I originally wrote this post back in 2015 and it still holds up! In the intervening years, I’ve expanded and refined this process which I’ll definitely be sharing in the near future. This early version reflects the kinds of ideas I was overwhelmed with and I’ve learned a lot since!
As a creative person, you’ve got ideas. Lots of them! They don’t always come when you need them but you’re no stranger to having a plethora of ideas. The question isn’t how do I get ideas, it’s “How do I decide which idea to pursue?”
That’s what I want to help you with today.
When you’re faced with a ton of great ideas it can be hard to see clearly which idea you should go after. They all sound viable, interesting, and fun. Most of all, your ideas feel like your children and it’s hard to say no when they call out to you.
Rather than tell you to simply stay focused, I want to encourage you to vet your ideas.
Vetting your ideas is all about breaking down the various ways the idea will compete for your energy and focus to figure out whether it’s worth spending that on it.
Below you’ll find a little quiz I’ve designed to help you get clear on which ideas to pursue and which ideas to write down and let go-for now.
Vetting Your Ideas: QUIZ
– Does this fit with my vision for my business in 3 years?
– Is this something I would want to do every day?
– Is this something more than 50% of clients ask for?
– If this were the ONLY thing I was doing, would I be happy?
– Does this relate directly to my area of expertise that I want to be known for?
– Will this contribute to a healthy profit margin?
How many of the above questions did you answer yes to? Write that number down
– Am I doing this only to please someone else?
– Am I trying to be everything to everyone by doing this?
– Am I trying to reach everyone with this instead of my target client?
– Am I doing this because I’m afraid of alienating some people?
– Will this take my focus away from my main goal?
– Will this completely change the direction of my business?
How many of these did you answer no to? Write that number down
Add up your score
9-12 Points This is a good idea worth thinking about more, work through the next two questions for further clarity.
6-9 Points This idea has promise but needs more work before you should consider it
1-5 Points This idea just isn’t for you at this time. Write it out in your notebook or journal so you don’t feel like you’ve lost it but refocus your energy on your main goals instead of pursuing this idea at this time.
Follow up questions
– What is the ultimate reason I’m pursuing this?
– How does this support my main goal and vision?
If after you’ve answered these questions, you feel like this is an idea you may want to pursue, start asking your actual clients about it. Test the waters, see if it’s really something they would be interested in. Keep in mind, even if they say they would buy it, that’s no guarantee they actually will.
Play around with it, give it room to grow and a little time. If it’s the right idea, you’ll have a pretty good feeling about pursuing it and you can work towards incorporating it into what you do. If it’s not, you’ll be able to confidently say “not now” and let the idea safely retreat to your journal or notebook – or disappear if you’ve discovered it’s an emphatic “NO!” for you and your business.
So, what ideas are you considering? I’d love to hear how this helped (or didn’t!) you with the slew of ideas you have in the comments!