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AP 0961: How Do I Choose an Idea and Go Forward with It?

AP 0961: How Do I Choose an Idea and Go Forward with It?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 961 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 961 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

We have a great question coming in today from Luis, but before we get to that I just want to give a shout out to all the students of my course, Smart From Scratch. It’s there to help you validate your business ideas, which this episodes relates to. If you want to check it out and sign up for the wait list before it opens up again soon, all you have to do is go to It’ll walk you through the exact process I teach to help people discover whether or not their ideas are ones that are worth moving forward with in a proven way, using little experiments to control and make sure that yes, this is actually worth moving forward with. Or no, you should actually dump this idea and move onto the next one. This has helped thousands of people already. I’m looking forward to serving you with it too. Again, that’s All right, now here’s today’s question from Luis.

Luis: Hi Pat, I have a bunch of ideas for starting a business but I’m not sure which one is great, and which one is not so great. Anyway, I know I have to take a decision, a big one. That’s my problem. I find it’s very difficult to take this decision, because my subconscious sabotages me. Every time I think of one of the ideas, reasons pop up in my mind on why it might not be good. It’s a psychologically uncomfortable choice, and I hate that perspective of being something makes me feel uncomfortable. I would rather be happy about that. From a psychological perspective, is there a way to reduce this pain? To be able to make a decision without having this annoying feeling inside? Or is it just like that, where you just take it and go forward? Maybe you could tell us about how do you feel when you have a bunch of ideas and you pick one? I’m sure you do it all the time. Thanks.

Pat Flynn: Hey Luis, thank you so much for the question, I appreciate it. You know, one of the things that I love is the fact that we all, or a lot of us, come up with these amazing ideas all the time. You never know, one of those ideas might be one that just changes your world, and changes the world, or changes other people’s worlds, right? At the same time, like you said, our brain likes to sabotage ourselves. It likes to get in the way. After you get those initial, really flourishes of excitement, and what-if, and wonder, those what-ifs sort of transform and change into a, “Well what if this doesn’t work?” Right? I always try to encourage people to, okay, let’s think about the positive. To counter that negative thought with a positive thought. “Oh, what if this doesn’t work?” But what if it does work? “What if nobody likes my idea?” But what if people actually do like your idea? Right?

That just initially starts to begin to train yourself to start thinking positively about these kinds of thoughts that you might have. This is something I’m training my kids to do, is to whenever a negative thought about themselves pops into their head, to immediately counter it with a positive thought, an opposite one. I would recommend doing that for yourself as well.

Now obviously, that can only take you so far, you still have to take action, and you still have to pick an idea because you’re right, when you choose to go down multiple paths at the same time, you know, this is the reason why it’s so hard to decide. You know that it’s going to be a decision that you’re going to have to stick with, at least for a while, which leaves all the other ones behind. Is it a good one? I don’t know, this is why I recommend my course It’ll give you the insight and the experiments that you should do, these Litmus tests that you should run to help you decide which ideas that you might have would be best to start with. It’s very much based off of not only the market that you’re getting into, and the customer, and what’s going on in their head, but also what’s right for you.

Along those lines what I would recommend doing, Luis, the very actionable item I can offer you—and this is something I mentioned not too long ago in another episode—is to actually, if you have two ideas, I would then plan out and begin both of them as if you were going to move forward with them. Get to the point before you actually start putting things into place, all the planning stuff. Plan idea number one a little bit, plan idea number two. This comes up typically when people want to start two podcasts at the same time, for example. Let’s just say it’s that, for example. Let’s just say it’s that for the purposes of this example. You want to start two podcasts. How do you know which one to start? Well, what I would do is actually outline the first ten episodes of each of those podcasts ideas. It’s not going to take too much time. Now, obviously it would take a lot of time to set up both of them, to start interviewing people and get to that process. But even just the process of planning it out, the editorial calendar portion of this, the first, I don’t know, eight weeks worth of stuff planned out—you would then be able to determine, just really quickly seeing it on paper, on both sides, which one may be better suited for you, which one may be more exciting to you, which one actually makes sense. Our brains have this amazing talent for coming up with these scenarios and thinking about possibilities. When you start to actually lay things out on paper, it begins to organize itself because our brains don’t do a good job of organization or thinking about what needs to happen until you actually write those things down.

When you write those things down, you might decide really quickly, “Oh, this one is for me.” Or, “Wow, I definitely don’t want to do that one.” Or, “Whoa, this one’s actually a lot harder than I thought. Maybe I should start with this one.” That would be the first thing I recommend, Luis. Can you plan out maybe the first eight weeks of work that may need to be done with each of those things? That might help give you inspiration, motivation, to either say yes or no to one and/or the other.

The other thing I would say is continue to talk to their people about it too. That’s one thing that has helped me, is I speak to people who know what I’m doing, who are in my mastermind group, who are colleagues of mine. I talk to some of my audience sometimes, I email people who are on my email list, or I even have Skype conversations with them every once in a while to kind of pitch these ideas, which does a couple things for me. One, the act of pitching that idea alone helps me sort of massage it, and knead it a little bit to get to a point where I can say it well. Sometimes that becomes a sign of, “Wow, I actually don’t even know what I’m talking about.” Or, “Whoa, what am I getting myself into?” Being able to try and explain it to somebody else is a great exercise to see how excited you are and how much you really want to do that. The other thing that goes along with that is you’ll get those reactions from people too, about your idea. They may be able to guide you. They might confirm that, “Oh man Luis, that’s so perfect for you because of this, this, and this. That makes complete sense.” Or, “Luis, that’s kind of weird. That’s kind of outside your normal wheelhouse. Why would you want to go down that route?” You’re able to have these conversations, which can often challenge you, which is what you want.

Luis, those are the kind of tips I have for you. Plan out the first eight weeks of work for each. Again, just write it down on paper, or think about that. Write it on Post-It-Notes perhaps, and that’ll give you a lay of the land for both of those ideas. Have conversations with people, practice talking about each of those ideas with others. Also, look for reactions and get other people’s feedback on them too. Then of course, I would recommend Smart From Scratch, for those of you who want to go deeper into your idea and why it may or may not be the right one for you. That’s, again,

Luis, thank you so much for the question, I appreciate it. I want to send you an AskPat teeshirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show as well, just head on over to, and you can ask right there on that page.

Thanks so much, I appreciate you. Here’s a quote to finish off the day by Don Marquis. “The successful people are the ones who think up things for the rest of the world to keep busy at.” Cool. Talk to you guys later, see you in the next episode. Bye.

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