August 7, 2011

Rachel Strella

Six Lessons Learned from Undertaking a Big Project

The past five months of my life have been a roller coaster ride … and not because I’ve been on any trips to the amusement park. I’m referring to the late nights I’ve put in to create a product that helps train social media managers.

Michele Scism and I have partnered on a joint venture called Social Media Manager Profits™, a seven-module series, which just completed beta launch. There are over 30,000 job openings in the social media management field, so we believe this product can help those looking for a new career or looking to supplement their income in this tough economy.

It might go without saying, but Michele and I discovered that this is a lot of work! I thought I would share some “lessons learned” with you, in the event you decide to undertake a big project.

  1. Plan time to work. At first, I thought I could create this product on the fly, but I soon discovered that this approach didn’t work for me.  I didn’t have enough time to find my flow and build on that momentum. I also found that recording, editing, rendering and uploading took more time that I thought they would. I found it helpful to block out hours and, even days, in my planner to dedicate solely to the project.
  2. Expect setbacks. No one ever said creating something is easy. I am now on my fifth microphone, second computer, ninth edit (to a single module), and fourth ‘my story’ taping.  At the same time, this has truly been a learning experience in ways I never imagined at the beginning.
  3. Friends and colleagues can be a big asset. My friends and colleagues have been a strong support system on days when I wanted to throw my computer across the room. On top of that, they helped me brainstorm, assisted with taping and editing, offered help with learning new technology and even volunteered their time for interviews that are included in the product.  The Internet offers a wealth of information, but I found people to be my best resource during this project.
  4. It will never be perfect.  I quickly learned that this product will never be perfect – not to me, not to others who have helped, and (let’s face it) not to the audience.  My goal is now to make it excellent, not perfect.  Accept this up front and you will avoid a lot of gray hairs later.
  5. Consider your marketing plan. You can spend hours on a project, but if you don’t market it effectively, you may have done all of this for nothing. My best advice is to promote yourself and your product at networking events, tell your friends, family, and colleagues about your new endeavor and leverage email marketing lists and social media channels to assist in getting the word out.
  6. Don’t quit! I have wanted to throw in the towel many times, but I’m glad I didn’t. I know that if I complete it, I have the opportunity to earn residual income, and leverage it in the future for even better opportunities. Most importantly, I feel confident that I can help others by sharing information that will help them as they build a social media management business. This is why I started this project in the first place, and remembering the reasons you started something can help you see it through.

Are you considering a big project?  What other factors should be considered before getting started?

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