The Sure-Fire Idea Generation Blueprint

The Sure-Fire Idea Generation Blueprint

Being “Paid to Exist” is an absolutely stunning goal to pursue, but way too many people struggle with it.

The stepping-stone to do what you love (and get paid for it), is finding a business idea truly aligned with who you are. At Paid to Exist, we call this finding your Offer to The World.

Unfortunately, trying to find your Offer to The World can be a messy business.

That’s why, as I explained in this video, Dominika and I just spent last few months improving our flagship program, Trailblazer, and making the business idea generation part of it as surefire as humanly possible.

While doing this we’ve identified 7 mistakes people often make when looking for their path to entrepreneurship. You’ll find them below (as well as solutions!) – we really hope this post helps you in your journey.

I kept things concise, but for those who want to dive deeper, we’ll hold a free live training next week (here is the registration page).

Okay, ready?

Mistake # 1 – Forgetting about direction

When it comes to starting a business, the vast majority of people just jump straight into action without considering the real impact it will have on their lives.

For me, this explains why so many of them either end up unhappy in their business, or simply lose interest and give it up right at the start.

There is a simple remedy for that: setting your direction before you even think about your business idea.

Let me explain what I mean:

When you want to create a freedom business, it’s generally not to satisfy your pride and claim your slice of fame.

Chances are you have this project in mind to create a better life for yourself.

But what does this “better life” really means to you? What would you like your business help you to achieve?

What are your main short and long-term goals? Your priorities? Your values?

Answering honestly to those questions will help you to figure out which business models are suitable, and which ones are not.

Here’s an easy example to illustrate this:

You love traveling and being location independent has always been your ultimate dream. But then you suddenly have this great idea of opening really cool coffee shop in your hometown. You have plan and resources and you’re pretty damn excited about the prospect of running such place. And you’re pretty sure it’s going to work well.

But, it means you can say goodbye to the idea of constant traveling. You’re tied to your hometown for next few years. Would you be okay with that? Giving up this big dream of being able to travel and work from whatever place in the world you want, in exchange for satisfying, interesting business?

If the answer is no, if the need for travel is more important than all the hand crafted flat whites in the world, then opening this cafe, not matter how good the idea sounds right now, is not going to keep you too happy in the long term.

Maybe you can tweak it? Open pop ups shops all over the world? Or find a partner who will stay in one place while you work remotely?

Get the picture?

So before you embark on the huge, life changing adventure of entrepreneurship, make sure you:

  • Take a step back and understand your dreams, desires and priorities in life – short ones but also the long term ones
  • Use them as the foundation of your freedom business.

Doing this will only take you a few minutes, it will be fun (imagining your dream life is fun) and believe me: it will help you make the right decisions later on.

Mistake # 2 – Underestimating what you have to offer

If you want to play at full expression, stand out and manage a successful business you’ll love, you cannot follow other people’s templates.

You need to play your own game, create your own niche based on all the best things you have to offer: your gifts … the things you’ve learned and things that come naturally to you.

Unfortunately, very few of us realise our full potential. Sure you might know your passion and some of your strengths. But chances are that, thanks to your critical mind, you are still unaware of 90% things that you have you offer (we all are).

This dramatically restricts the number of really good business ideas you can come up with.

So embark on a quest to reveal your gifts.

We cover this in an extremely detailed way in the new Trailblazer, but you can get started on your own using this great article.

Mistake # 3 – Fearing the blank sheet

With your gifts in hand, it’s now time to use them to generate business ideas.

This can be intimidating, but don’t let the fear of the blank sheet block you:

Finding ideas is not about luck or sudden moments of inspiration.

It is all about being methodical (I know, I know… not very sexy. But doesn’t make it any less true).

The simplest method to do so is to “question your gifts”:

  1. Make a list of all your gifts – passions, talents, skills etc.
  2. Focus on each of them, one at a time
  3. For each gift, ask yourself some powerful ideas generation questions such as: how can I help somebody with this gift? Can I use it to improve people’s lives with it? Is there an unfulfilled need or desire in this area? Etc.

Being methodical ain’t sexy (that’s why nobody talks about that) but for me this is a game changer to get unstuck. (That’s why we included no less than three methodical ways to generate ideas in the new Trailblazer).

Mistake # 4 – Single dimension focus

This is another game changer.

When it comes to looking for business ideas, most people have a one dimensional thinking:

One Passion = One Business

This creates unnecessary limitations. Instead, try to think in two (or more) dimensions and create a unique idea that combines as much as possible your unique talents, passions, strengths and all those incredible things you have to offer.

There are zillions of successful businesses built on this simple principle. Here’s an example I really like that combines a passion for heavy metal and one for yoga.

So ask yourself these types of questions:

  • Could you combine two passions into one business?
  • Could you combine one passion with one key strength?
  • Etc.

Sure, you won’t be able to cram everything you know and love into one offer. But try with two or three to begin with. The more you’ll manage to align the business with the real you, the better and more enjoyable it will be.

Even if you have a business right now, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions to make a better use of your talents in it. Sometimes a little twist will make a huge difference.

Mistake # 5 – Dismissing ideas too fast

Unfortunately, Dominika and I see a lot of this.

Every day, thousands of perfectly fine ideas die a tragic, sudden death caused by the “it’s not possible”, “it’s not good enough” and “somebody’s already done it” syndromes.

People forget that ideas have a lifecycle:

They start as those tiny seeds created by our brilliant minds.

Then they grow, evolve, expand and in the end the idea we end up implementing is often quite different from the one we came up with in the first place.

And even after you launch your business, your idea keeps evolving.

So give your ideas a chance, don’t kill them in the bud. Learn how to nurture, grow and tweak them if necessary. See what you come up with and only then make a decision about their fate.

Done all that and still not sure if you’ve ended up with a flower or a weed? Ask somebody else to take a look at it. They might confirm that your idea is crap (at least you’ll be sure), but they could also add a little nice twist to it, that will leave no doubt that you have something amazing in your hands.

If you’d like our thoughts on one of your ideas, just post it in the comments section below, we LOVE reviewing these!

Mistake # 6- Waiting for the ‘Aha!’ moment

As I said above, coming up with ideas is a matter of method rather than genius, random luck or ‘Aha’ moments.

It is also a matter of practice.

It’s a bit like learning to do push-ups: the first time you ever try a push-up, it’s almost impossible. But if you work out, you will end up doing 20 in a row (I’m not that far in the workout though!).

Push-ups aside, here is an easy ideas generation workout you can practice: get into the habit of observing existing businesses around you:

  • What is their unique offer?
  • What makes them different and so special?
  • How do you think they came up with their idea?

Observing others will help you understand which ideas work and why, and it will help you come up with your own.

Mistake # 7- Making this all about you

Finding an idea is as much about you (leveraging your gifts) as it is about others.

After all, your business should be all about helping your customers in some way. And no matter how great you think your offer is, people won’t be interested in it unless it improves their lives in some way.

Think of your potential clients as people with some specific need, problem, challenge or desire and imagine that it is your job to fulfill it.

So when you think about what you can to offer to the world, ask yourself these simple questions: Who are my potential clients / who could I help? What do they need help with? Is my offer answering their ‘wants’ and ‘needs’?


This post didn’t intend to be exhaustive. I only focused on the mistakes that are not extensively covered in other blogs or courses.

If you found it helpful, please let me know in the comments section below.

And if you’d like to know more about what it takes to find your offer to the world, and make your first $1000 doing what makes you come alive, you’re in the right place:

We just decided to hold a free live training next week!

Places will be limited, but you can learn more and claim yours here.

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Nynke delekJames ElliotCedricAnilise Recent comment authors
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I absolutely love your concept “Paid to Exist”. I joined you last year and haven’t checked in much, but I’m back now and looking forward to exploring more. I did just re-evaluate my gifts. The more I do that exercise, the more I am able to pinpoint my gifts. So for me, I believe it takes several tries at self-evaluations in order to get a clearer picture of ones gifts.

James Elliot

As an entrepreneur, and coach, I truly appreciate this article! You are absolutely correct – people jump into entrepreneurship without setting a clear direction, possibly starting in something only to please others or make quick money (and ignoring their true passions along the way) and just start with having a clear plan. So definitely, one should take the time to really think through and “feel” what their gut and heart are telling them to do – what they love, and then designing a realistic money making plan from there.

Nynke delek

Great post.
Thank you !

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