Take Your Ideas for a Test Drive

After a vacation in Spain, Karen McCann and her husband returned the following year to study Spanish. The Ohio residents were especially enchanted by Seville.

“We spent four spring vacations in Seville, staying for longer and longer periods,” says Karen. “Of course, moving abroad—or moving anywhere—has its challenges. But you don’t have to wait until all the stars are aligned, the dog passes away, the grandkids are all happily married, and you win the lottery.”

The McCanns moved first for a year—hiring a housesitter for their home near Cleveland. Then they sold their home in Ohio and took up residence in an apartment in Seville.

As you can see, the McCanns eased their way into their expat adventure. Instead of sitting on their sofa dreaming about a lifestyle change, they took it for a test drive and discovered it was a perfect fit.

You can do the same thing with your business ideas.

That’s what Linda Gannon did when she moved from the city to a farm.

“I was eating herbs, drying them for potpourri, and making little dried bouquets and wreaths,” she recalls. “I also had a friend who was doing the same things and we loved sharing our projects and ideas.”

The friends decided to see if they had something people would buy. After working feverishly for six months making wreaths, arrangements, potpourris, stationery, sachets, and dolls out of herbs and flowers, they rented a community building for a day and invited everyone they knew to a sale.

“We had asked about 300 people, but over 500 came and we made over $7,000. We were thrilled. We were in business!”

The first test drive was a smashing success and the start of a growing enterprise. Six months later, after cleaning and decorating a tiny guesthouse on her farm, they opened The Little Farm Workshoppe. After the first year, Linda added herbal weddings to her repertoire. Her business continued to evolve as she got new ideas and took them for a test drive. That led her to expand into mail order and to publish an herbal newsletter.

Eventually, she also wrote a charming book about creating fragrances.

Got an idea, but not sure if it’s viable? Test drive it.

Find a small way to put it out into the world and see what happens.

I discovered long ago that the only way to find the winning ideas was to offer them and see which got the liveliest response.

Some of my ideas flunked the test. Others astonished me with their popularity.

So dust off an idea or two and see if they pass the test drive. How else are you going to find your very own vehicles for success?

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