I am still blown away that my passion as a digital product designer and entrepreneur all started from a PC game.
When I was 13 I was introduced to a game called Gunbound. The more I played it, the more I fell in love with this game. I became so passionate about it I created an online forum to meet new players and also trade rare items. After a couple of months of hustling around I was running one of the first online Gunbound communities with over 2,000 active members.
Every morning I would log on to check how many users were online, how many new posts and new registered members. After school I would head home, open Gunbound and begin the spam-frenzy. “Free Giveaways”, “Sell Items for Cash”, “Meet new players”, “Join Gunbound Galore” it actually worked! As the community grew, I spent more and more time on the forum. The site reached a stage where I had to ask members of the community to help manage sections of the site. When we receive feedback, our passion grows.
10 years later, I am still working in the same digital space that I discovered when I was 13. I still wake up every morning, looking forward to the next set of problems to solve – I really do. My passion for digital products and problem solving has led me to to build my first six figure online business, made numerous brick and mortar investments, led design teams and I’m absolutely humbled to have been approached by some of the world’s leading tech companies such as Google, Microsoft (Cortana), HoloLens and Apple.
We’ve all got a passion. The difference is how strong our bond is and are we continuously pushing ourselves to growing it. Think about all the athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Without hard work, consistency and proper nutrition, they’ll never achieve greatness. It’s the same with our passions. If we don’t spend the time and hard work fuelling our passion – sooner or later it will either stay the same or wither away.
So are you ready to go out there to make a difference? Lets look forward to Monday mornings together!
Here are 5 tips to growing your passion:
Bring your ideas to life.
Take action today. It doesn’t have to be big! Philippe Hong and I run UI Garage which is a simple tumblr blog, filled with design pattern inspiration. We receive around 300 visits a day. Each week we upload 30+ patterns to inspire designers. It’s a simple idea but when users tell you, that they visit the site every day, it means the world to us and keeps us going.
Go out and network with like minded people.
As they say, go fast alone, go far together. I use to be quite shy and would come up with all sorts of excuses as to why I couldn’t make it to social gatherings. I’ve had to push myself to network, and i’ve learned that people are actually a lot friendlier than I once thought! Networking is an encouraging way to meet, learn and bounce ideas with people who understand you and your creative passions. Meetups and Twitter are a great place to meet like-minded creatives.
Share your work and don’t be afraid to fail.
Be open to receiving feedback from other designers. The only way to become a better designer is to make mistakes. When you fail, you learn and when you learn, things get interesting. Try to share your work with others at least once a week, whether it’s online or offline. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you’re cringing at your old work, it means you’re improving!
Books are the ultimate source of inspiration. Especially for designer. Seeing the world through the eyes of some of the world’s leaders in our field will broaden your horizons. Some of my favourites include: Hooked – How to Build Habit Forming Products, The Lean Startup, Start with Why, Don’t Make me Think and The design of everyday things.
Start a business.
Running a business is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only do you get to exercise what you love, but you get paid for it. When I received my first $100 USD paycheck from ads on my Gunbound forum, I was over the moon! It’s a great feeling to be able to have a small venture on the side, which you can look forward to see grow every morning. You’ll start to love Mondays!
So if you’ve already discovered your passion, don’t forget to stop growing it. Continue to explore new things you can do with the skills you’ve learnt. Always remind yourself with why you’re doing what you’re doing. With a strong purpose, comes a stronger passion. If you haven’t found your passion at this moment in time, that’s ok. Take the time to experiment with the things you love.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Reach me on Twitter @mizko!
Have a terrific week!