Most people have something they’re truly passionate about, yet they rarely turn it into a business. Some because they wouldn’t actually want to work with it eight hours a day, others because they simply can’t find a way. That’s why we’ve gathered five tips for turning your passion into profit. And remember: it’s possible to start a small business where you only work a few hours a week. You don’t have to turn your passion into a business that eats all your time.
Understand Your Niche – Become an Expert
Most people have had a dream about running away with the circus at some point, or another. Some even dream of running a circus. If that’s you, you need to learn everything there is to know about the circus. That doesn’t just mean traveling around the world watching circus performances, but also all the rules and regulations, what salaries you need to pay your employees, how long it takes to put up a tent, what tent repairs cost, how many people the average performance can pull in, what the ultimate ticket price is and so forth.
The more you know about your niche, including its business aspects, the better equipped you become at running the show.
Find the Holes in the Market, or Reinvent the Wheel
Here’s the thing: your business is not about you. You’re not running that circus for you. You’re running it for the audience. That’s why you need to figure out what they want that the current market isn’t providing them. What could you add to a circus that would make it more attractive to the audience? Maybe you first think about these things because you are the audience. Then it’s about you, but by the end of the day, you need to understand market demand.
Richard Branson has said you should never enter an industry unless you can do it cheaper, or better. Add to that: or do it differently. Look at AirBnB and Uber. They took the hotel and taxi concepts and turned them on their heads. They reinvented the wheel.
Find Your Sales Platform
Where is your product most likely to sell? There are so many sales platforms available to you today. For example, you have:
- Etsy and other online platforms for handmade goods
- Amazon/Souq and other sales platforms that also offer packaging and shipping
- Drop shipping platforms if it’s not your own product
- Print on demand platforms that puts your design on specific wares
- Alibaba and other wholesale platforms
- Local markets and farmers’ markets where you can sell without a storefront
- Local shops that are willing to take in new products in small batches
- Large chains of stores
- Facebook and other social sites that let you sell
- Your own online store
- Pop-up stores
- Food trucks
Figure out where you want to start and where you want to end up. Platforms like Etsy have literally turned people into millionaires, though those people are few and far in between, it’s still an excellent starting point for a lot of people. Point being, today you don’t need a contract with a large chain of stores to be able to sell something.
Design Your Brand
Consider your target market. What kind of products do they buy? What designs are they attracted to? A strong brand can help you sell your product. While it might not matter to people what your brand looks like if you’re selling a new vaccine, it will matter how you come across. That you have credentials. A lot of people these days are scared of vaccines. Even if you have the scientific community behind you, a lot of so-called health freaks are petrified of vaccines. If you want to sell to them, you need to work on your brand message. You need to speak to their hearts.
Vaccines may be a bad example, as it’s not usually the passion of the average entrepreneur, but it makes an extremely valid point: you need to speak to your audience. Your brand isn’t just your logo, it’s your entire message and it comes across in everything — from how well your website functions, to how your customer service reps speak to your clients.
Bear in mind that people these days expect a lot of transparency — they want to truly be able to connect with a brand.
Test the Market and Work the Social Aspect
Your wonderful product, or service, will never become a business unless it’s something people want. To find that out, you need to test the market. Before you quit your day job, try selling some samples through online platforms, or in locals shops, or markets. Or simply put up an ad on Google at different price points and see what happens (once they put it in their online basket you can inform them the product is temporarily out of stock — you don’t even need a product to test the market online). Listen to the feedback. Maybe you need to adjust the price point. Maybe the branding isn’t quite right. Experiment to see what works.
Even if you’re setting up a cupcake store, you can try the different cupcakes at a market before you buy a store. You don’t have to rush headfirst into a big venture — take your time.
Remember that it takes time too — oftentimes businesses take years to become profitable. That’s why you either need funding for that time, or start by working it in your spare time.
Today you have a better opportunity than ever before of reaching your market as well, because you have social media. Social media requires a lot of work though. Channels like Facebook these days require that you pay to be seen. Other places, like Instagram, still works with hashtags. The best way to build a following is to engage with your target market. Follow, like, share, converse.