Thursday, November 1, 2012

Projects. We've all had ideas. Let's act on them!

If you can't tell from my other posts thus far, I'm really into the idea being an entrepreneur and creating your own opportunities.  I had the pleasure of sitting down with a buddy of mine yesterday and we probably spent an hour or so just talking about our own ideas for projects and ways to approach them.  It really got me thinking about my own ideas and how to start getting them from my head in to action.  Taking my most recent post a step or two further, I wanted to pick back up on the idea I brought up that everything started out as an idea at some point.  The Canadian Brass, eighth blackbird, Kronos Quartet, and just about any other group, business, or organization started as someone's project.  These are just a few ideas off the top of my head, but they're certainly examples of someone's project that turned out to be a career defining, home run of a project in the world of chamber groups.

A few things that I think are important to keep in mind when beginning to pursue your project:
  • Be very specific about the goal you're hoping to accomplish---Keep it simple.  This is tough for me.  I often get so side-tracked with an idea that it ends up turning in to a completely different project.  Personally, I think it's good to toy around with the idea in the beginning, but once the project is in full swing we should keep focused on the goal and save the brainstorms for the beginning.
  • Make a plan.---  What steps need to be taken to accomplish the goal?  Define a very clear list of things that need to be taken care of for the project to progress.  Make a list and keep track of your progress as things are finished.  Plans will always need to be tweaked a bit so keep that in mind as the project progresses.
  • Assemble a team.--- Finding the right people to help you on your project can be incredibly difficult.  This is almost always the hardest thing for me on my own projects.  Your team should be made up of people that are flexible, trustworthy, and as my buddy mentioned yesterday, they should really believe in the goal of the project.  (Thanks for pointing that out to me Gabe.)  It's easy to just ask your close friends to do something but the reality is that they may not always be the best people for the job.
  • Stay focused and dedicated to the idea.---Be dedicated to your project and really stick with it.  This may be obvious, but it's tough to do.  This isn't a necessarily complete list, but these are things that I have found to be important in not just starting, but following through and finishing projects.  Starting is one thing, but it's an entirely new challenge to stick with it and follow through to the end.
I think everyone at some point has an idea that they get really excited about and never really do anything with.  This happens to me all the time, but once I started keeping a notebook of my ideas it got a lot easier to keep track of everything.  If nothing else, at least I won't forget them all.  

What are your projects?  Be self starter and give it a whirl.  Not every project will be success, but if we get in the habit trying, something is bound to work out.  So get out there, have a few stinkers (everyone does), and create your own opportunities!



  1. "It's easy to just ask your close friends to do something but the reality is that they may not always be the best people for the job."

    This is a crucial point, as much as it sucks sometimes, it's important to separate your friendships from personal relationships unless your friend is truly in the same headspace as you.

    My personal projects are to start teaching guitar and to keep my current project afloat. One of my bigger obstacles in previous projects has been knowing when it either the project or my time in it was fully followed through to it's fullest extent. Is it better to end at something at its peek or to see it through until you're beating a dead horse?

    1. Hey Colin,

      I think it's important to establish a well-defined goal for each project. Really decide what you'd like to get out of each endeavor, and once you've gotten that I think it should be OK to consider the project a success. On the other hand, some projects are inevitably not going to be a huge success so I think we have to use our best judgement when it may be time to move on in order to avoid "beating a dead horse".

      That being said, I don't think we should be afraid to let a project go if it just isn't working out. We can always come back to them later if we feel that they're worth revisiting at a later time. I don't think there is a right answer of when it is time to give up a project, but having a clear goal for the project will certainly aid in making that decision.