Every part of our world is changing. Startups have disrupted the way businesses have run for centuries: Airbnb has turned the hotel industry upside down, Uber has challenged the taxi companies (successfully in most cities), and even straight-laced banks are paying attention to what new competitors offer.
These innovations started out as ideas. You may think there are more ideas floating around today than ever before, but actually, the reality is that acting on them has become easier. You can have an idea for a company or a product today and show something to buyers tomorrow. That’s what I did when I came up with Valuation App, a mobile tool for startup analysis. Using just a deck, I raised money from 57 individuals to crowdfund the app’s expenses. Today, it’s available on Android and iOS.
Ideas are worthless until you’ve developed them. The only way to succeed is to pursue your dreams and make them real.
Doubt Stops More Dreams Than Anything Else
According to Suzy Kassem, author of “Rise Up and Salute the Sun,” “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” Kassem gets it right. Anyone can have an idea, but most people doubt their ability to make their dreams a reality. These people give up immediately and fail without even starting.
Overcoming self-doubt and moving forward with your idea is crucial. Each step improves your odds of success. Dealing with self-doubt can be personal. Not every strategy works for every person, but one key action seems to help many: making a decision and following through with it. That simple act, even if you’re only making a small change, can be enough.
Need a few other exercises?
- Create a community of supporters who will remind you to keep moving forward.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people, even if you have to avoid sites like Facebook to do it.
- Write out what you plan to accomplish and revisit that list regularly.
Just Enough Validation and No More
You may discover that some of your ideas aren’t viable when you have a chance to do some basic research. Once you understand how the industry around your audience works, you’ve got to move forward — and quickly.
Asking for advice and validation can be dangerous, especially if you ask the experts in a given industry. Experts know everything about how their industries run today, so they may assume that your idea can’t possibly work because it doesn’t already exist. But industry newcomers can sometimes see opportunities that veterans can’t.
In fact, hearing the word “no” may be a good sign. Shafqat Islam, the founder of NewsCred, says that “…if you’re not getting told ‘no’ enough times a day, you’re probably not doing it right or you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough. That’s a good thing; that you’re trying to do something that’s disruptive, that’s groundbreaking, that there are going to be naysayers.”
Get just enough information to know if your idea is possible. You don’t need to know if you’re dreaming up something that’s easy to build or that will be a big winner. You just need to know enough to begin.
That Sense of Drowning Is a Blessing
You’ll probably find that you’ve chosen a difficult path once you do start working on your idea. That’s good. For many people, a little struggle can be the best motivation possible. When you’ve jumped head-first into pursuing your idea and you have no option but to succeed, you can find new strengths.
You’ll need to devote every hour in the day to making your dreams a reality. They need to be your top priority. Think about them first thing in the morning and last thing before going to sleep. Bringing an idea to fruition won’t be easy. Sooner or later, you’ll want to take the easy way out. But when you have no other alternative to making the thing in front of you work, you’ll be able to create miracles.