideas to life!
For me, this never gets old! With the resources we have nowadays, it’s possible to materialize a lot of ideas, even crazy ones!
On my last year of college, I decided to work on holographic projections as my final project. I know what you are thinking, it’s not something like Iron Man’s projections or Star Wars’s. It’s more an illusion of one (using the pepper’s ghost experiment) than anything else, but the fact is that it was pretty cool to work on.
We ended up building a framework on Unity that allowed us to create projects of this kind on multiple platforms and with a lot of customization. Then we built an holographic projection device controlled by gestures with a Leap Motion for a craft beer bar.
Check it out!
Believe me, it’s fun to create!
I don’t know about you, but for me working on a new project is always exciting, and seeing results is even more!
One example of this is the HAR project you’ve watched previously. Even though this project was quite complex and challenging, I enjoyed every moment of it.
So much so that I felt many ideas flowing with each iteration: “What if we go ahead and build an FPS meter on the framework?”, “It would be cool for it to automatically adapt the graphic load depending on the device it’s on!”
This “nerdy dance” went on and on… and then four months passed by in a blink of an eye!
And I can firmly say, it was truly fun!
What is stopping you from creating cool projects?
Seriously, think about it…
What’s the worst thing that can happen while creating a project?
In the worst case scenario, you will trade your time for experience and new skills. I don’t know about you, but I think that knowledge is the best asset we have because we can do ANYTHING with it. We can even monetize it!
Oh, and the lack of time shouldn’t be a problem in the long term. If you dedicate just a little bit of time everyday to your project, you’ll see results for sure.
Recently I launched ethspecs‘s beta, a project regarding cryptocurrency that took me around 1.2 years to launch its first iteration.
Back then I was working on a full-time job that consumed most of my time, leaving me with just around 5 hours per day to take care of my home and maybe get sometime to work on my stuff.
Sometimes I was able to work on it, sometimes I wasn’t able to pick it up for weeks and months. But at the end, I was able to learn a lot with it and make something that I am proud of.
In most cases, you don’t need money to start creating your project, at least in the digital realm. But you’ll probably need money to launch it.
For example, in order to have your website online, you need a domain and a host, and this costs money. But you can develop it on your computer totally for free.
If your project is a design piece, you’ll probably need to spend money printing it. But you can start doing it for free on your computer.
My point is, even if you need money to launch your project, you’ll probably be able to develop it for free, and to me that’s the best part!
Either way, I see things like this: are you willing to spend money to give life to your creation? And if you need money to start creating your project, are you willing to invest on your idea and/or education?
Man, I’m too lazy to start… Not feeling like it… Just 5 more minutes.
I know really well the feeling, I was a master procrastinator once.
For some kind of unknown reason, it felt like washing dishes or cleaning the house become something really fun that has to be done before starting your project.
To solve this, I found out that if I force myself to open the software I need to start working, my procrastination goes away. I don’t really know how it works, but I’m doing this for some years now and it keeps working like a charm.
Also, motivation should be a really important factor on procrastination. If you are forced to do something, probably you will procrastinate. But if you are about to start your own thing, probably it would be easy to get rid of procrastination easier.
After all, starting your own project should be exciting, should it not?
Don’t have any ideas?
I think this is something most people struggle with.
Sometimes we feel the urge to start building something cool but it seems that we can’t find meaningful ideas.
Is it because we tend to try to invent the wheel? Well, it’s hard to come up with something completely new to build upon…
But you can always take an existing concept and give it your own twist, or find a certain need on a very specific niche and tackle it.
Also, you can get a lot of ideas by consuming content related to the field you going for.
Thinking too much on outcomes
Maybe this isn’t worth it… I won’t be able to accomplish this… I will just end up wasting time…
Let me just say that I know how it is, I am like this myself.
I spent my early 20s having lots of ideas and wanted to create things but ended up overthinking and coming up with excuses to not start working on my ideas. That’s not the way to go!
The ideal approach is to be able to plan ahead your project and to make it according to the plan, and there has to be a balance between these two components.
Since my problem was overthinking, one day I tried to focus more on building rather than planning ahead. And it worked!
So, for me it’s better to execute my ideas and see some kind of result than to keep things on my head.
And yes! Sometimes projects tend to be shallow when you don’t plan them ahead, but you can always review them while developing.
Oh and remember, you will never know if your project will succeed until you try!
What’s important here is to learn to take action, then you can adjust.
Don’t worry, be crappy.
In my opinion, creating cool projects may be the most awesome activity we can do with our time. You’ll be able to:
- Learn the hard skills you need for your project in a practical way;
- Learn skills like time and project management;
- Give life to your ideas;
- Develop concept building skills;
- Kick procrastination and overthinking in the butt;
- Have fun!
Now, are you excited to start working on your own stuff? If so, let me know!
Creator’s Keep is my way of sharing my knowledge and experiences with you about multimedia and digital creations, and hopefully to motivate you to create awesome stuff!
Maybe you’ll learn one thing or two and get some ideas for your projects, who knows?
So, stick around! Good things will come!