One Way to Test an Idea

If I have an idea for a business or something else, I try to write it down, or record it in my notes app on my iPhone. One thing I had written down at one point was to write a book about the career paths of various business professionals and entrepreneurs. Additionally, I had begun to compile a list of short and succinct pieces of career advice that I had received from those I had interacted with in my work life. Some were customers, some were coworkers. I didn’t necessarily know what I was going to do with this information but I didn’t want to forget it.

Gradual Progression

So naturally I decided to blog about some of these quotes. In July of 2019, I decided to transition from a free Wix site with a long url to a WordPress.com blog site, which allowed me to have an real looking web address. Ablogaboutbusiness.com is still live today! In fact my fourth post, titled Be a Farmer, was structured around a piece of sales advice I had received from my boss’ boss at a sales training. But in addition to getting quick one liner advice, I really had a desire to sit down with others and learn their stories in an interview type setting.

Using Family as a Guinea Pig for an Idea

Who better to make a guinea pig than a family member? My family and I were visiting my parents at their place in Arizona, and since my Dad owns his own business and I have a lot of respect for him, I asked him if he’d be willing to be interviewed by me. He agreed, being the good obliging father that he is (I think he genuinely wanted to!), and sat down with me for what I guess you could say would be the precursor to Career Yak! The equipment consisted of me using the recording app and built in mic on my iPhone, us talking in an echo filled and tile floored room, and me asking him some questions that I had previously jotted down in my journal. We then were interrupted, moved our conversation out to the patio, and encountered a Tucson thunderstorm (it was monsoon season!) that caused a bit of background noise. Needless to say the production part of the recording was professional grade.

Long story short, we finished our talk, I went back and edited it on my phone, my Dad and I both listened to it, and he gave me some feedback on the pros and the cons and what he’d do differently. I recorded it back during the summer of 2018, I blogged about it initially in February 2019 (you can still read my write up), and if you’ve listened to my podcast you’ll know that I didn’t publish my first full episode until November of 2019. So there was a gap of over a year between the trial interview and my podcast being published. But that was okay.

A Clip of My First Interview (Enjoy the Calming Rain)

Interview with Ken Goodwillie of Divine Design

Test the Waters and Continuously Learn

Could I have started my podcast sooner? Sure. But regardless of when I started it, the lessons I learned doing this real but casual interview with my Dad taught me so much. It gave me a taste of what interviewing someone was like. It gave me experience in prepping an outline. It helped me learn a bit about asking follow up questions. It taught me not to record podcast episodes in an open floorpan tile living room or during a thunderstorm. It taught me that I enjoy interviewing entrepreneurs and talking to them about business.

Sometimes people have an idea, and want to execute on that idea right away. Sometimes that is the right plan of action. But maybe you should consider testing the waters first in order to see if it is something you’d like to pursue. I started a business journal on a Word document to record ideas so they wouldn’t be forgotten. I enjoyed doing it, and later I started a simple blog online. I wanted to compile interviews with business people in some way. Did I get out of bed the next morning and call a book publisher or radio station to discuss my idea of interviewing professionals to learn career lessons? No… Instead I took a few hours during a day on my vacation to interview my Dad. The point is this: chew on and test out your idea in a small way first. Determine how realistic an idea is, and if it is something worth your time and that you actually want to do. And if it is, then keep pursuing it, keep learning, and continuously evaluate yourself and the idea as you progress. Maybe it will turn into something, maybe it won’t, but either way you will have hopefully learned valuable lessons during the process. The time spent is not wasted.

Check out the Career Yak Podcast!

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