how to break down your big idea and make your next move

how to break down your big idea and make your next move

reader comments (13)

  1. great article stefanie. i would also propose having pre-money and post-money task lists.

    for example, using your checklist:

    things you can do before validating your idea and spending money:
    -take photos for your website
    -write the about page for your website
    -write a blog post each month
    -write an ebook
    -write guest posts for publications who have the audience you serve
    -talk with trusted mentors, colleagues, and friends about your goals
    -research the social media platforms your community uses
    -create relevant social media profiles
    -browse in-person networking events

    things you can do after validating your idea which cost money:
    -register your website domain name
    -set up your website with fast, secure hosting
    -choose a business email address
    -find an email service provider
    -add an email opt-in form to your home page

    i hope this helps!

    • that’s a great addition, jed!

      i like how it shows the foundational elements you can complete/experiment with over time before you invest a large amount of money (or perhaps even while you save the money you need. )

  2. excellent post! i love to take big ideas and break them down in to bite-sized chunks. with every project/business i am working on, i have an idea list running, a to-do or task list, a set of yearly goals (broken down into monthly and weekly) and a list for later research or to add in later.

    it can get overwhelming and patience is key. sometimes, we want things to happen so fast we forget to do them right or master them the first time around. i see this often when people are trying to learn social media. they join all the networks out there, snapchat, instagram, facebook, google+, twitter and the 5 others i am forgetting, but never learn any of them very well.

    start with one thing, master it, and then move on to the next.

    • i think when it’s overwhelming, but also exciting, that’s when we start rushing through things or become impatient/anxious.

      catching ourselves in those moments and getting back to “one thing at a time” is a constant practice. 🙂

  3. another great post, stefanie! this one really hit home to me. i use much the same approach as you reveal here, and it just works well. once you can get past that idea that all the stars and planets have to align before you can do something, the whole universe opens up to you.

    as i read this, i took it as a refresher and an inspiration to keep on doing what seems so big to me once that it seemed impossible. and now, i’m doing that “impossible” daily! great encouragement with a plan that works. well done! thanks again!

    • realizing that you’re now doing that “once impossible” daily is a great feeling, jane! i hope you take some moments to be proud of yourself for that — they can be especially helpful when you have a new task that seems complex. 🙂

  4. great post. what i like to do is to keep my list online using the free draftin.com writing tool which stores all of your drafts, but instead of just using it for drafts you can use it to create and save lists as well. fyi i have no affiliation with draftin.com.

  5. thanks for a great article stefanie. it is very timely for me as i work on my first project. i am normally very systems oriented with any long term task. dealing with all the new learnings has been fun but very random over over the past three weeks. coupling the long view with the short term focus helps me see how it will all come together.

  6. this is so helpful, stephanie. and i love the great suggestions in the comments.
    i often feel the pain of being someone who has no shortage of ideas but i struggle to implement.

    part of my challenge comes from difficulty in chunking things down. i get a vision of the whole thing and it’s hard to see the steps. your checklists were helpful. i love the idea of creating a master checklist that can apply to the vast majority of ideas.

    the other challenge for me is that i find it really hard to focus on too many big projects at once. i like to see things to completion and with much of my work that is longer horizon, that’s hard. it’s even hard when i am working on a big article — it tends to consume me until i complete it, which throws everything else into chaos.

    one thing that has worked for me to some extent is to keep a notebook with a list of “ideas and sparks.” i dedicate the first several pages of every new physical notebook to this. then i can go back to look through and see what still speaks to me. after a period of time, sometimes ideas lose their luster.

    also i find a big barrier is that we don’t want to say “no” to our ideas. i reframed that for myself by reminding myself that every “yes” is a “no” to something else and that “no” doesn’t have to be permanent. so, do r example, i have been trying to launch a course for over 2 years and other things kept throwing me off track. finally i decided to say “not now” to all other new ideas until that is off the ground.

    • it’s a lot of juggling!

      having clear priorities, but staying flexible, is often necessary.

      for instance, sometimes that strict focus on a big article is the best use of your time, and other times it’s best to be 80% dedicated to the completion of that article and 20% dedicated to organizing other tasks or upcoming work.

      it definitely depends on the situation! which is part of the fun of entrepreneurship and creative work. 🙂

      that idea might be helpful for your course — so that you move forward with it, but you don’t feel like a mountain of other things are piling up at the same time.

  7. this reminds me of a question i heard many moons ago…

    how do you eat an elephant?
    a bit at a time.

    i’m trying to pull together a new idea at the moment and am guilty of ‘the rush’. you’re right that the discipline needs constant practice. even though i know it myself it’s easy to lose sight of ‘more haste, less speed’, so thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • i use that “eat an elephant” saying all the time, mick!

      i talk about breaking projects down into steps a lot. 🙂

      the elephant is always going to be there … so on days when it’s not possible to chip away at it — or you just have no appetite for elephant — it’s okay. it will be waiting when you’re ready/able to take that next bite.

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