Flunking Entrepreneurship 101, finding passions, and Testing the Muse (My Personal Story)

Our Uncommon Purpose

Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about. – Ashleigh Brilliant

We all have a “million-dollar-idea” inside of us. They come to us in the shower, while driving, walking the dog, sometimes even in a dream. They can hit like a lightning bolt, and other times, are nothing more than a passing thought.

If you’re the type of person that writes them down, you just elevated yourself to the 90th percentile of successful people in this world (Welcome! You’re in good company). But if you take action, you’re not only among the top 1%, you’re at the tipping point of massive, life-changing potential.

Our Big Why

Since you’re reading this, you probably already recognize the infinite amount of potential all around us. Tiny ideas, from people like you and me, have created radical shifts in people’s lives around the world – whether generating passive income to help pay the bills, to massive successes that eclipse the average full-time income, to building organizations that feed, clothe, and educate those in need, literally changing the world for the better.

But if you’re not acting on your ideas, if you’re not testing concepts and implementing – whether through big leaps or small steps – you will continue to put your time, lifestyle and livelihood in the hands of someone else.

This blog exists to show you that validating your online business ideas is not only doable, it’s absolutely mandatory to move from Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur.

Testing the Muse is your community to help inspire and empower you to build something that is uniquely yours.

The Major Motivator

“Okay… all of that sounds pretty grandiose – but who the heck are you to tell me anything!?”

First of all, relax – we’re all friends here 😉  Secondly, allow me to introduce myself:

My name is Jonah Kelly – mid-thirties, best family ever and a solid career. Sounds great, right? It is! I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Unfortunately for me (and maybe others around me), I also have this burning in my belly that will-not-go-away.

The only way to describe it is to say: I know what’s possible.

Knowing that there’s more, a different way, what others have done before me (with less), and even knowing the path to get there – keeps me curious, motivated and implementing like crazy.

If this sounds like you, Join the Tribe here:

Where it All Began

Almost the moment I started University in the late ‘90s, I started to investigate the world of potential on the internet. It was probably the first time I ever had access to what was then “high-speed” internet. Honestly, even back then, I already felt late to the game – I was a student with no money, no free time, and lacked technical know-how (still do, for the most part).

At least among my friends, I’ve always been a bit of a late adopter – last kid to get a Nintendo, last Teen to give up tapes for CDs, and last adult to get a cell phone (finally giving into a Smartphone only a few short years ago!)

So once I stumbled upon and started learning about affiliate sales, and the idea that you didn’t need to build your own website in order to generate an income online, it blew my mind. It then proceeded to blow a lot of my time (and probably money) trying to give it a go, with very little success.

Years later in 2006, and still wandering aimlessly, I took a course on Entrepreneurship at a local college… and totally flunked it! If you’re in the mood for a self-esteem boost, contact me here and I’ll send you a copy of my grade report, in all its glory.

The dream of starting my own business online, or even earning an income on the side, seemed bleak.

Around 2008, one of my best friends recommended a book he was reading: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I resisted at first (I think it was the name that made my Spammy-senses tingle), but he assured me it was worth a read.

This was pivotal. As it has done for so many others, this book blew the lid off what I thought I knew – it tilted my whole perception and opened up a world of potential opportunity. I loved it so much, I’m still referring to it years later – naming this blog after one of the chapter subtitles, Testing the Muse:

Wherein a “muse” is roughly translated to represent “an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time.”

 

“Muses will provide the time and financial freedom to realize your dreamlines in record time, after which one can (and often does) start additional companies to change the world or sell.” – Tim Ferriss

I’ve spent countless years trying to identify my passions and “find my muse” – thinking about how to build businesses and products around those interests.

In 2010, I took the leap from being an affiliate to being a vendor – writing an eBook on Dividend Reinvestment Plans at www.free-investing.com (warning: it ain’t pretty people). Personal finance and do-it-yourself investing will always be a passion of mine.

Writing an eBook and being a vendor (having affiliates promote your products for a commission) is a fantastic way to learn a lot about business online, while getting creative with a topic you’re already deeply interested in – so I’m sure I’ll speak more to this earlier project in future posts.

Shortly after releasing my eBook, an acquaintance (who also happened to be a business strategy consultant) suggested that I breakdown the eBook and start a blog on the topic. Never having considered the idea of creating a blog, I laughed it off at first, but the idea always lingered. So I tinkered in the background, laying groundwork for products, services and software that I always envisioned building for that audience. Not testing, just dreaming.

Never one to sit still, I also had ambitions of building a physical product – so I developed the concept for a gadget (which will be the topic of future blog posts) – researching existing products to re-purpose, working on design, contacting manufacturers for quotes, developing sell sheets, etc.

Although I put in a lot of effort upfront, this time I was smart enough to actually follow instructions. I dry tested using the methods described in The 4-Hour Workweek to a “T”. The results? Very little interest.

When that tested poorly, I got Patent Pending protection and began trying to license the idea to existing companies and manufacturers. No takers.

In true Lean Startup fashion, it was time to “pivot or preserver” yet again. So I chose pivot: I recently tested a web-based version 3.0 of that product that’s shown considerably more promise, now that it’s piggy-backing on an existing product and brand. I look forward to sharing more about the evolution of that gadget on this blog.

What was the difference this time? I TESTED the product offering.

Then I began testing other ideas (or “muses”) that I’ve had written down over the years, but was previously too overwhelmed or fearful to explore.

Unlike in the past, momentum shifted once I realized that giving my ideas “life” – by getting them out of my head and testing them on the market quickly before committing any resources – is not only feasible, but also easy, cheap and could potentially save me tons of money and countless hours (not to mention pain, disappointment, heartbreak, etc.).

It was like a switch had flipped, where the light turned on, and I could clearly see which ideas were worth pursuing, particularly when testing multiple ideas and comparing the results afterwards. Pursue the best and ditch the rest (or at least move poor performers to the bottom of the priority list, for future tweaking and re-testing).

Remove the emotional attachment to your ideas with testing, and you free yourself up for greater focus and clarity.

Since I’ve been immersed in “muse testing” anyway, I realized that if there’s enough valuable information to fill up volumes of notebooks at my house, there must be enough how-to lists, best practices and “Aha!” moments to provide serious value to a broader audience – and thus Testing the Muse was born.

Test ‘til Success

Testing the Muse helps the “ideas person” move from Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur.

Using real life examples, we test and validate various online business ideas, and share those results, best practices and resources used in the process.

Most of us know this person intimately (I know I do) – does it describe you?

  • You think you have a “million-dollar-idea”
  • You have so many ideas, you don’t know which opportunities to pursue
  • You’ve been told “it’s all been done before (so don’t bother)”
  • You’d like a clear blueprint for validating your ideas
  • You want to take action on your ideas to build passive income or a new career path

Never in history have we had more tools available to chase dreams, explore your own ideas, clearly identify potential and earn an income by creating and doing what you love.

Join the Tribe, and together let’s Test ‘til Success.

My next to-do:

  • Breakdown this post into an About page for the website, and possibly use portions as a Welcome page for the site.
  • Get working on those posts promised above!

Action you can take:

  • Let me know if my story resonates with you – by contacting me directly or commenting below. I’d love to hear from you!

Yours truly,

Jonah





4 thoughts on “Flunking Entrepreneurship 101, finding passions, and Testing the Muse (My Personal Story)

  1. Shimeka Williams

    Great post! I really appreciate your transparency and willingness to take us on this journey with you. I am an idea person and it is easy to get distracted. I have found that writing has helped me focus. Good luck!

    • Thanks Shimeka – you rock! Totally agree, writing can help with both generating ideas, as well as providing the clarity and focus necessary to move forward. Wow, it’s as if you’ve got a sneak peek into my next post, cause you’re right on topic. Thanks so much for the comment!

  2. Am I the best friend who recommended the book!?

    • You know it, brother. I actually still remember it clearly – on our way to Niagara Falls.

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