The key ingredients in pursuing your passion are hard work, dedication and not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone. But we know that success doesn’t happen overnight; turning something that has been an occasional hobby into something that could make you money is a challenging transition. Here are our top tips on taking the first steps to turn a passion into a career:
1. Investing Time
There are so many things that can get in the way of spending time on your passion – you might have a great career already, you might be tied up with family responsibilities – whatever your situation, we know a key hurdle is time. Make sure you set aside a small amount of time each day to think your ambitions through to help you on the road to success. Your social life will also have to take a backseat for a while, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
2. Working out the finances
We realise it can be daunting to consider leaving your full time job especially with no guarantee of a stable income. Before you take the plunge, work out your current monthly outgoings – mortgage / rent, bills, direct debits, groceries, travel, childcare – and what you would need to be bringing in to cover these. This will give you a minimal monthly income which can form part of your wider business plan.
You can also research the opportunities available through government-backed schemes that can help give your new business that initial boost. This support can be from small business funding, grants, loans and even business mentoring. Find out more here.
3. Making a plan
Once you have an ultimate ambition firmly in mind, grab a cup of tea, a pen and a big sheet of paper. Sit down and make a structured plan of action detailing how you think you can achieve that goal. Create a timeline of actions; this will help motivate you to work towards your dream. These actions don’t need to be huge, just small achievable milestones that will bring you closer to your ultimate ambition.
4. Registering your new business
It’s advisable at this stage to find an accountant who can help you set up your new business properly. You will need to make the decision at this stage on what sort of business you will be – a sole trader, self-employed, your own limited company – your accountant will be able to recommend what would be best (for a small fee of course!).
5. Establish your space
Depending on your business, you need to decide whether you will be working from home, renting office space or using a shared work space. As well as finding a space for yourself, you also need to consider any stock, materials or documentation you will need to store and be able to access. Until you are more established, a self-storage facility can be a cost effective, easy way to store the essentials. You’ll also be safe in the knowledge that your belongings are secure with Shurgard when you switch off at night.
6. Developing your brand
What’s your USP (Unique Selling Point)? What are you offering that your competitors aren’t? Working this out and finding the best way to shout about it is half the challenge of setting up a new business.
What’s the look and feel – first impressions count so it’s advisable to get some professional input on your branding. This could be a logo, website design, retail space etc. You want these assets to convey the personality of your brand so it’s important to get them right.
7. Cultivating your client base
What better ambassadors than your (very well connected) friends and family to spread the word about your new business. Invite them to sample the delights for free in return for them waxing lyrical to all and sundry about your latest offering. After all there’s no better advertising than a personal recommendation.