When I first started Stry.us, I had this notion that I was going to create a company that was going to disrupt the Associated Press. It was going to do a lot of things — most especially, it would tell great stories — but it would be funded by news organizations who would rip up their contracts with AP and give me their money instead. All I needed was 100 news organizations who’d give me $10,000 each.
This was the very definition of cluelessness.
I got excited, and I got ahead of myself. Way, WAY ahead of myself. It was going to take way more than three months of reporting from Biloxi for me to raise money for Stry.us.[1. And a million dollars! I thought I could get a million dollars! Lordy lordy was I dreaming big.]
The road from here to there — and for the record, the road has since changed, and I’m on a totally different path with Stry.us [2. And that’s totally okay!] — takes time. It takes a thousand tiny steps. There are no big leaps.
Think of it this way: Forrest Gump didn’t wake up and say, I’m going to run across the country four times.
No! He said: Maybe I’ll run down to the end of the block. And then to the end of town. And then to the end of the county.
And then you know what happens next:
My goal of getting people on board with Stry.us was one that was going to take time. It was going to take a certain amount of crazy before I got to that first follower, that first client.
It was going to take many tiny steps.
People quit too soon. If there’s one thing that I’ve done right, it’s that I haven’t quit on Stry.us. I’ve kept it going, and just by inching it forward, I’ve gotten it to Springfield.
It takes a thousand small steps to get to where you want to go. The first steps are slow. They are painful.
But if you really want to get somewhere good, you have to take the first one.