TURN YOUR IDEAS INTO REALITY
Create something that makes your mother proud
Written by Weeri
This last step is crucial in becoming your own boss. In this step, you will combine everything you have learned so far. A combination of what you have learned about yourself and skills you didn’t know you possessed. You will put it all into something you can see, touch, smell, or taste. Something that would make your momma proud.
In the previous steps, you have done things mostly for yourself. In this last step, you will have to share your work. Sharing your work is vital to get feedback. Feedback is the key to grow and move forward.
You will overcome your fear of failure. You will not be overwhelmed anymore by all the ideas in your head. You won’t let perfectionism be an excuse to create something that you are proud of. You can and will learn to enjoy delayed gratification over instant gratification.
Before we jump into the details a short reminder. This is not a get rich quick scheme. Turning your ideas into reality is not about becoming a millionaire. The goal is to become free and independent. Free from financial stress. Free to spend your time on what you think is important. Independent, so you won’t have to explain yourself to others.
With that being said: Let’s Go!
Why Our Lives Can Feel Meaningless
We start with some hard truth to understand why it’s important to work on your ideas.
Up to the moment we have our first job, life was pretty straight forward. We go from lower school to middle school, to high school. We specialize in some fancy-sounding titles. We get ourselves a job when it hits us right in the smacker. Am I going to do this for another 40 years? Is this it?
After we graduate, everything changes. Suddenly, life doesn’t seem straight forward with incremental and clearly visual steps from somewhere between four to six years. Now, we look into a vastness of nothingness. With more focus on careers, we have less stable relationships (NYTimes & PEW Social Trends). That leads us to not having kids. Or having kids at a later age.
Where people with kids have a natural drive to work for their children growing up, we now work for ourselves. When you have the responsibility for a child, the goals are straightforward and clear. Making sure the kid walks through every step of growing up. From being a baby to kicking him/her out of the house.
In our daily work life, we are just part of a big machine. When we do a good job, we will get a bonus. Hooray! Some extra digits on your bank account at the end of the year. The work we do does not work up to something visually rewarding. Something we can see, touch, smell, taste.
The point I’m trying to make is: we need to do work that has clear tangible results. We want to be part of something from start to finish. Something with a clear finish. Something we can evaluate and then move on to something new. That is how we can iterate. That is how we can grow. That is how we can get better.
How To Make Money With Your Ideas
Your ideas need to have some kind of value. If you don’t solve a problem for anyone (not even for yourself), your idea is not valuable. Plain and simple. Money happens to be one of the easiest ways to show value, but barter deals will also count.
From all the business books I’ve read, only the books by Peter Thiel and MJ DeMarco gave practical insights into what it takes to successfully turn an idea into a business.
I have taken some core concepts of both (and some more) books and created my own cheat sheet. Where most books are focussed on building a million dollar plus business, the goal of Living Like a FOCCER is to become your own boss.
Visualize your idea
First, you have to put your ideas on paper. Yes, paper works best in my opinion. With paper, you will always be able to see your progress. When you type things down on your computer, you will erase it. On paper, you will also be able to make sketches to make your ideas even more clear.
Determine if your idea is something totally new, which it probably isn’t. Search for examples of people or businesses who have gone before you. How hard it might seem, categorize your idea into something that already exists. It will make the next step a whole lot easier.
What problem are you going to solve?
If you want to create something valuable, you first will have to figure out what problem you are going to solve. Search on the internet for problems with existing products or services. These 12 questions might help you find the answer.
- What are people complaining about?
- Can you make something inconvenient more convenient?
- Can you simplify something? Making something complex more smooth and easy
- Do current businesses provide crappy customer service?
- Does your idea already work somewhere else, but not yet in the place you live?
- Can you be the supplier for a trend? I.e. if everybody is into baking bread at home, can you be the supplier of flower?
- Can you add more value to something that you can buy for cheap and sell with a profit?
- Can you turn old unused products and turn them into something new? I.e. making art out of old newspapers
- Does your product/service already exist, but the existing companies suck at marketing?
- Are there businesses that have grown so big that they lost sight of their original purpose and goals and are now just serving the dollars?
- Are there businesses that stopped focusing on their customers and started pleasing their shareholders?
- Can you improve on something that already exists and communicate the problem and solution better than others?
If you want to read more about the background of these questions and ideas, I recommend reading the books of MJ DeMarco. He can explain it much better than I d0, plus he already created multiple successful businesses.
Describe is the desired outcome
- Write down five positive testimonials that you will hope people will give.
- Write down five negative reviews that people might give you.
- What do you want to get out of your product/service financially? If you are going to work full time on your project, how much money do you need to keep on going without having to stress about money? If you are going to work on it part-time, you can start with how much time would your idea help someone to save? Multiply that with the average wage and there you have a start.
How is your idea going to spread?
How are you making sure that your product/service will be bought by someone? And how are you going to deliver your product/service? What are you going to do when the product/service has been delivered?
- Marketing: how are you going to reach people: internet or offline?
- Sales: how do you convince people to choose your product/service over everything else that is already existing? What are your unique selling points?
- Distribution: if you have a physical product, do you have a brick and mortar place where people can see and touch your product? Or do you only have a webshop?
- Scaling: what is your bottleneck? How many orders can you handle? I prefer to search for fewer, but high-quality clients. In that way, I’m able to give my full attention to my clients and deliver quality work.
Work On Your Ideas
There is no one way to work on your ideas. The only way is to do it your way. Generally, it is wise to start small. Popular in the start-up world is to work Lean. In short, try to come up with a product that fits the bare minimum needs. This first product is nowhere near the idea that you have described in the previous step.
This first product just has to do the trick for someone. It has to provide a solution to a problem for someone in real life. With the feedback you will get, you can improve your product/service.
For me personally, this is always a very difficult step as I have to share my work with someone else. I’m terrified of people’s criticism. I used to take the criticism personally, but after insight from Chris Do, and a whole lot of practice and putting myself out there, I got used to the criticism. Now I don’t take it (nearly) as personal as I used to do.
How I became a self thought chef
Ever since I discovered that I really like to cook, I’ve wanted to open up my own restaurant. A place where I can mix my love for traveling and combine Asian with European techniques.
First I tried cooking for myself. Very simple food from very simple recipes. Most of it wasn’t even fresh. As I got better, I started cooking for my roommates more often. I wasn’t too afraid of their feedback, because I could always spice up their food with a secret chili.
My roommates encouraged me to cook for some dinner parties. Hesitant at first, I was happy that I did it. Maybe they really loved my food, or maybe they just happy with any kind of decent food. Anyhow, I don’t care. I got a confidence boost.
The dinner parties I cooked for became bigger and bigger. The menus I cooked became more complicated and personalized. Until it lead me into having enough courage to apply for a job as a cook. When the chef was on holiday, I was even able to call myself a chef for a couple of weeks.
I haven’t opened up my restaurant yet. But it is still a dream of mine. One day it will be that day.
How I want to become a documentary filmmaker
Anthony Bourdain is probably my only man-crush. Heck, he’s the only famous person I admire. I did not only watch his travels shows until deep at night. Even in my dreams were his travel shows.
Anthony Bourdain’s travel shows gave me the burning desire to explore cultures in a different way. I wanted to make those videos. I wanted to try all those bizarre-looking food.
After I was a professional cook for almost a year, I finally had enough confidence to leave my old world behind to start fresh. Eight years of University. An Engineering degree. Bye-bye. I needed to get out.
So I sold everything I had got, bought a camera and a one-way ticket to explore my roots. In Thailand, I was able to be a knucklehead with a camera. Besides my own family, I didn’t know anybody. My shyness and fear of being judged weren’t gone, but it was much easier to put aside.
Inspired by Casey Neistat’s Vlogs, I started with making vlogs. Just turning on the camera, filming things. Learning how aperture, shutter speed, and iso work. Figuring out what different lenses do. Trying to make some story out of all my shitty filming work in the edit. The hardest part was maybe talking to the camera. I’m still not all too good at it, as I don’t think I’m a very spontaneous talker.
After making a whole lot of videos for myself and doing some free gigs for friends, I got an opportunity that will change my life forever. I got paid industry-standard fees to create online videos for a start-up. Again, this gave me such a confidence boost, providing me with new opportunities to grow.
In the future, I want to be able to make a living by creating my own documentaries. But for now, I will focus on helping start-ups and small businesses to create professional videos.
How you can start your own business (some resources)
Here are some resources that might be helpful in starting your own business.
Let’s Create Something Together
Do you have a head full of ideas? What is holding you back? For whatever reason you haven’t started your project yet, we have all been there. So let’s do this together.
I’m looking for people to work on fun projects with. I can cook, I can make video’s, and I have a wild imagination. Click here to share your ideas and let’s see how we can turn your ideas into reality.
Enough with the reading. Now go FOCC yourself!
If you have walked through all of these steps, by now you should have created something your mother would be proud of. Good. Time to start all over again.
Evaluate what you have done and repeat. Start at Living Free to figure out if you are still on the right way to escape the rat race to become your own boss. Go FOCC Yourself!
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Disclaimer: this is a document with a life and will of its own. Over time, the information you will find on "How To Live Like a FOCCER" might change (most probably will). The intention is not to create as many blog posts as possible. The intention is to update this blog to make it even better. So please feel free to comment below what helped you, what did not help you, or what you miss.
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