Are You An Author—Or An “Idea Entrepreneur”?

“The idea entrepreneur is an individual, usually a content expert and often a maverick, whose main goal is to influence how other people think and behave in relation to their cherished topic.”

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Does this definition from John Butman describe you? He says that idea entrepreneurs:

  • Play many roles, including writer, speaker, teacher, entertainer, and coach.
  • Create “platforms of expression”—such as speaking, consulting, and publishing—to influence people and make a living.
  • Suggest practical ways to implement their ideas.
  • Create alliances and build networks.
  • Embody their ideas—that is, practice what they preach.

In another post, Butman lists six questions to ask if you want to become an idea entrepreneur. One of them is “Do I have enough supporting material?” This is critical, Butman notes, because:

An idea has to be expressed in different ways for people to understand it as fully as possible, and in their individual way. You need to build out your idea with analysis, stories, facts and data, references, and examples. George Stalk, the strategy expert, has a rule of thumb for accumulation: gather enough material so you can talk about your idea for a full day — and keep your audience interested. The richer the understanding of an idea, the more meaning it will have for people.

This is where creating a commonplace book helps you. You develop a habit of capturing those examples, facts, references, stories, and studies as you find them. Using this rich and constantly expanding mine of material will boost the power of your message and enhance your credibility.

Take your work to another level by transforming the contents of your commonplace book into published works. As I’ve noted here, writing a book is the medium par excellence for developing your content and doing thorough crap detection. (For this purpose, writing works much better than speaking.)

Author Ben Casnocha puts it this way:

… a book’s linear, static format, and the expectations around the length and detail and substance of what’s inside of a book, collectively force upon the creative process a rigor unmatched in other mediums.

Bottom line: If you want to think powerfully, influence people, and create a legacy of living ideas, then keep a commonplace book and use it to fuel your writing.

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