If I got paid for every good business idea that popped into my head, I’d be a millionaire many times over. If you’re like me, you know what it’s like to have a constant stream of business/product/service/startup ideas channeled into your brain like the flood gates of Hoover Dam opening up. Every week, I feel like I’m thinking about the next business or startup idea, mentally constructing it from the ground up and mapping out its path to [inevitable] success.
If new ideas are steadily coming to you, it means you are in the flow of creativity and this is a great place to be. Being in the flow means that energy is moving and things are being created. But what do you do with all those good ideas in your head when you don’t have the time to implement them all?
The truth is that not all your business ideas are ones that you are meant to follow through with. If they were, I’d be a graphic designer, jewelry maker, photographer, craft artist, coffee shop owner, health food bar designer, magazine editor, videographer, marketing consultant, and health coach all at the same time. As you can imagine, this is not possible, nor is it desirable.
Here are a few ways to discern which ideas you should follow through with and which you might want to hold out on for another lifetime:
1. Is the idea an inspired idea?
Inspired ideas are ideas that you intuitively feel are right. They strike a certain chord with you and might be an “ah-ha” moment. It feels like everything is coming together and fitting into place. Inspired ideas are typically ideas that don’t fade away after a week or so. When you try to force them on the backburner, they flare up again. An inspired idea is something you want to follow through on. It might not end up being the end result or what you’ll be doing forever, but it will probably be a significant stepping stone taking you in the right direction.
2. Can you combine your new idea with what you’re already doing instead of starting something new?
For me personally, I always need to be doing something creative. So when the idea pops into my head that I need to switch careers and be a full-time photographer or artist, it’s not because I’m ready to start something completely new, it’s just because I’m craving a creative outlet. What I’ve learned to do is to incorporate photography and other creative endeavors (like graphic design and website design) into my current business. Other people like to delegate those tasks, but I find that it’s an essential part of my business that keeps me happy and engaged. When you have a new idea, ask yourself if there are parts of that idea that you can combine or integrate into what you’re already doing to fulfill that certain desire.
3. Does your support team think it’s a good idea?
Everyone needs a support team when they’re starting their own business. A support team can include anyone who listens to you and encourages you—friends, family, colleagues, a mastermind group, or mentors. On the other hand, support team would not include a jealous partner, a “yes” man or a worried parent.
When I have a new idea, it always goes through the test of my support team, which includes my boyfriend (a fellow entrepreneur) and mastermind group. Then if it passes both tests and I’m still excited about it, it will probably stick around long enough to come into fruition.
Another good part about sharing your idea with your support team is that you get feedback on your idea and can typically craft it into being an even better idea. If your support group dislikes your idea, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should give it up, but you’ll want to spend more time thinking about it and why it is important to you.