While working at a cramped Starbucks near a busy university, I couldn’t help overhear a conversation between two people catching up. From what I heard, the one person was a personal nutritionist on the side.

She spoke of a hobby she picked up; Olympic power lifting. She got really good at it. Good enough to place well at some regional competition, apparently.

I’m paraphrasing here, but her reason was thus:

“I wanted to do something that could demonstrate my nutritionist work.”

Anyone can pick up a book and recite its contents with enough study. But it’s another thing entirely to take what you know, add your magic, and hard work, and produce a tangible result.

After leaving AOL Music in 2011 I knew I had the skill-set to help people share stories online. That’s how Skull Toaster was born! I have my resume’ sure, and that says plenty, but Skull Toaster is me showing, “I built a brand from scratch, with an engaged social media following, and a nightly email list with a 40+% open rate since 2012.” Ahem, hiring managers.

The folks at Coudal have been doing this for years. They’ve created plenty of campaigns for clients over the years, but then started making their own products. Why not? They already know how to make websites and ads and Twitter accounts. One of their projects was the Field Notes brand of notebooks, which they did with Aaron Draplin.

“There wasn’t any big corporate plan, or venture capital or a full page ad in the New York Times or anything; we printed up a batch, bought a domain name and let it grow from there.”

Just start. Find people to work with (not ask, “what do you think of this idea?”), and get it going.