Don’t wait too long to get started, especially in launching your initial offer. As Reid Hoffman once famously said, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
00:17 Nanci: And we are live—here we are with episode 6. I’m Nanci Murdock one of your hosts. I’m here with my co-host Julian Haber. How are you doing today Julian?
00:27 Julian: I’m all right, hey there Nanci.
00:28 Nanci: I heard a rumor that you’re going to Florida tomorrow?
00:32 Julian: The rumor is true.
00:35 Nanci: Very lucky, very jealous I am because it’s pouring rain here in Montreal. It’s been so snowy and icy like you said when you arrived, hope this rain washes away all the snow.
00:45 Julian: So this episode is called “Start Early” or on my side ‘Why I wished I started early.’ Which every single time I finished a huge project I think to myself ‘Why didn’t I start it earlier?’ It wasn’t as hard as I thought. So do you want to get into it? We will start with ‘the adopting like a start early’ mindset.
01:08 Julian: I want to ask you something Nanci, Why didn’t you start early in the first place? What are the projects that you wanted to start early on?
01:16 Nanci: I think the projects that I wish that I started earlier on are the big creative projects that I always wanted to, whether it’s writing a book that one’s I still wish that I’ll start that one. But more like starting my blog, my online course, really promoting myself as a web developer. I think when it comes down to like, Tim Ferriss has this quote that a person’s success in life can be measured by the number of difficult or uncomfortable conversations that they are willing to have. I remember hearing him say that and thinking that’s me because I don’t like uncomfortable conversations, I don’t like conflict, and I will do almost anything to avoid them.
02:01 Julian: And you could say that’s not just about the conversation with somebody else but just being uncomfortable with yourself.
02:07 Nanci: Just feeling uncomfortable and so when I say I was going to write my first blog post. I would start it and all the doubts, you know if this boss reads it what he’s going to say? Is this offend a family member? One of the interesting things you’ll find because I remember when this happened you’ll publish your first blog post and no one will read it. You hit that button, and you suddenly think that the phone’s going to start ringing, no it takes a long time. We’ll it did for me anyway for the traction. At that point, I thought you know, this wasn’t so bad anybody that I was afraid of reading my blog post didn’t read it and the fact also some people that did read it. I had totally overestimated any judgment or criticism people just aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are. People are thinking about, what people are thinking about them.
03:00 Julian: It’s just like when you go to a party, when you’re a teenager everybody is so concern about the way they look and everybody is worried about the zit at the end of their nose and whatever it is, and you realize that everybody in the room is thinking more about themselves that about other people.
03:12 Nanci: Yeah exactly, same thing. What did I do when I felt uncomfortable? I spent more time choosing my fonts. I redesigned my website themes several times. I took on client work instead of working on, you know one of my quotes that I like to use a lot is ‘if you don’t build your business someone will here to build theirs’ and I’ve fallen into that trap. Not that there is anything wrong we want to run successful freelance businesses, but for me, It wasn’t mine. My goal was to start and sell a creative project of my own and so because that was so uncomfortable for me it was easier to do client work.
03:54 Julian: And I think that’s like Seth Godin calls that hiding or fake problems and I think what happens, what holds people back at the beginning of any project that is really about themselves, defining themselves and a creative project or a business project that’s entrepreneurial.
04:11 Nanci: Putting yourself out there.
04:12 Julia: Exactly, you hide in the busy work and you create these false obstacles for yourself like I don’t have enough money to start or I don’t have the right creative space to work in or I don’t have the time of the day, this are all fake problems. You can get started, our whole objective here is to get you started, maybe by the end of this episode you be ready to start your first blog if you hadn’t started one already.
04:39 Nanci: I hope so because it’s not that hard to get up and get going. I know when we first started talking about this Julian, and I was talking to you about feeling uncomfortable one of the things that you had said about the MBA and the photographer analogy.
04:54 Julian: So why didn’t I start early? What I wanted to start on probably twenty years ago was writing a book and becoming a photographer. I was always attracted to the creative fields, but I lacked the confidence that those were viable career options. Which isn’t I guess a bad idea? You can tell your parents you want to become a freelance writer, most parents will tell you don’t do it but I have lacked the conviction in myself, and I didn’t believe that the possibility existed that one could make a living as a freelance professional photographer for example. So I did all kinds of things, I mean talked about busy work, I went and did an MBA which was the ultimate in busy work at great expense in both time and money. And got absolutely nothing out of it except debt and a wife but that doesn’t count.
05:50 Nanci: One of the things I want to talk about a little later in the episode is everything happens for a reason and its own time.
05:57 Julian: Let’s say that the goal of the defining myself by getting an MBA so I could have some big MBA qualification that would give me a good job was funded in fear. Rather than choose myself and be what I wanted to be, which was a photographer because I didn’t believe in that or I didn’t believe that possibility existed. I went and did something that everybody in the world would say that’s a good idea, that’s great, you’ve got the MBA qualification now you’re serious about your business, but it was a total complete waste of time. If I could take back the clock ten years, I would cut that all and start doing what I’m doing now, but it took me several years really to not be really about what I am.
06:40 Nanci: and have the confidence to say ‘Hi, I’m Julian. I’m a professional photographer and a writer. Julian: Exactly. Nanci: All right, so there’s a little about our history and why we wish we started earlier and why we didn’t. For our personal reason’s start earlier. So, how do you start early? If your story is a little about our story. What are some things that we can talk about today to maybe help move through any friction that you’re having about getting started?
07:05 Julian: Well I think one thing we can look at is the simple start. A lot of work gets held back because you start to go to many steps in the future of what it is your trying to do. Take writing a book, for example, you’re thinking about the complete finished product and the outline and the structure that you need to have to call it a book. It can be debilitating. Starting small, set yourself a goal of 500 words a day, that’s one page that can take you two hours, an hour, six hours but give yourself very specific small goals and then start doing it immediately.
07:40 Nanci: I’ll break that down one step further. I’ve started to do it on a small scale myself. It’s to start getting publish at Entrepreneur or Ink or Huffington Post. If you write a blog post or an article and you can start to see even on your blog or at the Huffington Post, you start to get feedback on your article and then you can sort of gauge the level of interest of those blog post or articles can go on and become chapters. This is just kind of goes back to what we were talking about in episode three of a Minimum Viable Product. If you’re going to, in Julian’s example- write a book, how can you break that book up into very small chunks and start getting feedback right away from day one on the material.
08:24 Julian: Also practice in putting it out there. I mean all creators love to get feedback, well they say that they do, but they don’t want to hear negative feedback. But the reality is like you may publish as you said earlier and there is another platform for writing called Medium which a lot of writers use, and it’s a great way just to get out there, it’s a simple interface. You may publish a post and get no feedback, although that does tell you something it’s not the complete story because part of the practice of becoming you know faking it to making it, becoming what you say you are is doing it. So publishing a post and putting it out there regardless whether you get feedback or not is already moving you in the right direction because you’re getting practice in hitting the button and doing what you said you are going to do.
09:12 Nanci: I think that’s better than what I said. Because it’s about hitting the button and what I meant feedback, I’m not sure I ever got any actual feedback. What I got was the feedback loop that people were reading it because in the author box at Huffington Post there’s a link back to my website. There was always a small spike in traffic on my website, and so I was like okay people are reading the article and liking it enough to click through to my website and read more, that was the encouragement that I needed to keep writing more.
09:46 Julian: Yeah, I think that serves as to tie you into reality. Meaning at the beginning of every self-designed life, every creative project there’s that moment where you’ve not started, you have no track record, there’s nothing behind you. Everything that you’re going to do is this imaginative projection. You’re going to become a writer, you’re going to become an entrepreneur, but you’re not yet, and people get stock at that moment, they get stock there, and they could get stuck there for a decade. I think the real trick is faking it to make it. Take your page from eightyeight you need to act as if you are ready the thing you’re trying to become. Say it, be it, and then start doing it by publishing every day or shifting it, as Seth Godin would say. Whatever that is, if it’s a blog post or working on your e-project by breaking it down to a specific task that you’re on every day. You’re doing it, and then you’ve tied your dream into a real practical, something you could put your hands around that other people can look at and comment on. It gives you that confidence that grounds you in the sense of ‘yes I am it.’ I’m not just becoming it, but I am it.
10:58 Nanci: So to summarize, it comes down to confidence, faking it till you make it, willing to feel uncomfortable and push through any discomfort and starting small. The Minimum Viable Product idea of before I write a book maybe I could write a blog post. Then if you write a series of blog post or articles by the time you are ready to hit the button to publish the actual book the fear so much more minimize. You’ve been hitting the button over and over again for months or a year or two and not only that you could have and an audience waiting to receive your book like Julian’s writing a book right now ‘Gigonomics‘ and we’re gonna be talking about it in this podcast. His writing about it on Linked In, I mean Julian is not the greatest example because Julian’s already a writer and he feels like a writer. Even though I’m saying it for him, Julian is a writer. My point is by publishing on Linked In, Linked In the post and writing about it on his blog his pre-marketing for his book. His not seating in a room, hiding, just writing nonstop with these negative thoughts in his head and feeling uncomfortable and lacking the confidence, step by step his moving forward. When he finishes the book, it’s not going to be a big uncomfortable step for him to hit that last button and release his book into the world.
12:17 Julian: Thank you, Nanci. I think you said some interesting things and one of them is not hiding. I think you should identify behaviors where you see that you’re creating work for yourself because you’re avoiding the uncomfortable work that you should be doing. Wherever you can identify that, stop doing it and move to the uncomfortable thing. What we’re talking about is building up a habit, in the endeavor that you’re trying to achieve, success in. You want to build up the habit of writing, and you want to build up the habit of doing what it is that you’re going to be doing.
12:50 Nanci: Taking photographs, graphic design whatever you’ve decided is your new slash. Build up the habit each and every day, five minutes a day, ten minutes a day of becoming and feeling like you are already that slash. Just a strategy that I’ve used because it’s a constant struggle. It’s not like one day you feel uncomfortable with this comfort and the next day it’s gone, and it’s a constant struggle for me. What I do now is I break, will do a whole episode on productivity and focus but I break my day up into ninety-minute chunks. The first ninety minutes has to be the money task, the creative thing or the project that I’m working on that feels hard. After I do that ninety minutes and half way through I may take a small break, but just five minutes, I can’t do anything else, I can’t design a new logo for myself or choose a font or redesign my website. I cannot do anything else or even take on client work until my ninety minutes is done. That’s the only thing that works for me is forcing myself into that structure.
14:02 Julian: And doing the creative thing first I think is critical. It’s proven; actually, there’s a book, there’s a way your brain works if you do creative work early in the morning before you do anything else it improves your productivity and your creativity throughout the rest of the day. So even when you switch from that prime creative task which you are focusing on, you’re going to have that energy, you’re going to have unlocked more potentiality of your own brain.
14:30 Nanci: I thought it was the relief. The relief that carried me through the end of the day but it’s a thing? Good to know
14:38 Julian: That maybe part of it but I think that’s a really good point that you know take the first hard thing that you have to do and do it first. Don’t avoid it. Most people, there are people who are nighthawks but the vast majority of successful creative people writers, entrepreneurs anybody who’s doing something that we can name. They get the work done in the morning.
15:01 Nanci: Exactly, so to sum up what we’ve said. We both regret deeply in my case, not starting earlier in some important creative projects. I’m 46 years old, and a lot of what I’ve accomplished and I’m accomplishing now, I wish I had done it at twenty-six, One thing I want to summarize is everything happens for a reason and in its own time. There are so many aspects of my life, tools that are available now. Julian was just talking about the studies that are being done on the brain and how are brain works that everything is happening now and I try not to regret. I don’t think there’s any point in regret, I started, I’m doing it, and I hope that for you as well. It’s never too late to start anything, and you’re never fully ready.
15:48 Julian: You know, regret is a negative emotion and regret for time wasted is really just, you need to convert that to energy for the work you have yet to do, and I believe the best is always yet to come and the key point here for me doesn’t wait if you’re seating on the wings right now, you’ve got an idea or you’ve got a passion or you’ve got a desire for change, however, undeveloped or ill-defined it is that’s your starting point, that’s the spark. Use that spark to light that fire within yourself and go at it. You can make something that’s crude and ugly and rough and put it out there and be embarrassed by it, and that’s fantastic because you’ve started. The next day you’ll fix it, you’ll chisel off the bits that don’t look so great, and you keep going in, keep iterating until you get something that you’re not embarrassed about and then you know you’re on first based and then you kept pushing it forward and pushing it forward. The waiting for your ready, waiting for the perfectionist out there that’s a deathly embrace. If you’re waiting for perfection unless you are truly a perfect specimen in which case, please promote Gigomomics the book. You never going to feel a hundred percent ready. I have a wonderful father-in-law named Otch who is German, and he often has a little phrases that are translated from German into English that make perfect sense, and of course I’m going to vouch up his Otch-ism but he says ‘There’s never a good time to have a baby or start a new job, you’ll never gonna feel a hundred percent ready for what it is you are about to accomplish ignore that feeling, push on, get started’.
17:23 Nanci: Exactly, if it’s an issue of tools and money take a page out of Julian’s book. You want to start writing, and you do not know how to set up a blog, start on Medium. Medium is free, and it takes about thirty seconds to open an account, you want to take pictures, cannot afford an expensive camera, grab an iPhone. I think we’re ready, to sum up, build habits, start now, be willing to be uncomfortable and feel the confidence because you can do it. Don’t wait. Start now.