Having a vision and doing something about it

Embed from Getty Images

So many of us have ideas, goals, dreams and visions in our head that we would love to do something about in our life time. Sadly it is only for a few of us that those visions are actually acted upon and something done about them.

I have a vision for something I want to create in my head at the moment and I am determined to spend some time over the summer making that vision a reality. I am allowing myself ‘dream time’ every day and trying to formulate ideas and thoughts in my head. Everyday I am trying to do something to make my idea the best it can be and everyday trying to think of the best way to make it happen.

Failure might be the greatest success

My idea may fail and all of this might be for nothing, but at least by the end of it I would have created something, have something I created be out there in the world and I will have learnt from the experience. Even failure will give me and teach me so much that I will gain a lot out of this regardless of what happens.

My idea centers around bring a new product to market. The product I think will be interesting and help people. The product might inspire other people to do something similar or to do something better. The possibilities are endless. All I know is that this summer I am starting something. The journey of the thing I start may only be short or it may go on forever, whichever one it is, it will be a journey worth travelling.

Opening up opportunities for others

Starting something opens up opportunities and opportunities are something I always want to have in abundance. The more opportunities I have, the more chances I have to live a successful and fulfilled life. Not only do I want opportunities, I want to make opportunities for others and that’s what creating something can do.

So I would like to encourage you all today to go out and make new opportunities for yourself and those around you. Your vision might not just change your life but it may change countless lives around the globe no matter what it is. So start creating, as by creating you are impacting and you are being a force for good in this world.

Advertisements

The Baby Business

Embed from Getty Images

When you are having a baby the one thing the world wants you to buy in to is how expensive it is. The marketplace wants you to feel the need to spend hundreds of pounds on travel systems, changing stations, toys, clothes, cribs etc. etc. They want this to feel normal. For some this feeling puts them off having children, but I don’t think it would stop many that truly wanted to have a baby.

I however, want the world to stop buying in to this atmosphere, which is driven by the major companies. I would love to live in a world where buying second hand, accepting hand me downs and doing things on a budget were seen as the norm. It is the baby industry, which has driven us as a society to be working parents, with families seeing no other alternative than for both parents to be working just so they can afford all the things they think they need.

Investments

As a parent I want all my investments in my child and family to be about love and not money. My wife and I feel strongly about one of us being a stay at home mum or dad for our child until they have reached school age. We believe this is more important for her development than anything we can buy for hundreds of pounds. We know we have bills to pay, so one of us will always work but we still value time over any financial reward of being away from the house and being away from our child.

Yes we get pram envy when we see people pushing the latest and fanciest ones in the street, yes we see toys and clothes that we would love to buy for our child but what of these things is our child going to remember? I would rather invest money in her long term future like university than things she will only use for such a small portion of her life and have no recollection of when she is older, except for when she looks back at photos.

Shop around

My wife and I make sure our daughter has everything she needs and that we want her to have, we just make sure we get things for the best price. We shop around, look for deals, buy second hand and see what we can pick up for free. Just because you can afford something brand new doesn’t always mean it is a good investment and just because you can’t afford something brand new doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it.

My wife and I proudly only use cloth nappies on our child because not only are they a great money saver, they are better for her skin and much more beautiful than disposable nappies. Yes they may be more work but that it isn’t a factor in our decision making process, as we just want to do what is best for our child. Best for your child isn’t always buying everything and buying it brand new and this is what I want the world to understand.

Ideas

Last weekend my wife and I made a sensory space for our daughter using ideas we found on the Internet, a box, tin foil and Christmas tree lights. It didn’t cost us anything to make yet our daughter loved it and I think it will aid her development. In this internet age it is easier than ever to get deals and ideas, so there is no excuse to be lazy and just buy the first thing you see.

My advice for this week would be if you have children is to enjoy them, want the best for them but don’t get stressed and worried about affording things as everyone with a bit of effort can get the best for their child.

Why do people need to listen to you?

Embed from Getty Images

This is a question I wrestle with a lot professionally and personally. What makes, what you have to say important enough, that people should listen to you? If what you say is important enough that people should listen, why aren’t they?

Regardless of your position, background, experience and intelligence, most people at some point in their life have an opinion or an idea that they think will improve something in the world around them but no one will listen. When no one listens to what you have to say, you can become very bitter, very quickly. When people won’t listen, there aren’t enough people who will keep on fighting to get their voice hard.

Frustration

It can be very frustrating when people don’t listen to your ideas in the workplace. One thing you have to remember though, is that there are probably many people in the organisation with different ideas and that just because you might think your idea is the best, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best. It is so easy to get blinkered in to thinking that you know everything and know what is best but it is important that you try not to.

It is also very easy to start thinking that you are the only person with the idea you have in your head and that no one else has ever had that idea or one similar. The reality with most thoughts is that others will have already had them before you or at least ones very similar.

Research

When I have an idea, the first thing I do is research it. See if anybody else has had success with it and then really think about the idea from all sides to make it the best idea possible and turn that idea in to a plan.

There is a phrase that actions speak louder than words; I think you need to apply this school of thought if no one is listening to your idea. Can you do a small trial or experiment of your idea to show people in a tangible way what can happen if they used your idea. In todays world people seem to need numbers and evidence to believe an idea will work, so it is up to you to get those things.

Listening

Companies need to do a lot better job at listening to ideas from all levels of staff, as sadly at the moment too many only listen to consultants or managers. This is a hard dynamic to change and you can’t do it by yourself overnight. Until it does change the only thing you can keep on doing is trying to prove that your ideas are better than others. If they still don’t want them after that, then put them in front of a different audience that might want them.

People need to wake up to the fact that ideas can be birthed in anyone, you don’t have to be an expert, a consultant or manager to have an idea that could change the way a company does business.

Raising Money

Embed from Getty Images

As many of you know I am currently running a Crowdfunder campaign to crowdfund the print version of my book ‘Unbreakable Bond.’ You can find out more about it and donate to the cause by going here:

http://www.gofundme.com/unbreakablebond

Through this experience it has shown me how the internet has helped so many people with good causes and ideas raise money, that they wouldn’t have been able to do 10 years ago. Securing funding for projects used to be about filling out funding application forms, pitching ideas to panels of investors and standing behind a stall in a street or at an event. Now in the space of five minutes you can set up a crowdfunder page for free, where people can donate online and the money gets dropped straight to your account.

As easy as online shopping

There are lots of people out there who have money, who are generous and who are willing to give. People are becoming more aware of crowdfunding everyday and everyday it is being seen as a normal and successful way of raising money, with more people donating to crowdfunder campaigns. The other beauty of crowdfunder sites is that it is as easy to donate money to something as it is to buy something off Amazon, so there is nothing putting people off. With more and more people shopping online, more and more people will give to crowdfunder campaigns.

Media, Social Media and YouTube have made it so easy now to let people know about your project and to encourage people to support it. On social media I think people share statuses and links a lot more with other people now, so by putting something online it can quickly be spread and be seen by 1000s of people who you don’t know or will never meet. I have had so many people donate to my crowdfunder that I have never met, which I think is amazing. It touches me when my story touches people that have never met me and they feel so supportive of the project that they feel led to give. This is when crowdfunding is at its best, as it shouldn’t be just friend funding.

Media is a powerful tool

Regardless of what you are raising money for, media is such a powerful tool. Media has the ability to shape our opinions and can encourage us in to action. Well-worded statuses and well-created media can be the difference most of the time between people giving and not giving. Even though I passionately believe in my cause, sometimes media is that powerful that if done well it doesn’t matter what the cause is.

With social media everyone is watching and can watch what you do, so when you start a campaign like a crowdfunder, organisations like news companies, magazines, blogs etc. can pick up on your campaign as they are actively scouring the internet for stories. By this happening you can get coverage for your project and have it exposed to wider audiences.

I am so happy I got in to the crowdfunding game and I hope this project is the start of many more in the future. Crowdfunding is something which is evolving and an industry where there is lots to learn and I would love to experiment further with it.

Keep it Simple

Embed from Getty Images

There are many of us out there (me included) that would love to impact and change the world. There are people with big goals and lots of things they would like to achieve or change about the world in which we live. The problem is that a lot of these ambitions are so hard to achieve, that many people give up. My message today is – if you want to impact the world, start with something simple.

If you read my blog regularly you will remember my blog about the crowdfunding page, that was set up to help a football fan that was attacked after a game:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/dont-just-read-the-news-react-to-it/

This was a simple idea, which not only ended up providing financial support for him but also worked as a platform to unite football fans and to send messages of hope. From one goal, which was to raise money, many other things were achieved. It shows you that if you focus on one thing you can still achieve more things than you intended to.

Focus

The simpler we keep things the easier they are to achieve. If you keep your project or message simple, more people will be able to get on board and identify with it. To keep your idea simple you need to really focus on what is the one most important thing you want to achieve and think about the simplest way of achieving it.

My wife and I were at an event on the weekend and we heard a man talking about research in to Parkinson’s disease. This man was interested in gaining stats and information, so he set up a programme which records people voices through a phone app in which now thousands of people have contributed. This man was interested in vocal patterns and came up with an idea that was simple and easy for people to contribute to. People were willing to give of their time to record their voices as it was a simple exercise, wasn’t time consuming and could be done from anywhere in the world.

Action

I think before you start setting up groups, charities, NGO’s and not for profit companies, it is important to put a simple project in to action first and see how it goes. The project and what you want to achieve from it should be the focus, your time at the beginning of an idea should be to test it if it works or can have an impact, before you get caught up in paper work, committees and legalities.

I would much rather do one thing amazingly well, than doing good at a lot of things. I think if you focus on one thing you increase your chances of making a difference in this world. It is important to stick to what you care about and not get sidetracked from that path, the more you get sidetracked in to other things the less likely you are to achieve your goal.

Investing

Investing time at the beginning to really think your ideas through is key. If you can invest time to make your ideas as simple as possible, you start on the right foot. From then on it is up to you to make sure you keep to your plans and always keep things simple, this will save you from being overwhelmed, giving up or taking longer to achieve what you want to achieve.

Are businesses ruining the name of crowdfunding?

Embed from Getty Images

Over the last year I have grown quite tired of seeing companies and businesses asking their fans to bail them out of bad financial positions and using crowdfunding as their vehicle to do this.

Crowd funding websites and services, like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder, have led this growth market, that sees people pledging money to support projects and ideas that they are passionate about:

https://www.kickstarter.com/

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/

I think these services are great for people or organisations that don’t have the resources to accept their own donations and have no other way of raising money. I love going on these sites and seeing people trying to gain support for ideas they are passionate about, people that are trying to make something happen and aren’t letting their dreams or ideas go to waste.

Crowdfunding to save a business

The one thing I detest though, is when I see established businesses who have fallen on hard times who use crowdfunding just to stay afloat. These organisations ask their customers, supporters and fans who have paid in to their organisation for years by consuming their products or services, to then hand over even more money, just for the privilege to continue paying for their products or services.

These businesses, when they ask to be bailed out by supporters are normally ran and owned by people, who have a better quality of life and are in more privileged positions than the people they are asking to put their hands in their pockets. In these situations they are asking for more loyalty from their supporters, but yet these supporters haven’t been treated with any loyalty by the business.

It would be one thing if the business asking for money were offering you the chance to fund something tangible, like a new building or a new scheme but to simply say we have run our organization badly, have got ourselves in to debt and now want you to pay it off is staggeringly poor. If I were to get myself in to debt, I couldn’t set up a crowdfunding page asking members of the public to pay off my debt that I incurred through poorly managing my finances.

Abusing loyalty

I also take a dislike to when social media campaigns start up saying something along the lines of save our organisation, club or company. The way to have save it would have been to run it better in the first place, the horse has already bolted on the easiest way to save it.

If you are a for profit company, you should live or die on the strength of your business and your plans. As a business you shouldn’t let yourself get in to a position where the only thing that can save you is the public’s generosity.

Charities – the original crowdfunders

If you are looking for the public’s generosity to survive, you should be running a charity not a business. Charities are the original crowdfunding platform and have been doing crowdfunding even before anyone had the term crowdfunding. That’s why I love charities and happily donate to them, as by donating you are supporting a cause that you feel passionately about and are doing something to help that cause. You give, knowing that your money is going to fight a battle that can’t be supported in any other way and that the organisation aren’t just using your investment to generate profits for people.

I would implore crowdfunding services to stop businesses using this source of moneymaking to get them out of financial problems. I would also like to implore the businesses themselves to look at other ways of raising capital to get themselves out of trouble, rather than take money away from projects and ideas that could really do with the support.

Support

If you have the spare money and you feel the urge to crowdfund something, please go on to one of the many crowdfunding sites that are out there and find something that inspires you to support. By doing this you can make sure your money is going to help make someone’s dreams come true and that you are investing in something new that you want to see happen, done by someone that couldn’t make it happen in any other way.

Ideas

Those that know me, know that I come up with quite a few ideas everyday, not all of them are good, but my mind is constantly working and thinking of them. I think there is something inside most of us that likes coming up with ideas. These ideas could be from the mundane – like thinking of a different route to get to work, to the extraordinary – like a technological advance that could save lives.

Every idea that is positive should be cherished and although not every idea should be put in to action, we should all be encouraging each other to keep coming up with ideas.

Sharing

The sad thing is so many ideas aren’t shared with anyone, let alone the world. So many ideas are stored inside the population of this world that nobody knows about. If we knew about just a small percentage of them I’m sure we could make some serious change in this world.

I’m quite different to many people as I like sharing ideas. I love to freely share ideas in conversation with people I know, whether they are something I am working on, planning on working on or not doing anything with. I think sharing your own ideas with others is great, as it can encourage them to start thinking about their own ideas and talking about your ideas can also encourage you to do something about them. It may just be, that the person you share your idea with has some insight or advice that can help you make that idea a reality.

One thing that happens to me a lot, is that I get ideas for other people or ideas I think that other people can use. When this happens I will normally email the person or organisation explaining the idea. After that its up to them what they do with it and if they don’t get back in touch I just move on to the next idea but if they do reply, I will do what I can to help get that idea going. I know I probably annoy a lot of people when I do this, as they have probably already thought of or tried the ideas I share. They may even think I don’t know what I am talking about or trying to tell them how to do their job better. I just always send them in the hope that they don’t think these things of me and that they appreciate the thought.

Embed from Getty Images

Scared

The reason many people don’t share their ideas is because they are scared to do it. For most people I think it’s the fear of people thinking that their idea is stupid or that they are stupid for having it. If you build up an idea in your head that you think is great and someone else says it is rubbish, which can hurt you a lot. There are too many people in this world that just go with the flow and too many people that want to stop other people from achieving. The easiest way for people to suppress others, to stop people standing out and getting ahead of them is to stamp on any idea they have.

Some people are scared to share their ideas, as they are scared that other people will steal them and claim them for their own. To me, I think you know your ideas are great when others are trying to steal them, so it doesn’t bother me. I would always rather see my ideas being used and out there, even if it isn’t me that is the one that gets to use them.

For others the idea may be so hard to pull off that they don’t want to share it, incase they fail at it and are seen as a failure. I think this world has the wrong view on what failure is, as I think failure is never trying not being unsuccessful at something you try.

Action

I have spoken to quite a few people in life that talk about big successful companies and projects that other people are running and they claim they had the idea first. The problem is that these people either told no one about their idea or didn’t have the get up and go to do it themselves. You have to remember that to be successful, ideas need action.

Sometimes in life, people have ideas that they have the necessary will power and means to make happen, but in many cases those with ideas don’t possess these things. This is when if you truly believe in your idea and want it to happen you have to get support or entrust it to someone else. The main thing should always be that the idea becomes a reality, how it happens should be less important.

I think at some point in life we are all given ideas that we don’t have the knowledge, experience or contacts to make happen and there is nothing wrong with this. In these situations the only way your ideas will happen is by sharing and that strength to share could be what changes the world. On the other side not everyone who has skills and experience has the right ideas for their field so they may be hoping for someone like you to come along. If you can get people who have the right tools as passionate as you are about your idea, then that will be a partnership that could push your idea further than you ever thought possible.

What I want to be and hope others want to be as well

I just want to be someone that said something, that did something and that didn’t sit on the fence. I don’t want to be a person that wishes they had have said something, did something and didn’t sit on the fence. I want to be someone that tried to and hopefully someone that did positively impact something or someone for the better. All I can hope is that some people who read this blog will want to be and want to do the same.