Start with something small

On February 5, 2013

What is the very first thing that stops you from giving shape to your ideas? Do you see great products around you and give up your own ideas, thinking that you can never compete with them?

I don't know about you, but I did feel this way when I started out on my own.

I was afraid. Afraid of competing with the big players out there. Afraid that I might not even have a little chance of succeeding. Afraid that I might fail in creating anything valuable on my own.

If you too are held back by such fears, there is one advice I want to give you. Start with something small.

There is beauty and freshness in starting small. There is simplicity in being small. But the most important reason for starting small is to reduce that fear inside you, which stops you every time from creating that great piece of work.

But why start with small, why not do it big the very first time?

Well, if you think you have the expertise and the influence to make a top-notch product right from the start, then definitely go with it. I think you are better off starting with a small project for few important reasons.

  • Small projects are very likely to be completed as they require less efforts and resources.
  • Small projects are easier to manage compared to bigger projects.
  • Small projects are easier to measure and you can check if you are moving at right speed towards completing them.
  • Small projects carry less financial risk compared to bigger projects.
  • Its easier to cope with small failures rather than with big and expensive failures that may put you in tight financial situation.
  • They give you a glimpse regarding the future, whether the product is likely to succeed or not. Whether it makes sense to expand your product or its better to shut it down completely.

But before you start with your small projects, let me clear a few misconceptions that are usually associated with starting small.

Small doesn't mean useless. Small doesn't mean ugly. Small doesn't mean free. In short, small doesn't mean crappy.

Small means something that can be accomplished in a certain time frame. Small means the very first steps that you take to climb that huge ladder of success.

Small means something that takes you a step higher, from where you are standing right now. Small means to get that confidence and the required skills that make you realize your true potential. The realization that you CAN make it big.

You can make something small, yet highly valuable product.

So lets say you want to make a simple mobile application that does just one basic thing. But you can make sure that it does that one thing with complete perfection. You can make it even better and more simple with careful thought and good implementation.

I can't even remember how many success stories I have read, that had very small and humble beginnings. Two stories that immediately come to my mind are

  • How Sony Corporation started as an electronic shop in a war-damaged building. Did they knew then that they would bring a revolution in how people listen to music? Probably not.
  • How Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started their journey by selling blue boxes - a device through which you could make free telephone calls. Did they knew that they would revolutionize the PC industry? Probably not.
The key is to understand that all big accomplishments have their roots in something much smaller.

Any great piece of work doesn't appear from nowhere. It takes years of hard work and expertise to create anything remarkably valuable.

But how can you make anything remarkable, if you don't even start making something that's slightly valuable!

Don't ever ignore the power of starting small. Read good books, read other peoples success stories, learn new things and get started as soon as you can.

The perfect time will NEVER come. Start with what you have. With time you will automatically find what you really want.

To be honest, I still feel the fear of failure occasionally. But I am no longer afraid. All the fear I had is gone, because I at least made a start by creating one app and starting this blog.

After getting good reviews from users, I have gained a confidence that yes I can make great quality apps. After receiving positive feedback from readers, I feel I can write good articles.

Above all, it has given me the confidence that I can make valuable contribution in others lives in some way, though however little it may be.

If you have read this far, I know you too are serious about making something on your own. Please take that next step today itself, and start working on your small projects once again. I know if someone like me(who grew up in a small town in India) could try to do it, then you too definitely can!

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