We get a lot of questions from parents and from people just getting started with the maker movement (a democratizing movement that empowers people to build, create, and tinker) asking what’s the best way to get started. Should I enrol in a class? What websites are good? What should I buy?
After thinking about these types of questions and talking to our network of amazing London makers, we’ve compiled a list of 5 secrets great makers recommend.
1. No one knows what they’re doing: While we use the word “maker” a lot, it doesn’t really mean anything. Anyone who is passionate about making or creating something can call themselves a maker if they want to. Makers experiment. Makers fail. Makers have fun. But there is no single correct way to be or become a maker. Some of the most amazing makers we know are people who make it up as they go along. If you have an idea don’t be afraid to do some research, talk to some experts, and then take a chance on making your idea into a reality. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail and learn something from it.
2. Fake it until you make it: Sometimes it’s good to get in the deep end of the pool. A lot of successful makers are willing to take chances on ambitious projects. Biting off a little more than you’re comfortable chewing can be a great motivator. Just be careful, the key is flying just close enough to the sun to get a great suntan without getting close enough to get burned.
3 Find mentors: From the beginning of the MakerBus, we’ve been blessed with amazing mentors. Mentors can teach you more than all the books and websites you could ever read. If you’re trying to learn a new skill, try to seek out people in your community who you can learn from. Our bus would be nowhere without amazing community members like Paul, who showed us how to airbrush a vehicle, or Fred, who is a constant source of positive energy, or John, who brings much needed practical wisdom to all our lofty goals.
4. Be ambitious: At the MakerBus we’re a big fan of the old cliche of missing 100% of the shots you don’t take. While failing can be discouraging, it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all. Everyone has amazing creative potential and the only thing that can unlock that potential is the willingness to try. Who knows where trying something new might lead you – you might even end up buying a school bus.
5. Youtube is your friend: Ryan was visiting family friends in British Columbia last summer and learned that they started their own gin distillery. When he was getting a tour of their operation, he asked where they had their distillery tanks made. Much to his surprise, they said, “Oh, we welded them ourselves. We learned how to weld on Youtube.” Their son rented welding equipment and spent a month walking himself through welding tutorials on Youtube. Within a month he was able to build their distillery tanks.
Now we’re not suggesting that everyone should start trying everything they see on Youtube, but this is a great example of how the internet can empower people to teach themselves new skills. There are so many tutorials, walk throughs, and guides online today that you can teach yourself nearly anything with a little patience.
So these are our 5 maker secrets – what secrets do you have to share? Let us know a little about your maker ethos and we’ll add it to our list of advice.