Full disclosure: all I really aspire to in life is daily happiness, a healthy family and a bigger kitchen. I always assumed I wasn’t aiming very high, until I realised that having an ultimate goal of just being happy was probably the best thing I could ever do. I’ve done lots of ‘work’ on myself over the years, and I can confirm my head is now a very pleasant and positive place to spend the majority of my time.
But happiness takes many different forms. For a lot of people (me included) one of the routes to happiness is through constantly having a project. That’s why so many people always redecorate their homes, or make things, or write blogs, or do training courses. It’s the feeling of forward motion and the possibility of going somewhere new that brings satisfaction.
How about a project that could actually make you money? That seems like the holy grail, doesn’t it?
But where I have always fallen down is actually nailing down the idea of the project itself. Where do I start? Writing a book? Becoming a freelance copywriter? Creating….art? Becoming a life coach? How could I take the things I enjoy doing and turn them into a flexible and profitable way of living?
So I did what I always do in any situation, and read lots of books about it.
The Idea In You, written by Martin Amor and Alex Pellew (who have backgrounds in product development and working in an innovation consultancy) was a really good introduction to nailing down what your idea could actually be. You don’t really have to have any clue at the start of the book where you might want your project to end up – but if you do, then going through the whole book will definitely help you shape and define it.
I enjoy books that give me a good balance of practical advice, dreamy inspiration, and push me to take action as I go through the book. The Idea In You achieved this balance well. At heart it is a practical book, but as it’s an introduction to identifying and implementing your idea, it also includes plenty of nudges to apply what you are reading to your own potential project (in the form of ‘Do it now!’ prompts) and lots of good case studies from successful start-ups. The case-studies are primarily for physical products instead of things like online services, coaching etc, but there are recaps after each one to show you how you can learn from their experiences in your own project.
I’ve read books that in my view provide more hands-on, practical exercises in actually teasing the ideas out of yourself (and there’s no getting around the fact you have to actually do the work to achieve this) but this one was a really effective all-rounder, and is written in a completely down to earth and accessible way. The very start of it included an ‘imagine this’ scenario that looked so much like my own life (down to the Sainsbury’s bag hanging off the back of the kitchen cupboard) that I nearly choked on my KitKat.
For someone who has done a lot of reading around self-improvement, living in the present and creating a happy and positive inner-world, there are bits of this book that are a bit unnecessary. But for those who haven’t, then it provides a nice brief snapshot of what it means to get your head straight, to appreciate your health and wellbeing and to balance big dreams with practical realities.
There’s also a very useful black book of resources at the end of the book, from training videos to blog and website platforms, to online selling platforms to where to find investors. I haven’t fully explored all of the relevant ones yet but it’s good to know they are there. The website for the book also offers the chance to become part of a Creator Community, and after reading the book you’ll definitely want to be part of a community that can offer support and encouragement…
After all, it’s one thing reading about starting a project and another thing actually doing it. This book makes no bones about the reality of turning an idea into a business, but at the same time, it is inspiring enough to shape an idea up and make you want to take action.
The next part, obviously, is up to us…