Have you been developing a passion project while working on a full-time job? Here are three ways to go from moonlighting to building a business doing what you love.
Some people spend years dedicating valuable free time to a particular hobby or passion that ignites their spirit while holding down a day job. But the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on how you’re actually spending your time.
Did you know you spend an average of 90,000 hours of your life at your job? It only makes sense you want to love what you do with that much time. Do you daydream of turning your passion into your life’s work?
Check out the three steps below to see if turning your passion into a business is right for you — and how you can make it happen. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Ask tough questions about your passion
Transitioning from moonlighting to working on your passion project full time can be a tough journey, so you need to be resolute in your commitment. When your passion becomes your job, there will be days when it’s no longer fun and starts to feel like work.
Will you be able to power through these days and maintain the drive that got you started?
You also need to be realistic about finances. Forgoing a stable job and income is one of the hardest parts of the process, but if you get creative, you can make your passion profitable. Your project may be a noble cause, but at first glance, not necessarily lucrative. Consider creating a product that empowers the cause you are passionate about by funding projects like scholarships or donations — which, at the same time, still pays your bills.
Be sure to do your research and spend time seriously considering the profitability of your passion.
2. Get some experience
After deciding you are committed to turning your passion into profit, it may seem tempting to walk into your boss’s office, throw down your letter of resignation and turn your passion project into a full-time job. However, it’s critical you have the experience required to succeed before you quit your day job.
Consider classes, talking to mentors and researching the industry — anything which allows you to gain as much insight into all the aspects of your passion, including business development and finances.
While you may be good at what you do, are you ready for invoices, investors and contracts? Arm yourself with as much information as possible, then reach out to your network and connect with other entrepreneurs to ask for advice, as well as the benefits and challenging aspects of running a business. It’s better to know their honest opinions now before you strike out on your own.
Also, don’t forget the importance of real-world experience while you still have the safety net of your current job. If your passion is writing, freelance as much as you can before you quit. Not only will you build up an impressive portfolio, but you’ll also have the practice required to tackle any challenges ahead.
3. Take the plunge and commit to your passion
When you know what you want to do and have all the necessary experience, that’s the time to strike out on your own. This may be the most intimidating part of the process – you’re officially taking off the training wheels, after all – but establishing a strong support system and a clear plan of action will help.
After you’re officially your boss, develop a detailed business plan (if you haven’t already). A plan is critical to attract investors and keeps your company on the right track.
Most importantly, give yourself time to succeed. It’s likely you won’t be profitable immediately — and that’s normal. Hold on to the passion that drove you in the beginning and before you know it, business will be booming.
Christie Garton is an award-winning social entrepreneur, author and creator of UChic, a social commerce company whose product sales empower their teen girl consumers through scholarships. Christie is the co-author of Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever and the author of the best-selling college guidebook for women, U Chic: The College Girl’s Guide to Everything.