You have a passion that you invest a lot of your time and energy into, but would love to transition it from just a passion into a money-making business? Here are some steps that you can follow that will make the transition much more smooth:
- Define what makes you unique? The main difference between a passion project and a real business is sales and revenue. Your ability to quickly generate revenue will increase when you have identified what is unique about your product or service. Think about what sets you apart from the competition and develop it further. Make yourself stand out from others by offering something unique. If you don't have something unique to offer, take time to discover it. If you can’t answer the question, “why should I buy from you rather than the guy down the street,” then your customer is thinking the same thing. Be different.
- Get Some Help – One reason that your passion project has not developed into a full business is that you may need some help and can’t accomplish it alone. This does not mean 50/50 partnership because those often fail. You should consider an intern if you cannot afford a full time employee, but also consider trading services with other business owners that are a similar size as you. Basically building a network of businesses and helping each other grow together. This can become tricky to make sure that value is being evenly traded, but it can be done. This will reduce the need to do everything in your business and reduce the wasted time on aspects of the business that you may not be very good at completing. Don't be afraid to knock on doors and ask for help.
- Put in The Work – It is easy to look at all of the things on the to-do list and become overwhelmed, but a common issue is that items are never completed on the to-do list and just sit there. There is no way around it, you must get stuff done. It is great to hire people or trade resources, but all of that still needs direction and management. And there are many things that you just need to do yourself. Your ability to get things done and eliminate excuses and distractions is probably the most beneficial thing you can do to move your passion project to a real business. Get busy and get your hands tired. It can take a long time to build up a business, so you should be prepared to invest a lot of time and hard work into it.
- Accomplish Small Goals and Celebrate Success – So you want to make $1 million? That’s great, but let’s start with $100 first and build upon that success. Break your bigger goals into smaller tasks and get them completed. Do something today, even if it's just something small. Every step counts, no matter how small. Get started today and you're on your way. Keep putting it off and it'll be even longer before you get there. Don’t forget to celebrate your wins as it will provide you the motivation to keep going.
- Develop Systems and Processes – This is one of the least fun aspects of business, but when systems and processes are properly in place and working correctly, it will be truly transformational for your business. This is critical as you hire people as you will have detailed exactly what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it. So when problems occur, your challenge is to determine the breakdown in the process and fix it rather than having no idea why things went wrong. I recommend that all business owners should read the book “Work The System” by Sam Carpenter to understand the importance of detailed systems and how to deploy them in your business.
- Write a Business Plan – There are two schools of thought, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail,” or the other school of thought which is “business plans are for suckers.” I would definitely fall into the school of thought that a business plan is necessary. It does not require a 50-page dissertation and many business plans are written, but it does require some conscious thought about every aspect of your business. It forces you to think about who your competition is, what products and services you offer, how you will handle staffing and HR issues, what is the marketing plan etc. It is much easier to plan for these things in advance and follow a define vision versus scrambling to solve problems when they arise. A proper business plan will prevent some of the problems. A good business plan should take about four hours to write.
- 7. Tell Everyone – Spread the word that you are now in business. Tell your friends, tell your family, add it to your e-mail signature, post it to social media, maybe even consider writing a press release. Tell as many people as you can as fast as you can. You never know where new business is going to come from. The wider that you can spread your message, the quicker you will grow.
Having your passion as a business is a wonderful thing – anyone can start a business, but sustaining it and growing it require a lot of enthusiasm and motivation. If you are not fully committed to turning your passion into a business, then I would say don’t even start. But if you want to turn the passion into a real business, then follow these steps and you will be well on your way. Sure, there'll be ups and downs along the way, but you'll remain determined because you're doing what you love.
What other tips do you recommend for turning your passion into a business?