Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Million Dollar Ideas - A new series

I have decided to start a new series on this site that I am calling Million Dollar Ideas. This series is going to highlight a number of ideas which people turned into businesses or patents which then grossed about a million dollars or more.

Premises from which I will be working:
  • You get money in this world by creating value. The more value you create, the more money you make. Therefore, these ideas all created at least $1 Million in value for other people.
  • You often get money in this world by solving problems (another way of saying almost the same thing). Therefore, many of these ideas solved large problems resulting in at least a $1 Million increase in value for other people.
  • You get money in this world by turning ideas into reality. All successful businesses were once ideas, all patents were once ideas, all music started as an idea. Many of us have $1 Million ideas but fail to act on them. The idea is a necessary but not a sufficient condition. You've got to implement the idea for it to actually be worth something.
Why am I writing this series? I wish I could say it was altruistic, but I am doing it mostly for my own benefit. I want to analyze ideas that have been successfully turned into $1 Million or more. Because I'm going to follow in these people's footsteps eventually, and studying what they did will likely yield some nuggets of wisdom which will help me turn a few of my ideas into $1.43 Million (read about the goal, and the plan). Slaving and saving away won't get me there in the timeframe I want to get there (though it works for people following David Bach's approach) so the only means I have left is to turn some of my ideas into $1.43 million realities.

Beyond just studying what these people have done, I am writing these posts for two more reasons. The first is again self-centered; writing about a topic forces me to clarify my thinking and to perform more stringent analysis. Secondly, I think that what I learn will also be valuable to others. The upshot is that I understand more and hopefully create some interesting content to read.

If you run across any Million Dollar Ideas you would like me to include in the series, just leave a comment below to let me know.

Update: I cover the structure of these posts here.

Million Dollar Idea #1 - Pixels for Sale.

---warning, self analysis and planning below ---

I won't be sharing many of my ideas in public just yet, unless I am looking for a partner (like in this post, sadly nobody has responded yet). I keep a journal of ideas I have. Most of them are ideas for products or businesses that I would like to see started. I notice a problem that I think could be solved profitably a 3 or 4 times a week. Of those, I'd say I 2 or 3 ideas are good enough and stay with me long enough make the journal every month. Of the ideas in the journal, I have acted on 4 of them and made preliminary inroads to act on 2 others.

Saying I have 16 ideas a month, 2 of which are good enough to write down - that gives 24 potential ideas a year. I make preliminary inroads on maybe 3 or 4 of those a year, and follow through to complete and establish 1 or 2 of those ideas. Thus far, however, the majority of this work was done during my days at University and therefore I have no profitable businesses to show for it, but there are a number of ongoing organizations from my days at school.

On average, 1 in 10 businesses fails. Now that I'm out in the real world, if I can put 1 or 2 ideas into action each year - call it an average of 1.5. And I make the 10% success bogey, then it will take 10 $1 million ideas for me to read my goal of $1.43 Million at age thirty. (1.5 * 7 *.1 = 1.05 successful ideas). But, given my current rate of idea success and these assumptions, to get that 1 success is going to require 1,344 sparks of thought (at 16 per month).


Alex Givant said...

Check Marshall Brain blog and his page "How to Make a Million Dollars"

tt said...

I read over that, it is good stuff. Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

Greg Balanko-Dickson wrote about the myth of the 90% startup failure rate in 13 Stupid Business Tricks by Business Owners. A idea executed well is good enough to reach your goal. Most people don't work on their ideas. Maybe you will or maybe you won't. We will find out later...