By Robert D. Smith, author of “20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course For Mastering Your Life Right Now”
Ideas are the cure to any problem. So often we mistakenly think things like more money or time are the solutions we need. Well, money doesn’t magically appear on its own, and it’s impossible to find more than 24 hours in a day. An idea, however, can give you what you need in order to make more money or spend your time more efficiently.
Ideas are the lifeblood for your business, and it is critical that you master the art of capturing them and immediately moving forward with massive action.
The next time you get an idea, there are three things you need to do right away in order to get as much out of it as you possibly can:
1. Don’t wait for approval.
Tell me if this sounds familiar — you get a great idea in the middle of the night when you don’t have access to any of your coworkers, business partners, or whomever it is that you usually go to with ideas. You feel that burning urge to move forward, but you’re suddenly bombarded with questions and doubts.
Has someone else already done this? Do we have the budget to pull this off? Would our usual website guy be able to code something like this? Is this one of those completely stupid ideas that only sounds good right now because I’ve been up since 5 AM?
You’re now paralyzed by all of these questions and resolve to move forward only after you’re able to present them to several other people in the morning. You should at least find out if others like the idea and think it’s doable before you move forward, right?
Wrong! Repeat after me: I will not wait for approval in order to explore an idea.
That initial moment after you first think of the idea is the best chance you have for capturing the ounce of brilliance that it may contain. Don’t wait to get someone else’s opinion. Move forward by immediately doing these next two steps.
2. Write it down.
Grab whatever is closest and start typing or scribbling notes right away. Condense the idea down to a paragraph. Condense that paragraph down to a sentence.
Start writing down the questions that are popping up in your mind. As you write them, you may surprise yourself and already be able to answer a few.
Pretend that time and money are not factors and write down exactly what your first five steps would be if you decided to move forward with the idea. Keep writing until you’ve exhausted every possibility and angle you can think of. Then write some more.
3. Test it.
For the past 30+ years, I’ve worked in the book publishing industry as the manager for a New York Times best-selling author. Because of this, many people approach me with ideas they have for books they want to write or have already written that (shockingly) no one wants to publish or buy!
It’s amazing to me that, again and again, people spend YEARS of their life writing a book without ever stopping to ask if there is any evidence whatsoever that they’re writing a book other people will actually want to read. They have succeeded in moving forward with their idea, but have also missed a critical step along the way — they never thought to test the idea.
When you have a BIG idea that is going to take a ton of hard work, it always pays to test it on a small scale first. If you want to write a book, but you’ve never really written anything before, try starting a blog. See if people respond to your work and ideas. If you want to build an app, try seeking out the people who would be your customers and asking them questions before you spend thousands on a developer.
Always prove to yourself that your idea is providing some type of value that people are already seeking.
Your next idea doesn’t have to meet the same fate of so many others before it. You can act. You don’t need permission, you don’t need money, and you don’t need time. All you need is the resolve to spring into action immediately. Don’t worry about whether it’s impossible or not. When you move rapidly, you’ll be surprised by how quickly “impossible” can change to “this might work.”
What idea do you need to move forward on immediately?
Author of “20,000 Days and Counting” Robert D. Smith is a leader in providing life-changing entertainment resources, a global customer service rep, and a favorite uncle. For more than three decades, he has managed and overseen the career of Andy Andrews, a three-time New York Times best-selling author and in-demand speaker. He has served as a private consultant to numerous best-selling authors, speakers, entertainers, and cutting-edge organizations.