So you know when you have an idea that you’re like “this is going to make me a bajillion dollars”?… and then you go to start putting pen to paper to start brainstorming your idea… but nothing comes out? You’re literally staring at a blank page and all those amazing ideas that were just in your head seemed to die when you picked up that pen.
The problem is the idea is super abstract when you first start thinking about it so your brain doesn’t know how to process and organize the thoughts. In order to accommodate that, you need to give yourself some structure and help your brain put the puzzle pieces in order so that you can see the whole picture.
For each of these steps, give yourself a set amount of time to do them. If you drag it out, you’ll end up in “analysis paralysis” — you know what I’m talking about! When you’re stuck in “research mode” and you never actually pull the trigger.
1. Get to Googling (and YouTubing and Pinteresting)
Recommended Timeframe: 3-7 days
YouTube and Google are the two biggest search engines in the world… and Pinterest is right behind them. Contrary to what you might think, Pinterest is a search engine not a social site (when’s the last time you were actually social on Pinterest?)
Google will help you get some basic info on the topic and you’ll learn a lot from blogs. Next, head on over to Pinterest. I freaking LOVE Pinterest…. There’s a ton of info there and you will get even more details on the topic you’re looking for (and no, it’s not just recipes and crafts). There’s content on Pinterest for absolutely everything.
Lastly, head on over to YouTube. You’ll find webinar replays, instructional videos and walkthroughs to help you with your topic. You’ll learn so much by just spending a few hours researching your topic and learning about other people who’ve done it before you.
When there’s a new project that I want to work on, I will literally spend a whole week researching everything that I can about the topic… It’s sort of obsessive to the point that I won’t sleep because I want to know everything I can about it. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. If I had to guess, I probably read and listen to at least 50-100 pieces of content about that one topic before I decide how I want to implement it. If that sounds overwhelming, it’s easier to do than to sit in your brain and try to figure out how to organize your thoughts.
As a side note, just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean you can’t do it, too… and just because it HASN’T been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I love to find things that people have used in different industries and repurpose it into something that I can use to give to you.
Make sure that you bookmark all of the stuff that you like — you may not realize it now, but that one little idea that you didn’t think was that big of a deal will be the one thing that reshapes your whole idea.
2. Read Five Books On The Topic
Recommended Timeframe: 30-45 Days
Next, pick out the one major topic that you need to learn to start executing on the idea. Go on Amazon and search for that topic. Find the top rated books and read at least five on the subject. This is my absolute favorite way to learn about a new subject quickly… and if you think you’re not a reader, it’s probably because you’ve been doing it wrong.
You probably haven’t been reading with purpose of applying the information that you’ve learned and you haven’t built the habit of it. It’s sort of like eating healthy or going to the gym… It’s hard at first and then it just becomes who you are.
Reading just one book isn’t enough… You have to get a few different perspectives and opinions. This will also help you understand common practice, the language and you’ll start developing your own opinions about it.
I suggest you read 10 pages or 1-2 chapters at a time and every time you put the book down, write down the one thing you’re going to implement as a result of what you just read. Doing it this way will help you keep track of your idea and start putting some order in place for it.
3. Take An eCourse (or two or three)
Recommended Timeframe: 30-45 Days
This is something I just started doing recently and it’s been awesome. I truly believe in the saying “people have lived before you”. The people who’ve done it before you have been through all of the trial and error that you have yet to go through. During an ecourse, you’ll learn how to apply the information — not just learn the information. You’ll cut your learning curve by 100% because you don’t have to learn the hard way.
Before you hop into an ecourse, make sure that you verify the success of the person teaching it, go through their free content (they’ll usually have a blog or podcast so you can get a feel for their style and you’ll learn a lot there too) and look for reviews and testimonials of the course.
4. Structure Your Idea.
Recommended Timeframe: 1-3 days
By now, you’ve learned enough about the topic that you can start structuring your own ideas for how you want to do it. At this point, you’ll start noticing how much easier it is to brainstorm and get the ideas out of your head with some structure to it.
You may even find that your idea has evolved and changed since before you start this journey… That’s a good thing! That means that you’ve learned a ton and you’ll probably skip a bunch of the trial and error that you would’ve gone through without going through this process.
5. Start Talking To People.
Recommended Timeframe: 1-2 Weeks
If this is something that you want people to buy, before you go developing the product or service, take the time to talk to your potential clients. Talk to your friends, family and other potential clients.
Share your ideas with them and don’t get defensive if they don’t like it. It’s better to know that they don’t like it NOW than waiting until you’ve already built it to tell you they don’t like it. When you master your audience, you’ll know that you’ll be successful at whatever it is that you’re putting together.
If they disagree with you or don’t like certain elements, ask them why they feel that way. Get them to go deep!
Once you’ve talked to them, go back and tweak your idea again. Your idea should be a living, breathing idea — it’s not carved in stone.
6. Ask Yourself The Focusing Question.
By now, you’ve built out your idea and it’s time to start putting it into action.
I find that the absolute best way to go about doing this is to ask yourself the focusing question from The One Thing, “what is the one thing that I can do right now that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”
Hint: The honest answer probably won’t be the one that you want to do… but it’ll be necessary.
7. Do That Action.
Surprise, surprise! Now that you know what the most important thing is… Go do it. We didn’t go through this whole process just for the sake of the idea. We went through all of this for the sake of taking action.
If you find yourself getting stuck here, it almost always has to do with fear…
Fear of success, fear of failure or fear of rejection. This is when you keep doing the “busy work” because you’re afraid to actually start.
Fear of Success: Massive success would require us to change and we don’t like change. This fear can also come from having succeeded in the past and then losing it all — you’re afraid that success leads to inevitable failure. To fix this, start focusing on why you’re doing what you’re doing rather than focusing on the result of the activity that you’re avoiding.
Fear of Failure: This one goes without saying. The biggest piece of advice I have for you here is to treat everything like an experiment. If you’re doing an experiment and something doesn’t work, what do you do? You find a different way. Again, focus on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing and let go of the focus on the result of the activity.
Fear of Rejection: This was always my biggest thing…. When I was a kid, I never wanted to tell anyone about my goals because I was TERRIFIED that people wouldn’t support me or judge me if I failed. To handle this, I went ahead and surrounded myself with different people. It wasn’t that the people I was around weren’t supportive, they just weren’t visioaires and couldn’t think as big as I liked to.
8. Prepare to Fail… A lot.
This is the one that most of us struggle with the most and as a result, we stop at number six because we’re afraid we’ll fail at number seven.
You’re going to fail… A LOT. That’s ok!
That’s where the growth happens and this is where you earn your brownie points.
The best advice that I can give you is not to be attached to the result. If you know that what you’re doing is the right thing to do, don’t worry so much about what the outcome is going to be. Allow yourself to commit 100% without fear of failure.
Treat it like it’s an experiment.
9. Repeat steps 7-9 until the project is complete.
Lastly, do 6-8 over and over and over and over again until your idea or project is complete.
When you break down your ideas into smaller steps, they become less overwhelming and easier to put into action. Stop letting your awesome ideas run away from you.