There is no value in ideation without execution. Without the intention and action that takes an idea from conception to success, it’s just an idea and ideas are everywhere. Many people have multiple ideas over the course of each day and most of them aren’t put into practice. What separates those who succeed from those who never quite make it is the steps they take to turn the idea into income.
Carrie Green is the founder and CEO of the Female Entrepreneur Association (FEA) and author of the international bestselling book, She Means Business. Since starting her first business, a phone unlocking company, at age 20, Green has built one of the largest online platforms for female entrepreneurs, with over 600,000 fans worldwide. FEA’s work helps ambitious women build wildly successful businesses and turn their ideas into reality. Passionate about personal development herself, Green’s TEDx talk, Programming Your Mind for Success, has amassed over 8 million views.
I interviewed Green to hear her 12 steps to turn your idea into income.
1. Do your research
With any idea, it’s important you start at the very beginning. Before you buy any domain names or talk to anyone about your brainwave, get to work with planning. “First start by defining, validating and researching your idea,” said Green, who focuses on this in week one. She added, “I would be really digging into it, looking on Google, Reddit, on the app store and every social media platform, I’d be researching what’s already out there.” Based on what you find, work out how your idea can uniquely add value and progress to step two.
2. Define your idea
Next comes defining your idea in more detail and assessing demand. Summarize your idea in a title and a headline. State in simple terms what it does. Green recommended you ask, “Are people already buying something similar?” Are people using workarounds for the problem your idea solves? Ask your friends and ask the internet. She said that if they are, take this as a really good sign that demand exists. It means you are likely to find people who want to buy what you’ll offer.
3. Define your audience
After the what comes the who. “Who would be your dream customer and why?” said Green. “Who are they and where are they at in their life?” Find out their desires and struggles or pain points in relation to the solution your product or service provides. Green advised that you, “tap into who they are on an emotional level, so you can understand how your offer is going to resonate strongly.”
4. Share your idea
When you know the what and who, the how will start to become apparent. Now it’s time to “immerse yourself in the fact that you are creating something.” Green explained this involves, “building excitement, sharing the concept, talking about your idea with anyone who will listen to you.” At this stage you’ll begin to gather feedback on how your messaging lands with your target audience. She also advised you keep track of whoever you speak to, and “start a waitlist, get people signed up and looking forward to the exciting thing you’re going to launch.”
5. Involve an audience
If you have an existing audience, share your idea on a larger scale by bringing them on the journey with you. Green said, “get them involved really early on. Tell them you’re creating something and you can’t wait to share it, then say you’d love their help and ask them questions.” When Green was building her membership offering, she was constantly quizzing people over social media and in emails. Questions about their challenges and what they needed meant Green was “co-creating with my audience.” She then used the answers to build the exact membership platform they needed and by the time it was ready they were fired up to join.
6. Visibility plan
Being crystal clear on your offering and priming an existing audience is followed by preparing to launch to an even bigger audience. “What are you going to be doing over the next few weeks to create visibility?” asked Green. Work out how you will “share more about your idea, bring more people behind the scenes, ask them questions, and tap into the knowledge that will help you build out your idea and create.” The more people you know and understand, the more you know the direction your idea should take. Don’t miss any opportunity for visibility and conversation.
7. Build and nurture your audience
Step seven involves building up your core audience and nurturing people so that when you launch it’s really powerful, “even if there is only a small handful of people.” Green believes that “all of us can go out there and connect with 5, 10, 20 or 3000 people. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest give us the ability to connect for free.” Start small, aim to make a personal connection with one person at a time, keep track, build your waitlist and see your audience snowball. By now, you understand the desires and pain points of these people, so you know how to talk about what they care about.
8. Plan your creation
With your audience building nicely, here’s where is gets real. “There’s going to be laser-focused creation.” This is where you plan your product, your website, your launch strategy. Everything you’ve learned from quizzing and chatting to your audience goes into this. You plan your timelines, write your checklists and set the wheels in motion for production, which is the next phase. Green wants you to have “full understanding of what you’re creating, who it’s for and what you need to do to bring it to reality.”
9. Focused creation
Now you know what you need to do, step 9 is where you do it. Green recommends you make use of deadlines. “Give yourself a really short timeframe, for example two weeks.” She warned against dragging your idea out for months or years and is sure “if you’re really focused with your time, you can create something amazing in two weeks.” During that two-week period, sit down at your desk and don’t move until you’ve made progress every day.” Be disciplined and focused around creating your course, your downloads or products. By the end of that two weeks, you’ll nearly be ready for customers to buy.
10. Prepare for launch
Now your idea has been created into reality, it’s nearly time to launch. Prepare for launch by “writing your sales page and email copy, set up your sales page and automation,” said Green. “Now is where customers should be able to actually buy from you.” Test this process from the point of view of your audience. What will they think, where will they click? How much does your process resonate and how simple is it to complete? See it through their eyes before pressing go.
11. Launch your product
When your ducks are in a row it’s time to launch. Green said this is where you, “talk about your product to even more people, share the posts you already wrote and click send on your first email. You could do a live workshop. Put your creation out there and give people the link to the checkout.” If you’ve laid the groundwork, they’ll be waiting for it to arrive. Put the link in their hands and tell them it’s ready.
12. Assess and keep going
While you’re launching, have an idea on the numbers. Look at how many units you sold on launch day and during launch period. Then, said Green, “plan the next 90 days to 6 months so you know where your focus should go next.” Green recommends your 12 steps happen over a 12-week period of intense focus, then you’ll have a product, metrics, cash in the bank and you’ll know what to do next.
Green believes that, especially If it’s a digital idea, it “doesn’t need to take a really long time to take your idea and get it out into the world.” 12 weeks and 12 steps to turn your idea into income is doable if you set yourself the challenge and commit to its completion.
Having carried this process out many times herself, Green knows the hardest part is overcoming doubt and fear to keep moving forward. Her final words of advice are to, “keep taking tiny, tiny little steps, keep learning, and keep surrounding yourself with the right people.” You can do this.