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How to make your ideas fleshy… Not fishy.

By Jessica Albon

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you don’t have much trouble coming up with ideas. They wake you while you’re sleeping, and distract you from your current project while you’re awake. They tantalize and tempt and just generally look so much more interesting than whatever happens to be on your to-do list at the moment.

There’s so much to learn, so much to explore, so much to share and say! Where most of us get stuck is in the fleshing things out, the adding depth and dimension to those ideas. Juicing up your metaphors until they’re rock solid, tangible, and resonant… that’s where most entrepreneurs stumble.

How many times have you seen someone in your industry develop a fantastic, creative hook only to… Let it fizzle. They don’t take the time to carefully steward that idea to maturity, instead they rush to make it public before it’s had time to fully cook. And, as a result, they wind up with something half-baked. It has a lot of promise, but not a lot of meat.

Some entrepreneurs do great (financially) with these half-baked ideas because they’re constantly leaping to the next thing, and they’ve built up a big enough audience that there are people willing to make each leap with them. So they leave a wake of half-finished projects behind them, but continue to have people clamoring for their next big thing even though the last wasn’t particularly substantial.

Most of us (fortunately, if you ask me) don’t work that way. This means we need to fully flesh out our latest idea before we release it. Something that’s been coming up a lot for the people in Use Your Words (by the way, if you missed out on your spot, join the wait list so you don’t miss out a second time) is how to approach this developing process. How do you fatten up your ideas?

Since I’m baking up a new idea of my own, I’ve been keeping careful watch of how I do it so that I can share some of my favorite approaches for fully fleshing it out. Today I’m going to share one of those approaches with you.

Whatever new idea you have that’s preoccupying you right now, try this:

Record a video of you selling it to yourself. Whether it’s a new USP for your business, a new product/service you’d like to offer, a new marketing campaign… Whatever your idea, create a video that goes into as much specific detail as possible about what this idea is and why it’s so great. I know, you don’t need to be convinced of the idea’s merits, but pretend that you do, just for a moment.

Here’s why this works: Most people find talking about an idea much easier than writing about it, and once you get past the awkwardness of standing alone in a room talking to a video camera (or your computer’s web cam), you’re likely to learn a lot you don’t already know about the idea itself. You’re likely to make connections you hadn’t made before. Talking yourself through an idea can be a powerful way to get clearer on it.

Why wouldn’t you talk to someone else, instead of yourself? There’s a lot of research that indicates it’s better to keep new ideas to yourself (not because someone will steal them, but because we get less excited about ideas as we share them with others, and we have less urgency to actually follow through once we’ve told several people about the plan), so this approach combines the best of both worlds–you get to develop the clarity that most of us develop through talking through an idea, without the potential sabotage that telling someone else can wreck.

Obviously, you won’t share this video, so don’t stress about your delivery or how you look. This is just for your own use. In fact, you may find you don’t even need to watch the video once you’ve made it. My recent video series began with a series of videos I recorded way back in December of last year where I talked around in circles about these ideas and how they were developing for me. (I’ve long since deleted those videos, so no, you can’t see them ;-).)

So, take that idea that’s been teasing you all week–work on me, work on me–and spend some time today fleshing it out. You’ll be rewarded with a project that has more depth and meaning–and more longevity and profitability–than one that’s half-baked. Sure, the half-baked approach works for some entrepreneurs. But, if you were one of them, you’d be so busy leaping from one idea to the next that you wouldn’t have time to read this post. (Besides, dearest, what your people need is more substance, not more crap.)

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