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In total truth, I had no idea what a disruptive innovator was until I went back for my DNP degree. But it’s really changed my view on just about everything I do in my practice. A disruptive innovator is exactly what it sounds like: you create something that disrupts traditional ways of thinking or practice.
In that vein, I’d like to offer what I’ve learned along the way of blogging (so far) in case anyone else is out there thinking about jumping off a cliff as a disruptor innovator. (And if you’ve been thinking about it for a while, here’s your motivation to JUMP!)
First, if you aren’t sure how you’re an innovator, think about what problem you are trying to solve at work, at home, in your career field, or in the community. Do you see a solution that others can’t see? Or can you improve an existing system to make it better? These questions might guide you:
- What is the most basic problem you are trying to solve?
- What is the solution to that problem? Is there more than one solution?
- How is your solution better than the existing solution or system?
- Is it a solution that you can share with others?
For the blog, I want to make midwifery the standard of care in the United States. That’s the end goal to a very long journey right now. But I’m in this game for the next 50 years. But along the way, I thought, how could we make prenatal care better? And that’s how the templates were born. Talk to any midwife and we talk about the same things over and over. But every conversation is also different because every patient is different. I wanted to create something that offered traditional education, guided the prenatal visit to ensure all components of care were discussed or planned, and then offered a bunch of next steps for the women and her family to peruse if more education was desired.
And here’s the thing…when I researched “components of prenatal care” there wasn’t a lot out there. Women have millions of prenatal visits each year and the education during prenatal care is actually built around the interventions of prenatal care. Does that sound backwards to you? It did to me.
If you aren’t sure about your problem’s answers, look to the evidence. A simple search on PubMed goes a long way. Cochrance databases also offer a great place to research evidence, answers and solutions. Also consider searching for your problem or solution plus “quality improvement.” These sources should help you to focus your problem as much as possible while building a foundation of information to move forward with. For me, I found the Listening to Mother’s Surveys and that was the last thing I needed to read before making the first template. I also found that reading evidence offers a bunch of sparks for content ideas.
Okay, I have my problem and my solution, now what?
You dive into your toolbox and start working towards building that solution. Don’t have a toolbox yet? These are the systems I currently use in my toolbox and how I think they add value to anyone trying to become a disruptive innovator. Pick the ones you like best and take your first step! (Side note: I don’t have any affiliations with these services, I just use them and love them for all things blogging!).
Pick a platform
Pick a platform to create or share your content. Blog, podcast, website or social media are the most common platforms. You shouldn’t try to do them all at once. It’s very overwhelming. I personally don’t have it in me to create a podcast. I am able to blog in the spare moments between family, work and mamahood than I am to sit down and record content. Maybe one day, but not right now. For blogs, I love WordPress. WordPress host 50% of the blogs on the internet and for good reason. It’s easy to use and there are hundreds of tutorials to teach yourself anything.
And, you can learn anything. I’m about to turn 36 years old and I spend a lot of free time learning about html, blogging templates, email subscriptions…you name it. If you are going to go down the blog route, I do encourage you to buy a domain name now. A domain name is the website someone is going to type in to go to your site. Domains are cheap – about $12 a year. And they are transferrable. For example, if you start with a google domain and then want to switch to WordPress, you can.
For websites, think about how you want to design your pages and the purpose of your website. Open a Word document and write out what you might want on the pages. If it’s a blog you are thinking about, how do you want to publish content? Weekly? Monthly? Try to create a content schedule for a couple months and see what ideas you come up with.
For podcasts, I’m not an expert by any means. But if that’s where you want to start, research some youtube videos on how to start podcasts and then start to think about the content that you want to offer.
And for social media, I have some recommendations later in the post on who to follow to learn more about social media. But starting out, I found that only having one or two platforms to engage on is a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be your forever platform, it’s just a first step.
Canva is the online, do it all, in the app or on the computer, easily transferable platform. To me, it’s like adobe meets scrapbooking meets a video camera, but all in one. You could use Canva for anything. Want to make some posters to improve intermittent auscultation on your unit? Canva can do it. Want to make a series of educational videos on how to do intermittent auscultation? Canva can do it. Want to add some social media posts to your Instagram account? Canva can do it. It’s a platform that works as hard for you as you need it too. You just have to learn how to use it.
Check out Linktree
Want to steer people a certain direction? Consider using Linktree. It’s free and you’ve probably seen these set up on other people’s social media accounts. The idea is simple. You click on the “tree” and are taken to a series of links picked by the account holder. It gives online traffic an idea of where else they can go from your site or what else you have to offer.
For email, consider ConvertKit
Ever wonder how your favorite companies or bloggers send out mass emails? Or how you get 5 follow up emails after purchasing one thing from a company? It’s all automated and ConvertKit makes it really simple. It’s free to use up to 1,000 email subscribers and the it’s $29/month as the next lowest tier. Depending on how you want to use email, it’s a very well done platform and can grow with you if you need it too!
Trying to sell something? Look at Stripe, PayPal, etc…
Maybe your solution is to sell something? Anyone can sell anything these days. You can operate a storefront from your comfy bed. I personally use Stripe within the WordPress platform and it is seamless. PayPal offers another seamless platform. All of these platforms have fees built into them as well, so do you research and compare the various offers before you commit to one over the other.
These podcasts have impacted how I think about business and how I continue to think about business. I carve out 60-90min each week to listen in on what these geniuses have to say.
If you are writing at all, this is well worth the listen. Anne offers quick and long podcasts snippets. Her goal is to help you write well in whatever outlet that may be. She gives many tips on how to improve your writing but also interviews successful writers as well.
Amy is a genius. She’s nice, encouraging and she really strives to teach people the ins and outs of social media. I don’t have a strong background in social media or in business, so I get a lot out of her podcast.
I really am an amateur with business. But I am learning fast thanks to this podcast. Don teaches about methods for business success and things to consider short and long term. It’s worth the listen if it’s pertinent to what you are trying to produce.
I have spent hours watching YouTube videos on how to do things that I didn’t know how to do. Blogging videos have offered the same education for me as “How do you get dry erase marker off dry erase marker books easily?” (Toothpaste, for those mamas out there that want to know!). In fact, YouTube has about 20 videos for every answer you might have. Pick the channel that is the least annoying to you and offers you the best education. And know that learning is a journey.
I’ve been reading blogs for over a decade. I’ve watched how some of my favorite bloggers have changed how they do things over the years…they’ve updated blog designs, or email designs, or written books. I’ve learned a lot from them and continue to learn a lot from them. Sometimes all you have to do is start following someone else to figure out the best way for you to start your own journey.
That’s all that’s in my toolbox. It’s not anything secretive or fancy. If you look at the blog and think, how does she do it? It’s really a lot of trial and error and going really slowly into each new platform. If I try something and don’t like it, I delete the account and move on. I try things out for a little while and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I think about something for a long time before I launch into trying it. And all of that is okay.
Regardless of what you’re thinking about disrupting, don’t want to long. There are millions of problems that need better solutions and you might be the person that holds the key to unlocking a better system or solution.
Happy innovating…and sign up the newsletter 🙂