How to Find an Idea You’re Passionate About

As I’ve been explaining this week, writing a money-making website, blog, or book can be a shortcut to expert status for you, resulting in more success more quickly as a freelancer. It can also lead to a very nice side income if your project resonates with people.

But I’ll admit it can be tough to come up with a topic, especially a profitable topic. So today, I’d like to give you a surefire way to come up with great ideas for your next project.

Right now, I’m reading an e-book by Scott Dinsmore called Live Off Your Passion. His advice on choosing a topic for a blog, article, website – or even business idea – is to:

Step 1 – Brainstorm Ideas

Step 2 – Look at them critically and practically to see if they could actually work

Although these steps seem obvious, says Dinsmore, you need to follow them differently than most people would.

Rather than following them back to back, you should separate each step by not only a few days, but by weeks if you can.

This waiting period keeps you from immediately squashing good ideas just because you think they may not be profitable.

The truth is, even ideas that may not seem profitable at first, if given enough time, energy, and brainpower, could be positioned to be profitable.

He shares this story to drive his point home:

“His buddies got together one day and asked themselves: what are the most ridiculous business ideas we can think of? You know, the ones people would laugh at and call you stupid for even thinking. What are the ideas that you’d never think would make a dime, let alone turn into a business?

“They thought it would be a fun project to try and take one of these ‘stupid’ ideas and see if they could beat the odds and make a business out of it.”

So they invented “Baconnaise” a bacon-flavored mayonnaise. It sold like crazy.

Now they have a successful business selling that and other bacon-flavored products. All because they let their creativity run wild and they didn’t listen to the people who said it wouldn’t work.

I encourage you to use this 2-step process to come up with the most outrageous idea you can think of for an article or blog post.

Writing an article is a way to test your idea without a lot of upfront investment.

Once you write the article, you’ll be able to see the kind of feedback you get. If people go crazy over your idea, you can turn it into a whole website or book. If it falls flat, you can scrap it and try something else.

First, get creative and write down everything you think of. Don’t censor yourself.

Here are some questions you should consider as you come up with your list:

  • What topic do people come to you for advice about?
  • What jobs have you had before that you loved? (You may have a wealth of knowledge there.)
  • What are your biggest accomplishments in life?
  • Have you found better techniques for a daily activity?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What topics do you feel strongly about?
  • Are you a member of any groups, clubs, or associations?
  • Do you donate to any charities?
  • What are your goals in life?
  • What are your favorite foods?

Once you have a full sheet of ideas, set it aside and wait a few days or a week if you can.

Then move to step 2: look over your ideas and pick only a few to start with.

This is how I do it:

When I have a full sheet of ideas, I narrow it down to just a few possibilities to move forward with right now. The rest get saved for later – just in case.

For example, I’m starting a money-making website and my list of ideas includes everything from fish breeding to gnomes to nail art.

Next, I’ll go through each idea and mark off the ones I don’t get excited about. If I can’t see myself caring about them in a few months or even a few years, there’s no reason to keep them.

Then I look around on Amazon for books and courses on the subject. If I can’t find at least a few popular books on my subject, I mark it off my list because I know there isn’t an audience for the topic.

Surprisingly, everything on my list is popular enough to have at least one book dedicated to it.

Then I search Google and look for advertisers of products or services on the topic. If there are advertisers, I know money can be made and it might be worth pursuing.

In my example, gnomes have advertisers in Google’s search results. Fish breeding and nail art do not, so I scratch them off my list.

This is also when I do keyword research to judge if it’s profitable.

I find that “gnomes” has low competition and several million searches per month. This could be a good topic, so it goes on my short list.

Don’t worry if you have a topic that seems odd or crazy. I’ve been surprised more than once at what crazy ideas of mine showed low competition and high searches (which translates to high profit potential).

What ideas do you have that seem crazy, but just might work?

Maybe you’re really passionate about bacon and you want an entire money-making website on the topic.

If there is a market for it, I say give it a shot.

Once you have your ideas and you have determined if they are worth pursuing, you need to narrow them down to the three best if you can.

If you have several that seem profitable, you can simply narrow them down by your interest in them.

After I have my top picks, I write each topic in the middle of a fresh piece of plain paper all by itself.

Then, one at a time, I’ll start filling in that piece of paper with related terms I can think of. Think of a word cloud or mind map where everything relates to that topic or niche.

For example, if I had “gnomes” in the middle of a piece of paper, I might surround it with: lawn gnomes, buy gnomes, garden gnome, miniature gnome, funny gnome, Gnomeo and Juliet, gnome pictures, gnome history, and traveling gnomes.

When my mind maps of my top picks are done, I can go through and narrow the field again, and put the one I like best on the wall above my desk.

At that point, you have your topic and it’s time to hit the ground running. Don’t spend time worrying about your idea flopping.

What’s the worst that could happen?

You could spend a few months researching and writing about something you’re passionate about.

What’s the best that could happen?

You could spend the rest of your life writing about and sharing your passion.

So what about you? What topic did you choose and why? Tell me about it below.

Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about creating content that makes you look like an expert.

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Published: March 1, 2012

1 Response to “How to Find an Idea You’re Passionate About”

  1. Dear Christina, I am relishing your emails now that I am a member of The Professional Writers' Alliance. This email about finding one's passion and starting a blog to see how it develops and create notoriety got me very excited. I spent time following your suggestions, and have found my point of passion. I am enclosing the link to my blog so you can see for yourself. Thank you for your time and effort in encouraging us to proceed. Regards, Charles Frode

    Charles Frode

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