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Do you need new ideas? Try these tools

August 2nd, 2016 No comments

marketing_innovationInnovate or stagnate. That’s the brutal reality we live in.

I follow James Altucher’s advice religiously, and every morning I write 10 new ideas. Most of them are crap. The rest are usually related to things I’m already doing, so there’s only marginal benefit to implementing a new idea.

To paraphrase Altucher, someday you may have to sprint 100 yards to escape the velociraptor. If you’ve been sprinting every day for the past year, you’ll be a lot faster when the time comes. The goal, as Altucher will tell you, is to give your idea muscle a daily workout. Then, when you really need ideas, you can deliver.

I agree with this, but in practice I keep getting stuck on the same kinds of ideas. I’m essentially a teacher, salesman, and writer who likes to travel. Virtually all my ideas end up coming back to teaching, selling, writing, and travel.

In contrast, James Altucher spends much of his life talking to interesting, successful people from every field imaginable, and he also reads for hours every day. If you want to get the most out of your 10 ideas, you have to expand your horizons.

A Whack to the Side of the Head

Fortunately I’ve found two great tools that make it easy to come up with new ideas and banish stagnation forever. The first is Roger Von Oech’s “Creative Whack Pack.” It’s basically a deck of cards.

Before we move on, let’s say really quickly that you can probably come up with a lot of ways to use a deck of cards. Matt Furey made an entire workout system based on cards. Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt created a movement with their Oblique Strategies.

Each of Von Oech’s cards has a quick tip or question, followed by a cartoon and a story. They’re designed to get you thinking. This morning I picked up a card that said, “See the obvious” and had a picture of a mouse hiding in a cat’s ear.

The story underneath almost doesn’t need telling. No cat would ever think to check its own ear for mice. If you’re a mouse, that’s the obvious place to hide, right? The card asks, “What resources and solutions are right in front of you?”

social_media_obviousMore than half of this morning’s ideas came from that card. No need to reinvent the wheel. I have a lot of valuable, under-used assets already.

I pick out a random card each week, keep it visible on a shelf in my office, and ponder it whenever I feel stuck or I need another whack to the side of the head.

The other tool I use is Twitter.

I spend a lot more time reading tweets than tweeting. This is where ideas come from. There are two ways to get them.

First, just look at what’s trending. If there’s something big that’s related to your life, you’ll definitely have something to say about it. Probably more than you can say in 140 characters. This could become your next blog post or video.

Better yet, if you have the solution to a problem that’s trending, you may have just figured out how to make your next million and save the world in the process. Good job!

But more often than not, the trending hashtags are all about the Kardashians, the Trumps, and Beethoven. That’s when you need to dig a little deeper.

Search your own hashtags. Hashtag keywords related to your industry, your passions, or news that’s relevant to you. If you spend just 10 minutes doing this you’ll almost always find something.

Dromaeosaurid parade by durbed

By Durbed [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia

Don’t ever forget about that velociraptor!

Six months ago I had to outrun a velociraptor. I left my biology teaching job and had to figure out how to make a living. But I had almost a year of Altucher’s “daily practice” under my belt.

I sat down and wrote 10 ideas for generating income. Almost immediately, I knew that everything would be OK. I could figure things out.

The first project took months of hard work to implement, but now it’s producing a steady income for my wife and I. The second idea is starting to bear fruit, and I’ll test the others over the next 6-12 months. Meanwhile, I’m still coming up with 10 more every day.

This brings me to one last tool that you already know about. Your very own brain. You may be surprised to find how creative you really are.



Resources for this post:

Oblique Strategies: http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/OSintro.html (Highlight some of the pages to see the hidden text!)

James Altucher’s most important post ever: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/02/how-to-be-the-luckiest-guy-on-the-planet-in-4-easy-steps/

Creative Whack Pack (this is an affiliate link):

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6 Hacks to Upgrade Your Presence on Twitter

July 14th, 2016 No comments

There is a reason Twitter’s revenue is almost 11 times what it was six years ago.

According to StatisticBrain.com, 135,000 new users sign up for Twitter every day. (See the end of this article for sources) There are 190 million unique visitors to Twitter.com each month, but that doesn’t begin to give you the full picture. Most followers use the Twitter app from their phone, and don’t even bother going to the website.

It’s not a question of how much business you can gain with an active Twitter presence. Twitter is considered a source of news for 63% of users, so the real question is: how much business will you lose if you’re not active on Twitter?

1. Tweet your posts and product launches

If you have a useful, informative post you should promote it. You’re being followed by fans who are interested in what you say. Some of them are probably buyers for your latest product, so a new product launch is newsworthy.

Use hashtags that are already trending to make sure your post gets the largest possible number of views. (Use hashtags.org or similar service to find trending hashtags)

Invite your fans to tweet and retweet your articles and blog posts

Expanded Ramblings did a survey and found that 38.6% of users will tweet links to blogs and other content that they enjoyed. Make it easy for your fans to do this.

I like to use “Click-to-Tweet” by Cheeky Apps: https://wordpress.org/plugins/easy-click-to-tweet-by-cheeky-apps/

You just have to come up with a tweetable sentence, less than 140 spaces. They do the rest.

2. Make personal contact with an important influencer

When I was a teacher, I Tweeted each of the founders of the Minerva Project, asking them how I could best prepare my students for the future. I got a reply within 5 minutes.

Leaders and celebrities are surprisingly easy to reach through Twitter, especially in business, publishing, and academia. Since it’s quick and painless, they will often respond directly if your Tweet is about something close to their heart.

Try it. You might get personal advice from your favorite guru. You could end up with a great story to tell. Maybe you’ll make a new friend.

3. Follow hashtags related to problems that your business solves

Imagine if several users post the same question or problem, and you personally respond with the solution. You’ll gain a number of followers, goodwill, and probably a new client or two.

If a subject is trending in your area of expertise, you know what to do. If the trend isn’t readily apparent, you could do searches for hashtags relevant to your business: #refi, #ServerMeltdown, #CaliforniaTaxLaws, for example. If you find one with a lot of recent posts, jump in and show off your knowledge.

4. Get ideas for new products, services, or content

James Altucher wants you to write 10 new ideas every day. It’s as important as brushing your teeth. I’ve been doing this for a while, but the ideas are limited to what’s already in my head.

Twitter gives you a constant feed of other people’s thoughts and news. Spend 10 minutes a day following the stream, asking yourself, “How would I help this person? How can I use this? Why does this make me angry? How would this affect my clients? What could my business do about this?”

When you have such a rich mountain of raw material, you’ll surprise yourself with the ideas you get for new inventions, blog posts, products, screenplays, and knock-knock jokes.

 

5. Test the response and reaction to your ideas

Before you spend a lot of time and money on a new idea, run it through your Twitter feed. Your followers might just ignore it, and then you know you have to express your idea in a different way or junk the whole thing. (Or maybe just tweet on a different day or time)

If your idea sparks controversy, you know you’ve found something you can work with. If you get a lot of enthusiastic encouragement, hearts, and retweets, then you know your idea will be popular.

I used to use adwords to test out new ideas. Twitter is faster, and you can’t beat the price!

 

6. Get it done faster and effortlessly

Twitter is not a quick fix. It takes time and effort. But I can get you started. This month I’m offering a bundle of social media services for a low, introductory price. It also comes with a money-back guarantee.

You’ll get ten Tweets that are relevant to your company and optimized to be seen. You’ll also get templates and a calendar so you can keep on tweeting into the future with or without my help. I’ll integrate your tweets with your blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page and more.

Twitter is just a small part of the entire package. You’ll also get content for blogs, YouTube, and Facebook. And if you’re not happy with the final product, you’ve got a month to ask for a full 100% no-questions-asked refund.

Just click on over to this link: http://wp.me/pxhzF-4h

 



Sources:

By The Numbers: 170+ Amazing Twitter Statistics

 

Twitter Statistics

 

 

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