Most people have a private passion or two that they'd love to turn into revenue streams. But juggling multiple businesses and responsibilities is a challenge few can manage, no matter how much they love what they do. Passion is a great jumping off point, but you need more than that to stick the landing.

On a recent episode of my podcast, YPO's 10 Minute Tips From the Top, I interviewed YPO member Adam Riley, the co-founder and CEO of Rockjumper Birding Tours and two other successful adventure companies.

Riley started his career off as a chartered accountant. He made a radical change in 1998 when a friend suggested they put their office jobs "on hold for a few years, start a bird watching company, have a bit of an adventure, see the world, and go back to our chosen career paths." Eighteen years later, Riley is a leading expert on bird watching throughout the world, and runs three successful touring outfits--Rockjumper Birding Tours, ORYX Worldwide Photograph Expeditions and TAU Anthropological Safaris. He has photographed more than 7,000 bird species worldwide and has led wildlife expeditions on all seven continents.

Here's how Riley makes multiple passions and companies work and play together well and profitably.

1. Build from a core competency.

Riley doesn't believe in being "Jack of all trades, master of none." People trying to manage businesses in a wide range of areas wind up with only a superficial understanding of each. Spread too thin, their skillset never reaches mastery in any. All of Riley's businesses are clustered around the same core competency --wildlife expeditions. One features birdwatching, another anthropology, and the third photography. But each works from the same central set of services and caters to a similar clientele. This has allowed Riley to become a true authority on wildlife around the world. More importantly, it allows him to recognize, attract, and hire the best guides, and to determine who will work best where across the different businesses, and in which capacities.

2. Differentiate between specializations.

Creating similar products or companies within the same industry can cause market confusion for customers who may question investing time or money across multiple companies. The tight focus of each of Riley's businesses ensures those differences are serving his customers, rather than distracting them. Each business can then flourish without competing with the others, and increase the level of service each provides.

3. Develop a replicable business model.

A successful and replicable business model can be as elusive as the rarest bird. Some passions defy business planning, and plans that succeed in one often fail in others. Building a business model around bird watching was an enormous challenge. Riley not only found a model that worked for birding, he adapted and extended it successfully. Hone in on what you do best, he suggests, and then "add a few flavors" as you expand.

4. Put time into people.

Finding the right people is a key challenge for any leader, but particularly for one as customer-facing as Riley's. To him, it's critical to have the best people in the right places. He recommends two criteria for building teams. "They have to be passionate about the subject," he says. Most of his guides "started birding at a young age and they live, eat and dream birds." But passion isn't all it takes. "They also have to be nice people," he told me. "You can learn the birds, but I only employ genuine, honest, solid people. If you sit for 10 minutes with someone, you will get a sense of them." Riley takes care in hiring to make certain his people carry his mission both in what they know, and in who they are.

5. Have a war chest.

"The biggest challenge," Riley told me, "is the volatility. When times are good, there is a very high demand for tours. When something major happens internationally or in times of economic hardship, international travel is one of the first things that people do cut off." Planning for uncertainty allows a passion project to weather tempestuous times. "You have to be able to deal with volatility, you have to have a war chest," he says.

Each week on his podcast, Kevin has conversations with members of the YPO, the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.