Published on June 22nd, 2013 | by Daniel


Travel and Get Ideas for Business

This article is not so much about online business as about where inspiration comes from.

Are you stuck in a rut? Tired of thinking about a good angle for you online efforts?

Some would tell you to do something else for a change. And they are right. Getting you head of the subject will refresh your synapses and get you motivated to tackle the project again. But it will also bring you in contact with other topics that can serve as inspiration for your business projects (or any other).

A thing you often hear from successful people is that they got their golden idea at that moment they were not aware that they were thinking about it. A great idea in the car, in the elevator, while showering. And I believe this is exactly the key to creativity. You cannot really force a breakthrough, although you can train your mind to behave that way. The best ideas come when your mind is allowed to wander free.

Example: Travel.

Travel is the ultimate “do nothing” but let outside impulses come to your brain “thing”.

Always when I travel I see things or experience stuff that I can translate into something I would be able to use for a business idea or a marketing angle. A great way to think about new ideas is – described in the great book Thinkertoys as well – how would this work in a different environment? So for example, I see a upscale pancake house in the middle of Bogota, and I will think, how would this concept work in Holland? (i.e. In Holland there are pancake houses but they are often in the countryside and for kids). So in this example I run a mind experiment where I will have to market a product (pancakes) that is commonly seen as for kids – to adults. Those are interesting mind games and bring a new perspective how to approach things. Granted, an idea is only and idea, and to make it work can be difficult. But it trains your mind to engage in stuff.

Another good mind experiment, also described in Thinkertoys, is “what would happen if I do one thing the opposite?” For instance, normally a restaurant has a menu, what happens if have no menu? How would I organize this? Or a restaurant without a cook – how would a restaurant look like where customers cook themselves? And can get paid by others for their service? Or what would happen if I run a restaurant where everything is sold, except the food (which would be for free). That kind of thoughts can be real fun, and ultimately, very productive.

So back to travelling.

Going outside your bubble forces you to meet new people as well. While the chances are small you will gain good business contacts this way without targeting, you are bound to get inspired by others. For instance, on my long travels, I have met professional dancers, writers, photographers, nutritionists, athletes, surfers and so many more. These all live very different lives, and while maybe their total lifestyle would not be my choice, some aspects of it can definitely be very inspirational.

Yes, travel costs time and money. However, in my view, the positives vastly outweigh the negatives. And in case you are a digital nomad, like me, you can basically travel and work at the same time. Time and money become relevant business investments in that case.

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