Friday check-in #3

Being Monday, am I allowed to call this a Friday check-in? I’m afraid someone is going to revoke my right to use the word ‘Friday’. Moving right into it…

The hard stuff

Problems with one-off ideas

I had a surge of energy last week when I realised that I could come up with an idea and test the market for it using keyword research. The idea of creating a product in isolation and marketing it using Google AdWords seemed really appealing since I could pick an idea, develop it quickly and get it out there, and if I wanted to do something completely different next time I’d be able to do that too. But then I realised that I wanted to build something that I would want to work on in the long-term, built for people who I want to hang out with. Not just a short-term project to build, market and leave running.

Not knowing what to do

Once I’d figured out that I wanted to do something that involved a longer-term relationship with people, I was stuck not knowing what to do. I had a few ideas for projects but nothing I was really fired up about. And since I was trying to find a long-term direction, I figured it would be a good idea to figure out what my life purpose was before starting. Every time I try to do this I never seem to get very far, but I still find the idea of having an overriding life purpose to be incredibly alluring. Contemplating it might be fine in small doses, but obsessing over it seems to be a recipe for depression. Feeling stuck and not knowing what to do really sucked.

The good stuff

Inspiration

Eventually I realised that the reason I was having so much trouble figuring out what to do was because I was looking outwards to what the world needed instead of inward to what I wanted to do. There’s an infinite array of things people need, but a much narrower selection of things that people need AND I can do well AND I would enjoy doing. Once I thought of looking for things that I wanted to do myself and sat down to brainstorm some ideas, I had an idea that I really liked within 10 minutes or so, and a bunch of planning for the business done within a few hours. My happiness seems to depend a lot on whether I have a project to pursue that I’m enthusiastic about, so I’m really glad to have something to focus on. :) What’s the idea? I’m working on it, and I’ll announce something when I’m a bit further along. Soon!

The one month launch

Nick Cernis wrote a great article about launching a project with a light-weight plan and a time-frame of one month. I tend to either spend too much time planning a project then not launch it, or pick a project that will take 6 months, minimum, then lose enthusiasm and not launch it. Not Good. Doing a one month launch is restrictive, but in a good way. Web applications are out, since it’s a rare web app that can be built in a month by one person. But services are in, ebooks are in, subscriptions to progressively released content are in. That, and the thought of actually launching something in a month, makes me happy.

Accountability

I’ve started meeting up once a week with Luke of Code Spammer’s Paradise to make plans for the week and hold each other accountable for them. This is so simple, but it completely changes my attitude towards what I’m trying to do. If you’re having trouble staying on track with something, go find an accountability partner. Now! I’ll wait. ;) By Thursday I plan to have settled on an idea for the one month launch and done some market research for it. Horray for targets :)

Teleconferences

I’ve participated in a couple of teleconferences over the last few weeks. They’ve both been awesome, so this is my chance to rave about them a little.

The first is Marketing 101 run by Naomi Dunford from IttyBiz, where I’ve been refreshing the real fundamentals of marketing – USPs, target demographics, features vs. benefits – and also learning a whole bunch of useful ideas to try out once I’ve actually got a business to market (soon!). I was already familiar with the core concepts, but hearing it explained with plenty of real-world examples and Q&A with people really helped to convey the spirit behind the information. The course is mostly finished, but you can still get the recordings of the past sessions (which is how I’ve been listening anyway, to save on international phone bills). The course will be released as a set of recordings, but at a higher price, so if you’re interested, it’s cheaper to jump in now and get the recordings while the course is still running. You can read more about it here.

The second course was the recession busting course run by both Naomi and Havi from Fluent Self. The course is focused towards people looking to beat the recession by starting and running a online home business. I picked up a bunch of ideas from it, but I think the greatest value I get from these courses is from hanging out with people who get online business and self-employment. If you’re kinda interested in this stuff then listening to this course might be a good way to get a taste of it. It’s cheap ($US19) and covers a whole bunch of ideas. It’s not enough to launch a business on, but it does have a whole lot of helpful advice and you get to soak up the way Havi and Naomi think.

That’s it!

I’d wish you an awesome weekend, except it’s already Monday. Oops. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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