How To Start Making Money Online with Mind Maps

My first full day of being laid off was absolutely a waste. I didn’t even leave the house or change out of my pajamas. Not because I was sad or depressed, but because I sat in front of my computer all day thinking of my next money making idea.

The problem with me is that when I start generating hundreds of ideas in my head, I don’t organize my thoughts. In general, things that are organized are successful. For me to have successful and organized ideas, I must find a way to organize the generation of those ideas in my head, before they are even thought through. I found that the best way to do this is to draw a mind map.

What’s a Mind Map?

According to wikipedia:

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

The perfect tool for generating business ideas. There is actually a program called FreeMind that helps you with mind mapping on the computer, but I’d rather do this on paper.

How Mind Maps Work

The best part about a mind map is that as you’re generating ideas, the mind map expands them for you automatically. Plus, it’s like documenting what’s going on in your brain so you see the progression and flow of your thoughts.

I’m thinking about writing and selling another E-Book. The success I had with my first E-Book leads me to believe it has the absolute best profit-margin for any product that I could sell. 100% of the sale goes directly to me. Sweet. There’s actually a great article from Darren on Problogger about Mind Mapping for E-Books, which is where I first learned about the power of this tool.

So here is my actual Mind Map I created today (disclaimer: when drawing up a Mind Map, you shouldn’t edit while doing it or leave any ideas out. That “dumb” idea could actually be your most profitable, so just spill your mind.):

I’ve highlighted the central ideas for you, and you can see how the ideas expand from there. Looking at my Mind Map, I can see I have some potential ideas here. I could write about how to draft on AutoCad and include tips and tricks with instructions on how to work faster. I could write an E-Book about how to negotiate a salary or what to do when you get laid off. The possibilities are endless with this list. You can easily create your own, and see what your Mind Map tells you.

Now of course, I’ll be doing more research on the specific topics in my Mind Map, to see which ones have the most potential. I’ll go over this in a later post, but for now, just know that there is a lot of potential in each and every one of us. Just think about what you do during your day. What are you good at? Or on the other hand, what do you wish you had to make your day easier?

You Don’t Have to Be an Expert

You might look at your ideas and just shrug because you start thinking, “how will anyone pay me for this kind of stuff? I’m not even an expert!” My answer is, people will pay you. If you offer something people want, even though you’re not an expert, they will buy it.

It just may be an E-book that organizes information that’s already known or out there. I’d pay for something if it made my life easier, definitely. Don’t get yourself down, and in my next post, I’ll talk about how to do research to see which of your ideas has the most potential.

  • Sarah H.

    Sorry about your bad fortune. Hopefully this turn of events can end up becoming something positive for you. I think your method of mind-mapping is a great way to get your ideas organized and a good starting point. Best of luck to you!

  • Pat

    Thanks Sarah, I really appreciate your kind words. I’m excited about starting up new things, so this should definitely be fun to say the least.

  • Lindsay

    Congrats on your success with your ebook. Now that you don’t have that pesky job in the way, you can focus on making real money. 😉

    I’ve been hearing a lot about mindmaps lately. I have an organizational streak (not apparently when one looks at my files or bookshelves or anything in my house) that is drawn more to structured outlines than this kind of brainstorming, but I may have to give it a try sometime, just to see if it does anything for me.

    Good luck with the new ebook. You’re definitely right in that the profit margins just don’t get any better than with digital products!

    • Jason Love

      My problem is I have a hard time finding the best way to file my mind maps or other note taking techniques I have used.
      I also use the mind map for writing fiction (I am working on a comic book) and find it very helpful for character development.
      I talk a little about it in my most recent post on my personal blog:

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  • Andy @ Retire at 40

    Heh, mind maps. That’a a great idea. I reckon I should have written about them in my last blog article (I just wrote about ideas first). I’ll write about Mind Maps next time, they’re definitely intriguing things the way your brain can just leap from place to place over such a small period of time. Very powerful tools.

    Andy @ Retire at 40´s last blog post..‘Living it Down Small’ instead of ‘Living it Up Large’

  • Cyn

    Brilliant advice. I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now, without knowing it had a name. I was tired of having ideas swimming in my head, drowning out my energy. I got to the point where I told my husband, “I can’t think because I’m constantly thinking!” So I went and bought a huge dry-erase board on which I wrote out what I now know is called a mind map. :)

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  • Christopher

    I love doing mindmaps to organize my ideas. Some people might think that they are flow charts considering the image you use at the beginning of the post.

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  • Make Money Online

    I’ve been into blogging for quite some time and this is definitely a effective and well written post. I signed up for your newsletter and shared it with my other blogger friends, so please keep up the informative posts!

    Good luck on your blog, and feel free to comment and subscribe to my blog as well when you get a chance: Make Money Online with Dino Vedo.

    Thanks so much, and lets stay connected and maybe share some ideas, do some guest posts, and get us both some more traffic and backlinks!

    All the best,
    Dino Vedo

  • Multiple Egg Baskets

    I like the idea of the mind map and how it can relate to a continuation of passive income blogs. I’m working on drafting the framework that shows how a central concept can be expanded, or webbed, out into several new categories.

    Great post. I just came across your site today and I’ll be back.

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  • Rob

    I recommend checking out xmind ( mindmapping software. It’s been a big help organizing my thoughts during those times when lists just won’t work. The basic features (which are what most people will probably use) are also free. :-)

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  • Maxime Linard

    I recommend iMindMap. It’s the best Mind Map software that I have ever used.
    You can find it here :
    It is the only software that is supported by Tony Buzan, the Mind Map’s Inventor.
    Enjoy it!

  • John

    Pat, even though this is one of your older posts, I’m currently working through your archives, its fantastic to read, so much useful and practical advice. I always sell myself short on ideas by thinking ‘no one would buy that because there’s already free stuff out there’

    Thats going to change in 2011!!

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  • Adam

    It is amazing with all the free information ‘out there’ people will still buy aggregated information, especially if it fits a niche. Thanks Pat and all the commenters who contribute.

  • Cecili

    Thanks for this useful tool Pat! -and all of the other info on your site! I’m addicted!

  •!/dwechsler David

    My favorite mindmapping application is VUE: Visual Understanding Environment from Tufts University. It’s full-featured and free!

  • Steven Leconte

    Thank you Pat for sharing about mind maps. I’ve heard about them before but I never really used them. Usually I just put my ideas down on paper and then weed out the ones that don’t make sense or move ideas to a different notepad.

    I have a lot of ideas and I know that I can’t do everything at the same time so I find it useful to be able to go back to the ideas later once I’m done with a project that I’m working on.

    It also help me not go from projects to projects without completing anything. I’m working on a new project these days. I will try to use a Mind map to do this one and see how I feel about the experience.

  • Matt Nall

    I have just started following your blog and I am amazed at the content and what you have put out there. I’m late to this post, but I had a question about how you get your ideas out. Do you use Mind Mapping exclusively? I’ve tried mindmapping software and websites, but just haven’t felt comfortable with them. I have been reading more and more about freewriting and wondered if that was a strategy that you use when coming up with ideas or writing content for your various sites.

    • Pat

      Hey Matt – thanks for dropping by! I “mostly” do mind mapping when I’m brainstorming, but I also write on a whiteboard as well. What works best will probably be different for everyone, and freewriting – just writing anything that comes to mind is a great way to do it too.

  • Curtis Penner

    I’ll throw in a recommendation for mind-mapping…

    iThoughts for the iphone and ipad.

    Pat, love the site. Keep it up.

  • Sibo

    I tried mindmap and used it to outline my first e-book. A very good tool!

    It’s very true that you don’t need to be an expert. Experts will help you on nothing if they do not share, so what really matters is if you are willing to share.

  • Amir Rimer

    Great advice Pat!

    Personally, I have always had many ideas in my head, and I have noticed that the best idea usually stays, and the not so good ideas usually leave. This is why I am not using and ‘Ideas Notebook’, for example.

    Thanks for the great post. I am sure it will help a lot of people.

  • Dale

    Is this pretty much the same thing as brain storming but presented in a different way?

    I’ve never heard of THIS particular term before but I’ve seen similar applications of it while trying to tackle issues. Whether it’s solving a problem or planning for the future it always helps to write things down.

    An unwritten plan is hard to follow!

  • The Patriot

    great post pat as usual.

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  • GTO

    My favorite passage: “If you offer something people want, even though you’re not an expert, they will buy it. It just may be an E-book that organizes information that’s already known or out there. I’d pay for something if it made my life easier..”

    The other trick is helping people FIND your e-book or e-product. They’ll buy it, but they have to find it first.

    Pat’s next post:

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