You’ve got an idea for a new project and the excitement is in the air! You are probably wondering where to start?
We aren’t trying to be a buzzkill but before beginning it’s important to plan. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and discouragement. Now knowing WHAT to plan can be even harder to figure out.
In this post we’ll explain how to evaluate and pre-plan your project.
Why does evaluating your idea matter?
Projects are ALWAYS more complex than you think before you get into it. You would be surprised how much time and energy can be wasted by rushing into things.
Getting into a new project is like prepping for a relay race. The most important variable is MOMENTUM. Starting too fast will use up all of your energy and leave you burnt out. Starting too slow can make it difficult to stay excited and see results.
How to Evaluate Your Idea
Step 1: Write it out
Your idea has come to life in your mind, now it’s time to flesh out some of the basics. You don’t need to get too technical at this point. Try to think of the questions someone may ask you about it and how you would answer.
You can also briefly explain your idea to a few friends in 25 words or less. Then ask them to each write a few questions for you about it, write them down in a note and write out a brief response to each. This will likely prompt more questions that you are not ready to answer, just make sure to write them down to address later.
A few questions to get you started:
- What is your idea in 1-2 sentences?
- Who will it benefit?
- How will it work?
- What are the top 3 defining features?
Step 2: What will life be like?
Close your eyes and imagine what it will feel like to have your project up and running. Consider the following points:
- What will your project look like if it’s successful?
- Think about what you would do on a daily, weekly, quarterly, yearly, or occasional basis.
- During the start-up phase what would your routine look like?
- Once your project is successful what would your routine look like?
- How much time are you willing to spend on it?
Step 3: Get Practical. What is your capacity?
Time to get practical, take some time to assess whether your idea is realistic. Things to consider are:
Budget: How much would you spend on this project? Think about your ideal, expected and maximum budget for this project.
Time & Energy: Are you looking to approach your project part-time, full-time or as a side-hustle. Get a little bit more specific and think about how many hours you can commit during the setup phase as well as on an ongoing basis.
Resources: Make a list of the materials & resources you expect you’ll need for your project. For anything you don’t already have on hand jot down how you would acquire them. If you have no clue it’s okay to put that down, as long as you don’t get into the research portion just yet!
Strengths & Weaknesses: Think about the areas that play to your strengths and which you are likely to struggle with.
For areas of weakness, jot down a few ideas about possible supports. Consider friends, family, and hired supports such as freelance workers who may be able to assist you with the areas you struggle with (examples include: social media support, blogging support.)
Step 4: What are you in it for?!
Take some time to think about why you want to do this project. Jot down some of the qualities that excite you about this idea and rank them in order of importance.
- Profit (A Bit of Extra Money)
- Social Activities
- Intellectual Challenge
Write out 1-2 sentences about how your idea will meet each of these qualities or what you have to do to make that happen.
Ex. Low-Stress: To keep this project low stress I will have to hire someone to handle the marketing aspects.
Are you still feeling overwhelmed?
Remember, keep it short to start! Write it out in bullet points or in just a few sentences. We’re just trying to get a general idea of what this project might look like, the details can come later.
Whether your project is professional or casual, big or small, it’s bound to have a ton of moving parts. This stage is just to get it down on paper so you can look at each piece individually.
Your project probably won’t look exactly like you’ve imagined and this activity will bridge the idea stage with the action planning stage.
Where to go next?
Let’s do it!