Humans of New York At many stages of your venture you may ask yourself whether launching your idea is actually feasible, whether you can make money from it, or even if it offers value to anyone.

The simple truth is that you’ll never know the answer to these questions if you never try.

That’s not to say that the journey will be easy. There’ll be long days, sleepless nights, and your fair share of setbacks. However, I can tell you that if you follow the right steps, keep working at it, listen to your feedback and adapt then you really can’t fail.

An unprecedented number of people are now making the jump, quitting their boring 9-5 jobs and setting out to work for themselves to create success on their own terms.

Here is a wonderful example of someone who started with a chance idea, ran with it, and is now reaping the benefits:

Brandon Stanton

Brandon bought his first camera in 2010. Photography quickly became an obsession of his and he would spend his free time taking photos when he wasn’t working as a bond trader. Not long after, though, Brandon lost his job, in part for taking risks. ‘I was a boundary pusher,’ he says. Then, as he told the Huffington Post:

‘Instead of updating my resume and looking for a similar job, I decided to forget about money and have a go at something I truly enjoyed. I’d purchased a semi-professional camera earlier that year and spent my free time taking photos in downtown Chicago.’

Humans of New York BrandonStantonLearning on the job, Brandon began touring American cities, taking photos, and sharing them on social media sites. At this point, he hadn’t even begun to think about whether he could monetise his project or not, instead surviving off of unemployment cheques to ‘almost pay rent.’ But he did start to receive positive feedback from his small audience, and begun adjusting and tweaking his approach in response to it. And as a result, Brandon came up with an idea for a project: to take 10,000 street portraits in New York and plot them on an interactive map, creating a photographic census of the city. He created the Humans of New York Facebook page, and the idea began to evolve with Brandon adding quotes, captions, and eventually full interviews with his subjects.

‘Without social media, I’d probably just be a quirky, amateur photographer with a hard drive full of photos. I’d be cold calling respected publications, begging for a feature.’

Brandon’s new format took off, and his social media pages and blogs began to quickly attract loads of attention. Just a few years later, Humans of New York now has over 17 million followers. Based on the blog, Brandon went on to publish three bestselling books, he has been named one of Time magazine’s 30 Under 30 People Changing the World, won a People’s Choice Award, and in 2015 was invited to meet and interview Barack Obama.

Brandon’s journey started with a simple, chance idea and the motivation to do what he loved. He put in the work to improve his skills and shared his work with an audience right from the start, listening to feedback and responding by tweaking his project to add even more value to it. By following these steps and constantly evolving his venture, Brandon has managed to create a business that is not only a serious money-maker but also a project that provides inspiration to its millions of followers.

Brandon Stanton Camera

So, why not take inspiration from Brandon’s adventure to start your own? What project would you love to take on even if just for 30 days? Follow the steps in my new book Screw Work Break Free to launch something faster than you ever imagine possible and find ways to turn it into an income stream or lucrative business.