Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.
The advice “do what you love and the money will come” has been mocked of late because of all the people who spent a hundred thousand dollars earning college degrees based on their interests that no one will hire them with. Many more start a business based on a passion and find that it fails, time and again. Here are a few tips on how to determine if a passion can become a business.
Find Out if Others Will Pay for the Service
It is amazing how many people start a business without doing the basic research. Who is your customer? How many customers are in your given area? Most importantly, how much will they pay you for your service relative to the price to deliver it?
If you can sell a few hundred items to that many people online, you have a small hobby business to earn extra money but not something that will sustain your family. If you can find a steady stream of customers who will pay significant money for the product or service, you have a viable business plan. But before you design a business plan, you have to find out whether or not anyone will pay for the product or service at all and, if so, how much.
Find Out What Your Customers Want and Need
The first step was seeing if there was a paying market for your general concept. The next step is determining what exactly they want and need. A disappointing number of startups fail because the startup doesn’t deliver quite what the market requires, while others aim at the wrong market and fail. Find out who your customers are, and no, this isn’t “everyone”.
Are you selling products for infants? Then your market is mothers with young children, ideally sold your product while still pregnant.
Are you selling a technical solution? Then you need to identify companies that need that solution, and then you need to tailor the solution to fit their budgets, technical requirements and legal requirements. It doesn’t matter if you have a product that fits their needs if they cannot afford it or it doesn’t meet legal standards.
Do research via online forums to find out what people wish the existing products like yours did and how others found out about the solutions they did try. This is critical market research, and it could affect everything from product design to marketing to customer support. Another option is entering key terms related to your idea and seeing what comes up in Google autocomplete, since this shows the questions people are asking relative to a product or service. Even something as “How do I X?” represents either consulting opportunities or content you can write for profit.
Consider Your Options for Monetizing the Idea
Once you know what customers want and need, you can review your passion relative to what you’re willing to do and what customers expect you to do.
Too many people love cooking and assume this requires setting up a restaurant. Now they’re spending massive amounts of money to open a business that demands long hours and hard work. They don’t consider other ways they could monetize the idea like opening a catering service and renting out a professional kitchen when required, setting up a cooking show on YouTube and hawking a recipe book in the process or selling their items via a food truck. If you love gifts and crafts, maybe you should be making gift baskets or items to sell online instead of opening a gift shop.
If you have a technical solution, you may find that the design requirements are too much for you to meet working in your basement. Now you can decide whether you want to outsource manufacturing and try to sell it yourself, license the business idea or just work as a consultant to solve any question related to that technical area that comes up.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2017 Tamara Wilhite
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on November 19, 2017:
Right on! Let's do everything we can to encourage new entrepreneurs and get the world moving. China is doing a great job of it, and there are no reasons the rest of the world cannot.
Alexa Rain from egypt on November 19, 2017:
Wonderful of course, as i do my passion because i love that and spent very interesting time.
This done with out any thing, if this time invested in business and make profit it will be very exciting life.
Muhammad Mohsin from Pune, India on November 19, 2017:
Nicely explained, Tamara. Thank you for sharing. This reminds me of how lucky I'm to be earning through my passion. It does make a lot of difference when that what you love also helps you make some cash. Something being a passion doesn't mean we master the needed skills. People wait and lose hope in between. Instead, we should just keep learning and trying until we master the needed skills and come up with a plan that works. Life is much easier once we achieve that.
Your article, beautifully explains the detail.