How to Do What You Like & Make Money
Lately, I’ve been doing a bit of self-reflecting… mostly about how I spend my time and my personality. It led me back to why I started Backbone America (the website) — I truly enjoy seeing small businesses succeed. When my department was part of a reduction in force, I needed a new revenue stream. I wanted to continue doing the tasks I enjoyed, which led to turning Backbone America into a business. One of the joys of entrepreneurship is findings how to do what you like & make money while doing it. So, how do they do it?
Solve a Problem
It takes more than just loving to do something to turn it into a business. You’ve got to solve a problem. Take the stereotype of women and their love to shop. For some women, if they had enough time and money, they would do it all day everyday. Shopping would be their life. For that special entrepreneur, shopping could be their life and they could make decent money at it, but it requires her to turn her passion for shopping into a solution for someone’s problem.
Freelance. Many entrepreneurs get their start in freelancing. Freelancing is a type of self-employment where the entrepreneur gets paid by the job, usually a professional service. Using my shopping example, a freelancer might offer their services as a professional shopper for someone who doesn’t have the time or desire to go shopping on their own.
Online Business. Online can provide a cost-effective way to start a business. It can also be used to sell a product or service. Again, using the shopping scenario, online retail stores have gained popularity. The shopaholic entrepreneur will have the opportunity to work with vendors to do some wholesale shopping for their retail clients. On the service side, the online business can again offer the service of personal shopper by tracking down gifts of hard to find items for their clients.
Open a Brick & Mortar. Though the trend these days is to do research online, most people still want to visit a brick & mortar store to do their business. Having a physical location, while still offering the online experience is a great way to cover multiple customer bases. I’ll use the shopaholic example one more time here. Like in an online business, an entrepreneur would still be able to work with vendors. Though a brick & mortar store decreases flexibility when it comes to personal shopping, it can still be done within the store or even offering to bring in those special items for your VIP clients.
Shout It Out Loud
If no one knows you have a business, is it still a business? I often tell people that if their not making money at their business, then they have a hobby, not a business. One way to turn a hobby into a business or keep your business from becoming a hobby is getting the work out.
Network. One of the first things I did when I decided to start a business was verbalize it… to anyone everyone who was willing to listen. Telling people does two things. First, it sort of commits you to accomplishing what you said you’d do. Once you start telling people, many folks are going to ask you how you’re coming along with your business next time they see you. Second, it starts the cycle of networking. After all, if you’re starting a business, you’re going to need to get the word out somehow. Telling the people you know puts you in their mind when they have need of your service in the future.
Market & Advertise. Word of mouth is great for business. However, relying solely on friends of friends spreading the word can make for a slow start. In my opinion, every business should have a marketing budget and plan. Even if your marketing budget only afford you one batch of business cards and your marketing plan is to pass out every single business card within the month, it’s important to have a goal in mind. Other inexpensive but effective ways of marketing your business is being active on social media, actively blogging, and becoming active in your community.
When I think of small business owners, I often think of the entrepreneur wearing too many hats to be efficient. I think of the entrepreneur who’s overworked, overstressed, and underpaid. The entrepreneur who’s one step away from burnout and starting to wonder why starting a business was a good idea in the first place. Owning a business doesn’t have to be like.
Tasks You Hate. If you started a business to do what you love, being bogged down by the things you hate kind of beats the point. If you’re the overworked entrepreneur, there’s likely enough work to hire some help to do the things you hate. In turn, it’ll free up more time for you to do the things you love.
Efficiency. Business owners often think they have to be the jack of all trades. They manage, do the bookkeeping, marketing, human resources, and are even the worker bee. In the beginning when there may not be a lot of revenue coming in, taking on so many roles may seem like a necessity. However, it’s inefficient for the long run. For the short run, it may even hamper your progress. For example, hiring an agency to do your marketing, a task you may have no idea how to do, may bring in the business you need to make the marketer more than worth cost.
Fill in Knowledge Gaps. You’re awesome at doing the things you love, but your clients want more. This is where networking can come in handy. Forming those relationships with other entrepreneurs who have skills you don’t have been extremely valuable. Having a referral plan or even subcontracting can create added value for your customers. Likewise, you may be able to fill the gaps you have with running a business by outsourcing, again, increasing your efficiency.
You may have all the key components for starting a business, but if you don’t take action your business won’t get off go. For those who keep up with my articles, you know I’m a big advocator of planning. However, you’ll need to implement that plan if you ever want to make money doing the things you love to do.
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