What kind of business would you start if you had the opportunity, right now? I bet your answer will be, “I would build a business around my passion”. But of course. That’s what all famous writers publish in their books, blogs, podcasts. Crossing the street without someone telling you that you have, no need, to follow your passion is impossible these days.
I hate when people say that: “You need to follow your passion. That’s the path to real success. Yeah, you need to fuck everything else, do what you want and don’t do what others tell you to do.” Yeah right, the people who said that are probably the Hilton sisters, if someone still remembers these two blondies. Brother needs to eat. We are hungry. We can’t simply ditch everything and start traveling around the world, just because it’s so-cool-to-travel and everybody- is-doing-it.
Yes, there are a lot of people who do what they love and are earning good money out of it. Yes, they are probably following their passion and doing alright, but it’s way harder than what’s written on popular sites like
Inc.com or Nytimes.com. The suggestions there, sound really generic, “Aww men, you need to follow your passion. If you don’t, you are wasting your life”. Ok mister rich guy, what if my passion is hugging trees? Can you give me a 5-year business plan to turn this bizarre hobby into a valuable business idea? If you can, I am ditching everything and going to the nearest forest to build a small condo from mud and horse shit. I will wrap my arms around the biggest three, naked, every morning till I am filthy rich. You can’t, right? Fuck you then. Take your advice with you on the way out.
If you are looking for a business opportunity and you don’t quite believe people who tell you to solely “follow your passion”, then, you first need to ask yourself what do you want? What is your meaning? We are all different, and we all like different things. Me, for example, I don’t mind driving my old rusty Sear Ibiza produced in 2003. I actually ride a bicycle now (my wife is driving the car). When I was younger, I dreamed of getting a Lexus, with 20-inch rims, probably I still do, but this is not my priority right now. Yes, I can probably afford one, but I simply don’t see a point of having one. I invest what I earn, rather than spending it on shiny things.
So let’s get back to our topic here. Should – finding your passion in life – be your main goal in life?
Yes and no.
What we really enjoy doing, our passion, is not always something that can be transformed into a valuable business idea. Even if it does, it might not be what we’ve dreamed of. So, before you quit work and spend all of your savings on a new business model, which supposedly is your passion, there are a couple of things to take into consideration:
Think about the whole process
Opening a small local business is something a lot of people dream of – small coffee shop, handmade gift shop, bookstore or similar. They think that this venture will save them from the corporate firm, the cubicle and make them rich. Also, become famous, appear on TV, make the neighbors jealous and ensure the wealth of their families for years to come.
At first, starting your own business sounds really cool. You get to be your own boss, call yourself an entrepreneur, work the hours you want, do the stuff you’ve always wanted, yet, it’s far from the perfect job.
Starting a business based on your passion is not always as cool as what best selling authors describe in their books. If you want to become a wedding photographer, just before buying the new Nikon, or Canon camera, you need to think in details about what a typical day of a professional photographer looks like – in all the itty-bitty details. These people are constantly on a move, and if they are not taking pictures, they are editing such. Also, if you still haven’t figured it out, shooting people means that you actually have to deal with them – be polity, understandable, do whatever it takes to please the customer face to face, which is actually quite hard.
Ok, let say you won’t photographer people, your ambition is to create a site similar to one of those: deathtothestockphoto.com; picjumbo.com – basically, charging people for high-quality photos, you’re still for disappointment. First, to create a competitive product, you need to travel, a lot, make different photos on different objects. Secondly, actually, something really important – making money, or, earning the amount of money you’ve invested back, takes a lot of time and struggle. You won’t make a million within a year. To be more precise, you probably won’t make any money the whole first year, which is quite demotivating. Yes, it’s harsh, but it’s the truth. Are you ready to work for a full year without pay?
In conclusion – before you even begin thinking about turning your passion into a business, think in details what will be the full process. Does it sounds like you, and, are you willing to do whatever it takes to make things work?
Is there a business?
Not everything you envision can be turned into a valuable business. You may be a fisherman, but that doesn’t mean you can turn it into a successful business. Or it can? To be honest, I believe it does, in most of the cases. You can start a blog and help people who are new to fishing understand the basics. Write an eBook, create a paid course, sell stuff online. As you can see, the options are more than one.
My personal recommendation is to search online for sites similar to your passion. How? Easy, just go to Google and type what you’re into – “fishing tips for beginners” – or different, depending on your interest. Find a couple of sites that are dedicated to that subject and see what they are doing, selling, by going through the pages of the site. Also, you can check how long they are in business. Hey, you can even reach out to the owner of the website (find the about page) to ask him a couple of questions, “How long are you in this business?”; “Is this your main income stream now? How hard it was in the beginning?”. People love to share their stories. Th answers will give you a lot of insightful information and stuff to consider.
Now you know if it’s worth getting started at all.
What do you need to start?
Next step, what kind of tools knowledge, possessions you need to start the business?
Ok, let say we are going for it. We are starting our own photography studio. The first obvious question will be, “Do you have a camera?” The second one, “Do you have additional lenses?” And of course, “Do you know how to take pictures?” Believe me, there’s a lot to learn on this topic. It’s not just pointing the camera and pressing a button. You need to consider the light, know how to adjust the flash, frame the picture etc. etc. I’ve tried it once, and I was amazed from at all the things you need to take into consideration before actually taking a picture. There is a lot to learn. And learning should be your first step no matter what kind of project you will start.
There isn’t a moment in which you know everything. The world is constantly changing and you shouldn’t neglect the learning process. Once you figure out the main things, you should take some time each month to see what’s new and how it can improve your work. A lot of people fall under the “I know it all” category after a while. Thinking they are experts and there is no one better than them. But there is. There is always this other dude how will soon catch up and take all of your clients. That’s the beauty of it. Your competitors are the ones that will keep you sharp and motivated. Just don’t forget how you started and let your ego take control, which is actually pretty common reason businesses bankrupt after several years of success.
Once we have the knowledge, we should see if we have the needed tools and services. If we don’t, we should ask the other, more difficult question, “Do we have enough money to buy all of the stuff I need?” Sometimes, you don’t actually need 2 cameras and 10 lenses, you don’t have to rent a huge place for an office. Starting small should be your main priority in the beginning. Buy only the essentials and use your home for an office. It will be enough to start. Once you’ve proven yourself as a worthy and high-quality photographer, then, you can move to an independent office.
Remember that you should think well about all the things you will need before starting. This will give you a sense of how much money, and knowledge, you will need to start.
Create some kind of a plan
Planning is an essential part of every new venture. If you are not doing it, you are simply slowly walking to the edge of a cliff, blindfolded.
There is a lot to talk about this topic, but the overall process shouldn’t be as complicated as people describe it. You probably won’t be starting a new national bank to write 400 pages length business plan, no. You need something smaller, focused, concise. A plan where you can lay the foundations: what you will need; what will be your goal for the next couple of months and at what point you can make this your main job.
So let’s talk about the last section, “When should I quit my job?” If you are currently making around 3000$ dollars per month and you are satisfied with this amount, you should aim to start making at least 80% of the salary above. When you reached that point, you can then consider leaving your job and going full-time. With the extra hours, you should have enough time for growth, improvement, and chances of increasing your income even more.
Mainly, your plan should include the following sections:
- Overall description of the whole process. My desired business.
- How will you be better than the rest of the world?
- What skills, knowledge do I need?
- What stuff do I need – products and services?
- My first 90 days – plan your first 3 months by week. What you will be doing each week that will get you closer to where you need to be.
- Where should be at within a year?
- Your main goal. Write it down. It will probably change but it’s a good thing to have it written somewhere. It will keep you motivated and focused.
Armed with patience
This is where most of the people quit. For kind of obvious reasons.
When you get a job you immediately start getting something in return – money, and feedback from your boss.This makes you feel good, or worse, depending on how well you do your job. But at least you immediately see results from your actions.
In the beginning of your “follow your passion” journey, a lot of time will pass till you see results. No matter if you are opening a store, building an online business, or you are trying to make your name recognizable in a specific niche, a lot of things should be done prior to getting something in return. Unfortunately, dozens of people can’t or don’t wait that long.
Either they didn’t do their math correctly before starting and all of the money is now gone, or, after waiting only a couple of months without orders, they decide that what they’ve started is stupid and should let go. Yes, sometimes our ideas are stupid, actually in more than 90% of the cases, but this shouldn’t discourage us, rather, should make us re-think our initial strategy and find other ways to proceed.
Everything worth creating takes time. The viral phrase, “there is no such thing as an overnight success” is completely true.
He that can have patience can have what he will.” Benjamin Franklin
The secret engine fueling our success is patience. It’s actually the hardest, most difficult to find piece of the puzzle. It’s a struggle for me as well, no doubt. Every time I publish a new article, I secretly hope that my site traffic will immediately skyrocket. Comments, likes, and shares will follow. Of course, this is not the case. I know enough about building an online business to keep my butt seated and fingers writing.
So, please, if you already started something, but things aren’t happening as quickly as you hoped, keep pushing. Evaluate your idea, think of new ways to present and sell your product, but for the sake of evolution, don’t give up. There are plenty of people on this planet that I am sure will love your product and become your followers.
Hey, don’t blindly follow your passion. Seriously, don’t. Rather, think first.
What do you want to do for the rest of your life? How this helps others? Would people pay money for it? What do I need to start? Can I live with that?
These are the essential questions. Of course, there are a lot of other things to consider before moving a muscle. However, don’t go to the other extreme also – thinking that it’s impossible to create something on your own. Others can, why should you, right?
The world, the Internet is big enough for your venture, too. Roll your sleeves, get a pen and put that brain of yours in action. The time of starting a business is now, not later. Our time in this world is limited. We should use it wisely.