Which idea to pursue?
You have a lot of ideas in your head. They strike when you’re about to fall asleep. They strike when you’re in the shower. They hit you when you’re driving. They pop up whenever you’re working. You have so many ideas that you feel like you should sell them to other people. They’d be so great if only you could just do them, you’d be a millionaire. Am I right?
Here’s the thing. You can’t do all the things. Nor is every idea you have an amazing one. Some ideas are awesome when you’re groggy and are about to fall asleep but they’re not so brilliant once that coffee finally kicks in.
As entrepreneurs, it’s our job to figure out which of those amazing ideas to pursue and which ones to forgo (or simply put a pause on). Then, the next step is to figure out how exactly to make it happen. Here, I’m breaking down my best journaling exercise to help you decide which projects to pursue and when!
Step 1. Give yourself time to think.
If you’re constantly busy, constantly go-go-going, you’re always going to feel behind, you’re always going to be pulled by others’ decisions for you. When you give yourself time to think, you can make more strategic choices that are healthier for your business.
Step 2. Write out all the projects that are floating through your head.
Get it all out on paper. Once you do that, circle the items that are intriguing and you think, “that would be so cool!”
Step 3. Do some reflection and journaling.
Use the following prompts to think through which project you’d like to pursue. Pick one project or product that’s been on your brain and walk through any or all of these questions.
- Will this help me move the needle on my business? By this, I mean, will this product/service/project help me to make a profit either in the short-term or long-term? Will it give you credibility, visibility or opportunities that you might not currently have?
- What tools or supports do I need to start? What kind of investments will you have to make in order to ultimately get this project on the road? Do you have to purchase a lot of materials or machinery? Do you have to hire a team to help? Does this project require you to have software that you don’t have? Consider what you’ll need to have in order to get the project underway.
- What kind of time commitment will this project be? What kind of time will this take from your already busy life? I’m not saying that projects aren’t worth investing your time into. Will you need to take time away from current client projects or other life commitments that you already have?
- What do I want the outcome of the project to be and what am I willing to do to make it happen? Think about what your answer was to #1. What are the ultimate ways you’d like to see the needle move forward? How will this product help the world/your life/your clients? Think about the ways that you’d like to see things change for the better for you?
- Do I have to do something else before I can start the project? This could have a lot of different answers for different projects. If you’re starting a business, perhaps you need to take all the steps in order to become a legitimate business owner. For me, besides starting a business, I also felt I needed to get training for coaching. I wanted to start that process before I could consider myself a good enough coach. Figure out what you need to do before you can start down the project path.
- Why is this important to me right now? Is this the right time to be pursuing this project? Can you dedicate business hours to it? Do you have to sacrifice personal/family time in order to accomplish it? Will it be worth it to make that kind of trade-off?
- What problem is this going to solve for my client? You might have touched on this in #4 but think clearly about why the world needs this project completed by you. You’re unique in your offering, your skills and your knowledge. Get clear on what problem it is that you’re solving for your clients and the things that change as a result. If you feel like that answer isn’t enough to outweigh the investment of resources and time, then you might consider tabling the project.
It’s time to tackle your never-ending, wheel-spinning ball of frustration that is your brain. It is time to figure out exactly which project to tackle so that you can move forward and get that product or service into the hands of your client.
Here’s the real deal. If you don’t do these steps, your possible client can’t get your help. They might get stuck or not be as inspired as they could be if they have you. No matter what your product or service, whether it’s a necessity or a luxury, your ideas can change your clients. Don’t underestimate the value you bring to their lives.