The saying “head in the clouds” is usually used to indicate that someone has a impractical or impossible idea. I beg to differ.
As an entrepreneur growing a business, having your head in the clouds expands possibilities and can make something remarkable. I’ve been working on my business, Folx, for months now and I was reminded just this week that I need to continue to think big.
I was accepted into the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Shark Tank competition and was assigned a mentor. He is a professor in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics. I study cultural entrepreneurship in the College of Liberal Arts, and unfortunately, the CUE program and LSBE Entrepreneurship program don’t seem to talk much. But through this mentor assignment, I’ve met Sanjay Goel. Already, he has reminded me, maybe without realizing it, that I need to keep my head in the clouds.
I got comfortable with the direction my business was heading. And although it was a good direction, the ideas he gave me can make my business head in a remarkable direction. I’m not going to give too much away here since I’m still forming my business, but I will say that Folx will be offering more than just products and a blog. It will really be a one-stop shop for trans+ people.
When building a business, it is essential to always have the customer in mind. What do they want? Is what you are providing useful to them? What is the value you are providing? And the next question, how could it be better?
It is easy to reign in big, and possibly outlandish, ideas. But it is very difficult to imagine a bigger idea when you are stuck on the ground.
My CUE professor taught me to look for “blue sky” ideas. Ideas that are “grounded” are too simplistic and realistic, so basically unremarkable. An example of this is opening a coffee shop that only does the usual things, like making coffee.
Ideas that are in “outer space” are too unrealistic. An example would be opening a coffee shop that is also a rocket ship that takes off to the moon every day at noon and returns by the next morning.
The sweet spot is in the middle of grounded and outer space, which is blue sky. An idea that is remarkable but not out of reach. This is where I say your head should be.
The other thing about business is that you have to continuously be in the clouds to keep making your customers happy (and to be financially sustainable and grow.)
I’m not implying that thinking this way is easy. In my CUE classes we talk a lot about creativity. When people hear the word creativity, they often automatically think “I can’t draw” or “that’s for artists.”
I have news for you. We are all artists. We have to be.
“Art is the truly human act of creating something new that matters to another person. The only refuge left, the only safe path, is to be the one who makes art.” –Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception
The definition of creativity is not concrete. When you search “define creativity” into Google, it says, “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”
So with this definition, let’s look at what art means. Art has many definitions with Merriam-Webster. I’d argue that entrepreneurs are artist by this definition “to use the conscious use of skill and creative imagination…”
Startups constantly have ups and downs. We must constantly adapt to obstacles and opportunities throughout our journey. We must use the knowledge and skills we have and tap into our imagination to come up with solutions. I’ve had to do this many times already and plan for this.
What I want to leave you with is this: keep your head in the clouds.