5 Reasons Why You Should Start Creating in Your Garage

Aaron McHugh

Walt Disney’s first advertisement

I started working on that (animated short) in the garage
while I was still working for the film studio.  

Great Beginnings Start in the Garage

Walt Disney started creating his animated shorts in his garage while he still had a day job.

The world was forever changed because of his unwavering commitment to bring his ideas to life.

You dream about changing the world for good.  And yet you aren’t making any headway on your master plan.

You have this secret hope that you might receive a FedEx package with an invitation inside that reads,

You are cordially invited to begin doing the work of your dreams;
Please report to duty on Monday morning.

Come on?

Instead of waiting for that mythical invitation to pursue your life’s passion,
you should start working in the garage today.

It is the best hope you have.

How am I so sure? 

This summer my family and I were in San Francisco and we visited the Walt Disney Family Museum (Read more on the museum).

Listen to the podcast interview.

On the wall there was one quote that lured me to quickly write it down.

I started working on that …..in the garage.

In the early 1920’s Walt Disney was working in Los Angeles, CA for a film studio.

  • His name was not yet in neon lights.
  • His dreams had not yet been realized.
  • While he still had a day job.
  • While he was putting food on the table.
  • While he was a freelancer trading hours for a day’s wage.
  • He was secretly working in the garage on his best stuff.

Walt Disney altered American family history because he started tinkering in the garage.

I think you should start altering the trajectory of your future by creating in your garage.

Why your best work is born in the garage?

1) No one is watching.

That’s right.  No one is over your shoulder watching you work asking if you are done yet.  You have the opportunity to work on your craft without anyone else witnessing your creation.

2) There is no pressure.

You don’t have a deadline.  You are free of obligation to deliver a finished work.  There are no customers tapping their toes waiting on your final product.

3) Your livelihood does not count on it.

When decoupling your livelihood from your craft there is an immense amount of pressure relieved.  So what if you mess it up?  So what if it sucks?
So what if you start over 52 times?

Paying your mortgage is not tied to the result.

4) You will never have more passion than you do right now.

Never again will you be so unadulterated in your view of this project.

The purity of your passion is like that of a Hawaiian black sand beach
just after a volcano erupted virgin lava onto her shore.

Yep that damn sexy.

Think of the welled up desire that you have to pour out onto the paper, the sculpture, the wood, or the guitar strings.

When else will you possess this poetic a prose?

5) The rent is cheap

The garage looks pretty affordable compared to a two-year lease for an office.  Pause and appreciate the luxury of being nimble, thrifty and dynamic.

Once you hire a bunch of people and start spending all of your time meeting with attorneys and accountants everything changes.

Bonus advice: You already have a Thing

A good friend advised me that the best time to start working on your next thing is right now while you have a thing.   

Isn’t that great advice?

The garage is perfect. 

The garage is the perfect figurative or physical place for you to start honing your craft.

Where would the world be if Walt Disney had not started tinkering with animation in his garage?

Where will we be if you don’t start in your garage?

Other compelling nudges for you to start:

Everyone is waiting on you.

Start doing the job you wish you had.

Do you feel like you are playing for the farm team?

What do you think you have to loose?

  • Aaron Johnson

    Aaron, what a great post to read as I begin spending a day off working on my “thing”. I remember watching 180 Degrees South, seeing those old photos of the founders of Patagonia and North Face tinkering in their shop, and thinking of how epic those early days were for those guys. We have that same opportunity.

    • Yvonne Chouinard is a gritty example of creating in your garage-I love it. Can’t you picture those guys pounding away on some piton with their iron hammer the day before they drove to Yosemite to put up 2000 ft first ascents? Thanks Aaron. Good luck on the Trail Guide as well. I want to hear more about it.

  • Such a great post Aaron! Thank you thank you for calling me back to the craft I love most. Here’s a picture of my writing desk in my garage 🙂

    • Sam. That makes me so happy. Love the picture and remember seeing it in the cool space out back. Keep going.

  • Awesome post Aaron! Some of the best creations ever, were spawned from a garage! I’ve always had some sort of garage hobby to keep my busy (i.e. nitro rc cars, gopeds, atv’s, bmx racing) and there’s something soothing about working on things and the time just flies by lol.

    • Ryan man nitro race cars that’s definitely a cool garage story. I guess you don’t smoke in the garage also 🙂
      Thanks bro

      • Ryan Ridgway

        Haha noooo way, that nitro fuel is something to be cautious around for sure! Plus, despite the fact that i did smoke cigs at 15yrs (i was a little trouble maker) i’m not sure my parents would’ve approved of me smoking in their garage 😉 Yuck, glad i quit that habit long ago. Cheers – Ryan

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