Translation of an article by Vladimir Kudinov about the importance of one’s own projects for a designer’s career.
Hello dear reader!
Today I will tell you the hard truth about your side project. Rather, about why you do not have it.
I work as a creative director at Designmodo and know how to create great designs. But since I have no programming experience, I cannot do web projects on my own. I can draw any layout in Sketch, but in this world there is no reality in which I could bring my design to life without the help of a developer. Sounds unfair, right?
I moved to Los Angeles about a year ago. There are no other seasons here except summer. Every day, the same pleasant picture is before your eyes: lush greenery, the sun and a blue gradient in the sky. Here in California, you forget about hundreds of little things that your head used to be stuffed with: buying clothes for the winter, seasonal holidays and gifts, spring drafts and autumn slush – when the seasons are taken away from you, you just stop thinking about it.
Malibu, California, 2016
One day I realized that I no longer want to live among the far-fetched worries and mini-goals that New York, the city in which I have lived for three years, has awarded me. Now that a lot of unnecessary “thoughts” have disappeared, I can finally concentrate on my real goals. And you know what? I realized that I simply do not have them. What have I done to achieve new success? What have I learned to be more productive and smarter? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
If you do not have enough knowledge, then you can replenish it through self-study
This became a point of no return for me – I realized that it was time to change. I don’t want to watch my life go nowhere. I want to consciously spend my time on something really worthwhile. I want to make more money than I do now. I want to implement my ideas on my own. And I don’t want to be the guy who just draws website layouts anymore.
I decided to change myself and my life. And he did it. But more on that later, and now let’s talk about you.
I know that you have heard many stories of successful side projects and dreamed of doing something like this yourself someday. But all the dreams ended up breaking up on a bunch of problems, and you immediately found a bunch of excuses for yourself. I think you will find one of them in this list:
- You have a permanent job and absolutely no time for side projects.
- You are a developer and you need the help of a designer. Without it, you cannot realize your idea.
- You are a designer, and without a developer you cannot make your project.
- You think that you lack creativity to generate ideas for a project.
- You have a lot of stunning ideas, but you need money to implement them.
- You have ideas and desire to do something, but you don’t know where to start.
All these excuses are familiar to me. But if you get to their essence, then inside each of them is fear: fear of starting something new and still incomprehensible; fear that you just can’t handle it. Now add a good dose of constant procrastination to this cocktail, mix everything, drink and never think about your future seriously again.
But if you don’t like this prospect, then just give it up! You have reached the point where you understand that you have to change your life, habits and daily routine. And you cannot leave this decision for tomorrow, because this “tomorrow” may come in a month, a year, or even a dozen years. So make up your mind and welcome aboard!
But back to my story. To get off the ground, I started watching video tutorials and taking free courses on Ruby on Rails and HTML / CSS layout. I have read many books on productivity, launching projects and marketing – there are dozens of them. Along the way, I developed my own Learn & Earn methodology, which increased my productivity and knowledge exponentially. I spent only one month learning all aspects, but this month of effort and practice turned me from a person who draws pictures to a developer who can start my project from scratch.
It was a difficult task, but I cannot describe to you in words what it meant to me to launch my project! That was incredible!
My first project was a small site for designers Color Slap, where I screwed up the admin panel with the functions of adding and removing colors, queuing them up for publication, and so on. I made this project in just a few days and, having killed the habits of a perfectionist, immediately launched it.
Continuing to learn Ruby on Rails and CSS, I soon launched another project – Yotti. It helps to solve the problem of finding a gift for people with a wide variety of hobbies: designers, cyclists, gamers, travelers. The development of this site was a real challenge for me. But I can’t find the right words to describe the feeling of starting my own project. This is a real euphoria mixed with fear. I drew the design, wrote the code, got the site up and running and launched it. And the moment I did it, all my fears disappeared and never came back. I realized that now I can do anything and my life has changed forever.
Side projects have a huge number of positive aspects. This is a great opportunity to transform your ideas into something useful and useful. It is also a good chance to learn a lot of things that I was afraid to even think about before, and gain invaluable practical experience. You can’t even imagine how much cool knowledge you can get, how much you can achieve when you create and launch your project from scratch. And if it is useful to people, then you can also make money on it.
Someone said that if you want to become a millionaire, you have to solve the problem of a million people. It is really the right idea to start talking about other people’s problems through the prism of your ideas and try to connect one with the other.
Today I decided to create my own email newsletter, where I will talk about my side projects and share my practical experience. I will explain how to quickly get started creating projects and launching them. I’ll reveal to you my Learn & Earn method, which helps me stay productive and achieve results every day. Every month I will tell you how much money I managed to earn on side projects, and you will see from real examples what flows this amount is composed of.
Imagine that now you have a friend and a mentor who, at the same time with you, develops new projects and shares his experience. And in return you will share the knowledge and experience that you will get already during the implementation of your ideas. I think this is a great way to improve and get additional motivation when creating your projects.
But for this to work, you must start now! Imagine that the current chapter of your life is called “Preparation” and you are starting a new one – “Creation”
If you are ready for a new chapter in your life, subscribe to the http://www.nextbigme.com/ mailing list. Let’s start soon!
PS Before we start, I need your help. I want to know the reason why YOU still haven’t done your project and what stopped you. And I will be glad if you tell me the answers to what questions I would like to see in my mailing list.