The thrill of creating and the pursuit of fulfilment
With the entry barriers so low these days, it’s quite easy to spin up a new website. Create a logo, create some content and wham bam, thank you ma’am, I have myself a website. Obviously, there is a lot more that needs to be done, however, that is the starting point.
My issue is that I have a lot of ideas that I want to try…
Is there anything necessarily wrong with this? I don’t know? It’s not like I have unlimited time, so from a time perspective, it would make more sense to focus on one idea. If I’m just doing this to make money so it can become a full-time job for me it definitely makes sense to focus on one idea. It needs dedication to grow and gain traction.
Even though I think of these ideas as business opportunities, making money is not the main reason I try different ideas. I’m a creator, creating something from nothing is the thrill for me. Like I said earlier, with the barriers of entry to market so low, it’s easy to execute the first stages of the ideas.
How the process starts
I’ll be at the gym in the morning with a heap of fresh ideas in my head. After some initial research, I start to look at things like available domains names, possible themes that have certain functionality that would allow me to get started. Next up I do some market analysis and find things like customer segments and what competition I’d be up against and get a feel of what they’re doing. At this stage, I have a mini business plan of how it could work
If I start to tick some of the above boxes, I get started by creating a new Trello board with my project template cards. I spend a few days documenting all of the research. If all the boxes are ticked I wait until Saturday so I’ve got the whole day to smash out as much as possible.
By Saturday afternoon I’ve made some good progress:
- Domain registered and name servers pointing to my web hosting
- Addon domain set up
- WordPress installed
- Purchased a theme from ThemeForest
- Configured the general theme settings and imported demo content
- Logo designed and colour palette created
- Start writing content for general pages
- Depending on the type of project I may have also created Instagram and/or Facebook pages for it
If I’m not busy on a Sunday (and Karina doesn’t mind) I’ll build out the site a bit more with more content.
How the process breaks
Monday morning comes along and I find myself back at work. With my ideas and thoughts safely captured in my phone’s Notes or in Trello, I switch hats and get to work on doing my best to create someone else’s dream. I put so much pressure on myself to put in the same effort as if it were my own project, I’m so busy that the days fly by and each day I find myself collapsing on the lounge as soon as I walk in the door of an evening. I’m tired, I’m mentally drained, I’m just exhausted.
Saturday comes along, I’ve been able to give my body a good rest and I’m good to go again. I keep going with working on the content or any additional configuration needed to get it up and running.
The time after coming home and having a rest and then walking into work the next morning is the time where my ideas are firing. So even though I have already started a new idea, if a new one comes into mind, I start the process again. I’m at the point now where I have around 19+ different projects and each weekend I will spend my time working on one of them.
Most of the time I get to a point where I need to dedicate quite a lot of time to the project which I’m not able to do during the week. So instead of waiting until the weekend to continue or even outsource the work to a freelancer (if I have the budget for it), I move on to my next idea because I know I will have the time to get it started.
This has pretty much been my life for 4 years now. After going through a shit period of closing down my own business at the end of 2015, the start of 2016 was a new beginning for me to learn new things. A good way to do that is to test with my own projects.
Here is a look at the projects I have created since 2016
Aussie Mineral Hub
Over the course of 20 plus years, I have collected minerals & crystals from all over the world with a focus on Australian specimens. I created Aussie Mineral Hub to share my collection and build a community around learning what this fascinating earth has to offer.
Typeyeah is for everyone who loves and appreciates all types of art from typography to graphic design & logo design. The mission is to bring the design community together to inspire and share their artwork and give everyone the opportunity to inspire and learn from each other.
We had success creating a gym wear brand called Iron Society (now closed) so I wanted to create a brand that was not only inspired by the tattoo and art culture but also merged other street influences. A brand that stood for their quality with premium designs but without the premium price.
With so much to do outdoors, it means there is a lot to talk about. I created Outdoor Humans as an affiliate website to allow me to improve my writing skills.
AussieGyms is a work in progress that will become a directory for Australian gyms, health centres, bootcamps and basically all things health & fitness. People looking to get fit can register and book sessions with a local Personal Trainer.
Central Coast Web Designer
A good way for me to continually learn is to be able to teach other people new skills, especially when it comes to their website. I created Central Coast Web Designer in 2018 as a toolbox for local Central Coast businesses who want to build and grow their online presence.
As they say, real men go to real barbers. I created Central Coast Barber in 2016 as an SEO experiment. I regularly do A/B testing on it to better understand what people like and the decisions they make. In 2020, I changed the name to Original Barbers to target Australia-wide.
I’ve been creating digital designs for 16 years now, which means I have hundreds of designs just sitting on an SSD doing nothing. This is where Coartive comes in, a marketplace to buy and sell digital files. From wall art prints, t-shirt designs to unused logos, I list these on the website and users pay a license fee to use them.
Just like with Coartive, Stack Engine is a marketplace to buy and sell websites and domain names. Some of the projects listed here will be listed for sale.
I’ve lived on the Central Coast for over 36 years now. I believe there is so much opportunity here that I wanted to give back to the community by creating a tourism hub for people visiting the area.
Seeing millions of hectares of Australia on fire is so devastating to see and it really made an impact seeing how many families living in rural communities have been affected. BushBush is the marketplace to support rural and outback businesses.
With Australia’s ageing population, the home care industry is starting to gain traction. Homecare Helper is an opportunity for people to browse and compare the services they need.
Friends with kids were finding it hard to find and compare dance schools suitable for their kids, this is an opportunity to create a service that provides this information for them.
Retirement is going to happen whether we like it or not, with my parents in mind and tech becoming more mainstream for baby boomers, an opportunity arises to assist with services for seniors.
Out of the above projects, Aussie Mineral Hub, Typeyeah and Central Coast Barber are where I have put the most time into, these are now established websites. Typeyeah and Central Coast Barber each receive a few thousand visits a month. This brings in some money from Adsense as well as some affiliate earnings from referring products. Aussie Mineral Hub is more of a passion project, I still have hundreds of mineral specimens to add to website. I am quite happy to continue working on this over time.
With limited time to work on all of these ideas, I struggle to focus on just one of them because I’m in this weird state of mind of always wanting to design, create and try new things while also trying to make more money to do the things I want in life like get married and buy a house. Working on these ideas gives me a sense of fulfilment and is what keeps me going.
It’s a daily struggle for me to go work for someone else and not be making my own money.
Inevitably I burn out and my body just can’t keep up. If I’m not working on one of my projects I feel as though I’m not achieving anything in life. It’s a daily struggle for me to go work for someone else and not be making my own money. As much as I try to unplug and enjoy time with family and friends, I’m constantly thinking of ideas and something to create next which leads to me wanting to do more research and the vicious circle starts again.
I know I need to slow down, unfortunately, it’s not that easy to just flip a switch and do it. To get fulfilment I need to be doing what I enjoy, to do what I enjoy doing I need time. As I get older I feel as though I’m running out of time to achieve great things in life which is why I cram in trying so many different ideas.
Change the process – change the outcome
I’m not getting the outcome I’m trying to find, therefore I need to work on the process I took to get there. Change the process – change the outcome. I’ve followed the same process for the majority of projects expecting some kind of different result. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to do this just yet, one thing I will do is still work on the above projects, however, I’ll change the process by creating an environment to remove the pressure I put on myself to constantly deliver. I need a mindset change that will allow me to experiment and try different things where I can be comfortable in the time it takes to achieve the desired result.
Each of these projects has a different projected outcome, I just need to remember that I don’t need to do everything right now nor should I do it all myself. Remove the time pressures and give myself time to achieve the outcome. If I can do that, my sense of fulfilment will be met.
I’ll keep you all updated on how I go with this.