It happens to the best of us: your brain simply won’t generate new ideas. Perhaps you’ve been drawing upon your creative juices more than usual lately because of school projects. Or maybe you’ve been forced to deal with a lot of problem-solving lately (another form of creativity). Is it finals season? Finals on top of your team’s playoff season? On top of your parents needing you to pitch in more at home?
A creative block can be frustrating. For young entrepreneurs, especially, it can feel like a dead-end. The desire to build a start-up is there, but your mind draws blanks. Your school already has more than enough babysitters, tutors, lawn mowers, and errand services. Why can’t you think of something else to try?
Here are three things to consider as you prepare to beat that creative block, as well as five concrete things you can do right now to get the juices flowing.
WHAT ARE YOUR PAIN POINTS?
Firstly, what are some problems you have in your life that need to be solved? Which solutions have you tried that don’t quite fit for you?
Check out this quote from Mint.com founder Aaron Patzer:
“The advice I have for entrepreneurs is…No. 1, you need to solve a real problem. I look for those problems in my own life. Mint was because I had a challenge managing my own finances using Quicken and Microsoft Money. So I built it for myself.”
There are several tips to note in this one quote. First, Mr. Patzer had a real problem that needed to be solved. Wanting to be rich is not a real problem. Being chronically late to school is a real problem.
Second, Mr. Patzer had already tried two of the most common solutions to his problem. But they didn’t work for him. If your problem is constant tardiness, maybe you’ve already tried waking up earlier. Is that working for you? No? So, what will work for you? Perhaps you can create an app that will count down the minutes between when you roll out of bed and when you need to be inside the school building. That countdown can include tips like, “Remember to do this,” and “You should be done with that by now.”
This is your unique solution. Your problems likely plague others, too. And setting a series of alarms isn’t helpful. That’s why you need the app – and so do your future customers!
BUILD FOR THE FUTURE
Young entrepreneurs like you are going to take over the world. Many of you are already well on your way to world domination! So this is a great time to think about what that future should look like.
Look around at existing problems and think long-term about the way those problems should be solved. Do you have a great idea for more accurate facial recognition technology? Or a more efficient method of cleaning up the oceans? Long-term solutions start right now. They start with you!
As you mull over the future, look at current changes in trends and behaviors. Notice the difference between the way people act, spend, and work right now as opposed to five, ten, fifty years ago. Where do you see that natural progression going? And how can you help shape that direction?
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Share your passion with the world!
Think about the best part of your day. The part that you most look forward to, the part you most enjoy when you’re in it, and the part that makes you happiest upon reflection. What do you love to talk about? What subject or activity is it that drives your friends and family crazy because you never shut up about it?
Think about your hobbies and the things that help you relax after a long day.
Entrepreneurship is an investment of your time and energy. Why start something you don’t truly care about? If you’re passionate about a thing, chances are you will be more willing to stick with your startup even during the low points. Also, your energy will leak out to your team members, investors, and customers.
No matter what your passion is, there is likely a way to turn it into a business. Young entrepreneurs see opportunities everywhere. Love basketball? Start a private coaching business for local kids. (Never underestimate a parent’s desire to give their children a competitive edge!) Devoted to the environment? Help local businesses go green.
OK, so maybe you’ve tried all three of these and the creative well in your mind is still coming up dry. Here are five things you can do right now that may help prime the pump.
- Let go of your fear.
- The first step is a leap of faith. Once you overcome that hurdle, the rest is cake. The only guaranteed way to fail is to never even try.
- Think of this as clearing out the brain clutter so you can bring new ideas into sharper focus. There is no shortage of free meditation apps out there. Choose one that feels good to you, set aside about 10 minutes somewhere quiet (or quiet-ish), and hit the “refresh” button on your mind.
- A healthy body = a healthy mind. A little bit of movement can recharge your battery and detox the junk that’s no longer working for you.
- Take a shower.
- Have you ever noticed that you feel smarter in the shower? The steam and warm water are great for your creative juices. Think of a shower as literally cleaning out your mind.
- Write stuff down.
- All your “maybes,” and all your “what ifs?” Write them down. You never know when one of those ideas, which may seem ridiculous now, will become your massive hit.
At the end of the day, go easy on yourself. Recognize that creative blocks are super common. They’re also super temporary. You’re a young entrepreneur. You got this!
Florida’s young entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Learn more by clicking here!