How To Get Ideas

how to get ideasHave you wondered about how to get ideas? First off, I’m an idea person and love the process of searching for ideas. I find great satisfaction in taking an idea from the stage of the initial thought and developing the idea into something that is measurable, real.

I’ve spent so much time looking for ideas that my brain recognizes opportunities now much sooner than it would have a decade or two ago. I’ve found that the more new things I learn about and try, particularly online ventures, one new idea often leads to another and a new door is opened. On a side note, years ago I read the book titled The Law of Recognition by Mike Murdock. It was the perfect book to help me recognize opportunities and the importance of relationships. 

Every once in awhile, I find myself in a rut and feel as though my well of ideas is depleted. New ideas energize me, so I don’t like running out of them. In my experience, the single best way to get ideas is to READ. Yes, reading truly is fundamental. About a year ago, I decided to subscribe to a number of magazines. I chose magazines that deal with subject matter that interests me. I ordered subscriptions to Popular MechanicsNational Geographic Traveler, and IncI also think it’s important to learn about things that are fun, so I ordered FourWheeler Magazine as well.

Reading these magazines, particularly Popular Mechanics and Inc., nearly always give me at least one new idea. In fact, my main source of income is derived from an occupation in which I received the inspiration to pursue after reading an article in a business magazine in the early 1990’s. I clearly remember the front cover of the magazine featuring a twenty-something guy wearing a suit and talking on a gigantic cell phone. I recall the headline saying something to the effect of “Twenty-something is making $90,000 per year…” Given that I was making around $18,000 at the time, the headline caught my attention. Soon after reading the article, I called a friend of my brother that I knew was in the industry. I told him I’d like to know more about the business and offered to buy him lunch. I quit my job and launched my career in that business within six months or so. I’ve been actively involved in the same business ever since.

The ideas I get from reading may be something as simple as registering a new domain name, or a particular article may motivate me to purchase a book to learn even more about a subject. Reading books and blogs are also effective ways to come up with new ideas. If I’m looking for ideas for a new online business, say a domain name that I can developo into a niche website, I like to visit Flippa.com.

While the Flippa website lists domain names and websites that are for sale, I find the best ideas come from clicking on the Established Sites tab on the navigation bar and selected Most Active. As I browse through the most active established websites that are receiving interest and are generating the most bidding activity, I read through the description of the website that the seller has provided.

Normally, when reading the website description, the seller will describe how the website is monetized. There are also statistics provided, often times Google Analytics. Since there are many website investors looking through the sites that are for sale, I find their questions and comments are often educational.

I recently was looking through Flippa and came across a website for sale in which the bidding was up to $15,500 for the site and there was still time remaining on the auction. The name of the site consisted of three words. Without giving away the actual site name, as an example, let’s pretend the name of the site was GolfRangeBalls.com. Unlike golf range balls, the product being sold of the site was priced in the $50-$500 range. It also isn’t going to be available anywhere other than online, unless you live in a city large enough to support a big sports or hunting store.

After reading the impressive statistics about the site, I immediately thought, “If a site named GolfRangeBalls.com is doing so well, I should see if the shorter version of the domain, RangeBalls.com, is available.” Again, RangeBalls.com is not the actual domain, just an example. I typed the domain name I was interested in directly into my web browsers address bar and a site didn’t exist, not even a parking page. I’ll probably write a post about whether or not this particular idea took off and if I was able to secure the domain name.

Another way to get ideas is by watching television. One of the few shows I encourage my family to watch is Shark Tank. A great way to get ideas is to listen and watch others that are working on ideas. The single best website idea that I had in 2014 came to me while watching CNBC. There was a guest on the show talking about a new product his company started selling and he was shocked at how popular the item had become. He went on to say that they had pricing power and were able to raise the prices on the product and still sell them.

While I was listening to the head of this company speak about the popularity of a particular product his company started selling, I turned to my laptop and went to the GoDaddy website. I entered in a number of domain names that were the perfect keywords for this hot new product. To my surprise, all of the domain names were available to be registered for less than $10 a piece. I have to admit the adrenaline  kicked in as I raced to finalize the registration of these domains. I’ll go into more detail in a different post later, but that one idea I had while watching CNBC has turned into a website with a great logo (thanks to 99designs), and more importantly, SALES. It went from an idea to something real, something that now produces income for me.

I hope you’ve been able to learn at least something as you’ve read this post on how to get ideas. I’ll share one final thought with you. Meeting with and visiting with other people that are looking for and taking action on new ideas is fantastic. I always enjoy having lunch with other entrepreneurs. One of the “regulars” I have lunch with is a friend that invests in real estate-residential, commercial, and even a cabin. Another entrepreneur that I have lunch with operates a very successful subscription-based online business, just one of his many online businesses. At our lunches, I ask them what new projects they’re working on. Hearing their stories inspires me.

One of my favorite books for coming up with ideas is ThinkerToys. It’s listed below. I’d like to hear how you get new ideas. Please feel free to share below, thanks!

P.S.-Here’s a great article, “How To Become An Idea Machine,” by James Altucher. Since we each have unique life experiences, we each have different mental/neurological “dots” established in our brains. Break-through ideas often come by connecting those dots, particularly if you’ve trained your brain to be on the look out for new ideas.



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