It’s time to start figuring out which passion of yours you can make a living on.
In Pursue Your Passion – Part Two you wrote down a list of passions you would like to pursue. Now what? Start testing your ideas out. We need to find that “sweet spot” between passion, skills and what others would be willing to pay for.
Let’s use an example. You want to become a hiking guide. You dream about being able to make money hiking, one of your favorite things to do.
What is your next step? Get to know other hiking guides. Connect with them. Pay to go on a hike and ask how they got started, how do they find clients, what their challenges are and any other question that will help you understand the business better. The best way to learn a business is either working in it or getting the answers from a person who is successful doing what you want to do.
Then invite friends you normally don’t hike with to go with you. Be their guide! Learn about the trail where you’re taking them so you know what to talk about and what to point out along the way. Act as a professional guide, not just someone taking a few friends on a hike.
After the hike ask them to give you honest feedback. Would they pay you to take them hiking? If at least a few people say yes you know you have something viable to build upon. Keep doing a few hikes like that to learn more.
Basically, get feedback from people what they want and looking for. What is their pain point? What do they struggle with? What do they wish they had access to? Let your future customers tell you what product, service or experience they want and then find a way to give them what they need.
You also need to research the cost of running the business. What’s the cost of certifications, licenses, insurance and so on. What kind of paperwork do you need to have in place to become a professional guide? Any associations you should be a member of? Don’t go spend any money. You are still in the “learning” phase to see if your passion can be turned into a business, and if this business can bring in the kind of money you want to make.
If there are quite a few hiking guides in your area that’s actually a good thing. That means there’s a market. If there are no hiking guides then there may not be a market but you still need to find out. Maybe a few tried but didn’t have the right offerings that made people sign up.
A lot of people get discouraged if there’s a “crowded” market and think the only way to succeed is to be first. That’s not the case. You just have to do it in your voice and research how you can stand out from the rest.
What “different” could you offer in addition to stand out? Make a list of what other guides are doing and see what you can add to the mix. Hiking with yoga afterwards? Educational hikes? Don’t think of just hiking…think of offering an entire package of some sort. People are willing to pay for an experience, not just a service.
Then start small. Offer a free or low cost monthly hike and tell everyone about it. Don’t take on more than you can handle. You could even start a MeetUp group to get the experience you need.
In your 10 Steps to Getting Off the Hamster Wheel Guide you have room to write down those ideas that mix passion, skill and what others would be willing to pay for.
Key is…you need to start testing those ideas out. If you want to become a writer, start writing and put your work out there to get feedback. If you want to be a stay home parent while making money blogging you need to start blogging and learn how to properly monetize your blog. If you want to make money playing music, how can you find your market without taking the traditional route?
This is your time to see what sticks. And it’s okay to change course. We are living in an amazing time which allows you to easily test your ideas without much, if any capital investment.
There is no need to go find investors, or even take out a loan. Grow slow and grow organically. A great book to read is Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup. (affiliate link)
Sky’s the limit. Now go write down your ideas and then pick one to try out.
What idea are you going to try this week?