Owning your own business is after all a part of the Great American Dream – it’s actually not just an American dream any longer but a worldwide goal for millions of people. It can be accomplished but how is the question that many get stuck at. Many people know what their passion is, but are frustrated in the process of turning their passion into profit.
“Turn your passion into profit,” is a marketing slogan that’s becoming a way of life for many entrepreneurs. James Altucher says in his book, Choose Yourself, “You can’t buy happiness with the currency of unhappiness.” Working at something you hate might make you a good chunk of change, but it won’t lead you to true wealth.
The first thing I’ll assume is that you have a desire to change, a desire to step up and move forward towards your goals. You have a passion that you are good at and more importantly you have the needed zeal to take that leap to turn that passion into a money maker. At the very least you have the passion backing the unknown to propel you to the needed level that is required to take the leap. So yes, even if you are relatively new to your niche, I’ll assume you have the necessary devotion needed to help a great deal many with your gifts.
The second thing I’ll assume is that you have all the common questions running amuck in your head: How do I take the leap? What is my next step? What if I fail? These are all questions that most entrepreneurs have been plagued with at one point or another. Quite frankly, it’s the answers to these questions that separate the dreamers from the doers. And I know you are a doer!
So now what?
Whether you are already entrenched in the American Dream and running your own business, or only just knocking around the idea, here are some tips to help you increase your financial rewards while doing what you love:
It’s not just about you! You have been told time and time again “Do what you love and the money will follow.” That’s not exactly the whole truth. True, passion does play a significant role. But to actually profit from your passion, it needs to be relative to what people are interested or in need of purchasing. The cold hard truth is that the market doesn’t give a damn if you are fulfilling some life long dream or self proclaimed destiny. They spend their hard earned money on products and services that fulfill their own needs and desires. Focus on how your passion can make a difference to others. When you are able to visualize this, you will have a piece of the magic formula to success.
Face your fears. Going after your passion, or scarier yet, taking your passion to the next level and attempting to make a business out of it is not a walk in the park. It requires dedication, perseverance, and yes a ton of work. I know that ugly word, work. Not much in life is easy, especially those things that seem to mean the world to our livelihood and well being. So roll up those shirt sleeves and dig in. Don’t become one of the statistics of those that let their fear control their destiny. Whether it be fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, of just simply the fear of the unknown. If you have an idea, at least take the first steps of researching that idea to find out if it’s liable – and then of course go for it! Just execute. Don’t let your number one obstacle be yourself.
Don’t bet on passion alone. We have already established that business owners who are passionate about their craft, are more apt to succeed or at the very least more minded towards a happy career than those that are just “in it for the money.” However, passion alone does not have the wings to sustain your business long term. Before diving into any business, you should do a reality check and make certain that you have the necessary elements needed for success, such as a willingness to work hard and like we already touched on, market for your services or products.
“Sometimes passion can blind you to the potential downside of your idea,” says John Torrens, a serial entrepreneur and an entrepreneurship professor at Syracuse University. “The one non-negotiable factor for any sustainable business is that they solve a problem for a specific customer segment in a way that is appreciably better than the next best alternative. Get as much feedback from potential customers as possible. No matter how great you think the idea is, you still need to understand what your market thinks.”
So it’s safe to say that without passion for your venture, you probably won’t be successful. However, that alone isn’t a guarantee that you will succeed either. Would be entrepreneurs, that wish to cash in on their hobbies should keep the following in mind as well:
Remember to pay attention to the details. There are a ton of incidental functions that go along with running a business, any business, that must not be overlooked in order for it to succeed. Anything from ordering inventory, hiring staff, organizing and maintaining a schedule, marketing, and selling. You will need a plan in place to handle all of these tasks.
Hand off responsibility. You can attempt to do all of these ancillary tasks yourself, if you have the proper skills, and are superman! Or you can outsource them. Granted as you attempt to find the wind for your business to make it’s initial flight, you might not be able to shell out too much money to others. However, if you are smart about your hiring choices you won’t get too bogged down. Use services such as craigslist.org, fiverr.com, and freelancer.com to inexpensively fill in the gaps.
Hire passionate people. Having others on your team that share the same determination will go a long way in helping your business succeed. By hiring others who share your same passion or devotion to success, you will be able to easily trust your business to your employees as it grows. It is often said that one should hire for passion and commitment first, experience second, and credentials third. There are no shortages of impressive resumes out there, or even those that would do the task for next to nothing, but there should be a balance. You don’t want to simply be the stepping stone on an employee’s journey toward his or her own passion. Asking the right questions is key: What do you love about your chosen career? What inspires you? What courses in school did you dread? You want to get a sense of what the potential employee believes. A wonderful resource for interview type questions is “Topgrading How Leading Companies Win By Hiring, Coaching And Keeping The Best People” by Bradford D. Smart
Get creative in the funding department. If you are like most of the general population, you don’t have a huge nest egg put away. Or worse yet, you haven’t an egg let alone a nest! If that is the case it’s unrealistic to think you can go from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. You will need to start small and work your way up at your own pace, based on how much capital you have to put in to your venture. This is where a little creative funding comes in. Possibly work from home – there are tons of online avenues to get you started quickly and without much out of pocket. Barter with other vendors – it is by far the oldest form of payment. Leverage the internet and social media for marketing power – social media is free and down right effective, so why not harness it for your cause.
Learn how to make money. So you have your product, you have a bit of change in your pocket to spend on a startup, and most importantly you have your big boy pants on (you’ve faced your fears)….now what? How do you get your product out there, so that people will be compelled to depart with their hard earned money and hand it over to you? This my friend is referred to as marketing. Marketing isn’t a skill that we posses at birth. It, much like the passion that you have and wish to make a living at, must be learned and fine tuned in for it to work. Take classes, read books, attend seminars and surround yourself with others that are knowledgeable in the marketing realm.