Most businessmen say that if you want to be successful, start from what you love doing so that it won’t feel like a task. A lot of successful businessmen established their empire from this principle, but it’s not always the easy road. These days, it is easy to start a business because the tools are easily available, but is this enough?
If you want to start a business from what you love doing, the path could be tricky especially if you’ve got no one to guide you. It will demand 110% of your time and effort, but knowing where to start is the first step into transforming it into an income generating lifestyle. Let us guide you on how to do it—you only need to remember three things: Stop. Look. Listen.
Let’s call this Phase 1 and it’s all about gathering ideas and learning as much as you can about the things you love—observe, absorb, understand.
Identify the things that you love or love doing
List the things that you love or activities that are really close to your heart. Don’t worry if you get stuck because there’s no pressure here. Collecting ideas is the easiest part of the process and it should naturally come out from your heart. Next, narrow it down to at least three and ask yourself: do I have the drive and competency to keep this going? If yes, congratulations—you now have the foundation of your business.
However, if you find yourself saying no, don’t be devastated. Instead, take this as a learning opportunity. Invest time to learn more about your craft. Research, experiment, or get inspiration from your surroundings. It is up to decide when you are ready.
Have business know-how
A lot of people fail because they start a business only because they rely on “passion” to sustain it, but did not study the business aspect. If you don’t want to belong in the 90% failure rate, you must also learn the foundations of running a business.
There are many ways to do this and simplest is by asking friends have more business experience than you. Don’t be afraid or get shy to ask questions and in this situation, no question is irrelevant or incorrect. Another way is to take advantage of online resources. Download e-books or attend free business webinars from gurus. It’s an inexpensive way to do it especially if you have minimal capital. Also, read tons and tons of business books; Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson is a good source of motivation.
One of the most important components of starting a business is knowing and understanding your market. If you’re a first-time entrepreneur, the best way to do this is going the organic route. This is simply getting feedback by word-of-mouth or focus group discussions (FGDs). If you have experience, be proactive in gathering data. You can conduct taste tests, compare prices, etc., or if you have enough capital, hire a marketing research firm.
This is Phase 2 of your journey and it’s all about executing your ideas and growing it into a business.
How to turn something you love into a business
You cannot establish a business overnight. It involves careful planning right from conceptualization to long-term plans. For small businesses, having a solid business plan is crucial when you want to transform something that you love into a livelihood. It is not easy to design a business plan, but if you are determined, you’ll find ways.
The easiest way of course is through the Internet; Google will give you different templates so just choose the one that you can easily follow. However, if you are after more than learning about making business plans, you can enroll in short term business courses. The goal here is to have a solid business plan because only when you have it are you ready to execute something you love into a business.
Included in the business plan is when and where (as they say, it’s all about location, location, location) to implement it. Greenhorns should stick to their business plans, but more experienced entrepreneurs rely on “gut feel” because more often than not, they already have an overall idea on how to do it. Additionally, you should implement your business idea if you observe that there’s a need for your product or service; and given that you already know who your target audience is in this case, the challenge now is how to reach them or how to stay visible to them.
How to grow the business
Assuming that you already launched the business, automatically, the next thing on your mind is to how to grow it. For businesses that are borne out of things that you love doing, the key is to start small. Don’t spend on unnecessary equipment, people, or ingredients; as much as possible, bootstrap until you can. In addition, since you are still starting, be ready and willing to put in the extra work. If need to do everything first on your own, do it. Only hire people when you can afford to, otherwise, it’s just overhead expense.
This kind of business usually starts organically and during the period that you are stabilizing everything, it’s best to level the supply and demand curve. Only produce your merchandise when somebody demands for it so that you can keep your expenses to a minimum. It’s not enough however that you have a product. It should stand out from the rest. If you are going to make red velvet cupcakes without anything special to it, you will just be another fish in the ocean. Always look for opportunities to grow.
Keeping the love alive
Sometimes, it is easy to lose track of what you love doing and running a business. That is why it is important that occasionally, you should sit back and look at the big picture to sustain the passion and the business.
Every morning, always ask yourself “the WHY?.” Having answers to this question should drive to push you harder every day because you know at the back of your mind; there are people depending on you and people who NEED your product or service. Overtime, this will develop a culture in your organization. Lead others by example not because you have to, but because it is what you love doing.
Treat every business venture—fail or success—as a learning opportunity. Strive to learn something new every day. Have the time and willingness to develop your skills or invest in educating yourself about something that you don’t know. This is a sure-fire way to consistently churn out excellent products/services and customer service and at the same time, it sustains your love for your craft and the business.
Have and Listen to Mentors
This is Phase 3 and it’s all about open-mindedness—to different advice, new ideas, and bigger opportunities.
The importance of having mentors
In a nutshell, a mentor is someone who guides a less experienced person. In establishing a business, it is important that you have a mentor to guide you in the right direction. Your business journey will have different roads and a mentor will narrow the choices for you so that you won’t go astray. He will also guide you from the beginning and tell you the hard truth if an idea is worth it or not. He will also be the one that you consult with every time that you are in doubt or hitting rough patch. He will give you his insights so that you will make better business decisions.
Even if you already have experience in business, don’t assume that you know everything. You are still a player and you need a coach. Your mentor sees your flaws and advice you how to correct it so that you’ll be better in the game. He has an arsenal of gameplay up his sleeve that you can try out so that in the end, you will emerge a winner.
Who could be your mentors?
Not everyone can be your mentor because there are certain characteristics that you should look for when looking for one.
Does he have the track record to back-up what he is preaching? Learning from someone who has established himself (in the specific industry that he belongs to), is knowledgeable about running a business, and has mastery of a specific area (i.e. accounting, marketing, etc.) is qualified to be your mentor. Strive to learn something new with your mentor because in the long run, it will be a gem of advice in growing your business.
2. Willingness to share knowledge
It’s not enough that your mentor is at the pinnacle of success because if he is not willing to share his knowledge, it will be a losing battle for you. Asking questions is crucial in business and if they are self-indulgent, you will learn nothing. Look for a mentor who is not only competent, but is also willing to see you grow.
3. They have the time to give
For businessmen, time is very important, but if your mentor is willing to spare some for you, you should also make time for him. When your mentor has the time for you, it means that he believes in what you are doing and he only wants to see you grow.
Where to find your mentors
There are many avenues to look for a mentor. First is the Internet. You can actually find a lot in social media and more often than not, business gurus have their website. You can subscribe to their blog because for sure, you will get bits and pieces of advice from their article. It’s much better though if you communicate with them to ensure that you are on the same track. You can also attend free online business seminars by different mentors so that you’ll have different points of view.
Second, in business conventions. Attend seminars and business talks to meet new people and create a network because for sure, there will always be someone who will strike you the most. Muster the courage to talk to them; you’ll be surprised to know that most mentors appreciate it if you want to know more about their expertise.
Third, successful entrepreneur-friends. This is the ideal situation because most probably, you are already comfortable with each other and you work on the same plane. They are also easy to contact because they are available almost any time (you don’t have to set appointments); plus, they can also recommend other mentors to you.
Formula to make the business a success
The truth is, there’s no standard formula for success in business, but if you are just starting out, a combination of work ethic + product or service consistency + reliable marketing plan is a good jump-off point.
Strong work ethic
Having a strong work ethic drives you to nurture your skills and business, it motivates you to be consistent, and it keeps you focused on your goals. There’s no point of starting a business if you are only going to give 80% of your time and effort. It will be a total failure.
Product or service consistency
Strong work ethic and product or service consistency are siblings. They are borne out of the same necessity in business. Consistently generating excellent products or service is an implication that you value hard work and you want everything to be more than just the standard.
Reliable marketing plan
The only other thing that can beat a solid business plan is a reliable marketing plan. Even if everything is already set in place in your business plan, but you have a messy and unclear marketing plan, your endeavor will fail. Making a marketing plan is altogether a different task and if this is your Waterloo, you can always ask help from a marketing firm.
• To transform what you love doing into a livelihood, list down first all the things that you love—it maybe baking cupcakes, charity work, or shoes.
• Have the foundations of how to run a business. You don’t want to go to a battle unprepared, right?
• Create a concrete business plan. It will be your blueprint in executing and growing your business.
• Strive to learn new things—may it be skills-wise or business related
• Have and listen to your mentors; they will guide you all throughout even if you are already a big company.
• Strong work ethic + product or service consistency + reliable marketing plan = SUCCESS
There’s no right or wrong time to start a business; especially if the core product or service is from something that you love doing. However, don’t only rely with that passion because doing so means that you are only leaving everything to luck. As Kevin Durant once said, “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”