It took me 27 years to realize that I could make serious money from the things I enjoyed doing most in life. Once this realization struck, it took no time at all to turn what was a simple hobby and budding passion into a self-sustaining, profitable business. And when it came down to it, the process of turning passion into profit was surprisingly easy.
Unfortunately, there are very few people out there who have the level of belief in themselves to make this mindset shift. We grow up being taught that the only way to make a comfortable living is to work hard and make sacrifices. Perhaps it’s a remnant of those baby boomer generational ideals still shining through, instilling in us a sense that only by putting our heads down and working our tails off can we achieve anything in life.
Personally, I think that mentality is a load of codswallop. From studying some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business minds of our age, it’s apparent that it’s this very mentality which is actually holding us back. With the notion that hard work equals profit comes a subliminal gravitation towards career choices that seem a solid choice, but which we actually have no interest or passion in. And one thing that all the most successful entrepreneurs out there agree on is that if you’re not passionate about what you do, you’re never going to be successful.
So, in 2014 I threw caution to the wind and invested a considerable sum of my own (and my boyfriend’s) savings into a holistic health coach online course. In recent years, I’d made the switch to Paleo and after discovering how amazingly empowering taking my health into my own hands was, I decided to take it to the next level and add some credibility to my passion.
So, by day I trudged along to my desk job and counted down the hours until 5:00 p.m., and by night I got to delve into the wonderful world of health. I learned all about the many facets of not only health and wellness, but also how to turn this knowledge into a thriving online business. Because I was enthusiastic about the subject matter, I was always keen to jump online and get learning, despite having already worked a full day at the office. This, I think, was an essential component.
After 12 months of hard work, I came out the other side as a certified holistic health coach. I then wasted no time in setting up my own health and wellness blog centered around Paleo, primal and ancestral nutrition and lifestyle. In short order, I had landed my first paid writing gig. It wasn’t long before I was matching my day job income with my secret freelance “job on the side,” and even less time before I worked up the courage to quit my loathed office job and make my own way. I was able to use my freelance writing income to travel the world and still set aside some savings, and the rest is history!
But mine is just one success story amongst millions of stories that hit a dead end. Metaphorically, that is. Those millions are still under that baby boomer illusion that there’s no life for them outside of their 9-5 job, and can only dream of making a living from something they actually like doing.
But you don’t need to be one of those people. I’ve put together a set of easy steps below which should help you pave the way towards monetizing your hobby. That hobby could be anything from fishing to fashion. Whatever the vocation, if you’re passionate enough about it, you will succeed! Here’s what you need to do.
1. Figure out what gets you going
This first step might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s the linchpin of the whole enterprise. As I suggested earlier, if you choose to pursue a career or venture that’s based on something you’re not 100 percent enthusiastic about, it’s doomed to fail. Sit down, mentally tally up the things that bring you the most pleasure in life (aside from blobbing out on the couch and watching TV), and write them down on a piece of paper.
Next, assign a number to each one, with a higher number associated with a greater level of passion or interest. Choose the highest ranking hobby or passion, and we’re ready to move on to step two.
2. Do some background research
This is the phase in which you’ll do some background research to determine whether your passion might be transformed into a profitable business. My passion was based around ancestral wellness and holistic living, and a quick Google Trends analysis indicated that this was very much on the rise. I checked out other websites and blogs centered around these similar premises, decided I could bring something unique and fresh to the table, and knew that this was a good venture to pursue.
Essentially, this step simply involves seeing what’s already out there on the internet, in stores or otherwise. Identify your potential competition, identify gaps in what they’re offering or ways in which you can create your own niche market within this area of expertise, and gauge whether your passion or hobby is likely going to increase in demand in the future.
3. Generate a plan
In the early phases of my freelance work, I was often overcome by moments of overwhelm. There were simply so many avenues I could explore, so much content that needed to be created and contacts that needed to be established, that I sometimes didn’t know where to start. This feeling of overwhelm can be horribly debilitating.
Progress came when I sat down one evening and wrote down a rough plan of action. I knew what I wanted to achieve (a thriving health and wellness blog), and I simply had to write down steps to reach that goal. I determined that my first step should be to buy a domain and set up a WordPress site, then to design the site to how I wanted it to be, then to begin creating content for the site. Simply writing down my steps in order seemed to provide that initial push I needed to get going. You should seriously consider doing the same thing for your budding business.
4. Make a sale
It’s all very well to spend days or weeks creating the groundwork for your business-to-be, but you’ll never really get a true vote of confidence until you make your first sale. This doesn’t need to be a figure with a whole lot of zero’s after it — it could be as little as a couple of dollars. My first “sale” was simply a click on one of my affiliate links on my blog, and while I hadn’t exactly won the lottery, it showed me that I was doing something right — I could make this work.
So if you’re flustered and feel like you’ve hit a cul-de-sac, make it your priority to simply make a sale of some kind. This might mean discounting your prices or approaching people you wouldn’t normally approach, but I firmly believe it’s an important early step in a successful, profitable business.
— Liivi Hess