Episode 12: Three Common Traps To Avoid When You Want To Go From Idea To Action

 

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Hi, I'm Victoria Hefty, and welcome to Activate Purpose, where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career.   

In today's episode, I'm going to discuss three common traps to avoid after you get an idea to start, let's say, a new product or service or something creative, that you just can't get out of your head. I'll also share some do's and don'ts that I've learned over the past few years to help me overcome sort of these initial blocks of doubt that keep many people from taking the first step. So let's get started.

So we're just going to jump right in. Common trap number one. Getting caught up in the name for your product, service, whatever your idea is. Personally, this is one that I always fall for, and I sort of have to actively guide myself out of it. I'll use my first blog as an example.     

I had an idea for this website for new and expectant mothers in Philadelphia, because I didn't see any of the local blogs that were solely dedicated to this target audience. At the time I was pregnant, so in essence I was the audience. I had a vision of what I wanted the website to be about, but I really struggled with coming up with a name.     

I must have gone through, man, a list of 20 or so names, and it was really preventing me from doing anything else, because I wanted the perfect name. It's all I could think about, and after talking actually more recently with other female bloggers and entrepreneurs, I know that I'm not the only one that struggled with this. In many ways I still struggle with this, but not at all at the extent that I did earlier.     

So eventually, I happen to see something unrelated that had a baby or a bump in the title, or it may of even had both, and the name Philly Baby Bump came to me and I was finally able to move on. But to be honest, by that point, I probably would have taken any name, because I spent way too much time thinking about this whole naming business, and I was completely drained by the process.     

Here's the thing, yes, a name is obviously important. And there are some things that even to this day I'll hear, and I'm like, "Man, like that's a perfect name." But the thing is, and people always forget this part, you don't need the perfect name to actually just get started.     

If you can't even focus on the more important aspects of your idea, like who's your customer? What are you going to offer? How do you plan to make money? Or for example, if money's not the focus of your idea, which is perfectly fine, what do you hope to achieve? Things like that. You don't need a name to start any of these important aspects, or answering these important questions.     

And more importantly actually, even if you think you have the perfect name, you may wake up the next day and hate it. That's happened to a lot of people. Or you share it with someone, and as you're talking about it you realize that, "Eww, maybe that name wasn't as great as I thought it was." Or even worse, this is always the worst. You find out somebody already has that name, and you can't use it for legal or trademark purposes. The point of all of this is, the name is important, but it shouldn't prevent you from getting the momentum going.     

A more recent example that shows sort of my progress, is the one I shared in episode, I think number 10, about ... I talked about a lot of things, but one of them was starting a website for maternity leave, or related to maternity leave. And unlike in the past, when the process of thinking of a name would stop any and all other activity for me related to an idea, I've actively this time chosen not to focus too much time on the website name.     

So I have made a list of potential names, I've asked for opinions, I've narrowed it down to a couple choices that I feel comfortable with, but I'm not really sold on any of them quite yet. And I haven't spent more than, let's say, a few hours total even thinking about the name. Instead, and I think this is important, I've spent that extra time that normally would be dedicated on thinking about this name, is working on the actual content. Like, what do I want to say?   

 I've written several long articles on various topics, and I just trust that the name for the website will come to me. And if it's not the perfect name, it's fine, I'll change it. People won't care what my name is, if the content that I'm writing is great and helpful. And that keeps me focused on writing, instead of spending hours sitting and waiting for this aha moment to come.   

So that's lesson number one. Don't let finding the perfect name stop you from even getting started.     

Okay, common trap number two. So after name, logo is the second biggest trap. Oh man, this is a hard one. Where do I even get started? Again, you may not relate to this, but this is just an area that almost every single person deals with when their idea requires a logo, which is really most anything product or service related.     

In almost all of the either professional groups I'm in, or Facebook groups, a day, maybe not even hours can go by without someone posting a question about their logo. Where do I start? Do you like this? Do you want A or B? Sometimes I ask questions as well, so I am not saying that I am above that, because those groups can be helpful.      

But the issue is, like a name, spending time on your logo is difficult because the "right logo" can help your idea stand out among competitors in many ways. But the problem is, when it becomes a bottleneck and won't let you move forward. So even worse, you end up getting too many opinions or options, and then you get caught up in what I like to call ... or it's not my idea, but what is called analysis paralysis. Just way too many options, you don't really know where to go, and so you stop thinking because you have too many ideas that you're trying to analyze.     

It's very easy to get lost in the details for a logo. Like, what font to use, what colors to use, what size font to use, what shade of green? I mean, I know I have literally spent days playing with different fonts and colors. And then the worst part is, only to scrap the total idea a week later. And it's a shame because those were days that I actually could have spent time on creating value for whatever that idea was.     

So again remember, there's no such thing as a perfect logo, just like there's no such thing as a perfect a name.     

In fact, many large corporations update their brand every few years or so, to keep it fresh. But some logo changes are small, but others are actually pretty significant. So don't feel like you are stuck with your logo if you hate it.      

I know there's some of you who are skeptical, so if you are still skeptical, in the show notes for this episode I will include a link to an article that shows how 19 well-known brands have significantly changed their logos over the years. So some of the examples are, AT&T, Apple, Discovery Channel. And let me tell you, if these companies can drastically change their logo over the years, so can you.     

So to wrap that up, lesson number two. Start with a logo that you can live with. Again, you don't have to love it, but if you can live with it, move on to creating something great.     

Lastly, common trap number three. Don't get caught up in the bells and whistles. Keep it focused and simple, and don't put too much pressure on yourself to serve anyone and everything, and to have your idea be this big thing.     

You know how this works, right? You have an idea, and then before you even start executing that idea, you think, "Oh well, well what if I add this? Or what if I add that?" And the next thing you know, you've created this big complex vision that is completely overwhelming, complex, and may not even make sense or look anything like the idea that you originally started with.      

What usually happens then? Well, you don't do anything and the idea just sort of dies. Don't let this happen to you. When you get started, keep it simple. So what does that mean? Well, using my earlier example, once you come up with a name that you can live with, again you don't have to love it, just something to get you going, I highly, highly recommend that you use either a logo serv ... it's called a logo generator service. Some of my favorites are Tailor Brands or Logojoy.   

Or if you want to get a little bit more involved or you like actively doing stuff with your hands, or designing, you can use my favorite design program called Canva. It's actually an online, I shouldn't call it a program. It's an online website, which will let you look at some cool and modern logo templates and make changes.      

The point is that for a brand new idea that you haven't tested or done anything for, don't immediately go out and start looking for an expensive designer to help create a logo for you. In fact, I find it much easier to use these types of professionals, or developers, once you've played around with a concept or logo that you like, and identified what colors you'll want, and more importantly, what you do not like.    

Designers hate when you don't have any criteria or boundaries for them to follow. A lot of them will ask you, "Give me types of logos that you like. What types of fonts don't you want?" And if you haven't even started that process yourself, you won't be able to get the product that you want.     

So the whole point is, keep it simple, start with the websites I mentioned. I'll include those in the show notes as well, so don't worry if you don't remember them. And also, this also applies to creating a website, or developing a prototype.      

Lastly, one of the questions that I think that I stole from ... I definitely stole it from Tim Ferriss, is, what would this look like if it were simple? So keep on asking yourself that until you have sort of a minimum, either a website, prototype thing that you need to get you started.      

Mind you, minimum doesn't mean low quality. It just means you don't have to offer five different products or services, or have this large complicated website to test your idea. By keeping it simple, you're also avoiding spending a lot of money that you don't have to. So really, do your research and focus on what will make your product or service great and unique.     

Again, using a personal example, my website Philly Baby Bump has gone through three different websites, and two logo changes. And that's what I can remember since I launched it a few years ago. This entire process has taught me to test ideas first now, before I spend too much time and money on marketing, or other aspects that are bound to change.     

Ideas evolve, that's the whole point, but you do have to start somewhere. So don't get caught up in the name, the logo, or complexity. And I wish you the best of luck.   

 If you have any questions, or guidance on what tools to use, I happen to just know a ton of information. I love research, if you guys have listened to this podcast for a while, you know that.      If you have any questions at all about where to get started or perhaps better alternatives, you can email me at Victoria@Activatepurpose.com.

And also make sure to check out the show notes, where I'll include links to, again, some of my favorite resources, at Activatepurpose.com/episode12.     

So if you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to leave a review and subscribe to next week's episode. Until next time.

                   

I'm Victoria, your host.jpg
Activate Purpose