It’s impossible to work for yourself or do any kind of interesting job without ideas. If you don’t need to bring ideas to the table then you are not being involved and I bet you aren’t being fulfilled either.
But while ideas give us the chance to show what we can do, when you can’t think of anything to save your life then you’re in big trouble.
When I was at the BBC ideas were essential. Whichever show I was working on, at whatever level, everyone was expected to have ideas and to produce them on cue at the daily meeting in front of the whole team. Sometimes you needed several and if they were no good people would tell you so or just snigger. Stressful ? I’ll say.
But imagine how you’d feel if you were never asked for a contribution?
Solopreneurs and small businesses don’t have that problem. You are expected to have ideas about everything – from new products, to packaging, marketing ideas and brilliant promotional schemes – you must have ideas to put in your blog and ideas to get publicity on and offline.
The big machine that makes things happen is hungry for ideas and when it’s going well it’s great but sometimes the whole thing grinds to a halt and the lightbulb goes out. That’s when you need help.
Much has been written about regaining inspiration, locating lost mojos and all the rest of it but I would like to suggest a very simple idea to get back on track.
What you really need to do is re-focus.
Struggling to pull ideas out of a head that’s not co-operating is frustrating and exhausting. Re-focusing can help you regain a sense of calm. Ideas won’t come when you’re stressed out.
So take it back to basics. Ask yourself;
- What you are trying to achieve with this idea. Is it a story idea, a product idea, a sales idea?
- Who is the idea aimed at? Is it your target audience, who is that?
- Does this idea have to appeal directly to your target audience or are there gatekeepers you have to impress as well like wholesale buyers, journalists etc
- What are these people impressed with at the moment? What are they buying, enthusing about, desiring? You can check out the magazines your target audience reads for ideas or if you really want to get zeitgiesty, subscribe to a trend forecasting service like trendwatching.
- How are your competitors solving this particular problem – can you do something similar with a twist or maybe do the exact opposite to differentiate yourself.
At this point you should be back on track. If you are not, take the dog for a walk, pour yourself a stiff drink and have a hot bath, then go to bed and forget about it. Come on Scarlett, tomorrow is another day.