It’s amazing how something old, small and simple can catch on. Ideas turned into action can be very profitable. Sometimes it’s the small ideas that are overlooked that pack the biggest punch.
Tom Papa is a comedian who has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast several times. He mentioned that he makes his own bread using 100 year old yeast. That’s a yeast people keep alive, much like a pet, except you turn it into bread and eat it. (Think about that bit of weirdness a moment before you spread peanut butter over some toast.) The idea caught on and Papa got a lot of people interested in making their own bread. A chore became a phenomenon which turned into a thing. Then it went viral.
Or consider Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock. He’s a huge and charming superstar. The Rock gets up really early every day to work out. That one lifestyle choice has become part of his brand. He’s inspired millions to do the same and now has an alarm clock app to get fans and followers to start their day early and right. Check it on his Twitter feed here.
You don’t have to start with an audience of millions to do something that catches on, either. Jeff Sanders has been very successful in a similar vein with The 5 a.m. Miracle. Motto: “Dominate your day before breakfast.” Mr. Sanders helps entrepreneurs use their time more productively with the simple idea that you can get more stuff done before everyone gets out of bed to interrupt you. (I’m boiling it down a bit much, but you get the idea.)
Tim Ferriss made a big deal out of making your bed in the morning. His thing is finding ways to hack life and do everything faster, easier and with the minimum effective dose of effort. If you don’t already own the 4-Hour Work Week, c’mon! Where you been?
Believe it or not, a World Planking Championship is a thing and yes, you can buy t-shirts and hoodies telling everyone you torture yourself using gravity.
Examples of harnessing the power of simple are everywhere. Remember when the word staycation became a thing? We couldn’t afford to go anywhere, so put up a hammock in your backyard instead of flying to the Bahamas. Bam! A thing!
What’s next? A popular return to canning vegetables? Speed reading competitions? Sidewalk climbing for fun, fitness and profit?
See my previous post (below) on the big idea behind writing short stories.
Writers can often come up with a high concept for a book by smashing together pretty simple ideas. Vampires that sparkle and vampires that definitely do not, under any circumstances, sparkle? Books emerged from each premise. What about cozy mysteries where the protagonist is a chef, works at the yarn barn or sells tea? These are tropes and niches that have turned into profitable books.
It annoys me when I hear agents reject a book premise because it is “too clever.” It sounds anti-intellectual and personally, I love clever. However, boiling your plots and plans down to simple ideas that work for wide audiences is a strong bet. For an in-depth discussion of tropes that work (and what can blow up in your face like wet dynamite), catch the frank, fun and breezy discussion between Simon Whistler and JA Cipriano on Episode 149 of the Rocking Self-publishing Podcast.
Have a think on it. And tell us, what’s your next million dollar big little idea?
~ I’m Robert Chazz Chute and I’ve got ideas big and small. Check out the really good ones in book form at AllThatChazz.com.