Q. What are your best tips for turning a passion into your profession?
– Sally, North Dakota
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council. Founded by Scott Gerber, the Y.E.C. is a nonprofit organization that provides young entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, community, and educational resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth. The organization promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment.
See the value in yourself.
When you first brainstorm business ideas, you may doubt that anyone will ever pay you to do what you love. Remind yourself that people will pay for what they need, and that the activity you love may be out of the realm of possibility for a client. For example, you’re willing to pay the plumber to fix that leak because it’s outside your skill set. What can you do that others can’t?
Embrace the fear.
If you’re terrified, you’re on the right track. Ignore the naysayers. Turning your passion into your profession is risky, especially if you’re starting out on your own. I worked for free for a bit before I was approached by my first client to serve as their director of marketing. Embrace the fear, dream big, and when everything works out, it makes the victory that much sweeter.
Put in the effort.
The best way to turn your passion into your profession is to start publishing your knowledge on a topic every single day. If people like what you have to say and benefit from it, you will have potential clients to work with on a consulting or advertising basis.
Recognize that passion as passion can be different from passion as a business.
Start viewing your passion as a business. If you can do it as a side hustle while you are still working I would suggest you do so. Learn the ins and outs about your passion as a business. Are you willing to charge people for what you love to do? Who else is doing the same thing? Learn and simultaneously act on turning your passion into a business, from where you are, with what you have.
Improve your business skills.
You’re probably already pretty good at your passion but in order to turn this into a profitable venture, you’re going to need to have all sorts of other skills — such as marketing, business strategy, finance, and more. If you can put as much time and effort into these areas of your business as you do into your passion, you’ll have a greater chance of success.
Embrace your uniqueness.
Figure out what sets you apart from everyone else who is just as enthusiastic about your passion as you are. Embrace that unique quality and build upon it. When your work is also your passion, you’ll need to make a living from it, and having a niche will allow you to do that much more easily.