“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs
That quote has always stuck with me. And, it’s inspired me to do what I love, as opposed to just working a job for the sake of cashing a paycheck.
But, how exactly can you profit from the things that you’re actually passionate about? Here are 8 of my favorite tips that have never steered me in the wrong direction.
Brainstorm ideas and generate a list.
Want to know the secret to starting a successful business? Find a void and fill it. Sounds easy, right?
Of course, there will be a lot of other decisions to be made, but during the initial ideation phase this is the most important first step. For example, if you love history and are constantly witnessing tourists getting turned around during your lunch break, then maybe you could start you own tour guide business. Or, if you have the coding skills, you could develop an app that provides a self-guided tour of your hometown.
If you’re stuck, or have a ton of ideas, get some index cards or sticky notes and write down 10 areas that you’re passionate about. You could even include some area that frustrates you, because you wouldn’t complain about something if it wasn’t important to you. Also, listen to conversations around you for complaints (pain points).
Get another batch of cards or notes and jot down the areas that you’re experienced with. Doing this allows you to see if there’s a way for you to combine your passion with your expertise. And, now you have some potential ideas to get you started.
Research your market.
Let’s revisit that tour guide idea you had. If you live in Boston, New York, Philly, D.C., or Chicago, there’s probably an opportunity for you to jump in to help somewhere. After all, there large cities with a ton of tourists. However, if you live in the suburb of smaller markets like Omaha or Green Bay, there’s probably not a large enough demand or market size for a tour guide business.
Another benefit of conducting market research is that you may notice a niche that you can profit from. So, a tour guide business in Omaha may not work, but during your research you discovered that there’s an opportunity for a car rental service or a growing demand for Uber drivers.
Think about how best to monetize your passion.
Now that you have a list of potential ideas, think about the ways that you could actually monetize your idea. This could by be;
- Just doing it. This is when you literally profit from your passion. For example, if you’re passionate about composing music, then you start writing music for local jingles or local bands.
- Selling. This is where the music lover would open a music shop or sell a product.
- Talking. Blogs, books, and documentaries are just a couple of examples of how to make money by sharing your knowledge about your passion. Our music fan could publish an eBook about the history of hip hop or run a blog that share the latest news involving hip hop.
- Sharing knowledge. This is where you share your expertise with others, such as giving music lessons.
- Investing. You could invest money in an established business or exciting startup. For example, investing in Fender or accessories for a Fender, or an app that teaches people how to play the guitar.
- Improving the industry. Think about how you can make life easier for someone else. Maybe you could develop an effective guitar tuning app or manufacture a piece of machinery that makes moving pianos painless.
- Creating an event. Maybe you could launch your own musical festival featuring local artists.
- Maintenance. If you have the skills, then you could open a guitar repair shop so that people can maintain their favorite instruments instead of replacing them.
Write out a business plan.
A business plan doesn’t have to be a complex and lengthy document. It can just be a simple one-page outline that states where you want to be and how to get there. It also wouldn’t hurt to include startup costs and how you’ll market your business.
Ultimately, you’ll turn to your business plan to guide you whenever you get off-track.
Practice, practice, practice.
Keep practicing. Even after you’ve started your business, remember practice makes perfect. If you want to attract customers then you have to prove that you’re skills and knowledge are worth the investment.
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious. In fact, dreaming big is what makes successful people so successful. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with starting out small.
For example, think about the early days of Facebook. It didn’t become the social network over night. It started on the campus of Harvard and then moved on to other college campuses before becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
You may even realize that staying small is perfect for you and your business. If you started a fashion store on Etsy or using the Shopify platform, you may be able to earn a comfortable enough salary that you don’t have to be concerned about taking over the fashion world.
Outsource tasks you don’t love.
There’s always some sort of task that we’re either not fond of, or not experienced with. As your business begins to grow, there will definitely be tasks like bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, and updating your social media accounts -- that have to be dealt with. Instead of doing all of these tasks on your own, outsource them so that you can focus on growing your business and actually doing what you love - without getting burned out.
Thankfully, there numerous freelance marketplaces where you can find talented individuals to handle these tasks for you.
Spread the word.
If you want to start making money from your passion, then you need to spread the word. You’ve probably told your friends and family, but what about potential customers? That’s why it’s important for you to have a website with a blog and portfolio so that you can demonstrate your knowledge and showcase your work.
You also have to stay active on social media and you may want to consider writing a guest post for reputable industry publications or answering questions on HARO. The more opportunities that you have to get the word out, the more opportunities you’ll have to get introduced to new customers.