HOW TO Start Where You Are
If I had a dollar for every time a creativepreneur has heard the phrase "start where you are" I'd probably be rich. Like quit my job and retire before 30 rich, am I right?
I feel like successful people love to dole out these words as solid advice, but it's not too often you're given advice as to HOW to actually start where you are.
So about two weeks ago I decided to do a live session on instagram giving advice geared towards creatives looking to start a new project or business, aiming to "start where they are", but just not sure how exactly to do that.
1. Realize your equipment cannot hold back your message
I hear people say all the time they don't have the right equipment to start their venture.
For photographers it might be a certain camera.
For videographers it might be editing software.
For makeup artists it might be expensive brushes.
For bloggers it might be a certain website template.
But here's the thing: if your message is clear and impactful, people will support you EVEN if you don't have the best equipment.
Use what you can afford until you can afford more. You don't need THE BEST to start out. You just need to start. The majority of people don't start out with the best equipment; they start with what they have and build. So yes, you can do the same.
Just make sure you're adding value (that's an important term, so write that down) to the lives of your audience/clients and people will support your cause.
2. Keep your eyes ahead
Maintain. Your. Lane.
How do you do this? By keeping your eyes ahead and focused on your own path. Imagine you're driving a car on the highway and you keep looking at the person in the lane next to you. Where do you think you'll end up?
My guess is somewhere on the side of the highway. You know why? Because you can't steer your own car straight to reach YOUR destination if you have your eyes on someone else's lane.
Focus on your own journey and what YOU need to do to get where you're going.
3. Make sure you're pursuing YOUR dream, not just A dream
You see a new venture working for your friend or your family member or that random person you follow on IG. Cool. It seems like they're raking in the success. Awesome. But like they say, "success is not contagious". Just because something is working for someone else doesn't mean it's your calling. If it's not what YOU are supposed to be doing, it won't pan out the same.
Make sure you really take the time out to brainstorm ideas and flesh them out. What are you naturally good at? What brings you fulfillment? How can you build upon that? Can you build a business using your talents as the foundation?
Use what YOU have to follow YOUR dream. Don't just borrow someone else's and think that route is going to bring you success, because there's a 99% chance it won't.
Do you. Dream your own dream. Follow your own path.
4. Research and seek out FREE options
Y'all. Yaaaaaaa'll. It drives me crazy that there are literally SO many free options out there, and people just REFUSE to take advantage of them. There are people floating around on the internet WAITING for you to come to them and gain some wisdom. FOR FREE! But here's the thing: you have to be willing to search for it.
If you know anything about my photography journey, you'll know that I graduated from Google University Summa Cum Laude and I graduated Youtube State College with my associates degree.
For ANY skill you're looking to build up, there's plenty of free education available. Now once you reach a certain point you'll have to pay for education, but that's called INVESTING in yourself - which you should be willing to do if you expect anyone else to invest their hard-earned dollars in you. Just sayin'.
A few of my favorite free photography resources:
Also, during my live session a few other options were mentioned.
- www.class-central.com; apparently they have a bunch of free classes on every topic imaginable
- check your local library for free education
There's absolutely NO excuse for anyone who considers themselves a beginner as far as free education is concerned. Seek and ye shall find. So get to seekin'.
5. Embrace that SOMETHING is better than NOTHING
Very rarely is the first draft the final draft. Often time there are multiple versions that are tried before a final version is decided to be satisfactory.
Case in point: my first blog (Frenchyinfocus, which is no longer with us) was a hot mess. And that's being nice. It was VERY minimalistic (which is a nice word for plain in this instant) and very hand-made. It was very DIY. And not in the "omg you did that yourself!?" kinda way. More like "oh, so you did that yourself huh?" type of way.
But guess what? I did it.
I uploaded my photos and my words on there and started building my foundation. I couldn't afford a $1000 website to be built for me by someone else, so I got a $12 - $20 template from etsy and made it work! The point isn't that it had to be perfect. The point is that I had SOMETHING. Something to represent me and my work. A corner of the web that was mine to share.
Whatever it is you want to build, just build it. You might not be able to afford the best, but please refer to point #1.
Do what you can until you can do more. Got it?
6. BE YOU AND STICK TO IT
I'm a strong believer in having someone as your inspiration. Someone who's trajectory you might want to model your own career plans after.
But here's the thing: inspiration is NOT the same as copy. Those two words are not even synonyms for each other. So don't mistake the two. You should not aim to be a cookie cutter version of your inspiration. People love genuineness (look at Cardi B.), so you can't copy someone else and wonder why it isn't drawing people in.
Instead, find someone and pin point them as your inspiration, then tweak their methods to fit YOUR personality, YOUR vision, and YOUR goals.
How To Start Where You Are
1. Don't let your equipment be your excuse
2. Stay focused on YOUR lane
3. Take time out to flesh out YOUR own dream
4. FREE IS YOUR FRIEND so seek it out
5. Realize that done is better than perfect
6. Be you, everyone else is taken