Need Breakthrough Ideas? Look Outside Your Industry!

Summary: Massive, quantum leaps in performance almost always come from looking elsewhere. In this week's training episode, I'll show you where to look.

A while back, my friend and colleague Dianna Huff responded to a blog post I had written about doing away with the “starving artist” mentality.

Dianna suggested that if you want to truly succeed as a freelancer — if you want to consistently have the clients, projects, income and lifestyle you want (which is essentially how we define “wealthy freelancing”), you need to reach outside of your freelancer circles.

Dianna Huff

Here’s what she suggested:

“If you want to be successful, meaning you make more than enough money to meet your financial obligations, take a few weeks off every year, save money, etc etc., then you need to hang out with other successful people OUTSIDE OF YOUR INDUSTRY.

“This means that if you’re a writer, don’t hang out with writers. Hang out with complementary professionals — i.e. hugely successful Web marketers or bookkeepers or designers or business owners. You’ll not only get some really good ideas, you’ll see how and why others have become successful. You’ll learn to think the way they do. Even better, these people, who aren’t your competitors, will refer work to you.”

Why do I think this idea is so powerful?

Because most of the best ideas in ANY business don’t come from watching competitors. They don’t come from incremental improvements in an existing process or technique within your business.

Massive, quantum leaps in performance almost always come from adapting ideas other businesses outside of your own industry are using successfully.

It’s taking an idea you learned from a freelancer in a completely different field. Or one you saw at your local grocery store and know you can modify and apply to your business somehow. Or one you picked up while reading about a specialty-toys retailer in Entrepreneur magazine.

Look at History!

In fact, if you go back in history to some of the greatest scientific achievements, you’ll find that they were inspired by an event or observation outside of the lab, out there in the real world.

(One quick example: the origin of the binary code, which computers still use today, came from a technique used by the equipment used in textile mills in the 1800s!)

For us freelancers, the key is to keep and open mind. And when we see a successful strategy in another business, we need ask ourselves, “How could a similar strategy help me get more clients, land better projects, serve my clients better, have more time off, increase my income, help my spouse quit his/her job, or pursue a long-held passion?”

Great Ideas Are Everywhere

Recently, I had dinner with a client who’s a hugely successful businessman. Fascinating story, this guy. He's the founder and president of a multi-million-dollar company. Came from very humble beginnings and worked hard to get to where he is today.

I got GREAT value from hearing him tell his story and learning more about how he thinks and how he views the world. Not only because he thinks BIG, but because he provided me with a different perspective on marketing, human nature, business success and injecting passion into what you do every day.

As I drove home and pondered our three-and-a-half-hour discussion over a great dinner, it dawned on me that some of the most impactful conversations I’ve ever had have been with super-successful (in more ways than just material success, by the way) individuals outside of my industry/business.

That’s precisely what we strive for here at International Freelancers Academy — to provide you with great ideas, strategies and insights from both inside AND outside the freelance world. We hope we’re living up to that ideal.

What Have YOU Learned From Others?

So I'm wondering...

What great ideas, tips or strategies have you learned from others outside of your industry or profession?

Please tell me in the comments area below. I'd love to hear from you!!