Freelancers and entrepreneurs: Act on your ideas!

This morning, while at the gym, I was catching up on my reading. Specifically, I was reading back issues of Entrepreneur magazine. What caught my eye was an article in the April 2015 issue entitled Ideas are Worthless. Here’s what it said.

Dylan Kohlstadt, author of the article as well as founder and CEO of advertising agency Shift ONE that specialises in assisting business owners grow through engagement with customers, says that the downfall of most entrepreneurs is in executing their ideas. (The reason why this probably resonates with me is that I’ve also written about this previously, most recently in my article A message to all freelancers: overcome your fears.) Dylan quotes Les Brown: “The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were  never shared, the cures that were never discovered all because someone was too afraid to tkae that first step, keep with the problem and carry out their dream.”

How to overcome this ‘getting started’ inertia

The way to overcome this fear of starting, says Dylan, is to plan. Put your ideas out on paper in a business plan, see them come alive there and become excited about the prospect of seeing them come to fruition. Through this process you’ll be able to see potential pitfalls and make adjustments before you do anything.

Don’t rush!

The biggest crime that we tend to commit in this modern-day era is rushing. And even more heinous is multi-tasking. In order to perform a task well, our brains need us to concentrate on one activity at a time, and give it our full attention. It has actually been suggested that we ultimately cause untold damage to our brains by bombarding them with too many tasks at once. A study conducted at the University of London has shown significant decreases in IQ as a result of multi-tasking. (To read more about these studies, click here.)

So what is the solution

Dylan ends her article with the simple: “Learn from your mistakes and then get back on that horse and ride it better this time.” But my question is: “So how do you ‘get back on that horse’? What if something – in your mind, environment, etc. – is preventing you from getting back on that horse?”

I’ve been in this situation before and I’ll tell you what helps me. Whenever I feel prevented from doing something, my favourite question to ask is “why?”:

  • Question 1: Why do I feel that I can’t do this?
  • Answer 1: X
  • Question 2: Why do I feel that I can’t do X?
  • Answer 2: Y

I carry on with this process until I can feel that I’ve gotten down to the root of what’s preventing me from doing what I want to do. It’s a lengthy process but it is so worthwhile.

What helps you get unstuck?