Working is a necessity of life, but studies show few Americans actually enjoy what they do. Among the 100 million full-time employees in the U.S., 51 percent admit to being disengaged—in other words, not feeling connected to their job. An additional 16 percent fall into the actively disengaged category, meaning they absolutely detest their jobs and tend to bring down office morale.
Turning Your Passion Project into a Business Venture: The Basics
While some people find solace with a hobby, others turn their personal pursuits into a business venture. Embracing an entrepreneurial spirit is not for everyone, but for the right individual, it can offer freedom to do what you love, a flexible schedule (not less work, however), excitement, and a sense of accomplishment and pride.
For the same reasons, being your own boss can prove to be an effective tactic for recovery survivors, too. This is especially true if the business idea stems from something that helped them come to peace with their addiction, like art therapy, for example. More than just brushstrokes on a canvas (though there’s that, too), this alternative treatment method encompasses jewelry making, cooking, singing, dancing, sewing, woodworking, and creative writing—all of which can be translated into a business idea.
No matter where you’re at in your life, it’s never too late to consider pursuing your own endeavor. Just make sure you know what you’re into getting first.
Are You Really Ready?
Doing a hobby for the sake of pleasure is completely different than monetizing it. Before getting in too deep, ask yourself a few key questions:
- Will I enjoy my hobby the same when I’m under pressure to complete it—quite possibly in large amounts?
- Will I be able to handle the financial pressure to produce a profit?
- Will I be ruining my outlet for relaxation?
- Will I be able to deal with the good, bad, and ugly that comes from business ownership?
- Will I be willing to wear more than one hat?
Getting Started: 4 Ways to Turn Passion Into Profit
1. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Doing something as a hobby is one thing, but is your product or service polished enough to sell to consumers? If no, then figure out a way to perfect it, or choose another outlet altogether. Alternatively, maybe you’re great at whatever you’re selling, but bad with other aspects of business like bookkeeping. Make sure you get assistance in any areas of uncertainty.
2. Find a Niche
While it’s not always possible to reinvent the wheel, having a niche for your business will make it stand apart from the competition. Even something subtle like packaging or an inspirational story can help, so assess every aspect of your product or service to determine its unique potential.
3. Create a Business Plan
While it’s a time-consuming process, a solid business plan can unlock the doors to investment opportunities that can help you do everything from getting the business off the ground to expanding in the future. A professional plan should include: an executive summary, company description, market analysis (very important and requires thorough research), organization and management, description of service or product, a marketing and sales plan, a funding request spanning the next 3-5 years, financial projections (of great interest to investors), and an optional appendix.
4. Source Funding
You’ve got your plan, and now you need the funds to start. There are several outlets to try, so it would behoove you to approach more than one source so you have funding options to compare. But forget the bank. You’re more apt to receive funding from the SBA, peer-to-peer lenders, your personal credit and savings, and crowdfunding.
You Can Do It!
Approximately 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses from home, so there’s no reason why you can’t jump on that bandwagon, too. But if you want to avoid a less desirable statistic—being among the 50 percent of businesses that fail within the first four years—don’t rely on excitement alone. Ample research and a concrete plan will give you the self-confidence you need to push ahead.