Finding the Idea

Some people seem to come up with new business and site ideas really easily whilst others struggle to see an opportunity when it’s staring them in the face. I find if you put your self in the right mindset ideas and opportunities spring up all over the place.

To me the right mindset involves having an open mind and actively looking for inspiration. The following are a few examples of ideas I’ve thought of but haven’t taken any further (yet).

After attending my first gadget show I got the trade show bug and wanted to find more shows to attend. Finding new shows wasn’t an easy task what I needed was one placed to find out about all the different shows. If there was a site like this it would be really easy to monetize via affiliates (shows are about a specific niche, need transport and often accommodation) or a subscription model.

I play a few games of squash every week, I’ve only been playing for 6 months so generally lose. I need to get more practice but the guys I play with all work in the day time. So I need to find other people to play against, which could be a really useful site, a bit like a dating site but for people seeking sport partners.

After yet another humbling squash experience we went down the pub for a few pints. Talk got onto motor bikes (motorbikes, engineering and porn seems to be general pub talk) and how the prices varied between summer and winter and if you bought a bike in the winter and held onto it you could sell it for upto 50%. A 50% profit for a 6 month investment looks like a nice ROI to me. So I’ll be giving this one a test drive come winter.

I guess this post is another example of why going to the pub is good for your business :)

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. I tend to get ideas more when I’m not trying, site down with a pen & paper and my mind goes blank but when I’m driving that’s when I’m liable to crash with excitment at a brainwave, also when the wife talks to me - I tend to drift of into my own world and suddently run out of the room looking for pen & paper 😉

    • I also get a few ides when day dreaming but find I get more from talking to people and looking around. I don’t go anywhere without a pen and paper, though decyphering scribbles I made in the dark is a challenge.

  2. I find most of my ideas come to me when I’m really not trying to think of any, and more often than not I have really good ideas when I’m drunk, and if I remember them in the morning then they are usually my best ideas, I think that comes from talking so much rubbish when your drunk the occasional great idea comes up 😀

    With motorbike prices, its very true that the do sell for a fair bit more in the summer, but you’ve gotta make sure you pick up the right bikes if your hoping to sell them on for a profit. I bought mine off eBay in march and it was an absolute bargain, great condition and I paid £1800, would sell now on bike trader for about £2400.

    • I find my optimum beer level for ideas is 3 pints, after that they get a bit silly, 3 pints is my pool playing optimum also :)

      I don’t know that much about bikes, so what I’m going to do is get my friends to do the research and I’ll put in the money and storage and pay them a slice of the profits. If it goes to plan we’ll all make a small profit with my investment being the capital and theirs the time.

  3. Some of the ideas i am working on now are those which affect me or did in the past.So its easier to work on them, getting the content and its even better if its a collective issue.

  4. Love the idea of squash partners etc, wouldn’t it also be nice to then book the court online too, or is it just my gym that’s behind the times?

    • Good idea John, sounds like my gym is just as behind the times as yours. I wasn’t just thinking squash with this, there are a load of sports and activities it could work with. With the silly money people send on golf that has got to be a lucrative niche to get in.

    • Sounds a bit like evite only with a lower barrier to entry since you would not need to know the people who sign up to go. The part of lining it up with the gym - would need to have enough people using it that the gym would feel a need to know when they will be bombarded and would beg to have a sign up page 😉

  5. I guess this post is another example of why going to the pub is good for your business :)

    Between keeping your business up and running and getting new business ideas, it almost makes me want to START going to the pub.

    GREAT sites. This site is officially top of my list of must read blogs. Probably one of the few where I’m actually learning something…

  6. I’ll use this post as an example to my wife of why going to the pub is just good for business. 😉

  7. well I have to agree because a previous post you said how useful t is to learn from their browsing habits and thus optimizing your site for a wider public.

    I like the idea of a event orginiser but I think I have a better one that I won’t share. 😛

    Thanks for showing how it’s important to keep an open mind and thanks for all your ideas

  8. This is my first comment here, let me just say what a great blog you have. I have never really read blogs before, but have this site bookmarked and check it everyday. You are very inspiring. I started April 2 of this year because it was the site I was looking for and could not find. That is how I found the idea. I have earned nearly $300 this month from adsense and cj, in part due to the encouraging articles you have. Thanks

  9. Coming up with an idea can be a simple task, however implementing the idea can be a major problem at times. With so much going on these days in everyones life, it gets difficult to actually sit down and give time to everything. These days I have an excellent project plan, but am unable to implement it due to the lack of resources and time.

    • Too true, I keep thinking that I’m going to have a few weeks free to just put my head down and start getting the ball rolling on a load of them, but then I end up with more work and no time left over, but I’m slowly stopping accepting new work and I think very soon I will have the time available

  10. Now when us yanks, get some of the British pub aura then we can start to get some good ideas there also, until then we will need to stick with reading weblogs on Friday evenings 😉

  11. I’ve wondered about geographic price differences as well as the season ones you mention. I’ve always thought about buying a convertible in Seattle and selling it in San Diego… and getting a heck of a great trip in between.

  12. I think the key to coming up with ideas for me is identifying the source of “customer pain”. Basically this involves walking around, living my life, and whenever I get annoyed or have a need that’s not being met, there’s a potential idea there. Solve that problem and you may have a winner.

  13. So Al… The winter is almost over. Did you get that bike?

    • This post is a bit of a blast from the past :)

      Unfortunately the bike thing fell through, one of the guys who was going to source the bikes got a bit arsey about having to do some work for his share so I left him to it.

  14. Hehe.. didn’t want to stir things up. Was just reading through old posts.

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