3 Next Steps for an Entrepreneur Without an Idea

At last night’s Startup + Student Connection event a number of ambitious students came up after my talk and expressed interest in becoming an entrepreneur. Naturally, I asked why they hadn’t started a company already. Of course, the standard response was that they didn’t have a good idea. My response was either to a) start an eBay store to learn some basic entrepreneurial skills or b) build a personal brand that will help your future company.

Here are the first three steps for building a personal brand:

  1. Register the domain name of your personal name at Namecheap or GoDaddy
  2. Create a free blog at WordPress.com that uses your personal domain name
  3. Start blogging and tweeting on a regular basis about things you’re passionate about as well as ideas to make things better

How does a personal brand fit in with being an entrepreneur? Brand awareness helps with recruiting team members, validating ideas, finding potential prospects, raising money, and a number of other things. Plus, regardless of being an entrepreneur or not, it helps with any endeavors in life. So, the next time a potential entrepreneur expresses interest in starting a company but doesn’t have an idea, tell them to start working on their personal brand.

What else? What are your thoughts on these three next steps for an entrepreneur without an idea?

11 thoughts on “3 Next Steps for an Entrepreneur Without an Idea

  1. Hi David! I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across this blog post, because I am new to WordPress for this exact reason. My husband and I are aspiring entrepreneurs without an idea. Feeling frustrated and eager to put in some actual work towards our goals, we decided to start this blog to begin networking and to connect with people we can learn from. With that being said, I appreciate your affirmation that starting this WordPress was a step in the right direction and wonder if you may be able to provide any additional advice for a beginner like myself?

  2. I would add “Start building intellectual capital for that personal brand.” It will save your tail in the future.

    Human Capital: Start reading a book a week. Make learning as routine as brushing your teeth. Sit at the feet of wise authors and let them rewire how you think.
    Structural Capital: Start optimizing your life. Whether it’s inbox zero, a process for getting thank you cards out quickly, or paying someone on Fiverr to rip this blog into a pdf so you can read the whole thing, being a ninja at life will come in handy for any entrepreneur.
    Relational Capital: The first two should help lead to this one. I finally crossed 500 connections on LinkedIn a couple of months ago. At least 450 of them are authentic, deep connections with people who would go out of their way to see me succeed. Often times it meant donating my time or remembering to write those pesky thank you notes, but this has been the most valuable by far.

    Money can be raised overnight. These three cannot.

    1. @Daniel, great response.
      @David, great post. I am going to do a post that is a derivative of this.

      I would also advise getting involved in the local start-up or interactive community. Atlanta is going through something special at the moment. It is a great time to get involved and there are countless opportunities to learn and connect with others.



  3. I think this is great advice. I would only add that you need to engage with others (not just broadcasting your brand, but following other like-minded blogs and start a conversation; learn from each other. I look forward to reading more posts from you!

  4. What about just identifying a group of people (moms in Atlanta) or group of companies (physical therapy practices in Atlanta). Make a list of 100. Email them and call them, tell them you are an entrepreneur who is trying to help them. Ask them what their biggest problem is. Keep asking why until you get to root cause. Ask them how they are trying to solve the problem now and what they like/don’t like about it. Ask them what items in their email, calendar and task list they dread doing right now. Then develop a solution, get beta customers and build the solution.

    Blogging and building a personal brand is great and can be a form of giving and value creation but doing rather than talking is most important.

  5. So I kinda went down this path a while back and can attest that it is not a bad plan of action. It begs the question about what to do about concept generation. It is the single thing I find most challenging about getting started.

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