If you share enough good ideas with the right people, you will generate wealth as a natural side effect of exercising your idea muscle — and from your innate desire to help others.
Nine years ago I was looking at the website of an innovative outsourcing company in India.
They had a very cool website and an office in the United States. They also had some well-known, major clients in the publishing industry. But the website contained some serious writing errors that needed to be fixed.
I wrote them a short email saying that I liked their website very much, and pointed out some of the mistakes. I also mentioned that book publishers are super-conscious about any kind of spelling or grammatical errors. Since those kinds of errors on the website could seriously hurt their business and their ability to attract new clients, they should have them corrected.
To my surprise, the president of the company wrote back to me within twenty-four hours. He sent a thankful note and asked if I could edit the copy on the entire website, so it would be 100% error-free and in proper English.
I did that for $500 over one weekend.
A few months later, they wrote back to me, and hired me again to do some research into competitors and to rewrite the entire website and some press releases. It was a large job and came to $8,887.
So that first email I shared with them earned me over $9,000. And I wasn’t even trying to get any work from them. I was just trying to be helpful.
How That Email Led Me to Make Thousands of Dollars More
When I was rewriting their website, I needed a process to make sure that their marketing message was as strong as possible. So I developed something called Core Message Analysis.
The Core Message Analysis process analyzes all the selling points of a business, ranks them in terms of their importance, and then uses those selling points to create the central marketing copy for the entire business. It presents the analysis of the selling points and all the marketing copy in a single, professionally formatted document, called a Core Message Report.
Of course, I didn’t charge my client for creating this new service. But I did give them the Core Message Report for free, and I did use this company as my first case study (complete with before and after photos of their website).
In the years that followed, my Core Message Analysis offering brought in thousands of extra dollars in work. I developed Core Message Analysis into a new business, and used the process on all of my copywriting projects — even smaller jobs.
Those thousands of extra dollars in income all came, ultimately, from writing that one simple email, with exactly zero in the way of expectations. I liked their website and was just trying to be helpful. One idea then led to another.
Without any expectations or any plan, I went from writing an email to becoming a marketing consultant.
Turning Ideas into Income
James Altucher has made a career out of writing down ten good ideas for companies and giving them away for free. He sends those lists of ideas out to people he’d like to connect with and waits to see what happens. Often no one will respond. But those who do respond make up for the ones who don’t.
Based on my own experience, I’m sure this could work for you, too, if the ideas you share out are really good ones (and if you present the ideas in the right way).
In the most amazing example I know of, James Altucher sent Jim Cramer a list of ten article topics that Cramer could write about for his website, TheStreet.com. Cramer liked the ideas so much that he asked Altucher to write the articles instead. That’s how Altucher became a columnist for TheStreet.com, about a decade ago.
Once he had his foot in the door, James Altucher developed a social media website for picking stocks. It cost him $2,000 to launch the website — and within twelve months, he had sold it to TheStreet.com for $10 million.
I’ve written a short guide on how to get started generating ideas on a daily basis, called Brainstorm Every Day, which you can download by clicking here.
Once you get skilled at generating ideas, you can start sending them to companies and trying to help others. Just be sure to do it in the right way. In other words, don’t make the kinds of mistakes that James and Claudia Altucher discuss in the recordings below.
— D.R. Fideler
- James and Claudia Altucher on how NOT to share ideas with others, Part I: Ask Altucher 307: What if All My Ideas Are Rejected? (click on link to listen). An essential 10-minute podcast on how to share ideas with others.
- James Altucher on how NOT to share ideas with others, Part II: Ask Altucher Episode 301: How to Get People to Listen to Your Ideas (click on link to listen). Even James can get it wrong. Listen to this funny story about how he blew it … and learn how to avoid the same mistakes (11 minutes).
- Ask Altucher Episode 242: Can You Really Make Money Giving All Your Ideas Away? (17 minutes). The answer is yes: but don’t expect someone to just write you a check for your ideas. Helping others is a way of life. By offering value to others, you will plant seeds and generate reciprocity.
Free Download: Click here to download my free guide, Brainstorm Every Day: How to Supercharge Your Life, Work, and Creativity by Writing Down 10 New Ideas Every Day.