The common thread going around lately is that entrepreneurs, makers, and creators just need to jump in, which can mean starting before you feel ready. While I agree with that for some things, I don’t agree when it comes to starting a project.

As creatives, we get ideas all the time, but how do we know which to pursue and which to put on the back burner? And when we do figure out what it is we want to do, how do we do it?

Here’s a quickstart guide, based on my 6 week program, Hello, Just Focus, that’ll help you take your project from idea concept to completion. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking to tackle; the steps are the same.

1 – Know Your End Goal

In theory, this sounds simple but the more clear you are on the front end will make your path that much easier. Say you’re looking start a web series. Who’s it for? How many minutes will it last? and Where is it going to be viewed? Starting a blog? Ask yourself why a blog specifically? and Who is the audience? The answers to these questions will serve as a base for you to build on in the next steps.

2- What’s the Why?

Why you want to do something is just as important as what it is you want to do. If you’re going to be spending a ton of time, energy, and brainpower on something, you need to be clear about why it’s important to you. Down the line, no matter where you’re at in your project, it’s going to get hard, and if you don’t have a solid “why” to help motivate you when you need it, it’ll be that much harder to get back on your feet when you feel knocked down.

Why you want to do something is just as important as what it is you want to do. Click To Tweet

3 – Identify the Hurdles

Let’s face it, you’re going to hit roadblocks.

What are the time sucks that prevent you from getting the work done? What are the stories you made up in your head on why it can’t or won’t work? What are some of the “this needs to be done first so I’m just stuck in a holding pattern” conversations you have with yourself? These are the things that you need to honestly ask yourself before you get started so you’ll be better prepared to manage them when they come up.

4 – Lay it All Out

Here’s where it gets fun. List each and every step of your project one by one. Don’t know them all? Doesn’t matter. Whatever you think you need to do, write it down. It needs to be accounted for because when you started scheduling it out, you’ll need to set aside space and time for each step. Knowing the steps involved will also help you realize what you might need to outsource and what you can plan ahead for.

5 – What by When?

Take a look at your calendar next to the list of steps you just created and start setting deadlines. This is where it gets tricky, and you have to be real with yourself. Don’t tell yourself that it will take you three weeks to do something that should really only take you one just to be safe. That’s just another form of procrastination. On that same note, make sure you’re factoring in time to live a healthy life; doing all the things that contribute to keeping you mentally sane as you start this new project.

6 – Do the Work and Readjust

From here on out, it’s doing the work, checking the schedule you created, and adjusting as needed. Maybe after week two you realize that your schedule is too ambitious or on the flip side, too light. It’s ok to readjust if you’re being hyper aware of your capabilities and other time commitments.

 

Look, I get it, life happens, but the difference between those who are finishing their projects and those who are still circling at the start line is that the finishers took time to plan properly.

Creating a well thought out plan of attack is the best way to finish those projects you’ve always wanted to start or have halfway started but are still sitting on the shelf. If at any point you get stuck, always go back to #1 & #2. Get to know them well because when things get tough, they’re going to be your new best friends.

 

Dominique Anders is an Entertainment Producer & Certified Business and Lifestyle Coach for Creatives. Being the founder of a production company and a coaching practice, Dominique knows what it’s like to juggle both the creative and logistical sides of business. She brings over a decade of experience as a Co-Executive Producer, Director and Writer for television, documentaries and branded entertainment as she works with creatives and small businesses to help them set goals, focus on projects and face their fears along the way.

When Dominique isn’t near a camera or working with clients, you can usually find her at an airport, passport in hand, or surfing the beaches of California and Hawaii. If all else fails, you can stalk her at DominiqueAnders.com. Or on Instagram and Twitter.