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So you’ve got the next big thing stuck in your head and need to see it come to fruition. Perhaps it’s the next Snapchat or Tinder, a best-selling book, or you’ve actually found a way to reinvent the wheel. This is now your passion; to quit the rat race, tell your boss to ‘shove it’, and set out on your own to invent the next great thing, except … you have no idea how to profit from your idea. Not to worry. Thankfully there’s a template as many before you have paved the way from thinking of an idea, to becoming filthy rich from it. While every story is different, there are some key elements that all inventors have had to implement to become a success. So without further ado, and in no particular order, here they are. And good luck!
Choose The Right Idea
If you want to know if your idea is a good one, then the first step is to check it against these three questions:
Think Big, Start Small
Ideas are a lot like penises – the bigger the better. But no matter how big yours is, you’ve got to start small. How do you do this? See if you can try out your idea in a 30-day project first. For example, don’t write that best-selling book just yet – create 10 blog posts and see if they take off online. Don’t sell your house to open that award-winning restaurant either. Have a dinner inviting your friends and neighbors, serve them your best 3 dishes, and wait for the rave reviews to pour in. You’ll need these small wins for momentum if you want to accomplish an idea that’s huge.
So you’re gonna need a business plan, and business cards with the best business logo on it, right? Wrong. Forget the fine details or any kind of perfecting in the beginning. Fine-tuning is for later. Your main focus should be running events, writing that first article, coding that life-changing app – crafting your idea with the idea in mind that you’re working on a version 1.0 – not the final release. If analogies help, till the soil first, then carefully plant the seeds to your garden after, not before.
Steal From Others
You know what an idea really is? It’s an act of association where you take two commonly known things and put them together in very uncommon ways. It’s like the caveman who sees a rock rolling down a hill and thinks “Wheel!”. He didn’t make the rock, he didn’t create the hill, he just used them to make something his own. So don’t be afraid to borrow, take, steal from others to make an idea that’s truly your own.
Network Outside Investors
You’re going to need money and that usually means investors. But people with deep pockets are not your only concern. In a “who you know, not what you know” world, you’re going to want to connect with others outside the usual suspects. For example, Thomas Edison sought out the most powerful people in the world. People like U.S. President Herbert Hoover, Harvey Firestone, and Henry Ford. These were people that were not going to fund his projects, but Edison knew that by surrounding himself with successful people, he’d get further ahead as the successful have plenty of constructive insights to share.
Devil’s Advocate It
Part of the process, and perhaps the most uncomfortable part, is playing Devil’s advocate to your beloved idea. And it’s best if you can do it both yourself, and by asking those close to you, because you’re going to need to defend it against the naysayers (trolls) – of which there’ll be many. See the problem with good ideas is that they’re not that different from bad ones in that they’re something no one’s ever seen before. They have nothing in their memory to measure it up against, and thus, will often assume the worst about it. If this concept isn’t familiar to you, just think of Seinfeld episode where Jerry wants to create a show about nothing. It was an idea so good, no one understood it, thus, hated it.
Choose Your Money Method
When it comes to ways of collecting money, we couldn’t be living in better times. We’ve still got good old cash and cheque, but we’ve also got E-Transfers, PayPal, eBay, Etsy, paid sessions over Skype, Kindle’s direct publishing (where you get to keep 70% of the profits from Amazon), and even funds through Meetup.com’s live events. There’s so many ways to get people to give you their money that taking some time to consider how you’ll get people to pay you may help with your next step…
Stand Out By Super-Niching
Familiar with the saying “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for everything?” Well Apple inherently knew this, and thus created a marketing plan and advertising campaign that spoke to a select few, rather than the masses, with their “Here’s to the crazy ones” commercial. It was a commercial that celebrated the outliers, those on the fringes, those weird, odd, but extremely brilliant people like Einstein and Gandhi. Apple first captured a small niche audience, and like it often does, the masses were soon to follow. And if you standout by going niche, eventually you’ll reach mass popularity.