In my opinion, starting is the hardest.
But here is one thing I have learnt over the years: it is by “doing” that we can assess what’s left to be done and what we can tweak so to get better results.
This post is a bit longer that usual, but it breaks down my process. Maybe you will some inspiration so you can take your next step:
First step: after having the idea for my concept, I sat down at my desk and started to write down everything I could think of: from places I would like to travel, to friends who knew the culture of that country, ways to find venues to perform, how I could find inexpensive travel options and make money while I am on the road.
Once I had a lot of ideas I started to separate them into categories so I could paint a clearer pictures in my mind and create a draft pitch of my vision.
This helped (still helps) me for strategizing and focusing my research and skill building.
Talk About it!
Second step: contact a few good and trusted friends for feedback. I picked the ones I knew would be encouraging. I wanted a bit of reassurance and affirmation especially in these early stages, so I contacted those people with positive outlook on life but also down to earth. I did not want to have my idea shut down prematurely. Disclaimer: if this happens to you, please do not get discourage: there is always ways to turn negative into positive. Maybe what they say could help you “improve your design”. I took notes and kept it moving.
Next, was to ask for advice to people with experience in the field: I often say that I don’t take relationship advice from those who have never been in a long term relationship, because they usually lack the wisdom that comes with it. I reached out to those I thought had some type of expertise in the matter. In my case, a friend who travels a lot solo and lived abroad, and another who is a touring musician; I asked them for their personal experience. I took them out for lunch/drinks, gave them an overview of my concept and asked them to share their experiences.
Finally, I gathered all my important professional contacts and thought of ways I could put my network to good use. Again, I gave bits of my concept and ask to some people if I could get some recommendations on Linkedin: my previous job was in the airline/hotel industry and I have a specific set of skills and expertise. I thought it could be a great way to improve my credibility in that space as it may be a way to earn extra income.
The first thing was to find a name. Last year, when I moved to Harlem I had my bedroom walls painted a beautiful lilac color. Few months later, I watched a video about Wall Art and I decided to try it out. My friend joked that I was like a “Renaissance Woman”: I write poetry, I sing, I make jewelry and I draw. I thought that was really summing up who I was as an individual, and so I decided to purchase a website name called “La Renaissance Femme” – where I would link up all my project. But life happened, and I forgot about it. A few weeks ago when I was looking for a name, I was going through paperwork, I remembered about it. I had already set up an email, social media handles. All I had to do was build up from there! I signed up to WordPress, set up a Google Analytics account and thought of a Mission Statement: what is the main purpose of all this? My mission statement helps me to put things into perspective and pushes me to get out of bed times when I am contemplating staying in…
Curate and Create Lots of Content
I started to write my own story: it is very time consuming but it has helped me to put things into perspective and be able to “connect the dots”.
Then I gather quality pictures/videos to illustrate my posts and instagram/facebook and my blog. I don’t have a professional camera, but nowadays I think cell phone can give you a great quality pictures. Sometimes I had to touch a bit for color and used free apps such as Photoshop or Beauty Plus (they have great filters)
Up Your Game
My first source of inspiration when it comes to improving myself are self-help and DIY books. Over the years I have read several ones that I would recommend if you want to put yourself in a very positive mind space (yes I had to go down my Amazon History to remember some of them). Here are a few:
- Brené Brown: The Gift of Imperfection and Rising Strong
- Shawn Anchor: The Happiness Advantage
- Alain de Botton – The Art of Travel
- Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements
- Timothy Ferriss – The 4-Hour Workweek
- John Neffinger – Compelling People
- Ben Sahara – The Pursuit of Perfect
- Charles Duhigg – Power of Habit
- Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way
- Mark Wolynn – It Didn’t Start with You
Then I always loved listening to Ted Talks; here are some of my favorite:
- Chimananda Ngozi Adichi – The Danger of a Single Story
- Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
- Angela Lee Duckworth – Grit: The power of passion and perseverance
- Sir Ken Robinson – Do Schools Kill Creativity
- Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language May Shape Who you Are
- Tony Robbins – Why We Do What We Do
- Shawn Achor – The Happy Secret of Better Work
- Carol Dweck – The Power of Believing You Can Improve
I also love to listen to podcasts about self improvement; here are some of my favorites ones:
- Amanda Seales – Small Doses
- Cathy Heller – Don’t Keep your day job
- Natalie Lue – Baggage Reclaim
- Oprah Winfrey – Master Class
- Chris Guillebeau – Side Hustle School
- DIY Musician Podcast
- Why Not Now – Amy Jo Martin
Finally I am a great fan of constant learning. Over the year I have found so many resources online from Youtube and to Free University Websites such as MIT or Harvard ranging from all topics – and the great part is that all of them are FREE!
I also subscribed to Skillshare. For those who do not know, it s an online learning community with thousand of classes in design, business technology and more. I love the platform and there are so many tutorials I take on different topics. It is really helpful for me at this point and I thought it was an investment that would serve me. You can get
I also took a paying class on Travel Noire Website (disclaimer: I have no affiliation this company) on “How to get Paid to Travel” which gave me lots of of ideas.
This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that I have been growing myself up and collecting information for years. I did not know how the skills I was developing, relationships I was building, books I was reading, podcasts I was listening and pictures I was taking would come into play, so my advice to you is to keep doing, keep creating and keep working on yourself.
You may not even have an idea right now and that’s ok too. You may have had ideas in the past that have failed, maybe because you did not have the right tools – if it is something you really want to try out again, revisit. You don’t have to start from scratch and most importantly: you have to be willing to fail and be patient.