You don't necessarily need to see statistics or sales reports to prove someone loves what they do. You can see it in their eyes. People who are passionate about their work not only tend to wholeheartedly enjoy it, but they are also apt to do a really great job at it. One way to join the club is to turn your own passion into a business. These six tips can help.
Know your Stuff
Your first step is to dive into the details of your industry as well as running a business. Research your potential competitors, similar products or services already on the market, and determine how your company will stand out from the crowd.
You also want to master the art of doing business. How much capital do you need to launch? Are you renting a space or working from home? You'll also want to research things like obtaining a business license, paying taxes, and any insurance requirement. Have you written up a business and marketing plan?
Read. Research. Attend seminars. Network. Don't be afraid to call on experts for input, insight and help.
Fill a Void
Maybe your dog-walking business was a great idea, until your research showed there were 50 other dog walking businesses already in your area. Instead of giving up on your dream, figure out what those dog walkers lack that you can offer. What services aren't dog-walking customers getting that they would love to have?
When Black Note entered the e-liquid scene, there were already hundreds of different flavors on the market. Rather than trying to compete with them all, we instead focused on filling a void we found in the industry. It was tough to find a real tobacco e-liquid targeting adult smokers, and no one else. So we made one.
Surround Yourself with Support, not Naysayers
Even if input from friends or family members is well-intentioned, it can really put a dent in your confidence if they're filling you with doubt. How will you pay your rent? What kind of health insurance will you get? How do you know people will even want to buy what you're selling?
Rather than drown in their noise, thank them for their concern and move on. Remind yourself that you're in charge of your destiny.
Surround yourself with people who share your passion and vision for the company you want to create. Healthy snack home delivery company NatureBox did exactly that, hiring people who have intriguing stories about how food shaped their lives.
Some had undergone a weight loss journey. Others grew up in an agricultural environment. Still others had professional experience with food in a past career. Their shared interest in food continues to bond them, drive them, and help shape the company as it continues to evolve.
Having a shared vision and passion for the business also comes to the rescue, time and again, when a new business requires long hours and little time apart from your employees and colleagues.
Get Comfortable with Discomfort
Speaking of long hours, there are going to be plenty of them. You're also likely to find yourself stressed-out, exhausted, irritable, and otherwise suffering from a wide range of physical and mental discomforts. Get used to it. Accept it. Remind yourself why you started the business in the first place. Keep your eye on the overall prize.
Another discomforting fact you may run across is the idea that turning your passion into a business can make you decidedly less passionate. While that may be true in some cases for some people, it doesn't have to be the case. If your passion stems from deep within your soul and your work fulfills a larger mission, you'll find it easier to survive the headaches that come with running a business.
And the headaches will come. Just because you're passionate about your business doesn't necessarily mean you'll be equally passionate about every aspect of doing business.
One more area where you'll need to embrace discomfort is when it comes to stepping outside your comfort zone. Starting a business based on a passion is something many of us have never done before. We may be giving up a steady job, a weekly paycheck and other known circumstances to plunge into the great unknown.
Don't Forget About the Money
Most businesses need some kind of funding to get started. These funds don't necessarily have to come from your personal bank account. New businesses today have multiple financing options that go far beyond bank loans, big investors or venture capital.
When you're developing your business and marketing plans, make sure you outline exactly how much funding you'll need to get the ball rolling. Take advantage of crowdfunding platforms to drum up community support and get people excited about your company before it even officially launches. Platforms to consider include AngelList, Kickstarter or GoFundMe.
Startup funding can help open the door for your business, but you also need to ensure you're turning a profit as quickly as possible to keep that door open. When Under30CEO.com first launched, the founders knew there was a need to help young entrepreneurs. They also enjoyed it immensely.
While the founders were passionate and filling a void, they were also eventually out of money. As cofounder Matt Wilson shared in Forbes, "It wasn't until later when we were flat broke that we figured out how to make the business profitable."
Get into Action
All the research, planning and talk can't compare with the thrill of actually moving into action to make your dream business a reality. Keep in mind that success isn't likely to come in an instant, and you'll face numerous learning curves and hurdles. The sooner you can get your business up and running, the sooner you can make the necessary adjustments to grow, evolve and thrive.
It's also OK to dive right in, even if your entire plan isn't precisely mapped out. Or at least it was OK for NatureBox. When the company first started, both founders still had their full-time jobs. They built their own website, using photos snapped from their cell phones. To test if they had a market for home-delivered healthy snacks, the two went door-to-door to see if anyone would be interested. More than 100 people signed up over a single weekend.
That's when the two founders faced a big choice: give the people a refund while knowing they did indeed have a market to launch their brand later, or actually fulfill the orders. They chose to take the plunge and have never regretted it.
"There really is no better time than now to just go for it," NatureBox cofounder Gautam Gupta says. And there certainly isn't. While you don't have to start with door-to-door test sales or collecting funds on a social media platform, you can at least start moving in the direction of starting your business using the tips above. No matter how the business turns out, at least you'll never regret that you didn't at least give it a try.