You went to school, got a degree, found a great job… and slowly started to fade away. Nothing at work motivates you anymore.
But there’s this one idea that gives you that feeling deep inside your gut. You know, the big idea that’s been brewing around inside for a while now, keeping you up at night and giving your mind and soul something to daydream about in those boring meetings you attend week after week.
You’d love to do something more with your big idea. But where do you begin?
Almost everyone at some point has had a big idea tucked away deep inside. Yet few people ever tell anyone about them, much less turn them into a successful business venture. How do you buck the odds? How do you become one of the growing numbers of people that change the odds and become the success story?
Define your big idea
Work can be boring. That’s why you start dreaming in the first place. Before you know it, your dreams turn into something solid. They start defining you.
You may not tell anyone about them, but that dream comforts you when your boss has you rewrite a report for the tenth time. Or when you can’t get to sleep on Sunday night because you don’t want to return to the office on Monday morning.
Before your big idea can move forward, you have to define it. And not just in simple terms — the more detailed the better.
“Solve the world’s hunger problem” may sound good when you finally say it out loud, but what specifics do you have for accomplishing it? Do you have an idea for a new crop? Can you eliminate pesticides from the food supply? Can you change the distribution cycle?
While a one-line goal is easy to focus on, it’s the detailed step-by-step plan that’ll give you guidance and help bring others on board.
Discover where the money is
Ideas are great. But if you can’t make money with them, you’ll never be able to quit your day job and dedicate your life to it.
One of the easiest ways to find out if your big idea has potential is to see what’s already in the marketplace. Chances are if you’re dreaming about doing something, someone out there has done something similar — and has made a good living from it, too.
Find those people. Follow them. Study them. Buy their books, products and training materials. Sign up for their marketing materials. Discover how they talk to their own clientele.
The more you learn what they’re doing, the more you can apply it to your own big idea. Why reinvent the wheel when something like it already exists? Your job is to take what’s out there and add new life to it with your own ideas. And make it even better.
Make your action steps believable
The more you work on putting together the specifics, the more pieces will fall into place. And the more tasks you’ll discover that are still left to do.
The key to turning your idea from concept to reality is action. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Without action, it’s just another idea that gets lost in the shuffle. Action is what solidifies your idea and turns it into a viable business. And action requires specific steps to see it through from beginning to end.
Let’s say you’ve had the goal of writing a book for years. But every year comes and goes without a book to show for it. The reason it’s left unfinished is the goal is too colossal; it’s unbelievable. How will you ever be able to write 50,000 words?
Monumental goals almost never get completed. Which is why it’s so important to break them down into bite-sized, doable action steps, and in some cases even find help that’ll hold you accountable along the way.
Instead of having “write a book” as a goal, by turning it into something more doable — write 1,667 words a day — it becomes more believable and therefore more achievable. You can write 1,667 words over your lunch hour or when you get home from work. You can’t write an entire book.
And that’s where having a believable action step can help you succeed.
Set a date
To accomplish your goal, you have to have an end in mind.
You can track it by date: On Dec. 31, I’ll quit. Or you can track it by income: When I’ve reserved $10,000 in savings, I’ll put in my resignation. Either way, having a tangible end point to focus on will make that date a reality.
It’ll also give you something even more concrete to focus on when you file into the conference room for one more of those boring meetings.
Lori Osterberg is co-founder of VisionOfSuccess.com, a site dedicated to helping people define their big ideas, pinpoint their exact target audience and develop a successful profit zone around it. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.