You may have heard Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” During the winter break, I did a lot of self-reflection, as many of us do as the New Year approaches. I typically use this quiet time to reflect on current projects and set new goals for myself, and I occasionally pick up new hobbies. My most recent hobby is sewing. I took an Introduction to Sewing class at a JOANN Fabric and Crafts Store so that I can begin making custom coats and apparel for Warhol, my mini dachshund. Due to his unique stature, it’s been difficult to find stylish or even fitting clothes for him to wear in regular pet stores. While Warhol is currently my only customer, I am looking forward to helping all weenies around the world in wearing cute clothes with pride.
Your passion may not be pet clothing, but think about what you love doing that you might currently do for free. Here are a few ways to discover this if you are unsure:
- Determine your passion(s).
Consider your childhood hobbies and interests; are you currently living your dream or doing what you love? What types of social media channels do you enjoy or follow, such as art, cooking, or fashion? With so much access to the world through just the click of a button or a quick Google search, we have access to so much information. Even if you have a passion that you haven’t quite mastered, there are millions of free virtual educational opportunities available to help you master a skill or learn a new one. On this journey of self-discovery, I encourage you to be open-minded and have fun!
- Do it for no cost!
The money will come eventually. Also, during this discovery phase, I strongly advise you to keep your day job so that you can truly enjoy this experience without worrying about how your bills will be paid on a daily basis. Some may ask, “How can I work a 9-5 job and still have time for myself?” or “How can I juggle working while being a full-time student, and still have time to work on a side project?” Make a schedule and evaluate your priorities instead of binge-watching your favorite shows; that is unless your passion is rating and recommending the best shows and movies on your YouTube channel. See? Anything can be turned into a passion project, but you must devote the necessary time to developing yourself and your ideas. Having a day job will also allow you to fund your ideas, whether it’s purchasing materials, paying for advertisements, or even purchasing a ring light for your videos. So do it for fun and don’t be concerned about funds (at least not in the beginning)!
- Do some customer discovery
Who are you trying to sell to? Where do they live? Do you cater to a specific market? There are numerous questions you must ask yourself in order to develop a concept and figure out how to directly target the right customers. If you can’t answer these questions for yourself, create a poll and distribute it to family, friends, or even strangers. Again, social media platforms such as Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are fantastic ways to connect with almost anyone. If you decide to use Instagram or Facebook, for example, they do provide business pages with analytics that can reveal valuable data about your audience, such as which channels drive the most traffic to your website and/or page, even down to age or state of residence. Check it out!
- RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH!
Let’s be honest, 9 out of 10 times, your passion is probably shared by millions of people! So, once you start working on bringing your ideas to reality, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t using anyone else’s business name, a similar logo, or claiming to be the “first” of anything. It’s critical to research the market and see who else is providing similar services, what their price range is, and so on. I’ve found that many people who have been in the business for a long time are willing to share their personal experiences and offer a bit of wisdom that will be useful to you as a beginner, and something I learned from my grandfather is to never stop learning. So, read books, listen to podcasts, and study so that you can completely immerse yourself in what you “love.”
- Never give up!
There will be difficult days, especially if you feel like you’re giving it your all but aren’t seeing any immediate results, but it’s critical that money isn’t your motivating force. The most important aspect of this is to do what you enjoy and feel a sense of accomplishment; if profit follows your hobby, then great! And who knows, it might even lead you to another great idea.
Finally, I’d like to recommend two resources to help you along this journey.
- Listen to or read The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose, an excellent book/audiobook by Oprah Winfrey. It is not the typical format where the author reads from their book, but, instead, it features guest speakers who discuss how they discovered their passions.
- Work through the Just Start Guidebook. This is a digital, downloadable, and editable resource designed to help you think through your ideas and get your entrepreneurial brain flowing. To learn more about the Just Start Guidebook, check out this blog: “Benefits of Using the Just Start Guidebook”.