Start Something Small to Build Something Great

I wrote yesterday about my first real product: a well-designed hardcover book I carefully created over years and nurtured through the entire production and distribution process. It was a huge project. If I had it to do over, I would've started much smaller and owned the entire selling process to make it as remarkable as possible for my customers.

When it comes to creative projects, starting smaller is better. Owning everything about it is better. It allows you to tailor the experience, delight your customers and build a reputation.

Mike Bisbiglia wrote in the New York Times about breaking into the movie business after the failure of his network sitcom:

"I no longer wanted to create projects for the Hollywood gatekeepers. The networks. The studios. Since then, I’ve created a handful of pieces for 'This American Life,' self-produced three Off Broadway one-person shows, toured hundreds of cities around the world, and written, directed and starred in two feature films. All outside the system. Based on that work, I’ve been offered small movie roles by people who work inside the system. Which is to say: Leaving the system behind and creating something of your own may actually be thing that gets you into the system, hopefully on your own terms."
"The point is, forget the gatekeepers. As far as I’m concerned, what you create in a 30-seat, hole-in-the-wall improv theater in Phoenix can be far more meaningful than a mediocre sitcom being half-watched by seven million people. America doesn’t need more stuff. We need more great stuff. You could make that."

Sean McCabe recommends the same to his entrepreneur readership:

"I recommend that you start small and ship a small product to prove to yourself that you can do it. You’re going to work out the kinks and learn a lot. You’ll make mistakes too. Better to do that at a small scale first.