Nearly 2 years ago I started a small community for people who read Associate’s Mind.
No one was there. It was sad and hollow. I felt dumb for even creating it. Why would people want to be in there?
But the community grew slowly over time. First a dozen people. Then fifty, then a hundred. Building a community from nothing seemed impossible. But over time, it happened.
A couple weeks ago LawyerSmack crested one million messages exchanged.
It’s the most active, thriving private community for lawyers on the Internet.
Even during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the slowest, least busy work week of the year, there were 15,000 message exchanged.
Here are some lessons I learned from creating LawyerSmack that you can apply to your life and New Year’s Resolutions you’re making to yourself right now.
I Want to Make More Money!
My finances are out of control. How can I start taking control of them?
Do I need a tracking system?
Nope, just start.
What system should I use to save money? There are lots of them out there.
Eventually you might want one, but it’s more important to just start. Take $25 out of your wallet at the end of the week. Put it in a jar. You’ve saved $100 a month. MUCH SYSTEM. WOW.
What about an app? Lots of people suggest certain ones to help save money.
Do you need an app to help you brush your teeth? Or is it an automatic thing you just do everyday? Just start. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. You’re better off setting aside $1 dollar a day than spending hours researching some app that you never actually use.
Should I cut back on expenses? I think I spend too much money.
Then do it. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you start doing something.
How do I get ahead at my job? How do I get a promotion?
You start working harder and smarter. Don’t get distracted. Don’t put things off.
Start getting organized. Start making each day better. Start thinking like a partner, start thinking like your boss.
I want to make more money.
Pick up more hours at your job. Hunt down new clients. Find a side hustle. Don’t spend hours Googling about how to do it. Don’t endlessly read forums posts on it. Don’t get mired down in blog posts on motivation. Just start.
I Want To Start A Blog/Website!
Do I need to learn a lot about blogging before I start one?
Nope, just start writing.
What web host should I use?
It doesn’t matter, just start.
What should my website look like?
Who cares? No one is going to read it at first anyway, just start.
Who should I tell about it?
No one, just start.
What is SEO? I need to make sure my website has it right?
It doesn’t matter right now, just start.
What software should I use? There are so many options?
Whatever lets you start the fastest.
There seem to be all sorts of plugins and other stuff I need?
Nope, just get started.
What about social media? I need to integrate that somehow…?
Nope, just start.
What if it’s bad? I’ll be embarrassed.
Everyone is bad when they start. You have to push through the bad to get to the good. But you’ll never have the chance to get good if you don’t start.
I Want More Friends/Better Relationships!
I feel distant from someone important in my life. How do I fix it?
Whoever you want to have a better relationship with, pick up the phone and call them, right now. Seriously, stop reading this. Just call them. It’s the perfect time. Wish them Happy New Year! Ask how things are going in their life. Just start.
They’re not a phone call away. They’re in the other room.
Lead with gratitude. If they’re that close to your life, there is something in them you appreciate. Show it. You might have stopped. Start showing it again. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be expensive or significant. Just start.
I’m pretty lonely. I wish I had more friends.
Are new people going to suddenly begin showing up at your house for no reason? No, then get off your butt and start going places where people are. Online or in person. Pick something that you’re interested in: comic books, rugby, cooking, law, video games, wine. Whatever it is, there is somewhere people are getting together to talk about that thing. Start going there.
I’m feverous/anxious when meeting new people.
Are you going to get over that feeling sitting alone in your bedroom, reading this on your laptop or phone? No! You have to start meeting new people. The longer you put it off, the older you get, the more difficult it becomes.
No matter how awkward, no matter how difficult, just start meeting new people. Now.
I Want to be Healthier in the New Year!
I have bad eating habits. I want to eat healthier.
Then just start. Next time you’re at a restaurant, order a salad instead of a hamburger. Done.
Don’t I need a special diet?
No, you just need to start eating healthier, it doesn’t matter what you do.
But person-I-follow-on-Insta did a watermelon-sriracha diet and lost 30 lbs!
Yeah, because they started trying to be healthier instead of looking at people on Insta doing it.
But I like hamburgers and French fries! I don’t want to give them up.
Fine, order them. But start only eating half the French fries. You just cut out 300 calories. It’s not perfect, but you’ve started.
What type of exercise program should I be on?
It doesn’t matter. Pick one and get started on it.
But there is so much information out there. I don’t know which one to choose!
Better to pick the wrong one, and get started, than to be stuck and never pick one.
What if I don’t like the exercise program I choose?
You’ll only know that after you’ve started. Better to start the wrong one and change than to never do anything.
I don’t have motivation to go to the gym.
It’s not about motivation, it’s about the gym being part of your routine. And it will never be a part of your routine if you don’t start going. The hardest part of going to the gym is getting off the couch and picking up your keys.
Stop Reading, Stop Thinking, Start Doing
You’re going to screw up. You’re going to stumble and fall along the way. Big deal, so does everyone else.
You don’t need permission to fail. It just happens. To everyone. If you need permission to fail, okay! I give it to you! Here it is:
It’s okay to fail.
You don’t need permission to start. It’s how every successful business / app / website / person became what they are today. A single person pushed past apprehension and indecision and just got started.
If you need permission to start, that’s fine too! Here it is:
It’s okay to start.
There is no perfect path to follow. Everyone is different. Getting wrapped up in an ideal way of doing something just prevents you from ever starting.
Perfect is the enemy of the good. Trying to be perfect just gets in your way. You don’t need to be perfect to be good. You just need to start.