How To Generate Great Ideas And Make Sure They Happen

Generate great ideas
Let’s tackle both sides of the business coin: how to generate great ideas, and how to make sure they happen. Without one or the other, your business is sunk.

And both imagination and knowledge are inadequate if there is no action to follow through with it.

How To Generate Ideas

First, let’s look at how to generate great ideas. The types of ideas that can help you stand out from the crowd, add a new revenue stream to your business, or take you into a new market successfully.

The first step is to plant the seed. Take a step back from your day to day activities and think about the problem you want to solve or the thing you want to achieve.

Define the problem, and ask a good question.

Then, let your subconscious do the work and go for a walk, exercise, take a shower or a nap.

Allow the solution and the ideas to bubble up to the surface. Then write them down!

The missing link for most of us is the step between the idea and the action. For me in my business what has worked really well is to capture these ideas, and even if I don’t plan to use it right away I don’t need to worry about losing it.

You can use pen and paper, Evernote, or an internal company wiki. Whatever works for you.

Idea Execution and Implementation

Now it’s time to combat the age old “great idea, poor execution” problem.

If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den (my guilty pleasure when I go back to visit family in Canada!), then you know that the basis of the show is that a bunch of entrepreneurs present their businesses and ideas to ask for venture capital.

What I want you to pay special attention to the next time you watch is how the Sharks evaluate businesses: not on ideas but on who is going to be executing and implementing the idea.

They know that anyone can come up with a great idea, but that not everyone is suited to take that idea to market and make it a reality.

One thing that stops people from taking action on a great idea is that they don’t have the means to make it real so that it’s up to their standards. For example, you might not know how to make a super fancy website, but you can learn to build a simple one.

From there, you’ve got momentum and you can re-invest and bring things up to your vision’s standards.

As Seth Godin would say, you need to ship. Get your idea to market so you can make money, and then you can always come back and improve things over time.

Our vision is always going to be bigger than what we can realistically implement today with our current capabilities.

But without taking the very first step, there is no way we can improve. Breaking down a big idea into bite sized steps is the best way to actually implementing what you know is possible.

Then, putting it on your calendar with actual due dates and a timeline that you can’t chicken out on is key. Think about what obstacles might come up to stop you, and how you can clear a path for this idea to really happen.

You can also go one step further and throw your hat over the fence: tell other people and get public accountability for what you say you’re going to do.

Then make sure you follow my advice from this “Get Things Done” video, and apply energy management techniques like “batching is bitching” and now I’ll leave you with my favorite Nathalie-ism:

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What helps you come up with great ideas? And how do you follow through on them once you get them? Leave a comment below, I’m all ears!

How to Register a Domain Name for Free

If you want a professional website on the web, then you’ll need a domain name like “ambitionally.com” and there are ways to get it for free, when you sign up for a hosting plan.

How to register a domain name for free

When you set out to build a website for yourself, you’ll be faced with a ton of different website hosting options. When you’re just starting out, I recommend Bluehost because they offer a free domain name registration when you sign up for their hosting plans.

I’ll walk you through how to register a domain name for free…

How to register a domain name for free

Get started on the homepage and you’ll come to the page below where you type in the name of the domain you’d like to register. (If you have an existing domain, you can transfer it here.)

This is the first step, because we want to see if the domain you want to register is already taken or not.

domain

If it’s available, then you’ll be taken to the next page – otherwise Bluehost may recommend other domains for you to try instead. When it comes to domains, I recommend sticking to some of the more well known extensions like “.com” so that people can easily remember how to find you on the web.

Next, you’ll fill in your account information.
accountinfo

Up next – it’s time to enter your billing information for the hosting plan that you chose. Make sure you read the license agreement and check the box that you have read it. Click Next.

billing

Select how often you’d like to be billed from the Account Plan drop-down menu. Check all the available features to add what you need to your package. I recommend including the backup option. The Domain Whois Privacy is to hide your name/account information when someone searches for who owns your domain. This can come in handy if you don’t want your address to be known publicly.

packageinformation

Now that your domain is yours – it’s time to set up WordPress!

Then log into your administration panel – your cPanel. We want to install a WordPress site so go ahead and click on WordPress.

wordpresselect

 

Click Start (for a brand new version – new site).

wordpressstart

Select where you would like to install WordPress – select your site name.

Unselect Plugins and themes automatically checked as you don’t need these right now.

Click Complete.

It doesn’t take very long to install, in 2-3 minutes it will finish installing everything.

Once your site is ready, copy and paste the information for Site URL, Login URL, Username and Password into a safe place where you can keep track of all your logins.

Congratulations, you just scooped yourself a free domain registration through Bluehost and you’re all set with your new WordPress enabled hosting, too! Head over to our in-depth WordPress step-by-step tutorial here.

How To Hire a Web Designer and Live Happily Ever After

How to hire a web designer

We’ve all heard the horror stories about the web design project from hell. And I’ve personally been on both sides of this tragic occurrence.

You have a great vision for your new website, you hire a web designer, and usually things start off well, but soon things devolve and both sides are feeling frustrated and you just want to pull your hair out.

Two totally wonderful people have been reduced to lobbing insults over email, or completely avoiding each other. Resentment, anger, and complaining to your next web designer usually follows.

What went wrong? And more importantly, how can your next web project go smoothly so that both you and your designer can live happily ever after?

How To Hire a Web Designer So Your Next Web Project Goes Smoothly

1. Setting Expectations and Misunderstanding Technical Difficulty Levels

In my experience, things start to fall apart quickly because there is a mismatch of expectations and miscommunication when it comes to technical things involved with web design.

During the initial intake conversation, you might say you’re looking for a really simple website. The web designer has an idea of what that means to them, but if you want 3 different functions that require hours of custom programming, even if these appear to be simple on the surface, they’re going to require more work than your web designer originally budgeted for.

Solution: be really clear about the functionality you’re looking for, and be open to feedback from your web designer on whether it’s realistic within your budget.

2. Timing and Managing Many Clients At Once

Most web designers work with multiple clients at one time, depending on their fees, to make ends meet. That means that at any one time, you might be getting their divided attention and that can slow down communication and responsiveness.

It also means that when you have an agreed upon timeline where you’re expected to contribute things like written content for your website, photos, and feedback, you need to be prompt or you’ll risk your project going over time and running into other clients’ allotted time.

This slows down the process even further, and gives web designers a massive headache. So the best thing you can do is stay on track with deadlines, and understand why things take time no matter how simple your changes might seem.

3. Estimating Costs and Scope Creep

Most web designers charge for projects based on an estimate, and if you change your mind or want to add more functionality than you originally spoke about, it can cause stress for both the timeline and the web designer’s bottom line too.

Some web designers work with a team and end up paying out more to their contractors than your project brought in. That can cause any sane person to be a little cranky.

So the solution is for web designers to stand their ground on your agreed upon project scope and also for you to recognize when you’re stepping outside of the scope.

The best way to handle changing priorities to new features is to ask for a Phase 2 project quote and to schedule that separately from the first round.

4. Communication and Explaining Visual Aesthetics

You might have a really clear vision in your head of what your website looks like, and your web designer might be able to translate that perfectly onto the screen… or they might have their own vision entirely.

Communicating about visuals using words can be difficult, so anything you can do to provide a shortcut is helpful. Think about creating a pinterest board with fonts, colors, and brands that inspire you.

Another tip to help you communicate clearly with your web designer is to create mock ups or wireframes of the site. That way you can explain where everything should go, and you can also detail the functionality you’d expect.

For example, you might have a button and a note that says “when someone clicks this button, it takes them to page B” or if you wanted different functionality “when someone clicks this button, they stay on the page but a small popup window opens with more options”.

You can make these wireframes yourself using plain black lines on printed paper and scanning them, or using simple software that you already have on your computer like Powerpoint or Keynote. You could also use Canva or these other online graphic editing tools.

And please, do not reference your favorite website as the entire inspiration for your own site… instead pick one or two specific features that you want on your site, and add your own flair.

It can take a few iterations to arrive at the perfect visual style, so be kind and understanding when offering feedback.

5. Changing Technologies, Mobile, and SEO

Once the website is built, there are a few other things you might be concerned about. From maintaining your own website after you work with a designer, to making sure it’s search engine optimized.

These are things that your web designer might not be on board to do, so get clear on that before you get started. You’ll also want to talk about your mobile website strategy before you get started and design with mobile in mind first.

Not all web designers are used to designing for the mobile web but they might be able to partner with someone to implement that for you.

I highly recommend getting comfortable with the technologies your site will be built on so you can update and maintain your site without being dependent on your web designer or feeling like a victim of your own site.

Get my Websites Made Easy course to get all the basics of maintaing your WordPress website, and editing a Headway framework custom site, too. Registration closes July 11th!

How Have You Made Working a Designer An amazing Experience?

Now, I don’t want to hear your web design horror stories. Instead, I want to focus on the positive. When have you had amazing web design projects and what did you do to keep things on track and happy for everyone involved?

Leave a comment below!

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