From Idea To Plan
Idea to project. Let's talk about making an action plan. Let's get started on your action plan. It is no longer an idea, it is a project. So it is a program and it's a project. I'm gonna stop. I'm gonna try and force myself to not say idea almost at all for the rest of this class because at this point, the only thing that matters right now is the expression of your idea, is the project that you're actually making, not who had it, not even the idea itself which will probably come to fruition in a million other ways by a million other people. Right now, it's the expression of the idea. In fact, under U.S Copyright Law, that's really the only thing you can protect is the expression of it so the question is, how are you going to reach those goals? You need to know what the goals are, first of all. What does success look like to you? Long, long, long term. Not this year, if you've managed to get the garden started or the spoken word program launched in one school. If you really, really, rea...
lly took away all limitations, what would the success really look like? So for example, if we go back to the poetry program for girls, would you like to see that become a nationwide or international program? I mean if you would there's nothing wrong with that. I mean people do that so think about what success really, really, really, really looks like to you. And then go for it, why not? I mean you'll land somewhere between here and there. And it's worth it to make your goals really, really high. Especially if you're looking to others for support. If you know that this idea is bigger than you which to me I mean if you don't take anything else home from this, I would love for you to just take that. That whatever your idea is A it's not original, B (Stacey laughs) it's not limited to you, just let go, let other people help you. Sell it, sell the expression, sell it again and another expression. Just keep doing that over and over. So that means you can set really high goals because you're not afraid of failure. And your setting your goals beyond what's even possible. So what the heck, so what if you fail? It's okay. What are your major goals? List them and think about what order they come in. Rank them, do kinda of triaje of what is the worst problem that you need to solve among the problems you feel your idea addresses, triaje that and say, "No, no, no. The biggest problem is that these girls don't have role models." Well no actually, if you step back the biggest problems is these girls don't have anything to do after school and they're getting into all kinds of other problems. And they have wretched street life that's happening or whatever. They have immediate threats to their safety. We could at least get them off the streets. Okay then, having good role models, then that starts to play in. So you can start thinking about the different problems that it addresses and then you can rank them. I'm about to tell you what a SWOT analysis is if you've never heard this, kay? Businessy stuff, you're gonna love it. And then a timeline so have a timeline especially if we're doing big pie in the sky stuff. Have a five year plan. My husbands always again, same guy that's like easy hard, hard easy, this dude is always telling me five year plan. I am printing that to you even though I don't have one. So I'm just gonna be real about that, I don't have a five year plan, I don't, I'm gonna say it publicly. I'm not ashamed, I don't have a five year plan. I want you to have a five year plan though. It's important and I advise it to anyone else and I should have a five year plan, a three year plan, something. Yes.
I'm just wondering if you can give us some examples maybe based on a black alley.
About when you were in that beginning phase, what were your goals? Or what did success look like to you? Or the things on the last slide. Those major goals.
How did you frame that up?
Well, let me give you another thing I did. I'm gonna give you a failing story instead 'cause that hurts more. I'm sitting here telling you don't be afraid of failure and everything, I feel like I should just be completely vulnerable and not just tell you I don't have a five year plan but tell you when I fell flat on my face. So I was struggling, I really loved the children stories that I had written and illustrated and had come up with several years ago just like seven year ago. I was really attached to them and I was really committed, committed enough to pay to go to New York and learn, and try and like assimilate myself to the world of children's publishing. And then I thought well okay, well this is too hard. I am never gonna get the attention of some New York, our director like it's never gonna happen. I'm not good enough. I'm gonna self publish. Then I started reading all the nay sayer about self publishing and went down that whole rabbit hole. And I couldn't self publish either or at least I convinced myself that I couldn't and I was just gonna fail and so on. I was crushed by all of that. Then I thought I would do the next best thing which is start my own children's publishing house, just a small one. And then I would not just publish my own books but maybe few other peoples books, and then we would have like a whole selection. Then that was too hard and I couldn't find distributors 'cause we were too little. And I just kept hitting walls. And the problem that I, and this is what also makes me uniquely qualified to teach this, I haven't just have this really resounding success or whatever, I don't wanna put myself up here as an expert because I've succeeded. I'm kind of an expert 'cause I failed a lot, a lot, a lot. And what have I learned from those things? It was that I was being maybe a little too loosey-goosey about my plans. I had more passion than commitment to doing the hard homework so this is the hard homework that I have since learned to do and that I want you to do which is to really analyze things in a very objective manner. It's okay to be enthusiastic but you have to sort of set that aside sometimes and do things like this. So does that help maybe? Because that's to me what is the key to actually succeeding. Not being afraid of failure, not being afraid to poke holes in your idea.
Yeah. So SWOT is a silly acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You'll find this in any business book but now you don't have to buy it 'cause I just told you the most important thing from the whole book. This is the big planning thing that business people do when they do business plans. And in fact, when they're trying to get investors or things that are on a much like, I won't say a higher level but maybe with more consequences, bigger financial consequences. They do SWOT analysis and they actually present them to huge investors like these are the weaknesses we have, and these are the threats. So you notice it goes positive, negative, positive, negative. It's a pretty balanced assessment, right? What are your strengths? I'm sure your super excited to make that list. I mean we're all really proud of the stuff we're good at. So embrace that enthusiasm and just jot down what are the strengths of your idea, what are the weaknesses of your idea. I mean in the case of me trying to start my own children's book publishing house which I did actually try to do that. What are the weaknesses of that? Financial, hello. I don't have the kind of capital to really get that off the ground. I couldn't afford to hire employees, I couldn't afford really to print the books very effectively like weaknesses. I didn't have a solid background having all ready come from the children's book world. Perhaps if I had already worked in a publishing house, and then I was gonna you see what I mean? It was a long list of weaknesses but I didn't want to, I can only see that in restrospect. At the time guys, I could not see that. I was just like, "Yes, I get this. I can do this." I wasn't taking an honest look at my weaknesses. And if anyone probably at that time had try to tell me what my weaknesses were, I probably would've been offended which is terrible. You want to get that feedback from the people who love you and they want to give it you in the gentlest way possible, I hope but you gotta listen. Back to the positives. What are the opportunities here? This is what I mean when at the beginning of the lesson, we were talking a lot about what problems does your idea solve? These are the opportunities like we have an opportunity to help young women in this community. We have an opportunity to clean up this alley and make it an asset instead of a liability. We have an opportunity to build a garden. We have an opportunity to reach kids with autism who haven't been reached in this way before through music. So the opportunities are different than the strengths. The strengths are really what you bring to the table and why you think that you can get this idea off the ground, you have these strengths. Maybe you have a very wealthy family that actually is willing to support you, I mean I don't but I mean you might have that. That is a strength, put it in the column. Don't be ashamed of any of this stuff. Anything that you think you can bring, bring it. Opportunities are more about what opportunities you see that your idea addresses or the expression of your idea expresses. And then what are the threats? Okay, so threats are things out there in the world that are gonna stand in your way. The threats to. My God. I am trying to launch a children's book publishing house when borders just closed down (Stacey laughs) had such huge and obvious threats guys, I'm so stupid. But honestly, so look at the threats in the industry that your addressing. Look at the threats around you in terms of competitors or competition. There might already be a whole bunch of cat cafes in your town like people are done with the whole (Stacey laughs) cat cafe in your town. But I mean seriously that's a real business, I shouldn't laugh but look at what those threats are. And honestly assess them. It doesn't mean they're gonna scare you out of this idea. It just means that you're gonna honestly look at this list and say, "If my W and my T list are outweighing my S and my O, my positive things, I mean then maybe your idea isn't working."