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The David Chronicles: How To Take Action On A Crazy Idea

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by David Garland in David's Blog

The David Chronicles: How To Take Action On A Crazy IdeaNOTE: This is a new personal series I’m trying out to see if you like it, find it interesting, funny, helpful, whatever. It is no-punches-pulled, 100% ridiculously transparent. Based on the first installments (linked up at the bottom if you want to check them out), you want more. So, here it comes…muhahaha. Oh, and my book launched last week, just in case you missed it. Whoop.

Back to the saga (insert saga-like music). As with every entrepreneur, there are many chapters. Some are long. Some are short. Some are awesome. Some are terrible. But, with every chapter there is, of course, a beginning.

One of the most common questions I get is: “David, how the heck did you get a show on TV – let alone ABC?”

A quick catch-up. Here was the entrepreneurial rundown to date:

But of course, there is usually no shortage of ideas. There is shortage of action. I didn’t want to fall victim to not acting on an idea, so in August of 2008, here were the steps I took to take The Rise To The Top from a random idea to on air in October (less than two months).

Step #1: Map Out The Idea

I used simple mindmapping software (I’ll go back and check each one) to lay out the idea and overall vision of The Rise To The Top, plus ideas where it might lead.

Example of things on the list:

  • TV Show
  • Radio Show
  • Book/Products
  • Events
  • Online Community
  • Professional Speaking Opportunities

I then broke them down into even more specific categories, including ideas for the website (example: subscription options, how it might be look, the “feel”, etc.)

The mapping process was exciting. I would recommend doing it for a couple of reasons. First of all, it will get you organized. And secondly, (often overlooked but possibly even more important) you will feel if you are jazzed and energized when you lay it out. If you aren’t jazzed and energized, it is the wrong idea.

Step #2: Budgeting & Assemble A Small Team

I knew I needed a little bit of help and didn’t have the money (or need/want) for employees. So, I approached contractors. I had my savings ready to invest into the company (not a huge amount, but enough to get started).

Here were the early necessities to get it going:

  • A web developer/designer to create
  • An attorney (Jeff Michelman) to help me get everything set up properly and get my ducks in a row.
  • A production team to help shoot the show.

Sure, relationships/needs/wants/budget changes over time. My goal was to get it off the ground. I ended up shopping around a bit, but quickly. I wanted to find out how much everything would cost so I could make at least an estimated budget to get the show off the ground.

One thing I want to emphasize was the website. I didn’t want to skimp here (or, of course, waste time and money and create some kind of flashy garbage). Your website is your home online. And often the VERY first impression people have of you. I wanted it to reflect what I was building. Something with personality. Something unique. Something that was mine.

Step #3: Productive Hustling

How did I get contacts in the media to help get the show on air? By asking. I didn’t have any big media contacts or massive advantages.

So, I asked people that I knew. I said, “This is my idea for a non-boring creative entrepreneurship show. What do you think?”

And I would ask for a nudge in the right direction. One nudge from my attorney had me end up in the office of a top advertising executive. That meeting led to being in front of a TV producer. And the spiral began.

It wasn’t a formula. It was fueled by:

  • Excitement
  • Passion
  • A concrete idea
  • A time frame (“I want to get this off the ground before the end of the year!”)

The nudges turned into opportunities. The same lesson applied to sponsorships. I was able to raise about $100,000 before we shot a single episode of The Rise To The Top.

This money came from my personal savings (around $15,000). The rest came from sponsorships that I was able to raise.

How did I nab the sponsors? Same was as with pro inline hockey. It was a combination of asking, networking, and having concrete things to offer on the show (commercials, product placement, etc.).

Wrapping It Up

The show first aired in October of 2008. Sure, there were complications and struggles. Sure, it was difficult (more about that in an upcoming series). But it went from idea to air in about two months. And I was excited all the way.

The lesson? Come up with a system to take action on your ideas. Write it down. Rinse, wash, and repeat.

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8 Steps to Turning What You Already Know into a Successful Online Course

The 8 step process to the successful with online courses + free gifts for attending!

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