I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. -- George Burns
We’re all passionate about something in our lives. But how can you actually turn a profit off of that passion? Here are nine ways that you can make your dream come true.
1. It takes more than just passion.
Passion is a great place to start when thinking about business ideas, but don’t let that enthusiasm blind you from reality. Ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the hard work and if there is a market for you to tap into. Even if it’s just talking to some of the regulars at your favorite restaurant or bar, their feedback can be priceless.
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Make sure that you’re actually good at what you do. Your passion could be playing the guitar, but are you skilled enough to give lessons or repair the instrument when it’s broken? And don’t forget that as a business owner, you’ll be responsible for paying bills, invoicing customers, reporting taxes and marketing your business. Are you up for all those tasks?
2. How can you make something better?
Again, let’s say that your passion is playing the guitar. What void can you fill in that marketplace? For example, if you can repair guitars and realize that there isn’t a repair shop anywhere else around, that could be a business opportunity.
You also need to ask yourself how you can make the industry better? Is this venture where your true entrepreneur spirit is set free?
Let’s say that your passion is cooking. What makes your meals unique? Why are they better than the other cooks in town? Maybe it’s because you only use farm fresh ingredients and pick out the produce and meats yourself every morning. That’s definitely more appealing for customers than driving up to a fast food restaurant's window.
When I started my invoice company, I had used several competitors. I knew what made them great, but I also knew what I wanted that they didn't offer. I knew I could easily make the product and service better. I built it -- and here we are!
3. Brainstorm a variety of ways to monetize each passion.
Sit down and think of all the various ways that you can actually make money off your passion. This may include:
- Selling an actual product, such as jewelry, clothing or furniture, online or in a brick and mortar store.
- Sharing your knowledge about your passion by blogging, writing books or filming videos. Between affiliate links, sponsors and subscribers, you could make a decent living. For example, the father and son behind EvanTubeHD combined their passion of film and toys into a YouTube channel that reviews toys. They're are now earning more than $1.4 million.
- Offering advice as a consultant in anything from accounting to gardening.
- Becoming an investor in an idea that you’re willing to financially support.
- Inventing a gadget or software that makes life easier for people. For example, if you were a guitar instructor, is there an app to better instruct students or a new type of tuner that could make tuning the guitar easier for newbies?
- Building an event around your passion, such as a festival or community organization.
- Finding ways to preserve or maintain items that people enjoy, such as an alteration or tailor shop for fashion lovers.
4. Don’t be a perfectionist.
While you should have some sort of experience or skills to offer, there’s always room for you to learn and grow. For example, the guitar repair shop owner may have mastered repairing acoustic guitars, but still needs to work on repairing electric guitars. Don’t wait to start your business until after you’ve mastered that craft. You will continue to hone your skills all along your journey.
The longer you wait, the higher probability that someone else will come in and start profiting from your passion.
5. Get outside of your comfort zone.
Starting a business requires you to step outside of your comfort zone every now and then. Maybe you have a fear of public speaking. You will have to overcome that when creating an instructional video on YouTube.
My friend Michael Gasiorek always tells me "Find techniques that can not only help you get outside of your comfort zone, but also work on improving your weaknesses. You don’t have to become a guru. Just familiar enough in that area so that you’re more comfortable and can deliver what people need and want."
6. Make fun a priority.
It’s difficult to maintain your passion as you attempt to grow a legitimate business. Eventually, you forget exactly why you started the business in the first place.
To prevent that from happening, always make fun and passion a priority. This means hiring people who are equally passionate as you are about your idea or product, creating policies and branding that reflect your passion, and building a company that feels the same way to others.
7. Build your skills.
Author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. While this one is hard for me -- I think it's hard to spend 10k hours doing one thing -- my friend and financial expert Tom Drake says "Why many skills may take that long, don't let those hours discourage you from moving ahead with your plan. Who knows, it may not take you that long. Never stop practicing on perfecting your skills. And don’t forget to ask for feedback for what you are doing and to track your progress."
8. Overcome roadblocks.
Roadblocks are all of the factors that are preventing you from following your dreams. Instead of letting roadblocks actually block you, overcome these obstacles so that you can move forward with your business.
For example, if you’re not familiar with coding or programming, but require a website, then hire a coder. If you’re concerned that there isn’t a market for your idea - conduct market research. If you believe that your passion won’t be profitable then look for alternative ways to monetize your passion by being flexible.
9. Get creative with money.
If you need money to help scale your business, or even just to get it started, you have more options than ever before. Instead of going to your local bank or searching for investors. I've even event crowdfunded my idea on Kickstarter, but there are other great choices like Indiegogo and GoFundMe as well. Not only are these sites able to raise the funds you need, they can also be used to test your product idea.
Another option would be to use peer-to-peer-lending sites like LendingTree where you can get matched with like-minded people directly in your business area.