What’s your passion? How would your friends and colleagues best describe you? If you find that you are spending an increasingly long time on your passion projects, rather than your job — why not make your passion project your full-time gig?
Well, it’s not always that easy…Going pro with your passion is a great idea in theory (and one that many dream of), but it can be hard to achieve in practice. Most people lack the creativity and insight to see how a passion can be transformed into cold, hard cash.
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, take inspiration from these ideas to help you make the transition from hobbyist to pro. Sometimes the best things in life come to those who follow their instincts: this is for those who trust their gut and are ready to make something happen! (Read here for more business ideas you don’t need any cash to get started with).
The proactive ‘doer’: Imparting knowledge
Would your friends and associates describe you as proactive problem solver? Are you always picking up ‘mayday’ phone calls from stressed business owners? Helping people out in Facebook groups with comments and suggestions?
Why not turn your ability to impart knowledge into a business? If you like helping people and are good at it: why not turn your troubleshooting skills into a profit-making machine?
1. Starting an online group for free on social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn is often the first route to ‘information monetization’. If you have a compelling message and share awesome content, people will flock to your group: build a captive audience who are likely to need your services or products.
2. There are many ways to monetize a group, but you need to have clear ground rules and be switched on as a community manager. From a business perspective, you need group members to be engaged, and you also need their contact details so that you can stay in touch. An online group, email list, and product combo are a powerful, provided you focus on giving people value.
3. Teaching online is a lot easier than before, and you can make your online courses look super professional and host expert webinars from the comfort of your home. Focus on providing great student experiences and include plenty of freebies and tie-ins to drive referrals.
4. If you want to earn money — you have to keep your eye on the ball. Build a community, but don’t forget to monetize your content and expertise. Small, monthly subscription fees are low barrier to entry payments that people are likely to hand over without too much thought.
You will also need to invest time and money into your own brand: you need to put your best foot forward, especially when you are ‘selling yourself’. A personality test may help you tease out your main value propositions (and weaknesses!).
Pro-tip: Specialize. There are loads of generic business and growth consultants out there, but is there a specific group or pain point that you can serve? By being more targeted, you will find it easier to reach your ideal customer base.
The artist: Monetizing design & art
The commodification of art and design means that the ‘starving artist’ stereotype is starting to wane, and the van Goghs of the world can make a heap of cash through prints and designs. There is a huge market out there for quirky designs on household items, clothes, fashion accessories, and pretty much anything else. Platforms like Etsy.com have opened up people’s eyes to the pleasures of stamping their individuality on everything.
1. You could sell your designs onto other businesses, though the margins may be slim. With just a little bit of investment, you can quickly and easily set up a dropshipping store that stocks products like t-shirts, phone cases, and sweaters printed with your designs — it’s not as hard as you think!
2. As a creative soul, you are in the perfect position to create a great logo, strapline, and story. Really run with your creativity and put an individual stamp on it: wacky ideas have a habit of making it in the business world.
3. People love personalization, so include the option for people to commission designs from you. A great way to make more money and create customers for life.
The practical hobbyist: Make money from selling products
The hipster crafts revolution shows no signs of abating — great news for craftsy people everywhere! If you are passionate about creating things with your own two hands, why not start building out your own craft emporium? From selling at fairs and local stalls to Etsy and Pinterest, there are loads of different sales routes for the craft entrepreneur to test out and explore.
1. Pass it on: people love DIY tutorials, so create some content around how people can make candles, cakes, or belts at home! You could also create some tailored experience days or courses for people looking to try something new — reach different target markets: from bridal to corporate.
2. If you want to make money, aim for the luxury and premium market. Really focus on the story behind your products, and include a historic or local interest element if you can. You want to really highlight the expertise that goes into your products.
Even if you’re creative, but aren’t sure you can create products for sale yourself, you can still run an ecommerce business with good margins, as long as you have the right suppliers.
Maybe buying a readymade store with an established customer base is your way to grow into being an ecommerce entrepreneur? Exchange has some good lifestyle stores and brands for sale, but you should always spend time speaking to owners before you make a final purchase decision as overhauling a store can be a lot of work.
The fitness junkie: Earn & burn
You know those people who post gym selfies on Instagram? Is that you? Though the fitness niche can be hard to break into, there are still a ton of people making money from their love of sports or the great outdoors. The key to making money from exercise is being super clear on how you are going to monetize your workouts. From personal training and experience days to affiliate marketing and sponsorships, there are plenty of ways to earn money in the fitness arena.
Start talking to other gym and fitness enthusiasts to learn what keeps them going. You can learn a lot from the top 1% sports & fitness influencers, but you can also pick up tricks from people in your local area. Same goes for sponsorships and partnerships — don’t just focus on the big brands: give the mid-small players a look-in too.
Fitness is a great ‘bleed’ industry, in the sense that it overlaps with other popular online niches like business, health, motherhood, fashion, tech. Think about how you can start a fitness business that serves a specific demographic or niche, rather than a ‘generic’ catch-all one.
Vlogging and documenting are great ways to bring people on a fitness journey with you — so get out there and get sharing!
The foodie: Eat and repeat
Everyone loves good food, right? So how to make a career out of your passion for good cooking? There are plenty of ways to make money out of eating and making food, but like with everything, you need to be super clear on what audience you’re going to be serving (no pun intended), and how you are different to everyone else out there blogging or writing about food.
1. Actually making food products to sell can be very lucrative; the foodie revolution has provoked the revival of many traditional methods like brewing and cheesemaking over the past few years. If you have a cool foodie product idea, you might just be onto something. Starting small can be beneficial, but you will hit a growth plateau at some point, so think about how you feel about entering the world of mass retail.
2. A food blog is a good place to start if you’re a bit of a writer and photographer, and it can make you a lot of money if you review popular places and sign up for exclusive deals with merchants. You will need to do A LOT of posting and recipe sharing, so don’t start blogging unless you’re confident you can commit to it.
The writer: Blogging & publishing
If you like writing and mucking about on a blog in your free time, why not make money from writing full-time? Writing is hard, but it’s also a very rewarding career path. With a plethora of writing roles, from sales copywriters and bloggers to ebook authors and editors, there’s a role to suit everyone.
1. To go it alone as a writer means that you need to get good at negotiating your rates, developing new business, and client management. The ability to write well is not enough to sustain a business and make a living. Low-level writing work found on freelance sites is an unlikely route to a sustainable income from writing, so make sure that you’re pitching yourself to the right audience.
2. Self-publishing is lucrative for those who can write fast and well. If you have an idea for a book, why not start writing now, and see whether you can publish it yourself? Self-publishing is easier than ever before and there is a whole community out there, eager to help. More self-publishing facts here.
Finding balance in passion
Passion isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe a side project is best left at that? (These big entrepreneurs swear by keeping their passion projects separate). Think carefully about whether you are ready to give up that separation between what you love, and what you to do make money.
However, if you do decide to take the plunge, you may find that you will feel much happier and fulfilled at work, and less conflicted about how to spend your time. Just make sure you take breaks away from your business and cut yourself some slack. Passion can get people all riled up, so make sure you maintain a healthy perspective at all times.
Whichever route you decide to take, make sure that you do your research and enter your new career phase with your eyes wide open! There’s a lot of shared wisdom out there, so don’t be shy!