In a recent interview, Tristan Walker, the founder of Walker & Company, makes a compelling argument for pursuing bad ideas that are actually good ideas. Originally from the startup world, he left to build a company that provides People of Colour, especially Black folx, with haircare solutions. Tristan started by creating a single-blade razor which no one would get behind initially. Still, he persisted and Walker & Company is now a success story.
When talking about bad ideas, Tristan explains that it’s not really about the idea at all. It’s about being the person uniquely positioned to create something. It’s about solving your own problems and, in doing so, clearing a path for others. Which is no different than creative work, whether you’re seeking representation or access or a certain aesthetic, chances are there are other people who are longing for something similar.
Labelling an idea we care about as “bad” because we’re doubtful that we have what it takes to pull it off is yet another way we hide as creatives. Those bad ideas that are actually good ideas feel especially threatening because they usually exist beyond the familiar. Whether you need to learn a new skill or rewrite your personal narrative, it feels less scary to excuse yourself from taking responsibility for making that thing that you see a need for.
When I started working on Creatives Learn Money, it was a really bad idea. As a creative who had always struggled to keep my head above water financially, I felt like the last person who should be helping anyone with anything related to money. At the same time, I had gotten into a healthier relationship with money. And I did understand the specific stresses and fears that creatives have when it comes to valuing their time and talents.
Beyond my personal understanding of the intersection of creative work and money, I couldn’t find any financial resources out in the world that spoke to creatives specifically. I read personal finance book after personal finance book and they all started with the assumption that folx had some money to work with. As someone with a variable income, I know this wasn’t always the case. Sometimes we’re at zero. Or in debt.
There’s still a chance that what I’m making is bad art. That it will fail and I’ll have to go back to drawing board and start again. But I don’t think so. Because however bad the idea seems in its infancy, I do think that it’s only going to get better as it evolves. When I launch my first online class in the near future, I’ll know for sure. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working on my bad idea that’s actually a good idea. And I hope you do the same.
So, what bad idea do you have that’s actually a good idea?