“One man has enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another for 30 days, but it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success of his life.”
— Edward Butler, Discount-Store Entrepreneur
There’s a difference between outgrowing your career position and losing enthusiasm for your industry. For the last 17 years working in the web industry, I held the primary role of project manager – basically, overseeing the development of a website. From client planning, to design and programming, I was responsible for launching the new website for our client.
In launching hundreds of websites, I’ve come across a wide-range of people and business models. There’s always a few that stick out. One in particular was a social networking site for hunters. This was back when MySpace was still popular and niche social networking sites were in their glory.
I remember thinking that this was a terrible idea – are there enough hunters who want to join a social network and chat online? How will they generate revenue? Fortunately, I wasn’t deeply involved in the sale, but, I did become project manager.
It’s important to be enthusiastic about a project once it’s on your plate. Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, you need to bring your A-game to the table and make sure everything you do is in an effort to help the client become successful.
We developed the project from the ground-up, and while it wasn’t going to be the next Facebook, it had decent functionality. It’s no surprise that after launch, there wasn’t enough adoption to have true impact. Simply put, there wasn’t a demand for hunters to socialize online.
Sadly, our client cancelled their contract with us and developed a similar site with another team. Another big mistake. They used a pre-built system, and imported all the data over. Apparently, some of the data and features were lost in the move, and site usability was severely compromised.
The mistake wasn’t cancelling their contract with us, but failing to discover what the needs of their market was. For instance, there was some engagement from their target group. If they had focused on those features that resonated with their users, and made an effort to round out those areas, maybe they would have been successful.
These projects remind me of reality TV shows like Bar Rescue or Kitchen Nightmares. People have a dream to open a bar (because they like drinking) or restaurant (because they like food) but lack experience needed to successful. Some pay for experience through trial and error, others hire those that are experienced. Either way, you need willingness to learn from your mistakes, or hire those that already have. If not, then you’re chances of success are slim.