How Do Babies Learn To Walk?

I needed a new website, really I did. It had gone beyond nice-to-have and become essential. Not because the existing website is poor, although it is, but because the direction in which I am pushing my business requires a website that plays a much more central role in my lead generation and nurturing efforts.

And I wanted to build it myself. The lead generation role I have in mind for the site requires me to have my hands on the levers and the levers need to be short. I need to be in the car, not driving it by remote-control.

So, despite years of using “refurbishing your website” as an example of what is NOT a high-payoff activity (i.e. critical to goal achievement), I decided the refurbishment of my own website had reached the status of the hallowed high-payoff activity.

And, me being me, I immediately thought of all the things I would need to do to make this website come alive and the fact that I didn’t know how to do most of them. All I’ve ever done before is put these blog posts online and set up a very simple template website.

And, I didn’t have a detailed idea of what I wanted.

Hmm. No clear goal and major skill gaps.

There was only one thing to do…

Do something. Anything. Take the first step. Get the car moving. You cannot think a website into existence. Not yet anyway. Once you start you will end up somewhere. If you don’t start, you know where you end up.   

So I bought a WordPress theme and I installed it. I had to move the blog. 100+ articles. I hoped there was an easy way to do that. There was. It took 3 minutes. How do you get an image on the sidebar and make it clickable? One minute on Google and it’s done.  

Installing a video player. Hmmm. Need to deal with the dreaded HTML. Hypertext markup language. It’s funny. Computers are great but when you speak to them in their language you realise how fathomless is their stupidity. And let’s hope it stays that way.  

Anyway the job is done…

…and you are on the new site now.

Here’s what I have (re)-learned from this experience –

1. Take the first step.

The end goal does not have to be crystal clear (although it’s better if it is) before you take the first step. The entire staircase to the goal does not have to be floodlit before you take the first step. Just like a baby learning to walk – you only need to see the first step.

2. There will be barriers, problems, obstacles.

You have three choices – go round them, through them or allow them to stop you. One of these answers is bad.  

3. Things take longer than you think (don’t they always).

If you have staff, remember this.

4. Block time is essential.

Giving a task large chunks of uninterrupted time is critical. Rome was not built between meetings. I gave myself two solid days to do the videos on the site. It was barely enough. An hour here and an hour there would not have cut it.   

5. We get better through repetition.

The videos on this site represent my second foray in this area and I think they are technically much better. Plus, my confidence has soared. This is good (and part of the plan) because there’s a lot more videoing coming up very soon and I am sooo glad to have this experience under my belt.

So, there you have it. The infrastructure for the lead generation campaign is in place. It’s all mine. I know how all the knobs and levers work and I’ve added to my skill set and confidence. It took longer than I thought but I don’t care.

A website is a small thing at the end of the day. But failing to take the first step is a very big thing. Very big and very bad. Is there a first step you need to take? Define it and put it in your diary. Better yet – do it right now.


2 Responses to How Do Babies Learn To Walk?

  1. Robert Sloss November 14, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    “The goal does not need to be crystal clear” This phrase is more powerful than you give it credit. Crystal Clear Goals can be a perfectionists nightmare. You do need an overall high level goal but it can be fuzzy like I need an improved website, then get going and you will find out what improved means. After all we, like babies, should learn from mistakes.

    • Mark Nugent November 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      Hi Robert,

      You are right of course. Not all goals are crystal clear. I almost hesitated to write about the fact my goal was not clear because, I am afriad, some would take this as a justification for NEVER being clear on their goals as they do not wish to be held to account.

      I guess the message is that goals should be as clear as practically possible and, once action has taken place and things are moving, the goal should be tightened up as soon as the opportunity arises.



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