It is possible to turn your passion into profit.
In Oprah Winfrey’s words, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” The truth is that everyone has a passion (or more than one)—even if you don’t yet know what it is. Our purpose here on earth is to discover it. Many people don’t believe that you can turn what you love into a viable business enterprise. You can. In fact, the best businesses are built on passion. It just takes some planning, soul searching, and yes, hard work. Here are five steps that will help you turn your passion into profit.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
1.) Dream big but start small
Trying to turn passion into profit is inherently risky. The good news is that you can minimize the risks by starting small and planning carefully. In my interview with entrepreneur Melissa Blue, co-founder of Meli’s Monster Cookies, she shared that one of the best pieces of advice she got when starting her business was “to start small and make your mistakes small.” In the early days of launching a company, you’re still in the learning stages. Test the waters first and make sure whatever you do is scalable. Then, as you start seeing success, invest in rolling your products and services out in a more significant way.
2.) Keep your day job
The best way to eventually turn passion into profit is to start your business while you still have the safety and security of your day job. Ideally, you won’t leave your full-time position until your passion project is providing you with a sustainable, growing cash flow that is equal to at least 75% of your current salary. Most entrepreneurs have a healthy appetite for risk, but you shouldn’t jump into anything without having a decent chance of success. You’ll also want to have at least six months to a year’s worth of savings in the event your business doesn’t grow as quickly as expected.
3.) Break down your big goal into manageable chunks
When turning passion into profit, keep goals small and attainable. Break down your overarching goal into small, actionable chunks. Think about items that you can set out and achieve immediately. As Senia Maymin, Ph.D., co-author of Profit from the Positive, recommends, “If you want to accomplish something, break it down into smaller steps, and go after them incrementally. In Profit from the Positive, we…encourage readers to ‘just plan it’ instead of ‘just do it.’ Plan out the smaller steps before jumping into the big project.” When planning out your smaller steps, try creating a schedule around it. For example, you could commit to working in your home office every morning at 7:30 am. As you develop a habit and focus on the process instead of the outcome, you’ll be more likely to achieve your goal in a shorter amount of time.
4.) Focus on your strengths and outsource the rest
The most successful entrepreneurs who turn passion into profit focus on their strengths and find others to help them fill in the gaps. Not only is this an effective business strategy, but studies also show that people who use their strengths at work are:
- Less stressed
- More energetic
- More confident
- More engaged, creative and agile
- More satisfied and experience more meaning at work
Ultimately, when we focus on developing our strengths, we grow faster than when trying to improve upon our weaknesses. Are you great at design strategy but hate accounting? Don’t waste time trying to learn the ins and outs of the latest tax laws. Outsource your accounting needs. Other areas to consider outsourcing are:
- Customer service
- Social media activities
- Data entry and verification
- IT services and network support
- Shipping and administrative tasks
- Content writing, research and editing
- Marketing and telemarketing services
5.) Use time travel to plan for tomorrow
Once you launch your business, take a step back to think about what you’d like your company to look like two years into the future. Then consider what you are doing differently two years from now that you aren’t doing today. Are you pricing your services differently? Is your marketing message more refined? When people ask what you do, how will you respond? Use “time travel” to help you envision what your business will look like years from now. Then use that vision to inform how you will position your products and services to people today. For example, if you’re a hobby photographer who wants to eventually launch a wedding photography business, when people ask you what you do, say, “I’m a full-time wedding photographer!” You have to start somewhere, and this approach will help you build confidence while slowly growing your clientele.
Starting any business requires effort and patience. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Just don’t overlook the most critical ingredient—passion. The more passionate you are, the easier it will be to get your project off the ground and turn it into a viable business. As entrepreneur Richard Branson asserts, “When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.”
“When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.”
For more from Caroline Castrillon, check out her guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Soul-Sucking Job!