You have your million-dollar idea. No one could possibly ever come up with a better idea. This idea is probably the best you have had since you realized you could roll up a piece of pizza and have pizza and tacos at the same time. I’m sure you’re tempted to run to the nearest investor or bet the house but take a deep breath. Let’s figure out just how good this idea is.
Don’t go to a family member or a close friend and excitedly tell them what you’ve discovered and what you’d like to do with your life. Those who are close to you have developed an idea of who you are and who you will become and will put whatever plan you give them inside of that box. Don’t get me wrong, they love you, and their advice is critical. But this idea deserves room to grow and you don’t want your yesterdays influencing your tomorrows. You need an unbiased opinion. Don’t worry, you’re going to tell them, but not quite yet.
Find a stranger. A mailman, a coffee barista, someone sitting next to you at a bar. Some of you may be afraid that this individual is going to steal your idea. As much as I hate to crush your dreams, if your favorite waiter can take your approach and run with it, your business model is looking rough already. You’re going to need some early adopters, and you might as well start now.
They may think you’re weird, but you have to be a little odd and a little wild to accomplish your dream. Find someone that looks like they would give you the time of day and wouldn’t shoot down whatever you say. You don’t have to tell them your life story and you don’t necessarily have to explain every part of your “why,” but walk them through what you want to do and why you want to do it. For example, mine would be something like this. “I love to create content, and I love to help people accomplish their dreams. I’m going to take this passion and start a platform for individuals who are interested in entrepreneurship.”
*Another great exercise is acting like your friend has an idea and a passion. Kind strangers may be hesitant to tell you that your idea is terrible to your face. Hiding behind an imaginary person may allow honesty to come more readily.
While you may want to avoid eye contact with the first stranger and you may not have all the answers for the second, the third situation is the one that will be the most helpful right now.
There will be countless ways to accomplish your dream and you are bound to find someone who has a great idea of how to do it. However, if an individual says you are overcomplicating something, or offers a more simple solution, listen and re-evaluate. Don’t be discouraged, being the next Uber, but instead of cars you were going to use camels was a great idea. We need to tweak some things! Go back to the drawing board and rinse and repeat until you start hearing, “wow, that’s a great idea!” or “there is such a need for that!” If you want to vet your idea, go to someone who is already in the space and ask them what their most significant pain points are and see if your new business would solve them.
It’s time to tell mom and dad they can retire early, you’ve hit the jackpot. Before you do, do a “self-check” of the close relationships you have. We all have people in our lives that are negative. We want honesty, not negativity. Make a list of all the people in your life that you think would be honest, and excited for you. These are the people you want to tell. The reason you want to tell your friends and family once you have a great idea is the same reason you didn’t want to say it to them first. The focus will not be on your plan, it will be on you. Only this time, you already have the confidence that your idea is a winner. The only question now is if your plan is right for you.
Anyone can have a great idea, and it takes a special kind of person to be an entrepreneur. You have to go all in, absolutely love what you do, and stick with it when things are tough. If the people who are closest to you are concerned that you won’t be able to see your idea through, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. Are you going to be excited about your mission when money is low, you haven’t seen your friends in a while, and you haven’t had a day off in weeks? It isn’t to say you shouldn’t pursue this idea. You are the one who knows you and what you are capable of best.
However, if you have a history of quitting when the going gets rough, it’s something to consider before putting skin in the game. The good news is that you have a great idea and support, or you have a great idea and a chip on your shoulder—either way, you have somewhere to start.