What's a good idea really worth?
By Robert W. Bly

The late, great speaker Dottie Walters once praised me by writing, "Bob Bly is a magnificent idea man."

But that actually made me uncomfortable ... because I do not think of myself as an idea man.

I am something that, in my humble opinion, is much more valuable: an action man.

My writing hero, Isaac Asimov, said he was often besieged by people who had an idea for a science fiction story.

Their offer: "Take my idea, write the story, sell it, and we will split the money."

Asimov's reply was always the same.

He told the person, "Tell you what. I will give YOU an idea. You write a story, sell it, and split the money with me."

His point: coming up with ideas is easy. Implementing them is hard.

In this regard, my pet peeve is marketing consultants who want to look smart to the client, and so they spew out idea after idea without regard to the client's time and resources available to execute -- or whether the idea is merely creative or will actually generate positive ROI.

But when it's time to actually do the suggestions, they run for the hills. And when you ask them for guidance, they tell you they just concern themselves with the big picture and are not "detail people."

Recently I hired a marketing consultant and writer, GF, to write an e-book for me.

Right away, he became hyper-excited and started spewing out ideas for the book I hired him to write.

For instance, let's have a contest ... let's start a Facebook page for the book ... let's make online videos ... let's sell advertising in the book ... let's partner with Amazon.

"Relax, Spanky," I told him.

"Forget about all that hooey. Just write a good book for me. I'll be happy with that."

Guess what, Mr. Smart Marketing Consultant?

An idea that you toss out and that just lies there ... and that you never help put into practice for the client ... is worthless.

When I was a kid, my dad, whom I worshipped, had to lift Heidi, our huge collie, onto the exam table at the vet.

He said, "I have a great idea. Build the table with a hydraulic lift."

It was a great idea, and now many vet exam tables have a lift.

But dad didn't make a dime from it, because he never did a thing with the idea.

You see, the money's in making the thing, not thinking of the thing.

The Law of Attraction also places too much faith in ideas and thoughts.

It says you attract abundance by thinking abundantly.

I prefer the guy -- I think it may have been Edison or maybe Stephen King -- who said: "Success usually wears overalls and looks like hard work."


Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter with 20 years experience in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has written direct mail packages for Phillips Publishing, Agora Publishing, KCI Communications, McGraw-Hill, Medical Economics, Reed Reference Publishing, A.F. Lewis, and numerous other publishers.