In Life and Business, Build It Yourself

One of the more bittersweet struggles in life and business is the wait between having a great idea and being able to act on it. Once you begin turning your ideas into actions your desire to continue doing so becomes unstoppable. You hunger for the next thought because it might be the one that changes everything, or at least something that pushes you a bit further forward in your creative pursuits.

Expressing yourself through action soon becomes purpose, the thing we all seek, and the wait to produce something original can be absolutely maddening. We’d rather pay people to do the work for us or short cut the traditional methods of release for the sake of self-gratification. We seek short cuts and ways around delays because we just have to get our ideas into the world, which is precisely where everyone goes wrong.

When we outsourced work on a new platform early last year, we thought we were doing it for the right reasons. After years of growth and success we had the means to create an updated system for our clients that met many long time demands. In our minds it was a move for them, not us, and it could happen much quicker with additional help in development.

We knew what people needed because we spent our days engaged with them in a dialogue about our product. You know who didn’t? The team we hired to help us build the site.

This is not a slight against them. The entire team was very talented and they helped us build a beautiful system. If only that system actually worked it would have been a gorgeous product release, but as many users know that is the furthest thing from what happened. The release crashed our system for days, leaving clients and members of the media without access to their music. It was a borderline worst case scenario.

We do not blame the team that we hired for this mistake because we knew it was our rush to get a new product out that ultimately lead us astray. We could have built the platform ourselves, but instead we tried to take a short cut in our personal development by seeking help from people unfamiliar with our mission and focus. We asked people to think like us rather than thinking for ourselves.

In the weeks following the failed launch of the new platform we came to a realization: We need a new plan and we still have to pay off the now largely useless updated platform. After much debated we decided to return to our core product and revisit ever single page and tool one item at a time. We made lists of everything we could change and talked about the things we wish we knew how to build ourselves. Instead of one big update we would make several minor updates throughout the year, each furthering the overall quality of our platform.

Our biggest success has been the product of our team working together. We may not be the biggest team in the world, but we are dedicated to our mission and we stop at nothing to deliver high quality work to our consumers. If something we need can be gained through our own efforts then it us our responsibility to see it through.

It doesn’t matter what it is you want to pursue in life. Whether you want to create, teach, build, or work in middle management you need to do the work involved to find true success. Houses and countries and cell phones and stereos do not happen simply because they are wished for. People just like you and me put their own blood, sweat, and tear into something because they wanted to see it exist. They sought like-minded people, but they never relied on them to do the things they wanted.

Don’t seek a legacy –  build one.


James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix. He is also a Managing Editor at Substream Magazine and a ten-year music industry veteran. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.