Think about the people you know who are great at what they do. More than likely, a passion for their work underpins their performance. That's according to Wes Moore, founder and CEO of the Maryland-based scholastic program, BridgeEdU, a platform he designed out of a passion for reducing dropout rates for college freshman. It's a unique first-year college program that combines core academic courses, internships and service experiences with coaching. Here's his advice on how to turn your passion into a sustainable and scalable business.
1. Find the fault lines surrounding your passion.
Look for the holes or things that could be done better within the industry. From there, think about how you can create something sustainable. BridgeEDU came about because Moore had a passion for students who couldn't make it through their freshman year of college. He identified the three main problem areas these people faced-financial aid, academics and a social life-and looked at what solutions already existed and how they could be improved upon. From there, it was just a matter of creating a strong business plan.
2. Become an expert on your industry as well as all aspects of doing business.
You need know what you are talking about. Don't say you want to start a circus because you love animals but disregard the fact that you don't understand things such as maintenance, real estate, insurance and marketing. You must know your industry inside and out, as well as how to operate within it.
3. Stop listening to everyone else.
Clear your head and don't allow the noise of good intentions shape your life. You can define your own destiny.
4. Don't be a slave to your major.
Only 8 percent of people under 35 are working in the field they majored in during college. Don't be afraid to change your path.
5. The moment you grow out of your work role, leave.
Every day you do something you are not passionate about, you become increasingly ordinary.
6. Volunteer and sit on boards.
Many professional opportunities start here. Networking and the ability to tap different ways of thinking matter.
7. Make sure you have family buy-in.
Be with someone who doesn't just love you for who you are, but for who you hope to become.
8. Bring those you are trying to support into the conversation.
You must understand their preferences, problems and needs as well as the best ways you can help them. Find ways to open channels of communication with future customers so that you involve them in your thinking and action.