Remember the almighty fuss kicked up by all and sundry – including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – a few months ago when the iPhone 7 was released?

Apple ditched the headphone jack – sacrilege! – and people went nuts.

One of the major reasons for the jack’s removal was to ensure the iPhone was waterproof. So now, if you bend over to flush the loo and your phone slips out of your hand or pocket down the pan, it is no longer GAME OVER for your mobile.

I’ve written to you before about this controversy – and it remains the case the wireless trend is here to stay… whether we like it or not. It is one of those mega-forces shaping our online destiny.

But whatever your opinion, if there’s one good aspect to this trend, it’s this…

Perhaps soon, when you have an idea for your online business in the shower – or the bath – then you can reach for your phone and get it all down straight away.

Now, you may think this sounds like a ridiculously minor benefit, right?

But I’m not joking…

Getting struck by great ideas while in shower, in the bath or on the toilet is an established phenomenon.

When you’re doing something monotonous or commonplace like exercising, driving or showering, you flip into a form of autopilot. Some psychologists call this the ‘default mode network’.

John Kounios, a psychologist at Philadelphia’s Drexel University in the US, explains: “You become less aware of your environment and more aware of your internal thoughts.”

In these situations your prefrontal cortex – the bit of your brain that makes decisions and sets goals – goes into a sleepy state. It’s as if your conscious mind takes a break, finally, and your creative subconscious begins to dominate… throwing up deep ideas, solutions and questions that your conscious mind wasn’t aware of.

As a habitual walker, I’ve harnessed the power of lightning rod ideas for my online business. I’d estimate I’ve had more ideas for books, marketing strategies and articles while walking to work than I’ve had while in the office.

I’d urge you to do the same. Harness the power of your phone.

These free-thinking, open-minded moments of inspiration are gold dust.

They’re your ultimate business tool.

They’re the sort of creative breakthroughs that every business person needs from time to time.

So whenever you have one of these ideas, it’s essential that you record it – no matter how crazy it may seem.

However, this isn’t easy. Because they swim up from your subconscious mind, these ideas are a bit like having a dream.

After you wake, dreams are forgotten very quickly. Same goes for these ‘default mode’ ideas. As soon as your conscious mind kicks in again, the ideas can vanish.

A couple of distractions later and your idea could be lost permanently – a complete waste of inspiration!

But thanks to smartphones we can take down a note wherever we are. Even the most basic phones usually now have a notepad facility for jotting things down.

Or you can use email, or send texts to yourself. Many phones allow you to speak into the phone and record a memo, too.

It means whenever you’re on a walk, waiting for a bus, in a queue, or lying in the bath and you get a brilliant idea, you can get out your phone and write it down immediately. You don’t even have to worry about getting it wet!

The rule is: never assume you’ll remember your fleeting moments of genius later.

If you’re not the sort of person who already carries a notepad everywhere, then here are some tips.

  • Email any notes made on your smartphone or tablet to yourself at the end of the week. You can then save the notes in a folder or your email, or paste them into a Word document to keep safe and refer to on your computer.
  • Keep your phone near you when you take a bath or shower. Or if you don’t want to do that, keep a notepad in the bathroom or a small whiteboard on the wall.
  • If you dislike having your phone around at night, or it disturbs your partner, keep a notepad and pen beside your bed instead.
  • If you do a lot of driving, consider getting a voice recorder, or using your smartphone to record your voice on a hands-free set, so you can document your inspirational thoughts while you drive.

You should also consider one of the many online platforms for organising your ideas and research.

Here are two I recommend:


Evernote allows you to easily…

1. Save your ideas, to-do lists, written research and meeting notes.

2. Capture images you want to remember – from business cards to competitor products.

3. Gather websites, sales pages, and articles from the web.

4. Keep a swipe file of your competitor’s websites, marketing, promotional material and social media output.

5. Build a library of books, articles and videos to help you develop your own expertise.

To get started with Evernote, sign up with your email address to access the completely free version. If you want to upgrade, there are two paid options with extra features.

You can use the online version, download it to your Mac or PC or access via an app for your tablet or phone. This means you can gather and access notes wherever you are.


This is one I’ve started using to plan Digital Upstart, as it allows the whole team to share ideas and keeps track on who’s working on what.

It uses a series of boards, showing what’s been done and what’s still in progress or needs attention.

You can add comments, upload file attachments, create checklists, add labels and due dates, and other information.

And whenever something important happens, you (and the team) can get notifications via the app, text, email, or on your desktop.

Either of these systems will allow you to run your business from anywhere and store all your ideas as and when you get them.

And if you’re still a smartphone sceptic then all I can say is this – if you want to run an online business you’re going to need to understand this technology.

This is what a lot of your customers are using to consume your content, search for products and share information, so embrace it, and turn it to your advantage.

The trend is going only one way.