Anyone who knows me knows that one thing that I don’t lack, is ideas for new business endeavors.
I even (seriously) joked with a friend about opening a business that provided business ideas for others. In addition to my bread and butter work in marketing communications, I once started a stationery and home goods business. I have an interest in textile design and graphics. For about a year, I created a blog on crafting. I’ve done a few collaborations with other business owners. I’ve written a book. I have taught workshops. I have had countless other ideas that I’ve also considered pursuing. I love being creative and having multiple passions, but as many know, that creative trait also has its down sides. Too many great ideas pursued at one time can be disastrous (been there, done that). Over the years I’ve become better about strategically pursuing my passions in a way that is smarter and not as scattered. I’m sharing things that have helped me in hopes that you can benefit from them as well.
Write a personal mission statement
Your personal mission statement will help you determine what’s most important to you: Is it freedom? Helping others? Becoming wealthy? Being able to travel? Your mission statement may grow and change over time, but typically will reflect your values and ambitions.
Document your top projects and passions
Make a list of projects and passions you are working on or want to pursue. After you make a list of your passions, determine which ones line up most with your mission statement. You may have a few that don’t really align with your overall mission statement, and that’s fine too. It doesn’t mean those ideas aren’t important or worth pursuing, but they may just be a lower priority. Your top priorities are generally the ones most in alignment with the things that you’ve noted in your mission statement.
Make a business idea checklist
Before beginning any new idea, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I currently have the time/resources for this project to be successful?
- Is this idea well thought out? Have I researched this idea thoroughly?
- In priority order, where does this idea rank in terms of other projects I am working on?
- What might I have to give up in order to make this idea work?
I have several strategies for making time for my passions. My biggest strategy for balancing multiple passions is centered around knowing when and where can task tuck. Task tuck is my term for tucking in different pieces of work in blocks of time that might usually be wasted. For instance, there are certain tasks I can do while watching a movie or at my kids’ sports practices like making lists or writing. If a meeting ends early or gets rescheduled, I have a list of easy tasks that can be completed in 15-20 minutes. I’ve also mastered shifting gears quickly. For instance, I know that during the times when I’ve sent work out to a client to review, I may have time to work on another type of project. Finally, I occasionally schedule an all-day work session to devote to one specific project to move it ahead.
Commit to what you have committed to
Sometimes an idea is worth pursing but the time might not be right. For instance, I really want to open a booth at an antique market. This is something I think would be fun but is not my top priority. So I have made a deal with myself that when I reach a certain milestone in my primary business, I can then open the booth. You may want to make a list of the five things you have to do before pursuing a new idea. This will help motivate you to focus on one thing while planning for the other.