Over the years I’ve had many people want me to mentor them to start a coaching or speaking business. They have a passion for helping people, which is good. They have no idea what it takes to run a business, which is bad.
Many people have been forced to rethink who they are and what they do. This is good. We all need to regularly re-invent our work and renew our enthusiasm for our daily lives.
At the same time, many people are lured into the promise, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” This is bad. If you don’t know how to articulate what you do in a way that other people would love to be with you, no one will run to you with cash in hand. If you don’t have the energy and time to do what it takes to create widespread visibility, you will remain a well-kept secret.
It is important to have passion for what you do, no matter who you work for. If people don’t sense your enthusiasm for your ideas and plans, they will be cautious about aligning with you or buying from you. Even if they decide to work with you, if you aren’t emotionally engaged you won’t do your best work.
But passion isn’t enough. Living off love for your work has created many starving artists.
Launch your business or choose your career path with passion. Look for what tasks energize you, what things you look forward to doing and what makes you feel good when your work is done.
Then make sure the work you choose is not only work you do better than anyone you know, but you are providing a product or service people want and are willing to pay for.
What special knowledge or expertise have you developed? Even if you think you don’t want to do what you have been doing anymore, you might find a way you can share what you know that feels better than your last job. Maybe you can help non-profits that have a special meaning for you. Maybe you can coach or teach others not to make the mistakes you made on your journey (then help them to be more successful than you…I’ve done that one although I then have to rethink my own approach). Maybe you can write and speak on what it took to be successful in your field.
Once you have some ideas, you can start the research…yes research. Gut instinct is unreliable when judging the outside world. Look at who your competition will be. Can you do what they do but better? Who are they targeting – are they missing some people you think need your help?
One of the easiest ways to weed through your ideas is to write a business plan. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should cover the basics of who will be your customers, how you will connect with them and how much it will cost to get started.
Follow your dreams, but learn how to hustle.