Dan Miller provides three questions to ask yourself to determine if a business idea is viable.
Yes, I know I talk a lot about turning your passion into profits. With the release of Wisdom meets Passion I have been inundated with inquiries about how people can turn their passion into their income generator. And you hear me giving examples of artists, sculptors, magicians, comedians and musicians who have done just that. Just this week I got a note from a young man who told me how he became a millionaire at age 33 after reading No More Mondays—and he’s a Christian musician. I love hearing those stories and am thrilled at the novel passions people are able to develop into real businesses.
I’ve taken my passion for writing, speaking and coaching and turned them into my income generation. So do I think it’s possible to take an unusual passion and have it create extraordinary income—Absolutely! Do I recommend it in every single situation—Absolutely Not!
Here are some questions from just one recent 48 Days Podcast with my very abbreviated answers that may surprise you.
During my years as an investment adviser, I found I more enjoyed volunteering as a debt counselor helping people get out of debt and learn how to save and manage their money. I was able to make the switch and get hired as a credit/debt counselor with a local nonprofit agency (with a serious pay cut). Now I am thinking of building my own debt counseling practice to make a reasonable income. Your thoughts/advice?
Absolutely. This often happens when you force your volunteering to be your only source of income. There’s nothing wrong with having a core career that provides income, while doing something you are passionate about in discretionary time. You don’t hear me saying that in every situation you should turn your passion into your only income generator. A meaningful life will include multiple things that provide a sense of purpose, accomplishment and peace.
I’ve been volunteering at museums and galleries but now have been offered a real job in the insurance industry. I don’t have a car or a place of my own.
I encouraged Raven to take the job. No one does their best “art” when they are desperate.
I want to coach parents in how to be more effective as “sports parents.”
Can you create an income model for doing that? Parents will have to be educated on the value of “coaching” for this application.
I’ve been making my living painting houses but I know my passion is photography.
I think having photography as your income source is one of the toughest things I can imagine. As you know better than I, today everyone’s a photographer. With digital cameras and PhotoShop you can do some amazing photography. To make that work you have to be 90% a great salesman and 10% a great photographer. It’s a whole lot easier to market painting houses. Here’s what I would suggest. Establish your monthly income needs—let’s just use $4000 a month as an example. Make sure you are making that every month with your house painting. But continue working with your photography, doing themed calendars, t-shirts, mugs, cards—whatever. As soon as you have had 3 months in a row where you generated $2000 from your photography, you have my permission to quit your house painting and ramp up your new business.
As I clarify in Wisdom Meets Passion, there are three legs to the stool. We can’t just hope our passion alone will produce profits. I see many people ignore the basics of creating a real business by thinking their passion will magically bring dollars in the door. Nope. Ask yourself three questions:
1. What are you deeply passionate about?
2. What displays your strongest talents?
3. What is your model for creating income?
Missing any one leg will create a stool that will fall over—it may be a hobby but it’s not a real business. Carefully develop each leg and you can grow dandelions, make fantastic fudge or stand on your head in the middle of a mall. And I’ll be there to congratulate you on your success.