4 Things I wish I knew about starting a passion project
April 20, 2016 at 4:30 am
You don’t need to be rich to begin
There are so many free online resources available to the hustlers and dreamers looking to turn their passion projects into full-time jobs. It’s assumed that without the backing of some anonymous billionaire, projects can’t take off. That couldn’t be further from the truth. An entrepreneur who makes a way out of no way—who turns rotten lemons into a delicious lemon meringue pie—that’s someone to respect. Use websites such as Skillshare and Canvas to boost your proficiency, and push yourself to the next level. At this point, one can basically do a free PhD from home, pajamas and all, so there’s no excuse. More often than not, your team will be small. As a result, you won’t have the luxury of saying: “I only do graphic design” or “I’m not familiar with editing, so I’ll leave that to you.” One of the most beautiful, and challenging parts of working in a startup is that the whole comfort zone thing is a non-factor: You can, you will and you definitely should get experience in every aspect of the business. You’ll have time to specialize later on in the game; however, now is the moment to simply get it done.
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There’s no perfect time to start
“I’ll just wait until there’s more of a market.” “Maybe after I finish school.” “It’s not a good time.” Sorry to break it to you, but there’s never a good time to risk it all and pursue a new venture. The time you spend waiting and pacing the room doubting your project’s potential, someone else is diving in headfirst. Don’t sleep on your ideas and expect others to seek you out. If you won’t take a chance on yourself, how can you expect others to acknowledge your art? Be your own cheerleader. Be your own fan. You’ll see, as long as the product matches the hype, others will happily follow suit.
People will try to undermine your work
Many will try and minimize the effort and work you put into your passion project by calling it a ‘hobby’ or a ‘phase.’ You and I both know that passion + hard work with a dash of luck is how some of the greatest companies on the planet were created. They’ll try to downplay your efforts and the time you dedicate to your craft because at your current stage, you’re not what they deem ‘successful.’ Those same people will be the ones proudly relaying the story of how they met you to strangers. They’ll also be the ones asking for advice later on. Passion projects and startups are much more intense than hobbies, or even 9-to-5 jobs. Why? People who trade safety and security for spontaneity and possibility are not in it for the money; they’re in it because their heart and their mind are pulling them toward a goal. Passion projects become careers. Startups aren’t startups forever. You don’t need their approval to be great. Nor do you need their permission to carry on. Let them call it what they may: What matters most is that you continually manifest success and positivity. Have tunnel vision, because at the end of the day, semantics are just that.
Relationships may suffer
The funny thing about passion and love is that sometimes it’s all-consuming. With matters of the heart, things can get tricky. Activists, writers, creatives, entrepreneurs; the one thing they all have in common is that they treat their projects like a baby. They nurture, care for, and spend time growing their craft. As a result, other relationships might fall further into the background. It can, at times, seem like a juggling act; however, those who know and respect your cause will understand. Fortunately for me, I happen to be working with one of my best friends, so I’m not a complete work-a-holic hermit. On the other hand, this might not be an option for everyone, especially those setting out on solo ventures. There’s going to be jealousy, envy, misunderstandings and even people feeling left out. Try to be empathetic and handle the situation with as much care as possible. We don’t work ‘normal’ hours.
We don’t take days off (most likely because we don’t want to) and yes, we’re in love! But at the end of the day, a passion project is only great if, in the end, you can share it and celebrate with the ones you love.
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid, Spain. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle. Reach her on Facebook, Twitter: @MorenasdeEspana, or Instagram: @lasmorenasdeespana