If you want to never, ever run out of ideas, here’s my top tip. Two top tips, actually.
Firstly, pay attention. Never stop reading and watching. Read everything, anything, that crosses your path. Watch people. Listen to people. Listen to radio programmes, to podcasts, to conversations you overhear.
Secondly, look at everything from a different point of view. Don’t just take things at face value and accept them; question everything. (Actually, this is a good life skill, too. Most people never empathise.)
Why is Thing A the way it is?
Why did Fred Bloggs do that thing?
What’s her motivation?
What lies beneath that decision?
How can I take Thing D and do something different with it?
That’s what the best artists do. The best writers. The best business owners. They’re always looking for an alternative, a different angle, something fascinating — even if in just a tiny way.
Of course, sometimes they do something stupendous, too, like Israeli artist Sigalit Landau.
She drowned a black gown in the Dead Sea for 2 months to see what would happen and created Salt Bride.
The gown is magical — a piece from a fairytale. You can see the story here.
She told the story of the crystallisation of the gown in a series of 8 photographs and she got the idea from a play. S. Ansky’s 1916 play called Dybbuk, about a young Hasidic woman who was possessed by the spirit of her dead lover. Landau’s black gown is a replica of the one worn in the play in the 1920s.
This is what I mean when I say I think about things from a different angle. Everything sparks off an idea. Everything can be unique, even in the smallest way.
Including your business, your products, and your services.
But it’s the thing most small business owners struggle with. Even if they have that point of difference, it doesn’t show through in their marketing and communications. Perhaps because they’re not sure of their voice. Perhaps because they’re afraid, because to be real, to be different, is to be vulnerable. It’s to stick your head above the parapet and make yourself a target.
But let me promise you this: it’s worth it.
Not sure where to start? Feeling lost and confused? Never fear, you can Borrow My Brain.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS Here’s what Julian had to say after he came to Borrow My Brain:
“I really liked having you do the thinking for me and walking away with specific, actionable ideas. If you’ve got a problem in your business that you’re not sure how to solve, talk to Vicky.