How Helping Others Will Create Support For Your Ideas
The word ‘business’ is so…businessy. People automatically think numbers and white collars and handshakes at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Fear not, for the simple truth is that your business can be anything you like, and you therefore need not feel trapped, disorganized, bored, unfulfilled etc. I believe that companies should operate on two simple fundamental principles: helping people and fulfilling a passion. So let’s leave business behind for a moment and focus instead on ideas – fun, fresh, interesting, helpful ideas.
If you have an idea that’s beneficial to someone in some capacity then you’re ahead of the game. This capacity doesn’t need to involve saving lives (although if you have that ability you should be giving it away already) or inventing the next Instagram; but it can represent something you’re passionate enough about to discover a means of support.
Examples of ideas supported online are everywhere. Some of my favorites are crafty people who make things and share them online. Are you already great at making hilarious t-shirts and brilliantly goofy comics like Drewtoothpaste? Maybe not, but maybe you have a unique sense of humour or some other idea that could help people via laughter. Helping people experience joy and happiness is an important idea that deserves support!
The internet exists to serve people by making our lives easier, more productive and more efficient. If you have an idea, unique or not, start finding methods of using it to help people and you’ll be amazed not only at your ability to support your work but with the support that gets returned from others as well.
I guarantee you have something to offer society. I’ve seen design studios built from scratch off the combined strength of skill, passion, and helping others. No matter your idea, skill, or passion, it’s time to write down the details.
Do you have great ideas but you’re stuck at how to implement your skills? Good news! You’ve identified that you already possess some measure of applicable talent, the key is finding a way to put it to good use! Here’s 3 ways writing can help you flush out your ideas:
- write blog posts that teach people about your craft
- write down your ideas and draw pictures of being helped by them
- write stories of your ideas being used
Writing is obviously close to home for me, but it’s an accurate example of how important passion is to the process of starting a business. (I think I just Inceptioned myself.)
Practice Makes Perfect, & Perfection Requires Practice
The wonderful thing about passion is that it it’s perpetual; the more you practice within your niche the more your skills increase and ultimately your enjoyment grows. With the risk of running a cliche, it’s really as simple as this: if you want to build your passion into something with the potential to sell, then do it already.
Here are four examples of businesses that use the strength of their initial ideas and build a support structure in order to grow their niche.
Initial Idea: A place where people can buy and sell unique items.
Support: An online shop where people can browse countless categories and sub-categories to find original handmade products for purchase. Participants in the Etsy community can also sign up and sell their own creations, vintage items or commercial and handmade supplies.
How People Are Helped: Clothes, furniture, dolls, robot journals, plants; people can search for and find virtually anything to satisfy their personal tastes and interests quickly and efficiently, and in turn creative types can create exposure for their unique item. Etsy is a great place to share anything you want!
Initial Idea: Being funny.
Support: Telling jokes on a stage in front of people, hosting standup comedy nights at the Kino Cafe, marketing (and telling more jokes) via social media, creating a brand identity associated with the name Ivan Decker.
How People Are Helped: People are entertained! Everyone likes to laugh, and Ivan helps them do precisely that.
Initial Idea: To simultaneously celebrate and complain about the hot mess that the Edmonton Oilers hockey team has become in recent years with an eye toward the hopefully bright future.
Support: An online community of passionate Oilers fans, Edmonton media and former players who read blogs and comment accordingly.
How People Are Helped: Oilersnation is a one-stop shop for information pertaining to the team; contributor opinions run the gamut of positive to negative.
Initial Idea: A place where people can share multiple series of photographs within a community setting.
Support: An online photo blog service where people can preserve their photos in an easy-to-use, stylistically pleasing environment.
How People Are Helped: FJ is a great place to share and share everything photography. Like-minded enthusiasts can easily find eachother and learn helpful tricks of the trade while sharing their own photos online.
There you have it: four vastly differing ideas that grew legs once applicable support was supplied. The common thread with all of them? They have staying power because they each help people in different ways. Help more people with your ideas and skills and receive support in return.
Anyone can do it – not every idea needs to send you on an Archimedes-style rampage of excitement through town (Archimedes was the dude who yelled Eureka! when he discovered the displacement theory), but every idea does deserve support. Someone’s already doing your idea? Well then do it better.
So what idea or skill are you hiding that might benefit others?
Photo cred: Flickr user Cayusa