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Turning your passion into an online business can be a vastly rewarding decision. Not only do you have the opportunity to earn an extra side income, but you can also make it a full-time gig. An online business also means you can work from home, meaning you can create your own work schedule based around your other commitments, because let's face it, we all have to have some sort of a personal life, right?
Now is a great time to discover your true passion, if you haven't already, and spend some time creating a business. Whether you want a few dollars on the side or a fully-fetched eCommerce business is completely up to you, depending on how much time and effort you are willing to put in.
While it does take some time to get going and see some cash flowing, it is important to stay persistent, even when things may not be going to plan. Let's explore together how you can go from hobby to turning your passion into an online business.
Things To Remember when Turning your Passion into an Online Business
It is very important to keep in mind 2 key points during the path to success.
First of all, know that success will not be immediate; it may take a few weeks, or maybe even a few months. You must be persistent and stick with your idea, whatever it may be, and be prepared to work hard.
The second thing to remember is that when you do start to see some cash flow in the initial stages, it most likely won't be enough to become your sole income. Therefore, don't become complacent and reliant on this income and quit your main hustle. Instead, realise that what you are doing is working, you are taking another step to success, and keep on grinding! If your online business is just for a few extra coins per month, then this is not for you, but keep working hard!
Determine Your True Passion
These days, anything and everything can be found online. The first step is to determine your true passion, and how you will form this into an online business. If your passion is yoga or meditation, for example, while these are best practised in a studio, they can also be formed into a video or online course for your website so that others can learn from home.
Another example could be for those business workers whose passion is helping other businesses grow and become successful. They can easily lend their expertise through the form of an online consulting or business coaching platform, or even putting together an online course to help businesses with their marketing and branding strategies.
Start Right Now!
When starting the majority of businesses, a thorough plan is required. This is so that employees have a model to follow to achieve success, but not in this case. Although a business plan is ideal to help you stick to certain strategies, and even budget if applicable, it is not necessary.
Why? Well, because you are transforming your passion, something you find enjoyable, into a profitable business, and it is supposed to be fun. That isn't to say starting a business that doesn't derive from a passion isn't fun, but there is nothing better, at first, than just throwing your passion out there and seeing what comes of it.
Of course, you can, and probably should, review your idea's and strategies down the track, but in the beginning, have some fun with it and see what comes!
Think Of It As A Business
A passion is something we enjoy doing in our spare time, so it is understandable that when it comes to thinking of it as a business prospect, it is somewhat confusing. If you are forming an online business for the money, you will quickly lose interest in it if results are instant, as well as losing the motivation to work hard and grind.
The benefit of turning your passion into an online business is that it is already a subject you enjoy working with and/or talking about. Therefore, even if results aren't as quick as you would have hoped, you will be willing to stick with it until you do see some customer engagement. And, if things don't go to plan, then you can revert the business plan and go back to performing your passion as you did before, so it is a win-win situation.
Get Your Personal Branding Right
Consumers are shifting from mass-produced items to more independently and ethically sourced products and services. This is where personal branding comes in. As you will be turning a passion into a business, your story will be unique - a trend which is gaining traction amongst consumers.
Being authentic with customers will see your sales increase, and this can be done in a number of ways. Creating a blog to express yourself and your ideas is perhaps the main way to achieve this. You can also seamlessly and subtly shift to product branding after you have established your personal branding with your audience. Then, of course, there is social media, where you can tell your story.
There are countless tools to help you with branding, we have some of them listed below:
- Canva - Canva is an online tool that allows you to create pretty much anything you like. From Instagram stories and Twitter headers to slideshows and infographics, it is one of the most flexible tools out there today and is highly recommended for personal branding.
- Social Media Notifications - Keeping an eye on your messages, comments, and perhaps shares, is a great chance to help your personal branding. It allows your audience to see you are actively engaging with them, hence they are more likely to stick around and support you!
- BrandYourself - As the name suggests, BrandYourself is a tool where you can express yourself and tell your audience your unique story in a matter of minutes.
You can also check out our infographic on Personal Branding from 37 experts!
Form Professional Relationships
As you are forming your hobby into an online business, sure you may know a decent amount about the topic, but perhaps you aren't aware of the business side of it. It is important to become informed and fluent with the particular industry and market so that you know exactly what to do to get ahead of the pack.
Reaching out to industry professionals who may or may not already be in your network is vital in the first step of market research. Once you have familiarised yourself with the industry and indeed the market, you will be able to combine your findings with the knowledge you already have to become successful. And, if you find that you need to change some things up to improve sales, then you can feel confident you know how to do so.
Form A Community
Surrounding yourself with people who have the same ideas and passion as you will be a key to your success. In the early stages, yes you want to have fun with it, but you will also need to work hard to gain a following, which could mean long nights or busy weekends. By being around others, even virtually, who share similar views, you can let the enthusiasm and other positivity bounce on to you, leading to a more positive and optimistic outlook towards your business. The results will speak for themselves.
Some examples of virtual communities to look into are:
- #startup - A community with over 3,000 founders and investors from all around the world. There are many collaborative sessions available and there is bound to be an expert who can answer your questions!
- Startup Grind - A virtual and real-world community established by Google for entrepreneurs just like you. Learn from some of the most successful entrepreneurs about how they began their companies and make friends with the same interests as you.
- Lean Startup Circle - 80,000 members discussing methods of business that work, and those which perhaps don't do so well. It is a great place to start and learn the basics of starting your own company, and then applying those principles to your chosen field!
There are many more virtual communities full of experts and professionals ready to help. Aside from forming a community and sharing your ideas with others, it is also a great opportunity to meet people who can help guide you in your particular industry and maybe even forming professional relationships within your chosen communities!
Share Your Voice and Get Support
Some people don't like the idea of kickstarter funds for start-ups because it is almost like charity money. This is understandable, but as with the point above, forming a community with likeminded people could help you receive some financial support so you can go about your business (no pun intended).
While it isn't charity money, as they will be expecting something in return, it could help your business get up and running in less time than expected. In addition, you know that the funding you receive is from people who share similar views as you, instead of perhaps those who haven't a clue about your passion.
Market Each Milestone
When you have been working on something for so long and you are finally seeing results, the feeling is unexplainable. A mixed bag of emotions flow through your body and mind, and this is great! It means you are engaged in your work and want to succeed even further.
When you achieve certain milestones, such as first sale, 100 or 1,000 followers on social media, you celebrate them with your audience. This not only informs your followers that you are legit in the market, but on a personal level as well. Celebrating even the smallest milestones will help you relieve yourself of some of the stresses that come with running your own online business.
P.S. Still apprehensive and wondering about where to get started? Why not read the origin stories of small business owners, or how 2 friends accidentally started PoundToy, the UK's fastest-growing toy business?