Since college, I’ve founded five companies that have been profitable or that I’ve raised money for. I’ve had hundreds of other great business ideas that I’ve done nothing with. However I haven’t always had an easy time thinking of great business ideas – or even terrible ideas! So what changed that unlocked all my ideas?
* Why Journal? *
Business ideas journaling is the simple technique I’ve used to come up great ideas time and time again.
Journaling is NECESSARY – not optional – to practice if you want to start a business that fulfills you and fills your bank account!
This technique led to the ideas behind four of my five companies. It’s also been the secret to success for Virgin’s Richard Branson, the internet millionaire Yanik Silver, for best-selling “4-Hour Workweek” author Tim Ferriss, and the best-sellling “The Artists Way” author Julie Cameron, just to name a few.
I’m not talking about having a diary – which can be part of journaling. I’m talking about journaling with the intention of having business ideas, ideas and visions for what you want to do with your life, and ideas for how you can make money on your own terms.
You’ll get better results with your journaling if you think of it as a “Unique Genius Journal”, helping you take a first step towards making as much money as you want, doing what you love. (You can have one or more journals – I personally have separate journals for my ideas, for my gratitude practice, my art, and so on.)
Journals can be used in many forms. Here are some of the methods with which Unique Genius journaling can be most useful:
1. Take time to daydream about your ideal life, your ideal business or work, your ideal day.
2. Jotting down any small ideas or inspirations (even if you never look at them again, writing them down is a BIG help)
3. Reflect on an area you are struggling with. What led to this situation? What are some ideas to get through it?
4. Reflect on an area where you are thriving – what do you want to do more of? What are you great at? What do you enjoy?
5. List-making of anything (a secret to Richard Branson’s success)
6. Reflect on a recent stressful event from your perspective and others’ perspectives. What did you feel? What were they feeling? What were “the facts” versus your and others’ “interpretations” of the facts?
7. Brainstorm ideas for goals
8. Brainstorm new business ideas
9. Jot down ideas for cool experiences, products, ideas you want to teach, places you want to visit, people
you’d love to interview
10. Write about “how” you can take an idea and turn it into something tangible.
11. Ideas for baby steps to take.
12. Paste in or write about pictures, quotes or symbols that inspire you. Why are they inspiring?
13. Develop a list of pros and cons regarding your current job.
To make it a “Unique Genius Journal”, focus on writing down what frustrates you in your life or the world, ideas on how you can solve problems, what you enjoy doing, lists of your talents, etc.
What’s important isn’t how you journal – what is important is your intention to jot down ideas about how you want to make money doing what you love.
* Four Steps To Having Lots Of Inspiring Ideas Through Journaling *
Step 1. Choose A Friendly Journal
What kind of journal feels friendly to you? A simple school notebook? Loose sheets of paper? A nice Moleskin?
Would you rather start with a small notepad that feels cozy and is easy to fill a page, or a big notebook with lots of blank space?
When you get your first journal, immediately write ANYTHING in it (even your name and address) to ‘break the seal, so that you don’t get stuck in the feeling of ‘I don’t want to mess it up’.
STEP 2: Always Carry A Journal (Or Paper) With You
Carry your journal everywhere you can. You need to have it around you for when inspiration strikes! Paper is better than electronic when you can use it. There is just something more freeing and powerful with pen (or pencil, or crayon…) and paper.
I actually have multiple journals – some small, some large, some cheap, some pricey – so that I can keep one nearby at all times.
While paper is better, if you have a smartphone, there are also lots of applications for jotting down ideas no matter where you are. I use a free app called Evernote which also syncs notes and ideas with my computer.
STEP 3: Just Write! (Don’t worry, be crappy)
Write in the moment, write when you’re inspired. Jot down any ideas, questions or observations you have. If you aren’t sure what you want to write, start by writing “I’m not sure what to write…” and let it go from there. The first words are the hardest!
Do you have writer’s block? Open to any page and start the pen moving with any words, even if all you write is “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what…”
STEP 4: Add Some Fun & Enjoyment To Your Journaling!
If journaling feels like a chore, you won’t do it. It might take weeks or months to start getting a great flow of ideas you feel excited about. How can you make journaling fun or enjoyable, so that you stick with it?
* 4 Elements Of Success In Having Ideas *
As you begin to journal, pay attention to these three ways to get the most from your journaling:
1. Notice how you feel: First, notice how you feel after journaling, or during the day. Like meditation, journaling is proven to help improve your happiness.
2. The buddy system & accountability: Whenever you have a partner or buddy, it’s easier & more fun to stay on track with your goals. If you have a spouse, you can pick a daily time to journal together. You can agree with a friend to talk once a week to keep each other accountable to journaling, and talk about what you’ve learned from it.
3. Play around: you don’t just have to write! As we discussed above, you can paste things in, sketch, color, tape or do anything you want to it. It is your journal – don’t be afraid to experiment!
4. Conversations: Your ideas need conversation with others to germinate. Find time to share and chat with supporters about your ideas. You might even find the ones you think are stupid end up being the most exciting to other people…you never know!
5. Patient persistence: If inspiring ideas don’t come to you right away, DON’T GIVE UP. “You need to exercise the idea muscle. It takes about 3-6 months to build up once it atrophies.” – James Altucher (from this blog post)
* Conclusion *
Congratulations on taking the first steps towards journaling yourself to success! With a little practice and patience, the ideas start flowing to you.
The more you can have fun with your journaling, the easier the ideas come.
By – Aaron Ross. “Make as much money as you want, doing what you love” http://www.UniqueGenius.com http://www.PebbleStorm.com