You’re sitting your cubicle staring at a blinking cursor. It dances there mocking you. You’re supposed to be typing up that yearly report for the boss. But you’d rather be out in the mountains or on a lake somewhere fishing. Someone comes and taps on your shoulder. It’s the FedEx guy with a large envelope. You rip it open and out slides a flip phone. You open the phone and it rings.
You answer, “Hello?”
“What if I told you that you don’t have to sit in a cubicle forever.”
“Yeah, well, I’m heading home here in an hour…”
“What if I told you that you could turn your passion into a business? That it might take a lot of work, but you could be on the river fishing and making money at the same time.”
Would you believe the man on the phone? Or would be like Neo and decide that the ledge was too dangerous? It’s entirely possible to take a passion and eventually use it as an escape hatch for a boring job. It’s just more work than most realize. So, I’m going to take you through a few bit of advice and hopefully by the end, you’ll be ready to take the leap.
1. It’s Not Wise to Jump Ship Just Yet
Unless you have a year or two safety net of income saved up, you might want to keep that soul-sucking job for the time being. No new business is a guarantee.
Maybe you want to start an SEO company. Perhaps you want to target the cannabis industry. So, you begin to build this business, gain a few clients, and suddenly with the next wave of politicians, even associating with a cannabis company becomes illegal.
It’s something completely out of your control. You can’t have predicted it would happen. And if you left your job, you’re going to be hurting quite a bit.
But if you kept your job, it was just a side hustle, and you can afford to start over in another industry.
2. It’s Not Just a Hobby
If you want to turn your passion into a business, you can’t treat it like a hobby. A hobby is something you spend maybe a few hours on the weekends doing. A business is something you work at every day until it becomes profitable.
One of the best things about working from home is that you can set your own schedule. It’s also one of the worst things about working from home.
If you don’t set a schedule, you won’t get anything done. You’ll be constantly working against your own deadlines or those clients impose on you.
It’s the same when you’re a new entrepreneur with a side-hustle. You need structure or you’ll get home from work and never get anything done.
Just like your boss does for you at your 9-5, you need to create a weekly schedule of when you’re going to work in the evening.
Set weekly goals and strive to meet them.
There are plenty of organizational platforms out there for you to work from. And you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done with a little bit of structure.
3. Seek a Mentor
While you might be an expert in your passion, you may not be an expert in turning it into a business. There are a billion aspects you may not have considered before deciding to turn your passion into a money-making business.
But resources exist to help entrepreneurs every step of the way. The U.S. Small Business Administration built Small Business Development Centers all across the country.
You can learn how to develop a business plan, do market research, even get guidance on how to offer healthcare to future employees.
The private sector offers another free option. SCORE is a non-profit organization that will pair you with a mentor. They offer free live and recorded webinars. They conduct on Demand courses that teach anything from competitive analysis to strategic planning.
If you do become successful enough to quit your job, you don’t have to be lonely. You can find a co-working space and either rent office space or share space with other people.
Many of these environments offer opportunities to network and edvance your business. And when you want to scale, you might find partners and new employees there as well.
4. Use All the Online Tools at Your Disposal
You’re no longer bound by the physical world. Leverage that social media. If you’re just starting out and need to make connections, you’ll find a community for almost every passion on the books.
Social media platforms like Google+ already have a natural setup for community building. And if you don’t have a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account, it’s time to start one.
From these platforms, you will build a following and eventually a brand.
If you end up selling merchandise related to your passion, you’ll easily convert this following into buyers. Gain a massive following on one of the above social platforms and you’ll have another income stream outside of your passion.
5. Don’t Keep it a Secret
While at first you grandma and your sister might be the only ones visiting your site, they’ll tell their friends and their friends will tell theirs. Grassroots is always the best way to build a business. It creates a solid foundation from which to work.