What’s your reason to not begin?

Till Hafenbrak
Back in 2006, there wasn’t an easy way to create blog that worked the way you wanted it to, using your own domain. I couldn’t wrap my head around WordPress, which was essentially a platform for a blog; so I went with Textpattern instead, because it was a more fleshed out content management system (CMS) that could also work as a blog. There were very, very limited templates available, and I learned CSS and HTML so that I could make my website non-ugly. (Want to see how my first blog looked like? Here it is!)
Back in 2006, I couldn’t find an e-commerce site that I could use that’s within my budget (i.e. free) so I deployed ZenCart – one of the ugliest most popular shopping carts out there, and turns out there was a reason for that – it was free. I dived into PHP and changed the template and stripped its functionality to do what I needed it to do. It took me countless late nights (that tipped into the wee hours of the morning) hunched over the computer, while I still woke up at 8am to prep for my full-time job the next day. Etsy wasn’t even born yet.
Back in 2007, Paypal wasn’t open to Malaysians at all. So I researched every single way to open an account, legally. It took a bus trip down south, along with the help of a financial institution overseas, and my gracious aunt to open an account. I finally managed to open one to receive funds and to withdraw the tiny amount I made online – I was in business! Paypal only made it officially open to everyone else here after a couple more years.
Right now, in 2013, there’s so many different options available – for anyone looking to start their own blog, shop, portfolio, and even different ways to get paid online. You don’t even need to dive into any code to make these softwares work the way you want it to. You don’t even need to learn CSS and HTML to make design changes. Everything is done with a few clicks of a button.
The only thing that’s missing is the button you have to push first: YOU.
So share with me: what’s your excuse for not starting?
[Illustration: Till Hafenbrak]

14 Replies to “What’s your reason to not begin?”

  1. Great post! I am constantly amazed by how easy it is to set up shop online. I just had a flashback to a year ago when I was trying to build my own website and blog almost from scratch, something I have nearly zero experience doing. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown when I thought “Hey, I am making this waaaaay harder than it has to be!” and I went with a template that fit my needs pretty well. I figure that will work great until I can hire someone to build it for me! However in that whole process, I did teach myself a little CSS and HTML as well.

    There are still days when I feel sort of hopeless swimming through a sea of technology. But in the big picture, I think we have it pretty darn easy. And the way I look at these hurdles is like this: I am learning as I go. I think you have to say “Okay! over the next [insert reasonable time period] I am going to immerse myself in learning as much as I can about [insert business-related topic]”. Just start.

    1. amy says:

      “Just start” – no truer words Casey!

  2. Reeta says:

    In many ways, it has become easier to set shop online but now I think we suffer from a problem of plenty. There are just so many choices and channels that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I mean not only do you have to set up a website, but also take social media by storm, build a list, advertise/market and so on.

    For the longest time I have been feeling stuck because I want to get the site structure just right.

    1. amy says:

      I know what you mean Reeta – I get that perfection bug myself too. But I think that being realistic about deadlines helps tremendously – otherwise it’s a process that will never end!

  3. Nicky Ovitt says:

    You make some great points, Amy! I get flummoxed at the tools available NOW! and BTW: LOVE Till’s illustration too!

  4. Angela says:

    For me, the hard part is finding the confidence to do it. I used to say “I have no time” but I was just lying to myself. Its about not feeling confident that I can do this. I don’t know why. But once I find out why I feel this way and overcome it, I know I will get rolling 🙂

    1. amy says:

      Once you’ve pinpointed the main reason why, it’s almost like an eureka moment Angela! I’m glad that you recognize that your excuse about time wasn’t really about time at all, but about confidence. I hope you’re putting one foot in front of another by now! 😉

  5. I love this! I started blogging and my online shop around the same time as you, and remember how exciting it was to work things out and explore. Perhaps it’s when you really have to battle a bit that you value what you have achieved and you stick with it. When it’s too easy, there’s no challenge, so it has less value to you.

    1. amy says:

      Heather! I had that same feeling you did – everything was so exciting and fresh back then (and it helped that I had the energy to match as well!) How far we’ve come. 🙂 xoxo

  6. Sofia says:

    Sorry for my English,
    but I need to share my problems to a stranger:
    I’m a design student. I have ten weeks only for:
    – my final project (blog about feminism, I have to post five pictures a week of my own) with a written round (about 60 pages)
    – a book with family stories (I have the stories only)
    – online portfolio
    – one lecture left

    Here we go, I have no idea if its physically possible. I can’t start!!!

    Any suggestions?

    1. Dana says:

      A brief note to Sofia … I used to feel that way when I received my syllabus in a college course … “This amount of work is not humanly possible!” You have to assure yourself that you can do it … you really can. Then break the projects into very small, manageable steps. Work on a step or two every single day. You will feel a sense of empowerment by completing small goals each day. That’s how we get through anything: one baby step at a time. I know you can do it, Sophia!

    2. amy says:

      Sofia, ten weeks is plenty of time! If I were you, I’d do little things everyday. Set out a plan, and make sure you check something off your list everyday. Don’t just put a big hurdle that seems hard to overcome – separate your tasks into small digestible chunks and watch them being checked off one by one.

      Remember, you must take that first step, no matter how small! Good luck!

  7. Dana says:

    A comment about Amy’s column:
    First, Amy, you are truly an inspiration to me because of the monumental amount of effort and commitment you dedicated to creating your life. It’s so encouraging to read your posts!
    I am working on my etsy shop, plus another etsy shop, online marketing strategies, community-level marketing, my blog, etc. etc. What works for me is being open minded, willing to make mistakes, committed to finding answers, learning, learning, learning. I am more motivated now than ever because I set my own goals, solve my own problems, and present myself and my artwork the way that I think makes sense. Remind yourself: You own the power!

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