Do you have an idea that you would like to explore as a business venture? Transforming a passion project into a full-fledged business might seem intimidating, but with hard work and commitment you can make it happen.
5 Tips to Help You Turn Your Passion Into a Business
Here are some valuable pointers that helped me along the way while I started my company.
1 - Do proper research, but don’t wait too long
Chances are if your skill set is the starting point for your business, then you already have an understanding of the market and demographic. I worked as a registered diagnostic medical sonographer for over 8 years with a hospital, then become a private contractor. This experience provided me with a unique perspective on the journey of pregnancy and expecting families, which then turned into my business—My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear.
Purusha Rivera surrounded by the products of her passion at My Baby's Heartbeat Bear
While proper market research, along with your personal interests and skills, are needed to jump start your business, don’t get too caught up in the process. Many aspiring business owners face analysis paralysis where they become perfectionists and feel like they’re never ready to launch.
Commit to your business and go all in! Don’t worry about the first product or iterations, time is too valuable. Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, famously said; “If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.”
2 - Determine the amount of funding you need
Assess your personal finances and what you can afford to put into your business. What are the estimated startup expenses? Can you bootstrap the concept with your own capital, or will you need a larger investment? Self-funding or getting help from families/friends will offer more flexibility when starting a business, however it’s not a reality for everyone. If your concept is something that requires a significant investment like a traditional business loan from a bank, you’ll need an established business plan.
3 - Don’t just focus on the money
Once your funding and startup expenses are figured out, don’t focus exclusively on the money portion of your business endeavor. Yes, you need to be realistic when it comes to setting revenue goals that your business should generate and creating strategies to reach them.
But if you want to turn your passion into a product, don’t have the mindset of “how can I make money from this?” Instead, think about how you can use your skills and interests to create a product or service that will add value to your customer’s lives. Focus on parlaying your experience in such a way that you stand out from the competition.
4 - Schedule time for everything in your life
When you’re starting a business, time is one of your most valuable resources. Especially if you’re doing it as a side hustle to an existing career or while raising your family. Even the most organized and efficient business owners can experience burn out, particularly when you’re getting started. A way to avoid this is to set aside time for everything in your life.
If you live life by your planner or calendar, schedule time slots for personal pursuits. Include time with family and friends, exercise and mostly importantly—time for yourself. The act of putting these appointments on your calendar and treating them just like a business meeting, will help you maintain balance in your life. Burnout can quickly turn your passion project into a nightmare.
5 - Develop brand identity and awareness
When you developed your business model, hopefully you came up with your company’s goals and core values. That’s the message that your brand will communicate. Now it’s time to focus on how you communicate that through branding.
In the digital age, creating your brand identity is easier than ever. There are many easy-to-use design programs that use templates to create marketing collateral such as logos, business cards, flyers, social media graphics, and brand style guides. You can also outsource and hire a freelance graphic designer or marketing consultant to get you set up.
These materials will create your brand identity, then you need to promote. To raise brand awareness, start with the low-hanging fruit. Reach out to your network, both personal and professional. Tell them about your new business, ask them to repost social media ads. If relevant to your market or demographic, you can have close friends serve as brand ambassadors.
Self-doubt can be a major detractor to self-promotion, make sure you have a support network in place for days that you’re feeling anxious or unsure. Even if it’s just your family and friends, this ‘hype squad’ will help you through difficult periods. Networking events can also be invaluable experiences when starting your business.
Communicating with other people that are going through the same process, or feeling the same doubts, can be uplifting and motivational as you continue to be your one-person marketing department.
Bottom line—starting a business can be a daunting task. If you have skills, passion and a great idea, that’s the first step. Even if you’re inexperienced in the business world, don’t be afraid to get started and learn as you go!
Our guest author, Purusha Rivera, found her passion and pursued it with My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear.
These innovative pregnancy gifts capture the sound of a baby’s heartbeat while in utero, becoming a permanent family keepsake. They’re on Twitter @Heartbeat_Bear and Facebook @mybabysheartbeatbear.