How to Start a Project

Learn how to be entrepreneurial and champion your own causes and ideas in 4 easy steps.

Stever Robbins
3-minute read
Episode #128

How to Start a Project

If you work in a company that actually encourages innovation, you might take the leap of starting a project on your own, to prove it will work. If you don’t work for someone else, maybe you want to go into business for yourself. Or start a non-profit, or some other extra-curricular project.

Step 1: Choose the Right Project

The first step is choosing the project. You need something specific enough to take action, yet flexible enough that you can expand the vision as it grows. “Let’s revolutionize transportation” is way too vague. But a more specific might fit the bill: “Let’s prototype a car that works entirely by pedal power.” Fred Flintstone would be proud.

Step #2: Choose the Right People  

No great movement happens alone. You need people! Decide who to recruit. If it’s a work project, you should probably choose people from work. Find people who can get excited about the idea and bring skills and perspectives you need for success. You might choose the following:

  • people whose skills complement yours,

  • people who will be good moral support,

  • people who have resources you’ll need,

  • people who have good connections and networks, or

  • people who are so poised and confident that you can’t even tell they have new hair plugs.

Approach your chosen people, outline your vision, and ask them to sign up. Check out my earlier article, “How to Ask for What You Want,” for help asking. If they say “No,” go on to the next person. You’re not trying to persuade people; you’re giving them information and sharing your vision. You want them to believe enough to commit, so they take partial ownership and start making things happen. Too much selling can be too high-maintenance when you’re up and running. You want people who co-own the idea from day one.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.