I know you have an idea.
You’re a creative entrepreneur at heart. You have a thing within you that whispers to you on the daily. When you acknowledge it- butterflies twirl around in your stomach. It feels exciting but completely terrifying at the same time.
I get it, because I’ve experienced that same exact feeling. It’s something that can hit you light a freight train, or sneakily start with a whisper until it becomes a shout within you.
Something tells me that this is an idea that needs to see the light of day. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t still be sitting here reading.
Your idea has power to impact lives for the greater good, because your heart wants nothing more than to see this world come together and help one another. You’re SO OVER the problems you see all over the place.
You have an idea that can make a difference. And girl, we need that more than EVER right now. We really, truly do.
Almost 3 years ago now, I had an idea too. It was the kind that hit me like a freight train.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in the shower getting ready for an ugly sweater Christmas party and it hit me. I knew right then and there that I had to create a conference for women like me. The ones who wished for a better world. The ones who desired to use their creative skills and gifts to work towards a better tomorrow. I knew I HAD to make it happen, because there were women out there just like me who needed it.
Three years later, we have a thriving annual conference and a membership platform with members from all over the country - WHATT?? I still can’t believe it’s real.
How did I get from that idea in the shower to where I am today?
Here are three things I did in the VERY beginning to make my shower idea become a reality. My hopes in telling you these very beginning steps is that it will help you too know how to move forward!
1. I FIGURED OUT MY WHY
I knew that in order to really tell people about what I was doing and for myself to understand how I was going to make decisions, I really needed to figure out my mission statement. WHY I’m doing this. This is the heartbeat of your brand, and moving forward without knowing your why isn’t the best idea.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
1. Take out a piece of paper or open up a new document on your computer and just WRITE. Let it flow and don’t think about it. Write out everything that comes to you.
2. Go grab a cup of coffee and step away. Come back an hour or more later and revisit it.
3. Simplify and articulate. Then do it again.
I find stepping away and getting my brain in a new space then revisiting really helps me approach my writing with a fresh and clear perspective.
After you’ve done this a few times, see if you can get it down to 2-4 sentences. Congrats! You have your mission statement!!
2. I DEVELOPED A MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT
A what the what?? Also referred to as the MVP.
The MVP is the the minimum thing you can do to get your business started. Meaning, what can you get up and running to start testing things out and getting started with the LEAST amount of time, money and effort?
Far too often I see people pour a ton of money into a beautiful new website, packaging materials and product development, when they don’t even know if the way they want to do business is going to work or not. When launch day comes, here you are with a ton of money into this project, a beautiful site & branding, but you have no data to figure out if people actually like what you’ve made. NOT fun!!
HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
Don’t worry about making it perfect or beautiful. I’m talking to you perfectionists!! If you don’t look back at your first draft and cringe a little bit, you probably waited too long to get started. Get something up, don’t put a ton of money into it, and see what happens!
For example, when Dropbox first started out they released an explainer video talking about what they were going to make… the thing was, they hadn’t even made it yet! They put the video out to gauge what people thought. After the video was released on Hacker News, their email list jumped from 5,000 to 75,000 in ONE DAY! They knew they had a good product on their hands and began building.
You may be thinking, that’s great for them, but what am I going to do to gauge people’s thoughts on my world changing biz??
Here are a few things you can do to get started with minimum time, effort and moolah:
• Create a 90 second video
Just like Dropbox did- you can create a short video explaining what your product does. Yes, even if it doesn’t exist yet! Put it on a landing page and throw it out into the world! Which brings us to another thing you can do…
• Create a landing page.
Use something like strikingly.com to build a 1 page site to gather feedback. If you’re cool with having a strikingly domain, it’s totally free and you don’t need to know how to code. This is a great way to put something out there, explaining what you do without a ton of money, time or effort. Ask people to sign up for your email list if they want more information.
• Create a crowdfunding campaign.
This is also a great way to gauge what people think of your idea. Don’t try to raise an insane amount of money, if you’re just starting out I’d keep it in the $10,000 range. Don’t spend money on making the video- get creative! You can ask a friend to make it for you, or even do it yourself with your iPhone- totally serious!
Make sure you have good lighting and a nice background and you’re set. If the idea is good enough and you can explain it clearly, it will speak for itself!
If the crowdfunding campaign doesn’t happen for you- don’t despair, it might just be time to go back to the drawing board and think through your idea a bit more. Aren’t you glad you found out now instead of after you developed your product?
• Do the tech work manually.
Did you know that Eric Reis, the founder of Zappos, started out by going to shoe retailers asking if he could take photos of their shoes and try to sell them online? He didn’t start Zappos by investing in a whole bunch of product and building a full ecommerce website. He took photos of the shoes, put them online, and when one sold, he went back to the store, packaged up the shoes he sold and mailed them out himself.
This was his way of seeing if shoes could sell online. Once he saw there was a demand for shoes being purchased online, he began to expand upon his idea.
The point is, you don’t need to build a full website or invest in purchasing a bunch of inventory to do the things you want to do just yet.
If you have an idea for a website… say… if the service you want to provide is connecting graphic designers to businesses, get a landing page up and when someone signs up, you can manually email a designer and a business and get them connected that way. Before you build a website with technology to automate the process- see if there’s a way to do it yourself! That way you can see what the problems are and if people are actually drawn to this. I promise it will save you so much time and mooonnaaay.
THIS IS GREAT! BUT WHAT IF I CREATE A GREAT MVP AND NO ONE LIKES MY THING???
Been there!! If you find that people aren’t responding very well to your idea, ask yourself the following questions:
• Did I get the word out enough?
It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough traffic to your stuff to really get a good gauge for if people are into it or not. If you send it to your mom and sister and they’re not into it, that’s not a great way to gauge. To get some traffic to your video, landing page or website, send your idea to like minded blogs with larger platforms or ask friends/connections you have to post about it. Post it on forums, run a Facebook ad, do a guest blog post on a website with a large audience… whatever you do, make sure you’re looking at some kind of analytics to make sure people are actually seeing your thing. If they are coming and not responding….
• Did I communicate simply and clearly?
The words that you use to communicate your idea are just as important if not more important than the actual thing. If you were selling handmade candles created by women transitioning out of homelessness but you took 3 paragraphs to explain that and went way too much into detail- you might have a great idea that needs to be told more simply. Think SIMPLE. Think CLEAR. Think HUMAN. Far too often we think things have to be explained in a “professional” way.. but those days are over. People want you to be real and talk to them in your marketing copy like you would talk to them in real life. How would you tell your grandma about what you do? Use that as a gauge :)
• If all else fails, go back to your WHY. (AKA: DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP GIRL!!)
Just because what your idea didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that you can’t tweak it and move towards a new idea that helps solve the same problem. If your WHY relates to helping teens in the foster care system earn a living and your idea was to have the teens making oven mitts to sell… you can still help these teens and act upon your WHY, but maybe you need to think of a different product for them to make. Something people will get really excited about buying.
3. I ASKED AWESOME PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED
Once you have something you know is good- it’s amazing how much faster you can grow and create better work when you have kind, talented people on board with you. Even if you don’t have the money to pay people at first, creating ambassadors, creating volunteer positions or even doing a trade of services is a great way to get awesome people to help you in the beginning.
• First, start an Excel spreadsheet and brainstorm out what you need help with.
• Second, list all of the people you know who are awesome at what they do along with their email addresses, and what jobs you could see them doing. How could their skills help you where you need it?
• Third, create a new tab on that Excel spreadsheet with people who you don’t know personally, but you’ve connected with online or admired from afar. Write out their names and how you see them contributing. If you can’t get a contact email, write their Instagram or Twitter handle next to their name and see if you can direct message them or reach out through a Tweet or a comment. It’s a great way to get the attention of people you admire!
• Fourth, reach out! Make sure you’re very clear about who you are, what you’re doing and how you see these people getting involved. Often with people who are busy they need very clear directions on what you are looking for- so all they have to do is say yes! Don’t ask them to brainstorm with you or come up with an idea by themselves unless they’re a good friend of yours.
Starting a business is not an easy thing. I hear from so many ladies with amazing WHY’s (like literally world changing ideas) who struggle with the “how to’s” of getting started and moving forward. It breaks my heart to hear about these ideas falling through the cracks because I know deep down in my heart, that if they just had the right tools and mindset- they could make this world a better place for US ALL.
So, we here at Yellow are introducing something we’ve never done before because we want to help you change the world!
We will be hosting its first ever online conference on Friday, November 18th.
It’s a full 1-day digital experience where you’ll here from myself and 7 others (women like Jessie Simonson Co-Founder of 31 Bits, Megan Smalley, Founder of Scarlet & Gold, Blogger extrordinaire Melyssa Griffin & more!!) who have learned how to execute upon an idea they once had, and they will each be focusing on key areas needed to hone in on that idea and make it come alive in real life.
It’s half seminar, half workshop, half online hangout, full online conference to help you go from scattered, searching and confused to achieving clarity, tangible, REAL results and physically STARTING what you’ve been called to do.It’s called DREAMING TO DOING- it’s $127 but if you hop on our Yellow Collective email list you get $30 off your ticket- not bad right? Click here to hop on the list
$96 ticket to make a real change in your life and in the world. If this sounds like a big expense… all the more reason you need to join us :)
Head to our website to enroll and to see all the deets about this conference.
If you’re ready to move and make a change in the world, moving that idea to reality.. join us on Nov. 18th. Get all the deets and info right here: dreamingtodoing.online or sign up right away with our discount below:
Click Here to Enroll
Whether you come to the conference or not, our hope is that you are able to get out into the world and turn that world changing idea into a reality. Remember- the world needs you to spread good, to take risks, and to move. We’re ALL better off for it. HAPPY THURSDAY!!!