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Need a Business Idea? Start Here!

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Apr 22

Coming up with an idea can be hard….At first.

If you’ve spent the last several years as an employee, or even as a business owner stuck in a monotonous routine, chances are that you’re Idea Muscle has slowly withered away and is now just an emaciated husk of it’s former self.

The repetitive daily grind has sapped the creative justices out of you. You’ve become conditioned to following instructions. To solving problems and handling situations “the correct way” or “in accordance with company policy.” Doing things “by the book” has a place, but that place is most certainly NOT here amongst fellow adventurers and entrepreneurs.

You’ve got the drive, you’ve got the ambition, but when it comes to actually coming up with a game plan your momentum sputters and falls on it’s face.

I get it! I’ve been there too.

I have been stalled for MONTHS on more than one occasion. Trapped in a miserable idea purgatory ,simply because I couldn’t settle on an idea, or because I couldn’t commit to one, or because I didn’t think I had any that were good enough.

Fortunately, you’re not going to have to do that any longer! With the help of massive amounts of caffeine, we have condensed a myriad of research and collective life experience and come up with a simple, effective (and somewhat safe) method of extracting possible business ideas from your subconscious.

You see, you know much more than you think you do. Chances are you have several passions, interests, and untapped reserves of knowledge all wrapped up and locked away in your noggin’. Go through the following process to unblock yourself and get that Idea Muscle firing on all cylinders!

1)Idea Mining

Figure out what you’re good at. This is where you gather all of your idea ore and lay it out for review. To be fancy, we will refer to these as “Idea Ingots” (clever, huh?).

You want to see what assets you already have working for you.  To get started, ask yourself some questions…

-What are you particularly knowledgeable about? (e.g. plants, shoes, science…)

– What challenges have you overcome? (e.g. becoming vegan)

– What skills have you developed? (e.g. dealing with pissed off customers)

– A. What are your interests/hobbies/passions? (Be specific, and only select the major ones. E.g. Don’t put solving world hunger if you are only interested once a year when you see a particularly motivating sad faced baby commercial.)

B. Which of the above groups have their own clubs/forums/magazines?

2)   Group your Idea Ingots on the Forge of Inspiration (Helllll yea. We have a flare for overly dramatic names in case you haven’t noticed.)

                     JoshharrisFoI
 What’s the point in this?

Using the Forge of Inspiration (FoI) takes out the guesswork. Rather than looking at a list of 20+ ideas thinking “Eeeeeeee! Too many choices!” you get to lay them out in a neat, organized way and use facts to help you with your decision. The FoI is a structure that quickly filters your ideas and helps you see what is realistic and what you should probably avoid.

3) Pick ONE idea to proceed with (for now)!

After going throughout the above idea extraction process it’s time to settle on one. Not two. Not three.

Just one.

If you’ve followed the instructions thus far, you should have at least 20 Idea Ingots plotted on the FoI. Look to the upper left hand corner, this is where you’ll find the ideas that have many potential customers, as well as high potential price points. It’s important to be in this quadrant, because nothing sucks more than to spend endless hours learning about your industry, reaching out, and building an awesome product only to find that no one wants to buy it. Trust me.

But what about my passion?

Labors of love, like those you’ll see in the lower right corner might fill you with the warm & fuzzies, but they probably won’t pay your bills. If you’ve got a passion that you’ve found not to be profitable, don’t give up on it, simply put it on hold. Once you’ve got some income flowing in from other revenue steams you can always bring it back out.

Who knows, once you get your idea muscle back in shape you may even discover a way to monetize your passion after all.

But I have so many good ideas, why do I have to pick just one?

Because you need to focus. It’s easy to get all excited and jump on board with 3 ideas going side by side, but this usually ends with burnout and not getting any of the ideas to completion. Just pick the best one and commit to proceeding with ONLY it. Remember, it’s just for the moment. You can always come back and utilize your other business ideas at a later date once you’ve got your first business of the ground.

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