Struggling with Bright Shiny Idea Syndrome?
Creative entrepreneurs never lack ideas about what to create next. Sometimes that is a really good thing and sometimes it can be a challenge. In today’s post I want to share how to turn your bright shiny idea syndrome into one of your biggest gifts.
Successful creative entrepreneurs value the flow of ideas but they know how to manage the flow and focus on one idea at a time. They are often visionaries in their industry who see their gifts as a way to serve multitudes of people.
When I owned my publishing company, I had a built-in-structure that allowed me to be creative yet still get things done. We published a magazine every single month. That magazine had hard deadlines that created a sense of urgency.
I knew I had to get the files to the printer at a set date and time every month if I wanted to be able to distribute the magazines by the first of each month. My advertisers had paid me good money in good faith that I would get their ads out to all of my tens of thousands of readers. This system worked well for me, not once in 8 years of printing the magazine did I ever miss a print deadline.
Now that I am working as a coach, my income isn’t tied to anyone else but me. There is no built-in structure, no hard deadlines to get things done when it comes to finding new clients.
A Love-Hate Relationship with Deadlines
I find that deadlines are a challenge for me and for other creative entrepreneurs I work with. I can honestly say that after all those years of hard deadlines and the stress of getting the final proofs of the magazine to the printer, I was so relieved to not have those commitments.
I became an entrepreneur in order to have more freedom and flexibility. I don’t want a rigid structure to my days, I like them to have a bit more flow and I love having breathing space. But I also know that without some systems in place, I cannot build a profitable business. So I look for ways to create a structure that works for me but doesn’t feel like a prison, does that sound familiar?
When Deadlines Have a Negative Impact on Creativity
I worked with one client, a lovely woman named Mary with a husband and three teenaged boys. She was completely overwhelmed by all the to-dos on her list and the perceived pressure to get work done every day. Rather than supporting her to be productive, deadlines made her panic and shut down.
She wanted the freedom to get up each morning and work on what felt like the most fun and productive in the moment but she was afraid that if she relied on just her intuition to guide her in this process, nothing would get done!
Combine structure and flow for creative freedom
What we discovered in this process is that creative entrepreneurs need a combination of structure and freedom. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but what I have learned in my 15 years as an entrepreneur is that systems will liberate you! We have to work diligently and creatively to discover which systems are most effective and still allow us the freedom to go with our natural creative flow.
Capture your Bright Shiny Ideas
Here’s a suggestion for one simple system to put into place that allows your creative ideas to flow unrestricted without allowing each new idea to take over your life.
- Keep a special notebook, binder, folder, file on your computer, or even a box that is just for your ideas.
- Every time you get a new idea, write it down somewhere, just be sure to collect all of your ideas in one place.
- If you are a visual artist or designer, keep a visual record through photography, sketches, or magazine images that you add to your idea file.
- Say thank you to each idea and set it aside for later.
What successful creative entrepreneurs understand is that all ideas may have value at some point but we can only focus on creating and monetizing them one at a time. By documenting the ideas, we can hold onto them and honor them without allowing them to distract us from our current project.
“A creative combination of flow and focus is necessary to sustain both creative genius and success.”
In Mary’s case, deadlines needed to be set far enough in the future that she could allow herself the time and pleasure of working on a project when she was feeling her creative juices flowing. Long deadlines also allowed for the normal interruptions in her family life with three busy teen boys.
Most of us became entrepreneurs because we want the freedom and flexibility to do the work we love, when we want to do it. We rarely have a clear separation between our lifestyle and our business. But if you want to achieve success and true freedom, you need to manage your bright shiny ideas and capture them so you can mine them for gold later.
Do you have a favorite way to manage your bright shiny idea syndrome? Share in the comments below.
Need support knowing which of your bright shiny ideas to monetize first? Join us at our upcoming Dream. Design. Profit: A 3-day Marketing Intensive to learn how to turn your creative gifts into a profitable business.