(The following is an original blog written at the end of March 2011) shorter updates will follow here a couple of times a week. Keep checking in and feel free to leave comments!!
I’ve had an idea, which led to this idea. I am in the process of embarking on a journey to build a new enterprise and I thought it would be helpful to both me and to anyone in a similar position to write a weekly column on the experiences that I encounter. The column will serve a number of purposes; first, I’ll have a written record – a play-by-play of sorts, of each step that I take. Secondly, the collection of writings can serve as a ‘How-To’ manual or end up as a ‘What-not-to-do’ compilation depending of the level of success that I achieve, allowing others to learn from my journey.
As most things do, my idea began with a simple “wouldn’t it be (neat)(cool)(interesting) if…..” – sorry, can’t disclose the particulars just yet. Also, notice that I was having trouble describing the exact adjective that felt appropriate for my idea. I casually mentioned it to my partner (what do you call a middle-aged boyfriend?) and of course, he generated a supportive but curt “yeah it would be”, reply. It stayed with me most of the day and I mentioned it to some friends we had dinner with later that day. Again, support for the theory and a “I think I saw that …..” – shut the door. Most of us stop there without another consideration and yet my mind kept building these ideas akin to a cell that is multiplying to its eventual formation of something concrete.
Within 24 hours I placed a call to my brother who has always been not only a great supporter but a brilliant thinker. We have a solid history of bouncing ideas and problems off one another, forging an ability to balance reason with enthusiasm. He asked some hard questions and allowed me to start defining the concepts into more tangible formations.
Somewhere I read that if you wake up in the morning with a really great idea, chances are that somewhere in the world there are 20 others just like you, with the same idea. (Which, could lead to a discussion about a collective consciousness that we can save for another time.) It said that statistically speaking, 17 will roll over and go back to sleep or dismiss their thought, 3 will engage in planning stages, and 1 if any, will actually set out to turn their idea into a product or service. Just to be on the safe side, I spent a couple of days scouting the internet for similarities of my concept. I failed to unearth anything that encompassed all of the components and that shared the same focus so I began to feel more enthusiastic about the possibilities. It is important to note that there are products that might be altered a little, tweeked a lot, or redesigned entirely to replicate the totality of my idea so I decided that it was necessary to do two things. First, I had to remind myself that on a given day, any number of fast food restaurants will serve hamburgers and French fries; it is the place that has the ‘best’ hamburger to which you will return. Secondly, I recalled that Oprah has said a number of times that she never set out to compete with Phil Donahue – who could have? She was only encouraged to be herself and place her own unique spin on the product she was delivering. With those two affirming thoughts, I made the decision to take action and discover if indeed, I might be on to something.
It was clear that I needed some additional expertise, someone who could take my theoretical contemplations and manifest them into reality. Hmm… who else did I know? One benefit of being middle-aged is that I have a plethora of contacts that have a surplus of knowledge and other contacts. After a few calls I was introduced to an individual who may have what I need. This is often called networking. But wait… if this person has the ability to implement my idea what would stop him from running with it after our conversation. The obvious solution was to have him sign a non-disclosure agreement. I felt a little ridiculous asking for this document due only to the fact that here I was, a middle aged woman, a relatively new counseling practitioner, a mom, living in suburbia – not exactly the epitome of some high level genius inventor – thinking that my (little ole’ me) idea may be spectacular!
For now, the ball has been thrown and is in motion… I am officially one of the 3 who woke up with an idea and began the planning to turn it into reality.