Personal Development

Monetize Ideas

Monetizing great ideas

Monetize IdeasWe all have them. That great idea where we wonder, “Why hasn’t anyone else ever thought of this?” We come up with the idea, product or service that is just so practical that it is bound to be worth a fortune. But then what? How do we monetize this great idea for our own benefit and the benefit of society on a whole?

This has been a question on my mind a lot lately – as I am sure it is on the mind of every entrepreneur creating a start-up. The problem is that there is no clear cut answer that works in every situation. Many companies and individuals have turned to patents to protect their intellectual property. This however has also led to abuse of the patent system by companies who produce no products but own patents for the sole purpose of suing or settling with whoever infringes on these patents in the future. While this may benefit the patent holder the process, as it is now, stiffles innovation and may actually be detrimental to society on a whole.

I am convinced that the key to monetizing great ideas is to have the right team of people on your side. This does not need to be a team of experts but it does help to have people knowlegable enough in their fields to help you make the difficult decisions. These fields do not have to be strictly academic either. The motivator to provide the encouragement that keeps you going when success seems far away. The investor who has enough faith in you to provide financial support. The advisor who knows the industry and the challenges you are likely to face. The family members who uderstand the long hours and demands of running your own business.

Ultimately, before you can monetize your idea, you have to believe in it. You also have to be able to convince others to believe in your idea. Great ideas are the backbone of innovation and are usually accompanied by an extended family of not-so-great ideas. Even before your great idea has emerged you can begin working on your support team that will help you bring your idea into fruition.

Changing Workflow

Increasing productivity by changing workflow

Plan AheadOften it is not just what we do that makes us efficient but how we do it. Automation revolutionized factory work because machines could do the same jobs of humans quicker and more reliably. Humans  do not need to be replaced by machines to improve efficiency though. By simply tweaking our workflow we can become more productive and make our jobs less stressful. Here are a few tips for improving your workflow.

1. Plan Ahead

Preparation is an important yet often overlooked factor in improving  workflow. Having a plan allows you to be proactive rather than reactive. You can plan how your work should be done as well as create contingency plans for the many times things do not go as planned. This preparation can increase confidence and save time in the long run because you are not simply responding to situations that were never considered before.

2. Change the order in which you do tasks

A simple change in the order in which tasks are performed can increase both productivity and job satisfaction. Generating complex weekly reports on Friday afternoon may seem logical but Friday afternoons may not be the time that you are at your productive peak. Generating the reports in the morning and doing less challenging tasks in the afternoon may put you in a better mood for the weekend and allow you to use your time more effectively.

3. Keep track of accomplishments

It is easy to get discouraged and forget the many tasks that you have accomplished. A simple checklist or some other form of documentation can help you in down times to recognize exactly how valuable your contributions are. Keeping tabs of the tasks you accomplish and when they are completed can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can modify your workflow accordingly.

4. Collaborate

As comfortable as you may be working alone it often requires a diverse team to achieve goals. Every team member has a specialty and different point of view. These resources in addition to the time that more people can put into a project makes collaboration an important tool which affects workflow.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but can be a good start for increasing your productivity and becoming more efficient at your job. Changing your workflow may also affect your mood and your attitude so there are also personal benefits to improving the way you do regular tasks.


Creating What You Need

Spirit of an Entrepreneur: Creating what you need

Entrepreneur SpiritMany entrepreneurship stories originate from a need that is not satisfied or not adequately satisfied. When trying to find the product that you need you may find out that it doesn’t exist and decide to create it yourself. Alternatively, the product may already exist but may not function as you would like it to do. To create what you need requires resources which could include knowledge, finance or creativity. If you have the time and the resources this is a great opportunity to create what you need yourself and possibly satisfy the needs of a specific target audience.

Since my field of experience is in website development I enjoy creating websites that can solve client needs. Sometimes a feature that is required needs to be developed because there is no plugin or add-on that can accurately perform the desired function. Some applications also have to be custom built to cater for very specific client needs. The same kind of situation can occur in many other fields where creativity must be used to satisfy the demands of the job.

Every entrepreneurship story is not a success story though. Many ideas, products and businesses fail and this is the major risk of entrepreneurship. If you have the confidence and perseverance to invest in creating the solution to a problem it can be a satisfying and rewarding experience. Facebook and Google are just two examples of eventual success that required multiple iterations of ideas before finally flourishing. Do not be afraid to explore your entrepreneurial spirit and develop the products and services that society needs or does not yet know it needs.

Informal Education

Benefits of informal education

Informal EducationHaving just completed my Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Design & Development I am very grateful for my formal education. Going to school and interacting with classmates and an instructor while going through course material is a very helpful experience. Despite this though, there are many benefits of teaching yourself and utilizing informal sources of education.

Informal education allows you to choose your field of study and pace of study without the financial responsibilities of formal education. It also has no age restrictions. I was able to learn website design on my own without any formal schooling and I know many capable people who accomplish technical tasks that they have never studied in school. If you do decide to pursue your passion and get a formal education your informal education can also help you in your courses and classes and give you a competitive advantage.

I would encourage anyone interested in a field to taker control of their education. The internet is a treasure trove of information on a wide variety of topics. The library, books and experienced professionals are also great resources for finding the information you are interested in. If you find school in general boring or certain subjects boring choosing what you study can make the experience more bearable and it may actually be more fun than expected.

Brand You

Developing Your Brand

nathvibe logoEveryone has a brand, whether you  recognize it or not. Just as you have a personality that defines you and makes you unique, your brand is a representation of you. At SeizerStyle Designs I design graphics and websites to help visually represent  business and personal brands. nathvibe is my personal brand and was created to represent me and as an avenue for sharing my work and thoughts.

Why you need to develop your brand

When I was first asked to create a brand that represents me as part of a graphics design course I was apprehensive because I did not understand the purpose of such an exercise. I am who I am so why should I create a separate brand? Isn’t that redundant? It turns out, however, that a well developed brand  is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal. Here are some benefits a brand offers:

  • It is easier to market a brand than a person because a person is judged by attributes that may be irrelevant to the brand (relationship status, age, religious views, political views, etc)
  • A brand can outlive a single person and can be shared by a group of like-minded people
  • You can have multiple brands to represent different aspects of your life
  • Brands are disposable so unsuccessful and obsolete brands can be dropped or changed

The self searching required to decide what your brand will be, what it will represent and how it should be portrayed helps you to create purpose and direction for your personal or business endeavours. Your brand should have a vision, mission and core values which are aligned with the ultimate goals of the brand. These goals will be used to evaluate the success your brand and help you remain focused on what you want to achieve. Ultimately you are in control of your brand and a good brand creates value via its reputation. A reputation that can be separated from your personal life to provide some level of privacy. Do you already have a brand? Are you thinking of creating one? Comment and let me know or share your own personal branding tips.