Any time my friends say, “OMG have this really great idea!” and spend 10 minutes excitedly explaining their new business/website/book, I always (as long as it’s actually a great idea) respond with “That sounds so cool, go for it!” It’s been pointed out to me that I’m a good person to bounce ideas off because I’m always supportive, but guess how many of those friends took that encouragement and actually went for it… Yeah, not many.
Why is it that we spend so much time thinking about a new idea, planning it in our mind – what we’ll create, who we’ll help, our daily life, website and business card designs – but have such a hard time turning it into reality. That’s a lot of brain space wasted on something we’re not going to do. Is it fear of taking a risk? A lack of confidence, skills or resources?
Think about how many people you’ve shared YOUR idea with, practically knocking them over with a tidal wave of passion. How many people you’ve probably driven nuts talking about this one thing you’re SO EXCITED ABOUT?? How many of them (who are worth listening to) have said it’s an awful idea? None? OK! Then it’s time to get going. No waiting for next year or that magic lottery ticket or the time to be right or just after you finish this one last thing. Get out your pen and paper/iPad/Word doc and start taking notes. Seriously. It’s time to get going.
Get specific about what you want to do
Do you want to open a store or do you want to open a store selling paper goods? Do you want to start a blog or do you want to start a blog about cooking quick meals for your family? Do you want to create a non-profit or do you want to create a non-profit to help stray animals find homes?
Talk to those who have done it before
The internet is full of resources and mentors. Unless you’re starting the next Facebook, someone somewhere is likely already doing exactly what you’ve dreamed up. Send them a quick email, ask if you can pick their brain and include a few short questions for them to answer. If they’re local, offer to buy them lunch or a drink. You might just get a few answers or you could end up with someone to talk shop with on a regular basis.
Consider what you’re willing to sacrifice
I shared this post last week and it’s spot on. If you’re extremely passionate about something, you’ll be willing to give up a lot. Will you skip shopping for a year to save money for a down payment? Go all hermit and stay in Saturday nights to crank out a few more chapters? Figure out what this new idea is going to take out of your life (because it will take something – it will also give – but new businesses take giant bites out of lives) and truly think about whether you are willing to make that sacrifice.
Research what it takes to go from idea to open
Do you need a physical space – how much will rent cost? Insurance? An LLC? Merchandise, materials, marketing? Open up your Google Drive, create a spreadsheet and start a list of what needs to get done and how much it’s going to cost. This will be extremely helpful in building a budget instead of figuring out numbers and finding money as you go and if you’re anything like me you’ll totally dork out an enjoy making a spreadsheet.
Set monthly/yearly goals
You know what I’m going to say before I say it, don’t you :) Numbers and dates people! Don’t just say you want to design four dresses for your clothing line. Look at your calendar, pick a realistic date and write it down. Four dresses by Feb 20, 2014. You want to open a store? Pick a month and get working. Nothing gets people going like a deadline looming in the distance and I tend to believe if you put your launch date on the calendar the universe (or whatever) will help you manifest your dream.
Make a weekly to-do list
Take those monthly goals and turn them into weekly action items. It’s a lot less scary that way. Checking off one item each day will keep you motivated and move you inch by inch toward your goal.
Figure out any road blocks and a plan to get around them
Consider what’s stopping you from moving forward right now (money, commitment, fear of failure) and figure out a way to get through it, over it or around it. Then you’ll be able to conquer those long-term road blocks, like leasing a space, finding new clients, and building a website, too.
Slow and steady
Now don’t just rush off and buy a store font and load it with products because it’s something you’ve always wanted to do. I find my best ideas only get better when I work on them bit by bit. Let things marinate (for like a week), bounce ideas off your boss business friends, and have patience.
The year is almost up, so it’s the perfect time to get a plan going and start 2014 headed straight toward your goal. Get excited, get pissed, get inspired and get to work!
What ideas are bouncing around in your brain just waiting to be brought to life? Maybe you just need to type the words to get going, maybe you need a high five on your awesome idea, or maybe myself or another reader can point you in the direction to get started. Let’s hear it!