A Simple Heartfelt Way to Generate Content Ideas For Your Business
Leverage the creativity of others
Writing is hard for me — always has been. It doesn’t come naturally, and I struggle to get my ideas down on paper. Add to that, I really have no idea what ideas will hit and what will flop. I sometimes write pieces that I think are really good, and then no one reads them. Even now, will people reading this article find it useful or will something else resonate better? No clue.
As a solopreneur, I don’t have coworkers to throw ideas around with.
So when it comes to thinking about creating content for my business or thinking of new ideas for professional projects, I usually find myself stumped. But I tend to have so many ideas for other people and their businesses that my suggestions can be overwhelming for them.
We Can Leverage the Creativity of Others in a Mutually Intentional and Reciprocal Way
We all have behaviors or thoughts that are second nature to us, but new to other people.
A friend was telling me how much she’s learned from some of the things I’ve been doing at home to be more sustainable. She sent me a list of topics I could write about — behaviors that were just my regular day-to-day life but were “eye-opening” for her. I actually texted her, “It’s sooooo much easier to have ideas for other people!”
With this in mind, my solopreneur friends and I have found a way to help one another easily generate ideas for our businesses. Here’s a quick outline of this simple and heartfelt process.
A Step-by-Step Process for Idea Generation
#1. Find 2–3 people in your close circle whose opinions you value — and who feel the same about you.
The intention is that everyone involved will be willing to be in service to each other. This will make a huge difference in the quality of ideas generated and whether you feel that you can trust those ideas. Family is not always the best choice for something like this, because those pesky family dynamics can get in the way of honest idea creation. Let’s include significant others in the family category in case anyone is wondering.
Don’t know anyone? Find and join a professional community in which people are good at what they do and enjoy supporting each other. These can be free or pay-to-join communities. I’m part of a year-long business coaching group, and the level of expertise and willingness to help in that community is high. I’d gladly take time to chat with anyone one of those members and value what they have to share.
#2. Schedule weekly, monthly, whatever-timeframe-you-want sessions with these amazing people.
Again, the intention for these Idea Generating sessions is to support and be supported in a heartfelt way. These sessions don’t have to be long. Each person will have a few minutes to briefly describe their service and then everyone will offer ideas.
For example, on a recent video chat with two friends and fellow solopreneurs, we each took turns sharing a little bit about what we offer our clients. The three of us then started thinking of questions that people might have about our services. As we were together, the creative energy was strong. The result was each of us walked away from that session with a really interesting list of topics to write about. My friends had questions for me that I never would have considered on my own and that were very relevant to my business.
This all took less than 20 minutes.
Hopefully, by the end of that session, you’ll have some new material and ideas to work with. You’ll then have the option of acting on these items, or this new material may even inspire other ideas for you. Make this a regular part of your business plan as frequently or infrequently as you and your trusted team want.
Be willing to Give and Receive In A Caring Way
Before committing to this process, it’s important to do a self-check — are you willing to give and receive in a caring way? These are actually two separate skills.
On giving support
If I give support, have I asked the other person for permission? Are they even open to ideas or did they ask for them? If you use the Idea Generation session I describe above, this might not be relevant but I still like to check just in case. A good question to ask before starting is “Are there any parts inside of you (or me) that don’t want to do this?” If the answer is yes, ask if those parts can step aside or hold their objection until after the meeting. This usually takes care of any resistance that might come up.
When giving support, can I give from my heart with absolutely no expectation or attachment to whether the person I’m talking to likes my idea or uses it? Am I present in my heart and do I really want to be in service for their highest good? Can I be honest in a kind and caring way? I do much better taking in information when it’s kind and thoughtful.
On receiving support
When I receive support, am I in my heart appreciating the time and attention other people are giving me? Do I know that I don’t have to take all of the ideas and run with them nor do I have to like them? All ideas are welcome and not all ideas will be used. Am I intentionally creating space inside for new information and noticing with care when parts of me might be afraid of new ideas that will take me out of my comfort zone?
More than ever before, we are living in a time of increasing collaboration and cooperation. Experiment with these Idea Generating sessions, see what happens, adjust along the way.