What to do with all these ideas??

13 replies
Hey guys,

I'm a solopreneur that comes from a creative background, and I have a bit of an odd question. Would love some direction from you knowledgeable folks. And perhaps some of you have a problem that I could solve.

The problem is this: my brain has become a creative idea generator, and I don't know what to do about it. I feel like I have a valuable resource that's just going to waste.

I can come up with a business idea, and completely flesh out the entire brand mentally, from landing pages to tag lines to target audience and customer avatar. Business name, domain name, web copy, colors/vibe, marketing strategies, ETC, all just flow into my brain in minutes/days/hours. I've registered so many domain names that I never end up using.

My most recent brand idea I came up with last night in about 20 minutes while suffering from insomnia. I could probably launch it on Kickstarter later tonight if I hustled, but it's food and there's no way I'm going there.

I have pages of business ideas, and notes scattered around on paper and various apps.

One example of how quickly my brain can generate ideas: I decided a year ago to launch a t-shirt shop as passive revenue for a dog service, and within about a week I had over 29 pages of ideas for phrases. I also create the photos and graphics for everything I make. So I do it all.

Right now you may be thinking "that sounds awesome, I don't see the problem!".

The problem is this:

I can invest days or a week (or more) investing into building something (brand/website essentially), and then once it's live and fully fleshed out, I'm ready to move onto the next 'project'.

BUT, I am not an expert at anything but photography.

Although I can tweak CSS (and some php) code to completely change the look of a Wordpress template, I'm not a web developer. Although I can create great looking graphic design work in Photoshop, I'm not a graphic designer and I don't know Illustrator. So I can't package my services as either of those things.

I've discovered that while I love marketing research, I'm terrible at driving sales. And I lack any funding to drive those sales.

So I thought, maybe my biggest strength is just everything I outlined above. The idea generating and creating a brand.

But I can't sell these 'businesses' because I have no demonstrable revenue. Can I sell brands with no customers? Can I sell ideas?

Should I try and partner with people who have funding but lack the creative ideas?

Or, should I just freely share these ideas with anyone who is interested, to watch them grow legs and go out into the world?

It just seems a shame that some of these ideas may have real strength, but they are just sitting dormant on a hard drive somewhere.

TIA for any insight! (And thanks for reading my novel!)
#ideas
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    I'm the same - I own dozens of domains.


    I built the site then lose interest.


    At least I can code because I can actually build my ideas. I've decided to focus more on this, and play to my strengths. Maybe you need to do this too.
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    • Profile picture of the author PunchDrunky
      That sounds like a very smart approach.

      I've considered learning how to code legitimately, since it seems to be what I spend a lot of my free time doing, and therefore enjoy doing, but the thought of starting at the beginning is overwhelming. But perhaps I should give it a second thought. That way I could package 'web design/development' with the other aspects of brand creation and sell a full suite of services.

      Thanks for your input!

      Wild woman. ;-)

      'All over the place, riding your untamed creative beasts to oblivion.'. Well, no.

      Intense creativity is a kind of madness, but I would urge you to be very cautious when suggesting someone might have a mental disorder. (And yes I know full well, having had a best friend with Bipolar who ended up committing suicide), or even comparing their work habits with someone dealing with mental illness, unless you know that person personally. If you did in fact work in the mental health field than you should be the first to know that's never a good idea, as there is little you can tell about a person from a single forum post. Perhaps I'm overreacting to that part of your comment, but as a former mental health worker, I'm sure you can completely understand why this would be a sensitive topic to some people.

      That aside, I read your post with an open mind, and I think you could have some valuable input for me if I provide more clarity.

      I don't lack focus at all. I can 110% focus on one project to the exclusion of anything else until it's complete. From inception of business idea, to total creation of the visual and web representation of a brand, stopping just before advertising/marketing. I'm able to accomplish a massive amount of work in a short period of time, so productivity isn't an issue at all. I'm not one of these creative geniuses that's all over the place.

      The issue is what to do with all the ideas that I don't have time to or choose not to take action on. Is there a way they can benefit others, or benefit me even if I'm not 'building the thing?'

      I know in many ways I go about everything backwards. That I'm doing the opposite of reverse-engineering. That we are never supposed to build a business without proving the market for it first. That we start with the product, and a landing page, and get the customers first (pre-sell, mailing list subscribers, etc) but I guess I've learned that the things I've done that I outline above, are a helluva lot more fun, I suppose because there are no limits placed on the creative expression, which is the part I find so satisfying.

      Clearly what I enjoy is the building of brand visuals/website/concepts/copy, not the monetizing it or building an audience/marketing.

      I think that maybe what Brettb is saying is right- if I enjoy the creative and building aspects so much, I need to develop professional coding/development skills that will enable me to sell that part of my creativity as a skill. That could be a start.

      Since you are agreeing with the part of Gordon's post on mental illness, to start I'll say the same thing to you that I did him.

      Intense creativity is a kind of madness, but I would urge you to be very cautious when suggesting someone might have a mental disorder. (And yes I know full well, having had a best friend with Bipolar who ended up committing suicide), or even comparing their work habits with someone dealing with mental illness, unless you know that person personally. If you do in fact have experience with the mental health field than you should be the first to know that's never a good idea, as there is little you can tell about a person from a single forum post. Perhaps I'm overreacting to that part of your comment, but I'm sure you can completely understand why this would be a sensitive topic to some people.

      Your third paragraph (and most of the rest of your comment) speaks to something I'm starting to key into/remember. And that's partnerships, and/or teams. I don't mean traditional 'sign a contract' partnerships, but things like complimentary marketing partnerships, colleagues that can provide value to each other, work done for trade (I'll design your logo if you do my SEO), or just others in the industry who want to see you succeed because they dig what you are doing. (I hope those people are still out there!)

      Since I was very young I've always been fiercely independent, which is both a strength and a weakness. And it has been long enough since I launched my first business (16 years), that I have forgotten how critical it is to have partners, or at least people who can help propel a new business forward.

      I'm having to remind myself that success doesn't start in a bubble.

      I've been burned in partnership and employee/employer relationships more than once, so I know that experience baggage enters into my resistance to rely on others, but I think one of my big lessons right now is to re-learn how to do just that.

      Thanks for your input!

      That's a great suggestion!

      I could focus on the areas/skills I want to strengthen. I'll start by making a list of every single thing I'm capable of doing with a computer, and then see which ones make the most sense to sell on one of those platforms.

      Thx!

      Re: techie partner: possibly!

      What exactly is a techie partner?

      Re: followed through on implementing an idea.

      I have, yes.

      I launched my first business (a service that also generated a few thousand in product sales per client) in 2001, learning every aspect of small business, from SEO to HTML, design, grassroots marketing, etc, etc. (I had no corporate or business background or education.) My website was #1 in a Google search for my niche for many years, which was something I was really proud of, especially since this was worldwide because it was before Google local search results were a thing. I worked very very hard on that business and it paid off.

      The next business came a few years later with an educational platform, that had a forum and workshops with guest speakers and a mass-market paperback book, a blog with tons of traffic, speaking engagements, etc. Both of those- the service/product business and educational products- were highly successful, and among the top three in that niche. The $2k workshops usually sold out within an hour. Again, I worked very very hard and it paid off.

      I guess what I did is now called 'content marketing' because I did extensive writing on topics in my niche and I think that's how most of my followers found me.

      I then pivoted to working with much larger clients, and quit teaching, making a lot more money with the new client base (netting upwards of $30-$50k for six week long projects), but that's what I'm now trying to get out of. After many years of doing it, I'm burned out on that industry, and those big jobs are much harder to come by.

      My revenue now includes selling digital educational products for between $150-$500, which I launched last year. I was thrilled that within the first month after launching that product I generated over $5k in net profit from sales to my small existing market. I know that sounds great but sales have dropped to almost nothing because my list/audience is now tapped out. Actively working on getting more affiliates and recently got one signed up that has a highly targeted email list of over 100k people, so that's promising. Last week I wrote five new content-rich blog posts (around 2,000 words each), and am trying to drive traffic to those. I type around 75wpm so writing is easy for me to do. Case in point with this comment, ha!

      SO, I have had some measure of success in entrepreneurship, but nothing even close to what many (most?) modern entrepreneurs have. And I've had way more failed side-projects than successful ones.

      To your last point, I am pretty terrible at delegating, and 98% of the work I've done that I outlined above I did myself.

      I've been burned several times professionally by partners, an employee and subcontractors, (and yes we had contracts) so I know that plays a role in my resistance to getting others on board and/or ask for help.

      Thanks a lot for your input. I appreciate it.

      Thanks Dave. See my reply above to gnugent.

      I'm a perfectionist, and I am afraid to fail, and because I have tasted a measure of success with several things I've done over the years, I think this combination of things makes it harder for me to know which one of my many ideas will be a total waste of my time and leave me feeling like my best wasn't good enough, or if it's something worth pursuing.

      Although perhaps there's my answer. Maybe if those ideas were worth pursuing, I would have done them like I did my other businesses that I worked hard on that were successful.

      Or maybe those ideas weren't worth it before, or right now, but they will be in the future. Or maybe I'm just not ready to pursue that particular idea at this time in my life. (Insert shrugging emoji here.)

      'You need an idea to stop your brain to create more ideas', yes, that would be great! Like a shut-off valve. Lol.

      In all seriousness, maybe this is the missing link with the ideas I haven't been able to make successful, or abandon before even trying. 'you need to come out with a brilliant idea on how to execute your idea into a real action that you can do'.

      Thanks for your input.

      I think you and jmosticc22 may have nailed it.

      This is insight I've been getting from the other commenters above as well. The need to seek out and partner with others, whether in a formal contract capacity or informally.

      This is not a position I feel comfortable with, as I've been stubbornly independent since I was born, but I do know based on my own professional and personal life experience that success only comes after we have stepped outside of our comfort zones.

      It wasn't until right now that I connected the dots that this may be an issue with my 'idea problem' as well.

      I do meet weekly with a small mastermind group, and am great at being accountable to those people and my clients, so I can do accountability.

      I think a big part of the problem is I've become so used to working inside a bubble for so long, I no longer know how to get out of it.

      Implementing SEO is actually pretty easy, despite what the SEO experts and firms might tell you. It's just time-consuming. But if you do a Google search and find the best/most reputable companies that do content marketing with their blogs, and write blog posts on the topic you can find all the information you need.

      As far as online marketing goes- I can't help you there unfortunately. I'm still trying to figure that out myself.

      Can you write? Maybe start with writing articles and putting them on those domains and then practice your SEO on those articles? See if you can start generating traffic that way?

      I need to take a look at the SEO section and see what's changed since I first learned it in 2001. Probably a lot I would guess!
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by PunchDrunky View Post

    Hey guys,

    I'm a solopreneur that comes from a creative background, and I have a bit of an odd question. Would love some direction from you knowledgeable folks. And perhaps some of you have a problem that I could solve.

    The problem is this: my brain has become a creative idea generator, and I don't know what to do about it. I feel like I have a valuable resource that's just going to waste.

    I can come up with a business idea, and completely flesh out the entire brand mentally, from landing pages to tag lines to target audience and customer avatar. Business name, domain name, web copy, colors/vibe, marketing strategies, ETC, all just flow into my brain in minutes/days/hours. I've registered so many domain names that I never end up using.

    My most recent brand idea I came up with last night in about 20 minutes while suffering from insomnia. I could probably launch it on Kickstarter later tonight if I hustled, but it's food and there's no way I'm going there.

    I have pages of business ideas, and notes scattered around on paper and various apps.

    One example of how quickly my brain can generate ideas: I decided a year ago to launch a t-shirt shop as passive revenue for a dog service, and within about a week I had over *29 Google doc pages* of ideas for phrases. They aren't crap either- things like 'When in Doubt, Kiss a Snout' and 'Carpe Doggem, Seize the Play'. I'm a commercial photographer by trade, so I also create the photos and graphics for everything I make. So I do it all.

    Right now you may be thinking "that sounds awesome, I don't see the problem!".

    The problem is this:

    I can invest days or a week (or more) investing into building something (brand/website essentially), and then once it's live and fully fleshed out, I'm ready to move onto the next 'project'.

    BUT, I am not an expert at anything but photography.

    Although I can tweak CSS (and some php) code to completely change the look of a Wordpress template, I'm not a web developer. Although I can create great looking graphic design work in Photoshop, I'm not a graphic designer and I don't know Illustrator. So I can't package my services as either of those things.

    I've discovered that while I love marketing research, I'm terrible at driving sales. And I lack any funding to drive those sales. Usually by the time I'm done 'building the thing', I'm so exhausted I don't even have the energy to do grassroots marketing.

    So I thought, maybe my biggest strength is just everything I outlined above. The idea generating and creating a brand.

    But I can't sell these 'businesses' because I have no demonstrable revenue. Can I sell brands with no customers? Can I sell ideas?

    Should I try and partner with people who have funding but lack the creative ideas?

    Or, should I just freely share these ideas with anyone who is interested, to watch them grow legs and go out into the world?

    It just seems a shame that some of these ideas may have real strength, but they are just sitting dormant on a hard drive somewhere.

    TIA for any insight! (And thanks for reading my novel!)
    Back in '98, I paid $1.000.00 for a year membership in Bill Myers' IDEA BANK. He had a private web site, a membership site, and he gave us his ideas, along with how to put them to use. Well, to be fair, he was a successful marketer, who knew what he was talking about, so he did have that going. YOU?

    You're a wild man.

    All over the place, riding your untamed creative beasts to oblivion. First thing is you have to think as your thought patterns as a mental disorder, and take appropriate steps to wrangle them into a pen where you can hold them.

    YOU have learned ideas are "dime a dozen" and for the most part worthless...unless acted upon...so if you don't or can't act on them then maybe a memberships site where you just post daily/weekly or as the urge arises, your creative thoughts for others to use.

    Now don't take this the wrong way, but you remind me of many of my former clients when I worked in the mental health field, and the ones with notebooks full of ideas, poems, stories and all kinds of weirdness were mostly those with a diagnosis of being Bipolar. In their manic phases, they were absolutely creative wells, gushing ideas like a new oil well just drilled.

    You lack discipline, and must learn to corral those ideas, on 3 by 5 cards maybe, bullet point ideas, then put them aside and focus in on the ONE idea which brings you the moolah.

    Maybe a timer will help you. Some have used Gene Schwartz' 33 minute method, where he would work only for 33 minutes before taking a break..and his output was amazing.

    PRIORITIZE and set aside your most productive time of the day to GET THINGS DONE, then allow yourself X amount of free time, up to a time limit of Y, to get your head cleared out.

    You are digging a hole, which could become a trench which may be hard to get out of. Find a system or method which keeps you FOCUSED in bursts, throughout your days, and tame that beast before it is too late. At least Brett is making money with his focus, and you can too.

    But, it isn't going to be easy.

    Try the 4x6 or 3x5 cards, color coded perhaps for your idea file, but set a goal, made of incremental actions to take you to one sustaining income goal.

    Good luck.

    GordonJ
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  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    I agree with Gordon's post and his experience with the Bipolar clients/patients as I've had several experiences with similar situations with staff members and various relatives or acquaintances over the years.

    In many cases when the manic ability can be contained, recognised and channeled the results can be outstanding but when working as an employer or mentor in those situations you see the negative sides also and it is only when the individual fully understands what is going on that they can make exponential and Eureka type growth. It helps in those situations if they have the right support across the board.

    If you can afford to find people to employ to do the tasks to make your ideas into functioning systems then maybe work on identifying the "roles" required to run the systems and then finding someone or a team who do the things you can't or don't want to do.

    Partnering up can work but it can also be fraught with issues.

    I've had employees who have wanted to move towards either contractural role or a shareholder type of role and largely they are unprepared to take the necessary steps both from a legal perspective and from the professional responsibility perspective to make things work successfully.

    I've also been involved more than once in complex partnerships where all the necessary legal issues and roles have been resolved and these have also reached positions where one or several of the partners don't have the same motivation or focus because they are also involved in other projects or businesses.

    In these cases the ideas and businesses may reach full development but still fall short due to a variety of reasons.

    When you gather a team of people who get paid to perform and who can also own a small part of the overall success you tend to get better results and from my experience when one or more people from that team decide to move on you have clearly defined roles you can fill with new people who know their roles and what your expectations are.

    Best regards,

    Ozi
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    Get to work doing Gigs on Freelancer, Fourerr, and Fiverr get those skills and brain to work producing money.
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  • Profile picture of the author gnugent
    It sounds to me like you need a techie partner. You dream up the ideas and hand them over to someone to actually build while you get on with your next idea. You'd probably find people here in the forum who could do the tasks for you. But you might need to team up with a couple of people as no one is an expert in all areas of online business.

    On the other hand, maybe what you just lack is focus. Have you ever actually followed through on fully implementing and building out one of your ideas? The reason I ask is that without having done that you have no real knowledge or experience of whether your business plans are actually viable.

    Great ideas are one thing but following through on them is the other side of the coin. As I said, if you're not prepared to do the work yourself, then maybe it is time to delegate that to others.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    The thing that separates most successful people from unsuccessful ones is that successful people take action. They are not afraid to fail and love to learn new things, expanding their knowledge and skill sets.

    Until you stop making excuses for what you can't do and decide to take action to see what you really can do, I'd just keep your ideas in your head. They aren't going anywhere, otherwise.
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  • Profile picture of the author superowid
    You need an idea to stop your brain to create more ideas, but just a single idea on how to sell your next ideas and all future ones. If you're really good on making such idea, then go ahead to think about it. And next, you need to come out with a brilliant idea on how to execute your idea into a real action that you can do. I believe action needs idea as well to execute in a related manner to make it work. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author jmosticc22
    Sounds like you need to find a business partner who knows how to monetize your different ideas. Someone who can take your idea make it grow using their business type experience.
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    • Profile picture of the author G K
      Originally Posted by jmosticc22 View Post

      Sounds like you need to find a business partner who knows how to monetize your different ideas. Someone who can take your idea make it grow using their business type experience.
      Agreed....I suspect that the problem is a lack of a positive mutual dependency on business partner that is responsible for other areas of the business, more so than a mental disorder. Some people need a team to be motivated FOR as opposed to BY. Every one gets bored of something after working on only that one idea for 2 weeks straight. Don't worry, your not crazy, just in need of a team.
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  • Profile picture of the author Major Software
    I have few domains 4-6.

    But I was thinking where to find sources to explore the SEO & Marketing ?

    Some free ebooks free groups Skype etc?

    I have good ideas for websites but I'm left alone in the marketing sector.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I'm left alone in the marketing sector.

    There's an offline, an e-commerce and an SEO section on the forum - lots of into if you access it.
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  • I would look to see if there are people paying for memberships for photography. If you are an expert at this, you could create a membership where you post weekly training, answer questions and teach people how to be a photographer.

    i.e. basics, lighting, aperture, etc. Maybe teach how to market themselves, and what to charge.

    Once you get this business producing revenue, you could then use this money to fund another business.
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