I recently talked about how to have great ideas, and how to create better products with those ideas here on the podcast. In those episodes I talked about living life, continually building upon ideas, fascination, building a great team, building something that you will use, and taking your time. But, how do we choose which ideas we should pursue in the first place? Well, it comes down to a three question system that I have created, and here it is:
First, what is your experience in?
Not only is this question important so that you know what you’re doing, but it helps you build credibility on a specific topic. The more often you build on a certain idea, or speak about a certain idea, the more knowledge you will gain. And the more research you put in, the more exposure you gain, and the more you learn how to use the idea and how to deal with it, the more you will be known as an expert. I would even suggest that you overshare a topic until people associate you with a product or idea, because it is only at this point that people will know that you have the answers they need in that area. Keep pursuing the same thing over time until you become reputable.
Second, which ideas give the most return?
I often skip over the topic of return on investment, but it is extremely important. We all have resources to grow, not to hold onto and squander. When you are spending time growing healthy relationships, I hope that you are fully giving yourself, and gaining valuable lessons from people in return. When you invest money into something, I hope that your goal isn’t to lose money or break even — it should be to profit. And when you invest time into something, I hope that you find what you are looking for, too.
So, when I am thinking about the return on an idea, I always look at where these 3 things intersect:
- The possible amount of lives changed
- The shortest amount of time input for the most benefits received
- The financial profit gained from amount of work
I know your goal isn’t to use all of your available resources and gain nothing. If this is the case, then you could just go on vacation and not worry about work. Yes, this idea sounds great, but it isn’t realistic, nor is it very rewarding. When we gain resources from our work, we can then reinvest them into the next best ideas that we have. Until then, let’s keep looking for a great ROI.
Third, what idea(s) can you build more than one product off of?
My problem for years was that I kept a blog that couldn’t be expanded past that. There was no book that I could write to enhance the content, there were no speaking engagements that I could book from it, and there were no online courses that I could possibly create for the content. I built my blog and wasn’t thinking broader. It was a good run, but I eventually grew tired of the same old thing, and needed to find a way to offer people something more.
I learned that I shouldn’t pursue ideas that are so niche that I could only have one idea out of it, and the same idea applies for you. If you want to have a bigger impact, only pursue ideas that are broad enough to write about, speak about, and build a product with. This requires some prior planning on your part, but it will be worth it in the long run. When you think about it now, you won’t get years into the future and wish you would have done it differently.
But, the good news is that if you have already chased an idea that you have found to be lackluster, it’s never too late to start over. Sometimes, it takes more clarity to quit than it does to keep going. Wherever you are in the process, you can use this three question system to pave a better future for you and your ideas.