Entrepreneur Derek Sivers once said that ideas are worth nothing unless executed well. They are just a multiplier:
“The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000”
The question I’d like to answer today is, what are bad ideas worth when horribly executed? ;)
To answer that, we have to rewind 3 weeks back when we had a guest on our podcast (Carrie Olsen) to talk about the incredible world of voice over acting. Which, in a nut shell, is about getting paid to talk. And getting paid a LOT, at that. (You might remember Carrie from our side hustle series here too: How to make money doing voiceover work!)
All was business as usual with Paula and I peppering her with questions all the while wondering if we, too, could become successful actors as well, but somewhere in the middle I jokingly said that someone should corner the market for BAD voice over actors as I’d be pretty good at that ;) Particularly because weeks before I had been called a “a clueless 16 year old valley girl” – and not in a good way.
The idea got some laughs, and rightfully so, but as the show ended I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I actually did end up building something around it.
So I did! Introducing, BadVoices.com! Haha…
But while the joke should have ended there, I was pleasantly surprised to see the following turn up in my inbox two weeks later:
YES!! My first client! I couldn’t tell if it was a joke or not, with Derek being a prankster as well as the less-beautiful half to Carrie Olsen, but he assured me it was not and so I got down to business.
A half an hour in the “studio” later (ie my home office) these gems were produced:
- How Do I Money v1
- How Do I Money v2
- How Do I Money v3
- How Do I Money v4
- How Do I Money v5
- How Do I Money *Bonus*
Now notice that I provided him 6 voices, even though he only requested 3. That’s what I like to call “customer service,” because if there’s one thing Bad Voices stands for, it’s good quality ;) And just to be doubly sure, I made a backup of 6 even worse voices too in case the first batch wasn’t bad enough. (Now don’t anyone go out and snag WorseVoices.com! I will find you!!!)
At this point I’ve probably wasted a solid 2 hours on this idea, but my excitement levels were through the roof and I didn’t even have to get paid for it – I was having a blast! So I sent him the files, and then got back to doing “real” work again… You know, like blogging and sending gifs on Twitter.
But the very next day…
And just like that I became a paid actor! Did you catch that incredible testimonial too?
That was terrible. Thanks. -Derek
My very first satisfied customer, and I couldn’t be prouder! And to prove my street cred in the industry, I of course had to add it up onto the website: BadVoices.com. Business 101 right there, baby.
So… A stupid idea, a couple of wasted hours, a barrel of fun, and $5 extra dollars to my name. What can be gleamed from all this?
I’m glad you asked.
First, wasting time having fun is better than wasting time doing nonsense :) We all avoid doing work, but what things do you fill it with? TV? Facebook? Reading? Some answers are better than others, and I’d like to think that flexing your creative muscles is one of the better ones. And not just so I can justify the slew of other one-pagers I’ve built over time:
[Amazingly, none of them have ever taken off?]
Second, not all projects are meant to make money. Sometimes you just have to do things because they’re fun, and if you happen to figure out how to get paid for it, even better. In fact, those are the projects/hustles/careers that are some of the best as you’re leading with your *heart* vs the money! This blog being a prime example of that as I spent hundreds of hours without even realizing you could get paid to do it, haha… So as much as we’re a community focused on building wealth and making that money, there’s plenty of room in life to do stuff out of pure joy itself.
Third, if you are trying to make money from something, ask people for money! Now obviously this idea here is a piss poor example of this, but if I didn’t ask for the $5.00 I wouldn’t have gotten the $5.00. I was just doing it to entertain myself of course, but you’d be amazed at how many people WANT clients and to build businesses around their (sane) ideas, but who never put out the “ask.” And when they do, they low ball themselves. That’s a whole other topic for a whole other day, but if you want to get paid to help someone with something, don’t forget to ask for it or the answer is always no.
Fourth, and along this same note, it’s perfectly fine to sell someone an idea before it’s created. The only way to tell if someone will want your product or service is to ask them to pony up for it first. There’s no point in spending gobs of time and money on something only to find out no one wants it later! Throw it out to the world first and *then* worry about how you’re going to pull it off. Many a businesses have been built off doing the asking first, and the building/supplying of the product after.
Fifth, you never know who will want your services! As ridiculous as this Bad Voices thing is, someone else just as ridiculous as me very much wanted it for his own semi-ridiculous project ;) HowDoIMoney.com and its forthcoming podcast are very sarcastically skewed, so it’s the perfect match up of ideas. Whether or not Derek actually goes forward with these horrible voices of mine remain to be seen, but at least I already got his money!
Lastly, experiments make for good stories :) $5.00 and a couple of hours is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but my goodness did it totally make my week and allow me to work on this random article to boot. As crazy as it sounds, I had more fun playing along with all this than I did making $600 the other month writing an article for someone!
So again, there’s something to be said about incorporating a little silliness into your lives and not being all business 24/7. We’ll reach our financial and professional goals over time, but it’ll happen a lot sooner if we don’t burn out in the process.
And if you’re lucky, you might even create the next BadVoices.com ;) (But never WorseVoices!)
***UPDATE*** My first bad voice over makes its debut! See if you can spot it in the first 30 seconds: How Do I Money Podcast: Episode 001 :)
PS: Interestingly enough, the one voice I couldn’t do in my recordings was that of a 16 y/o valley girl! This stuff is a lot harder than it looks!