How does anyone turn any idea into reality?
Despite what it may appear to many: anyone who creates anything is figuring it out as they go—with few exceptions. Steve Jobs had absolutely no idea how to build a company, let alone a personal computer, but he—with help from others—figured it out. Warren Buffet knew little-to-nothing about investments or investment firms before he started working as one and eventually founded one of the most successful investment brands in the world.
Actor, writer, and comedian John Cleese put it best in his book So, Anyway by saying: “Nobody has any idea at first.”
To put it another way: a serial entrepreneur may have experience starting and running companies, that doesn’t mean they’ll know everything about their next company. If they did know it all and have all the answers, there’d be no point to starting yet another company. The same goes for a writer who is working on their next book, or the successful architect building their new project, or the app developer pushing code out for a new game.
In each of these things what matters is two-fold: 1. Do what you can now, and 2. Identify what you don’t yet know so you can go out and learn it.
If you want to invent a new type of machine—for example—but you know nothing about manufacturing or materials and imports or patent laws, you can at very least write a detailed description of what it is you want to build. You can go further and doodle what the machine might look like or how it might work.
From there you can start piecing the gaps in your knowledge together through research: if you wrote that your machine will mold some type of metal you should start researching metals commonly used in molding processes. You could find experts in machine production or patents and email them or message them on social media to get their help. You could go to the local university and see if they have groups or support to point you in a direction.
You have the entire world of knowledge at your finger tips, you could certainly figure out anything you might not yet know with a quick search on Google.
I’m getting away from myself here though. The answer to your question—of how to make something real with your idea—is to first do whatever you can right now, then identify what you can’t yet do and find a way to learn it or someone who might be able help you.
I’ve used this process to teach myself to code, design, make fine metal jewelry, paint, write, and more. I’ve written about this a lot as a result, here are some of what I’ve written which may help you:
This post first appeared on Quora.