So now that you have a general idea of what my underlying thought process is, you should start to see that everything I do is done because I genuinely enjoy doing it. What I now want to explain to you is the way I go about executing those ideas and what my thought process is from the beginning until the end. It’s really a simple concept when you’re aware of it. 

The Creative Ideation Process

Coming up with ideas, let alone good ideas, can be a tough task. Sometimes they just come to you. Other times they come as a result of extensive thinking and researching. My preferred method is a combination of the two. Basically when a very rough and general idea of something comes to me, I build upon it and turn it into a much greater idea than if I just left alone and went with it as is. Doing things this way will allow you do some much needed R&D (research & development) to gain the insight and knowledge of how to effectively know about your product or idea like no one else. And once you have a solid foundation of how things work and what steps it took to get yourself to that point, you’ll be in a better position to expand and build a better product or idea along the way.

Lots of times when I get an idea for a new project I want to work on, it is very vague at first. So I tend to come up with a great name first and a more solid and concrete idea later. Sometimes that can seem as counter-productive and not-as genuine than if I had an idea first and came up with a fitting name later. A great name is really what will make your idea a lot more appealing to people.

But this is the point I’m trying to make. Coming up with ideas and working through things in unconventional ways is what most people won’t allow themselves to do because it seems as though it is somehow written in stone that you can not do things a certain way. I can tell you right now that lots of my best ideas and projects have come from doing things this way. I’m a sucker for a good pun or a clever play on words. Those seem to work best when coming up with a name when you have a general idea for something but not really sure what it can be. 

By exploring and brainstorming names first it can inadvertently lead you to improve upon your idea while still in the early phase and make it stronger than before. Or it can even take it in a whole new direction that you probably wouldn’t have thought of. You can have an amazing idea that fills in a niche that nobody has ever thought of, but if you don’t have a great sounding name it might be a harder sell. A name can really make or break what may seem like an awesome idea.

Finding and Following Your Dreams

Once you get a solid name down and have an awesome idea to work with, it’s all on you to take charge and run with it. The biggest hurdle I’ve had to deal with and even still struggle with to this day is knowing that I need to take responsibility and make my ideas happen. Coming up with an idea and name is the easy part. The hard part is following through and doing something with what you are now shaping to become an extension of yourself. 

You’re obviously now starting or thinking about starting up your idea or project because you have an interest in what you plan to do with it. What you now must do is become so involved and obsessed with it that it is all you ever think about. Being a self-starter means knowing the skills and having the mindset to inspire and motivate yourself to get stuff done when there’s no one else around to give you instructions on how to go about doing things. 

When you learn how to think like a self-starter, it becomes a way of life. The motivation to get things done will come from inside of you as a result of realizing that nobody else can really know your idea like you do. Sure, you can use outside creative stimulants like browsing through Pinterest or inspiration galleries, but in the end, that push to get yourself moving and get things done has to come from inside of you.

The Non-Existent Race Against The Clock

The key to getting things done regardless of time constraints or a lack of motivation is having a strong awareness of time. Time can be the ultimate motivating factor for getting things done. Especially when you’re imposed with a deadline. You can either have enough time to get something done or not enough. The key is knowing how to measure time and use a deadline to your advantage. 

But most times when you’re starting your own project, you don’t really have deadlines set on you since this project is coming from you so you can set all your own rules. You don’t have to abide by anyone’s time. Unless you are working with a partner, then certain circumstances can change. However, this book is written under the assumption that the creative individual reading this is generally working and starting things alone. Although any of these concepts can be used in a cooperative partnership environment. They just have not been tested in such circumstances.

But I digress. Since you have to take charge and manage your own time, you must be aware that time is precious and has to be treated as valuable as you treat money. We all have the same set amount of hours in the day. Most of us have a daily routine we go through in the course of one’s day. In order to make most of those hours, try setting aside some time for you to focus on your project daily. I find that mornings work best for me since I’m most aware and ready to go by 7am. 

One thing I highly recommend trying is setting a self imposed deadline on yourself in order to make you feel accountable in case something does not get done. By doing this it gets you in the habit of having a regular schedule for what you do and when you do things in regards to your project. This will make your project move along more quickly and allow you to get things done at a faster rate than if you did nothing at all. 

But the flip-side to this concept is allow allowing yourself to relax and not take things too seriously. What I mean is, yes, your project is important and should be worked on with a dedicated schedule. But should you ever find that you are working yourself too hard or being too hard on yourself for not following through with your schedule, you should realize that there technically is no clock you need to be working against. 

It can be very easy to paint yourself into this corner where you feel as though things need to get done and you’re not working hard enough and other people will steal your ideas if you don’t work on your project. But if you ever find that you end up in this situation, just relax. Take a day or two to focus on other things not related to your project. After about the first day you’ll realize that nothing happened. Your project is still there waiting to be worked on and nobody stole your idea.

The point I’m trying to make is that while yes, you should be working hard and keeping yourself inspired and motivated, don’t get too carried away and feel as though all odds are against you. Passion projects come from your love of something you enjoy doing that you are trying to either sell or make a living off of. But when you reach the point that makes you feel its really hard to manage things, step away and take a break. 

It’s a balance you need to figure out for yourself on how to properly maintain a steady flow of getting things done and how to not burn yourself out by working too hard. Keep things simple and don’t take things too seriously.

Plan Ahead

One of the best things you can do for yourself or your project is to take the time to plan things out before you get too deep into the flow of things. Especially if you’re working on spur-of-the-moment ideas that can generate amazing amounts of inspiration and productivity. But if you don’t think things through even just a little bit, it can cause some unnecessary headaches later on. 

The idea of working quickly on a sudden stroke of genius can be overwhelming and exciting. You get so caught up in how amazing your idea is that you’re obviously only focused on the outcome, which is usually the initial idea itself. In order to get the most out of the period of time when you’re most motivated and working off of inspiration is to properly outline steps you need to take along the way that you can use as a guide to keep you motivated and on track as you’re working.

The trick here is to break the project down into smaller pieces, or milestones, that make the overall project seem less daunting and more easily achievable. By setting these milestones up in advance, it gives you a higher chance of following through with your idea and getting it out to market quickly and in a stronger form.

Taking The First Steps

The first steps to getting your idea off the ground and in a position where you can actively start working on it is to set expectations and goals you want to achieve along the way and to pinpoint who or what your project/idea will ultimately be intended for. By thinking about these things ahead of time will give you a better sense of what decisions you will have to take as things progress. It will also mold or modify your idea to solve potential problems before they arise. Being prepared for whatever obstacles you might encounter will make for less headache-inducing situations in the long run.

If you’ve ever worked on any project before, you probably have some sense of what sort of things or information you need before you even consider starting or taking on a project for that matter. So why not do the exact same for your own project? If you’re not familiar with the planning portion of projects then it would be a good idea to refer to my earlier point about the internet being your friend. Learning to be resourceful in times when you have no one to guide you or help you will speak volumes about you as a person and your product to other people. 

It will also get you into the mindset of realizing that all the information you could ever want or need is literally at your fingertips. Knowing how to research and find the information you need is a large part of being an entrepreneur or self-starter and what separates the successes from the failures.

But back to my main point, which is finding all the information you need to start your project. If your project or idea is in a category or industry that already exists, now would be a good time to fully research that industry and see where your project or idea can fill in the gaps. The more solid your reasoning behind why you are doing what you are doing, the stronger your chances of convincing other people that your version is better.

Learn As You Go

Chances are, at your current moment in time, and this may sound harsh but, you don’t know much about what it takes to fully realize your product or idea. Not because of incompetence or a failure on your part, but because theres so much that goes into building a fully thought-out business or brand that most of you don’t know where to start. And I know that’s frustrating because I’ve been there. 

While keeping in mind that this may or may not be true for you, for those that can identify with this statement it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn all the skills necessary and what it takes to fully realize and manage your product or idea from the initial planning stage to a fully though out and well executed business or brand. It just takes time and effort and dedication in order to learn these skills. Learning to wear many hats as you go and being accountable for what things need to get done in order for you to reach the next step is what I believe makes working on your own project or idea fun. 

The key to being able to learn these skills again goes back to my earlier point of realizing the internet is your friend and knowing how to be resourceful on your own. If there’s anything you should be realizing at this point in the book is that learning to be resourceful is the most important thing you teach yourself. Its just all a matter of being aware of what your problem is or what kind of questions you have and realizing that you can easily find the answer or solution by doing a simple search on the internet. 

Chances are there are a lot of people just like you who have asked the same exact questions at some point and have come to find that they could easily resolve their problem with a quick search. Remember, this is the key point you should be taking away from this chapter: be resourceful and ask questions. You will learn a lot of things and answer all your questions if you keep yourself aware of what you are thinking.