Now that you have a list of ideas, it’s time to play with them a little.
Sort out the ideas you found in Step 3. What ideas can you pursue right now, and which ones do you want to save for later? Which one appeals to you most? Sort them by feasibility (short term, long term), by interest (very interesting, not so interesting), or by potential (great potential, not so much potential), whatever works for you.
Take your #1 idea—the one that excites you the most, or the one that is the most accessible right now—and experiment with it. What’s the next step you need to take to implement it? Take that step, and see where it leads. If the step is too big, break it down even more into baby steps. It could be as simple as buying a book or researching online about something you need to learn.
Be okay with the temporary discomfort of learning and trying new things, failing and getting back up, facing what it would take to make an idea become successful. Sometimes it takes a lot more effort than you had imagined. Think of the long-term success you will have if you stick with it long enough. Is it worth it? Is this something you’re willing to do for yourself to build your financial freedom? Be comfortable with being uncomfortable, if it leads you closer to where you want to be.
If after taking a few steps toward your idea #1 you decide that it doesn’t appeal to you or that you’re not ready to invest yourself in it right now, cross it out or transfer it to another list for later and go to your idea #2. Focus on the ones that get you fired up and excited!
Remember, you are only experimenting and playing around with ideas at this stage. Don’t think about making money with them yet, just follow your passion and see what happens. Be playful and daring with your ideas. Who knows which one will be successful? Look at it like going on a treasure hunt. Keep digging!
See how far you can go with your ideas during this thirty-day experiment.
I have a confession to make: I started experimenting way before I started this thirty-day experiment, so I already have a few examples to give you. I’m still far from my goal, though, and I still have a lot of ideas to experiment with, so this thirty-day period is helping me focus on what I need to do next to ultimately reach my goal.
Here are some steps I took toward my first three ideas:
1. Monetize my self-help site (AdSense, Amazon links, affiliate marketing):
- I need more views before monetizing my site, so I created an Instagram account to have one more way of promoting my blog posts. My knowledge of Instagram was very limited, so I read a very useful article on WeekHack that helped me get started and get over 100 followers in two days.
- I added Amazon links to books I’ve read in my toolbox pages to make it easier for people to purchase. Amazon gives a small percentage to their affiliates if someone makes a purchase by clicking the link.
- I purchased a domain name and transferred this site from Blogger to WordPress. I had to learn WordPress, which took some time and effort, but this is something I wanted to do in the future anyway that will also help me with my idea #4: creating blogs and websites for other people. Why not now?
- Next steps: continue building my Instagram page and increasing my Twitter followers; continue posting on my blog at least once a week and learning how to get more views.
2. Promote my novel:
- I researched promotion services, such as Bookbub.
- I looked into publishing other e-book versions of my novel using Smashwords, and saved the link for later.
- I’m not really into it right now, so I’ve decided to keep this idea for a little later and focus on other ideas that excite me more for now.
3. Monetize my existing HubPages and write new ones:
- I published content on HubPages years ago and wondered if I was still getting any views. To my surprise, my flash fiction stories are getting 3,000 views per month! So I added AdSense to that site, and now I’m making anywhere between $0.03 and $0.15 per day. Not much, but it only took me two minutes, and it made me realize that it’s possible to get passive income without putting in long hours of hard work (see my limiting beliefs from Step 2).
- Next step: revise my other pages (some of them have broken links) and possibly post new ones.
I have more, but I’ll stop here. You get the idea.
No Time? Think Again!
Once you start following your passion, you just find the time to make it happen. You become more productive, more focused. You find ways to take the next step regardless of your schedule. I’m currently reading The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss, and he gives good tips about finding the time to do what you love.
Would you be willing to spend one hour a day, or a few hours a week working on your goal from Step 1? Can you cut the time you spend watching TV in half and do something productive instead? Can you use your lunch hour to connect with people who can help you reach your goals? What current activity are you willing to trade in exchange for pursuing your dreams? What small pockets of unproductive time can you start using more productively? Every little bit helps.
For example, I didn’t have to allocate any extra time to develop my Twitter and Instagram accounts (post, follow, retweet, etc.). I can do it from my phone, while I’m waiting for my kids to finish their track practice, or at the dentist while sitting in the waiting room, or in that small time frame I have after dropping them off to school, before I go to work.
On Thursday, with Step 5, we will learn visualization techniques to help you already start feeling the way you will once you’ve reached your goal. This will help you with Step 7, which is to start acting as if you’ve already reached your goal.
If you’re running into any mental blocks or limiting beliefs you may still have, write them down. We will address them in Step 6 next Monday.
Until then, have fun experimenting! I recommend keeping a journal of all the steps you take, however small. This will come in handy when we do Step 9 and reward ourselves for taking those steps.
Your Turn to Experiment!
What is the next step you can take to actualize your #1 idea? Take that step now. If it’s too big, break it down into baby steps, and take that baby step. If the next step is a tough one, the visualization from Step 5 next Thursday will help. Meanwhile, get started with what you can. Experiment like a scientist would, to find the winning formula that will work best for you. Good luck!