Millions of people are stuck in jobs they loathe. These people have passions--things they love for, love doing, and would prefer doing the rest of their life. And yet they stay at their jobs, miserable and unfulfilled.

Is it possible, as Steve Jobs famously said do "what you love, and…never have to work a day in your life?"

Maybe. The harsh truth about work is that it's work, even if you do enjoy it. Once you start turning your passion into a profitable venture, it develops more of a labor taste than a hobby taste. But, nonetheless, your passion for doing it tends to make you better at it.

Although millions of people feel stifled in their day jobs, millions more are finding fulfillment and profitability in their side hustles. If you've discovered that you're passionate about something, and want to make a real living off of it, this is your guide.

1. Write down exactly what it is you can do or make for others.

Before you decide to make a buck from your hobby, you need to figure out its profitable angle.

"Drinking coffee" or "watching movies" may be things you enjoy, but this doesn't mean you can sell it to the masses. People don't care that you love coffee. With a bit of creativity, however, you might be able to travel, taste, and write about coffee for money.

Let's say, for example, that you're a cinephile--someone who loves movies. So is half the planet. If you want to make a buck from your obsession, you may be able to create and market a movie website that turns a profit.

The first step in harnessing a passion for profit is determining exactly how to sell it. An outdoor enthusiast can start and guide weekend adventures. A cyclist can provide personalized cycle coaching for hobbyists. Someone who loves reading can create a niche book review website and earn affiliate income.

There's a way to do what you love and get paid for it. You already know what you love. All you need to do is understand its earning potential.

2. Recruit help.

I've listed this at step two, but you may need to recruit help earlier or later. You may not need much help at the beginning, but as time goes on, you're genius will reach its limits.

This is why you might need some help.

  • Someone else can do something better than you. Whether it's marketing, graphic design, coding, packaging, talking to customers, or managing inventory, find people who possess the skills that you lack. Identify your weaknesses, and hire strength to fill them.
  • Someone else can do something faster than you. I can do a lot of things. Most entrepreneurs are the same way. But I may not be able to do those things fast. If I know that someone has done the same thing, but faster, I'll hire them. Sometimes, getting it done quickly is better than doing it myself. If you're needing quick and easy tasks done but lack the time, you can find plenty of help on places like Upwork (formerly oDesk) and Fiverr.
  • Someone else can do something different from you. Business grows. If you're scaling properly, then you'll need help. Find your team and grow your business.
  • Someone else can encourage you. One of the best things I did as a young entrepreneur was partner with a cofounder. My cofounder and I went through a lot together. If it had been just one of us facing these challenges, we would have folded a lot sooner. If you're planning to take your business big time, you're going to hit some big-time rough spots. Plan for it, and prepare for it by partnering with someone who can help you through it.

3. Develop a crystal clear profile of your customer.

Once you've defined your product, you need to define who's going to buy it. Who's your target audience? What do they like? How should you market it?

You'll be able to answer all these questions once you get a clear understanding of who your customers are, or who you want them to be. As long as you have a profitable idea, you get to pick the audience you want to target.

You should target a niche. Even if you think that "everyone" will love or buy your product, it's essential for you to define who it is specifically that you want to target.

I recommend creating a customer persona and interviewing potential customers in order to get the best customer profile.

4. Put up a landing page.

It's time to offer your product to the world. Put up a landing page.

This is often the point at which a business flounders. Online marketing can be confusing. Trying to create a website, work on SEO, and build content marketing is a bewildering mess of competing ideas, theories, issues, and complexities.

These things will sort themselves out over time. The important thing to do is claim your online presence. You can use a Wix, LeadPages, Hubspot, Optimizely or a simple WordPress theme to get a landing page up and humming along in less than an hour.

5. Launch Facebook and Adwords campaigns.

In the beginning of your business, it pays to pay for clicks and leads. With the targeting potential of Facebook ads and Adwords campaigns, creating an ad campaign is a great way forward.

Once you have paying customers, you'll get better at gaining organic or referral leads. At the beginning, don't shy away from using ads.

6. Deliver results, and wow your customers.

Your ads will eventually bring you a customer or two. This is where the rubber meets the road. Do your thing, and make it count.

The best form of marketing is a happy customer. Make it your focus to overdeliver, providing your first customers with the biggest possible benefit.

Think like a business.

Now that you're in business, it's time to think like a business. You cannot merely hope to thrive on passion alone. You'll need to supplement that passion with a healthy dose of business savvy.

One of the surprising benefits of turning a profit from your passion is that you're founding a business in the process. The process isn't quite as painful or complicated as you thought. The simple secret is to get started.

Published on: Jul 9, 2015
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