Where do you get your best ideas?

- June 8, 2020 2 MIN READ

I got a text from a friend this morning. After weeks toying with a name for her new business, she finally found one after driving for three hours down the coast and spending some time outside her normal routine.

Hooray for her! And it got me thinking that I too get my best ideas when I step away from normal life. Doesn’t even have to be overnight, just a change in location for a day can do it for me. Ditto hanging out washing, folding washing (seems to be a theme here!), after a great phone conversation with a friend (usually on a completely non work-related topic) and most often very, very early in the morning after a good night’s sleep.

In a recent article for Entrepreneur magazine, James Altucher an American hedge fund manager who founded 20 companies, said most people need to develop the  “ideas muscle” – it very rarely comes naturally. He suggests writing down ten of your own ideas every morning on a tiny notebook; and with each day that passes  (as you exercise that muscle) you’ll notice the list will start getting longer without too much extra effort.

So where do you get your best ideas?


When I threw this question out  to our generous Flying Solo forum member community (100k soloists sharing their insights on a daily basis) most agreed they too rarely got their best ideas sitting in front of the laptop. What do you know… 

In fact, just like me, most said stepping away from normal routine was one of the most effective ways of creating a new idea.

So in the interests of community spirit, here are a few of their suggestions that are definitely worth experimenting with next time you’re stuck in an ideas rut!

1.The coffee shop

“Some of my best thoughts, ideas or when i need to ‘refresh’ my viewpoint tends to come when i remove myself from my standard space and relocate to a coffee shop – be it my regular, or heading elsewhere for something new, as long as it has wifi – i’m good…”

2. Out in nature

“When I am out doing my hobby (Geocaching), as I am in a relaxed environment, often just walking in the bush or some other interesting environment, and all the humdrum of daily life is forgotten. But some brilliant idea will pop up.”

3. On the lawn mower!
“Strangely, I have a couple of jobs where all I am doing is sitting on the ride on going around, and around, and around in circles for a couple of hours, and the mind tends to wander, and sometimes your best thinking can happen then as well.”

4.  After listening to an inspiring podcast 

“When I am watching videos of famous entrepreneurs, reading books and having conversations with my pals. Strangely enough, I don’t see any business idea come out without filling up your mind with information. It’s like with a car – you put into a gas (books, videos, conversations) to reach a certain milestone (come up with an idea).”

How about you? Got any out-of-the-box methods for generating ideas? 

This post was written with help from this Flying Solo forum thread  – a thriving community of 100K+ soloists just like you sharing business tips, wisdom and insight.