Launch, launch, launch

Although this website was only technically launched in 2010, the first post was written in late October, 2008! Even though it’s not even published for public viewing, it’s still there, reminding me of how long I’ve put this website off.

I’ve tried in various ways to live in a more publicly accessible way: I’ve participated in several tech/photo forums; I’ve opened accounts on every single social networking site to come along in the last 5 years (including Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Ning, etc, etc), and I’ve tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to maintain some kind of persona online. In the end, all of these efforts have failed because I never really invested in them. I found Flickr too onerous, Facebook too pointless, Tumblr too limiting, Ning too poorly designed.

The real reason why all of these endeavours have failed, however, wasn’t because of their individual limitations. It was because somewhere in the back of my head I always knew I wanted to host my own personal site. I always felt like I was wasting my time maintaining these other sites, when I knew I’d eventually have my own space – some kind of special, Shangri-la-like where there would be reams of cool content and abundant traffic on launch day.

What I’m only coming to realize now is that by thinking that way I was only enabling procrastination. I could have easily built a presence online with any of the tools mentioned, but I didn’t. Instead, I waited and waited; I tried Tumblr, hosted WordPress, Joomla, and eventually Drupal, thinking that the *tool* was preventing me from building a website. But that just wasn’t the case – the various tools were enabling me putting off actually getting it done.

Just get it out there
I can only speak from my own experience, and that has led me to the following rules for building projects:

  1. Give yourself a firm, stress-inducing timeline – for example: In two months, I promise will have this much done. No matter what. Be it a logo, a layout, a blog feature…whatever. Just give yourself a timeline and get it done.
  2. Break things up into small chunks. Conveniently, the first rule helps with this. If you break things up into smaller pieces, they’ll be easier to get done.
  3. Launch, launch, launch. Your project will never be “ready”. Never. You’re far better off launching the small chunk of the project that you have done, rather than wait until its all “ready”

In very practical terms, what this might mean for your project is getting a single component out there. If you’re a photographer intending to build an online store for your photos, launch a blog first. A blog is easy to build, will force you to think about content, design and branding, and will get the marketing ball rolling. Next, add a gallery feature to display your photos, and maybe after that add the online ordering.

You’re best off to start with tiny little pieces that you can launch quickly. Get some momentum rolling and you’ll be able to feel confident that you’re actually getting something done, rather that just work on a huge, never ending project.