Nowadays, there are more opportunities than ever to turn your passion into a successful business. The two don’t have to be separate. You don’t need to resign yourself to a repetitive job and banish the thing you love to an increasingly small amount of free time, just to put food on the table. You can bring passion and profit together and that is just what I did with Special Touch Designs.
It isn’t easy, that’s for certain, but it is possible and it is definitely worth it too.
In my case, I was on maternity leave from my job as a pharmacist when inspiration hit. I enjoyed my work, but I realised that there was another route I wanted to go down. Something happened that made me determined to make a change, both for myself and others in the same situation, and that is really the starting point for turning your passion into a successful business. Here are my tips:
Find Your Passion
Some people are born with a burning desire to do something, but that isn’t always the case. You might not find your passion until you are well into another career or until something significant happens.
For me, I was on maternity leave from my job and I was looking for a card for a friend who had just had a baby of her own. I had never really paid much attention before, but I was shocked that I couldn’t find a card that reflected her African heritage. There was nothing that spoke directly to her, and that is what makes greeting cards so special. They should be personal slices of joy, but what can you do if nothing fits? Well, you make one yourself!
I have always loved working with paper and, when creating a design for my friend, something just clicked. My passion is to provide a large and underserved audience with a product that just wouldn’t otherwise exist.
Find Your Point of Difference
I’m lucky that the spark for my business came from being frustrated by a gap in the market. I already knew what my point of difference would be. However, that is not always the case. Before you can turn your passion into a successful business you need to know how it will stand out from the rest of the field.
Why should people buy your product or use your services instead of going to one of the other companies that do the same sort of thing? Think about what the weak links in your competitors’ models are and how you can solve those issues. What would sway you as a consumer if you had to decide which company to give your business to?
Do Your Research
When I was thinking of launching Special Touch Designs, I set about researching the market carefully. I discovered that the greetings card sector was growing in a huge way, more than 7% between 2013 and 2014 in terms of the number of single cards sold. I also looked into demographics and discovered that 12% of people in the UK are from a BAME background.
With total greeting card sales of more than a billion pounds a year, that 12% represents a significant amount of spending that no one was targeting. By my calculations, the numbers of people with a love of and interest in African culture and heritage meant I had a real opportunity to make a success of filling that niche. I would be there for all of those people who wanted Afrocentric greetings cards but couldn’t find them anywhere else.
There’s no escaping this aspect of turning your passion into a successful business. You have to work hard. You have to be persistent and resilient because you will come up against problems and issues. How you work around these setbacks is what separates you from other businesses that don’t succeed.
You need to be prepared to go back to the drawing board, to rethink and keep going. If you give up after one hurdle, you will never see your passion become your livelihood.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Finally, when you build a successful business you are going to find yourself in situations you have never encountered before. It’s perfectly okay to ask for advice. You may know someone who has been there themselves and they will almost certainly be more than willing to help out. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help. In fact, it shows that you are willing to learn and grow - something that is so important when launching a business.
Ready to Turn Your Passion into a Successful Business?
I hope this guide has helped encourage you to take that first step towards starting your own business. It is tough, it is hard work, but it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do. The satisfaction of being your own boss and serving happy customers with a product they have been crying out for is something really special. Good luck!
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