How I taught myself a new skill

How I taught myself a new skill

There are many things I don’t know how to do. But in today’s internet age, it’s possible to figure out how to do just about anything. Many entrepreneurs, myself included, often jump into projects with little knowledge on how to complete them. My approach has always been to read along the way, talk to others, and learn as I go. This year, I used this process to learn an entirely new skill that turned into a new stream of income and also unlocked new business doors.

Here’s how it all started. It was a cold January night. I was up at 2 a.m. I was feeling down after a breakup and dealing with a recent bout of depression. I cranked up the volume on some sappy ballads and felt solace in the singers’ pain. I noticed their feelings were described with such beautiful melodies. I wondered if I could try to do the same thing.

Without thinking it through, I started to write words on a piece of paper: “Maybe I loved you, or maybe I loved the vacation from my own anxieties . . .”

I continued to scribble down random thoughts and feelings, and, after only 20 minutes, I had a whole page of words. Knowing nothing about how to write a song, I took the only knowledge I had—that songs should rhyme once in a while. I then turned my lyrics into a poem of sorts, where the endings would compliment each other, and the words had some kind of flow.

I decided to learn as I go

Next, I turned to my trusty pal Google and typed in, “Find someone to sing my song.” I came across a platform called Fiverr that had hundreds of musicians listed. I scrolled through the pages, took around $100, and hired two people to sing my song. I gave very brief instructions and linked to some bands I liked the vibe of. At that point, I passed out, forgetting about the project entirely until the next afternoon. A ping in my inbox said, “Matt has delivered your order.” My mind flashed back to what I had been doing in bed the night before, and I found my headphones.

“Staring at the ceiling, it’s becoming lighter now.

The tears have dried and the feelings distant now . . .”

As soon as the sound came on, I heard the first verse come to life with a backing melody and vocal arrangement. I immediately started crying. Matt had captured the sentiment of my lyrics perfectly.

Before I knew it, I was able to create over 20 songs by pure trial and error. This foray into songwriting reminded me of a crucial lesson. When you face an unfamiliar business problem or project, sometimes the best thing to do is to jump right in, make mistakes, and fix them as you go.

I outsourced what I didn’t know

Building off of Matt’s beautiful foundation, I found producers, violinists, rappers, and more on the platform to help further develop my songs. I found their help very instrumental (no pun intended) in helping me build my songs and guide me along the right path. After all, I had no idea what I was doing. These talented artists not only helped me make great music, but they also taught me how the song process works and how to copyright my work. Whether I was learning to design products for my store or trying my hand at songwriting, I’ve learned that it’s crucial to surround yourself with talented individuals. So the next time you have an idea, talk to everyone around you, and ask for referrals to people with that set of skills. Don’t be afraid to turn to internet marketplaces to help find the right freelancer to tackle your problems.

I let myself make mistakes and kept iterating

Some of the songs I made were catchy but not a Top 40 banger—and that’s okay. Everything you make doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but it can be a stepping-stone to great work down the line. By making a broad array of tracks, it allowed me to dig deep into my creativity, try out different styles, and see what worked for me (and what didn’t.) When you’re working on a creative project, I recommend letting your creativity flow—create as much as you can. Then, take a step back, look at what you’ve created, and see how it fits into your long-term goals. After creating a number of songs, I was able to step back, find my favorites, and then compile them into an album I’m releasing this month.

There are many things you may not know how to do—and that’s a good thing. That represents possibilities for new challenges and business endeavors for you to pursue and sink your teeth into. So the next time you want to start something new, remember that there’s nothing wrong with starting at zero. The key is being able to learn by trial and error, and also finding talent that can help you make your ideas a reality.

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