It’s one thing to dream of opening a consulting firm, online career coaching business, selling products from a blog or opening a coffee shop, but bringing ideas to life takes a lot of hard work. Starting an online business is a dream shared by many. Seeing ideas brought to life and building something from the beginning is very exciting. Plus, becoming your own boss is also appealing. Since starting a new business takes a lot of time and money, so that's why many people are afraid to go full in. However, what if you succeed?! Life can be entirely different if pursuing your dream turns into a profitable business and you’re now living with purpose. Let’s look at a few people who took the leap of faith as well as other tips from some excellent online sources.
A business owner on Signify Technology had a hard time initially setting up a small business after we walked away from a company he stuck with throughout his 20’s, but slowly yet surely his business came together, and he shares the joys and hurdles along the way:
It’s overwhelming to start with, picking a name, registering your company, building a website, choosing a niche market, hiring staff, writing a business plan the list goes on, but if you work hard, follow your passion and never give up you will get there. I didn’t go to university to get a degree but I have always been ambitious, worked extremely hard, been super focused and never given up.
We have grown to 8 staff, placed over 60 engineers into new roles across Europe, successfully placed engineers into 23 different companies including Twitter, ITV, OVO, Deloitte & Zalando, sponsored 3 events, 3 more to come before the end of the year, working in 12 countries, over 45 thousand first connections on LinkedIn, received some outstanding testimonials from the tech industry, achieved our first-year budget, changing the way people perceive the recruitment industry, making a real difference to our clients and candidates, built an awesome culture and platform for our team.
In the last 12 months, I have developed both personally and professionally more than ever, my biggest achievement is training and supporting all of my team and watching them grow, fulfilling their potential. I get up every morning loving what I do and I couldn’t imagine doing anything different. Thank you to everyone that has made this all possible. I am really looking forward to the next chapter.
Mark Schaefer often says times when to pursue something you love that interest becomes a dream. The more you seek your passion, the more likely it will continue to turn into something great!
When I was a little boy I wanted to be a baseball player or an astronaut. Neither of those things worked out exactly, but I have landed in a career that’s very satisfying and fun. I didn’t dream of being a marketing consultant. Marketing was a career choice that became my passion.
Like so many successful people I came to know through writing my book KNOWN: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age, I didn’t necessarily follow my passion or my dream … my passion followed me.
This was a pattern I heard over and over again from people who are absolutely killing it in their fields. They DIDN’T follow their passions at all. This runs counter to most of the entrepreneurial advice you hear on the web, but a lot of research supports that this is how it works for most people who make it. You grow into a dream.
Mark Lieberman also left a secure job in search of something that would really fulfill him. A Harvard grad who was very successful in private equity believed in his skills and created The Artists Den. Today the Artists Den has now hosted a variety of very successful artists. An interviewer on Inc. asked Mark a few questions about his business.
How did you make the leap from fun side project to actual business? That's something tons of people struggle with: Turning their passion into a real business.
What really turned it into a career was that the artists kept saying, “This is so awesome. You need to professionalize it. This is a way for us to reach a new audience. You should do this everywhere.”
So I put together a world-class board of directors — people from organization like Sony, Disney, Viacom, and Ticketmaster — and together we set out to build the franchise.
At first I was just an investor and board member. Then I fell in love with it so much, and when we were looking for a person to run The Artists Den, I realized it should be me. After all, I would get excited every time my Artists Den Blackberry buzzed — not so much my work Blackberry.
So I took the risk every entrepreneur takes. I dove in. In my case, I left an incredibly successful career in private equity, a position with a lot of security, and jumped off into the world of a startup.
The interviewer on Inc. also asks a fundamental question: If his dream is now a profitable business. It is successful, and Mark outlines why this is so:
The “product” is amazing, but does the business model work? The Artists Den is a business, not a hobby.
Our business has done very well. We create television, sell it to broadcasters around the world, distribute and sell digital broadcast to outlets like Spotify that are hungry for high quality music content…
We've also forged relationships with brands like Chase Sapphire. They're in their third season with us. They appreciate that what we have created is a premium, money can't buy, incredibly desirable product for their customers. Access to an Artists Den concert, where you may have a 1 in 500 chance of winning a ticket, is highly sought after by Sapphire card members. Time and time again they've gotten an incredible reaction from their members who got access to our shows.
That's why brands partner with us. The Artists Den is a cool experience. We've built an incredible community of millions of people that love the show, the content, the storytelling… and now we're looking at building a membership subscription within that community that enables us to do even bigger things.
Acknowledging your vision is essential as well because if you feel stuck in a borning job 9-5 and you’re too afraid to pursue your passion you’re just going to be miserable. That’s why The Must says acknowledging your dream is so important:
What is that thing you’ve always wanted to do? Travel the world? Write a book? Launch a business?
No matter what your dream, don’t dismiss it. If there is something in your gut telling you that this is what you want to do, you owe it to yourself to, at the very least, acknowledge it and think about how it might come to fruition.
Sit down, write out your goal, and start outlining a rough road map of how you might get there. Do you need a business plan or seed funding? Will you need more classes, or will your experience provide enough of a foundation? Just having it on paper might help you begin framing the reality. Better yet, identify some people you know who have made it work for them, and seek their guidance and mentorship. The more you think and talk about your goal, the more you can begin to see how it could really work in reality.
As you begin seeking your dream or encounter challenging times (hey, no one said pursuing your passion would be easy), The Must reminds you to continue to be fearless. You were meant to do this and succeed in all that you do!
As I travel for my own career, I sometimes find myself dealing with surprising situations, from navigating jungle roads in Laos to finding snake meat on my plate in Vietnam. Sometimes, it can be more intense, like having to work in a conflict zone or protect colleagues whose human rights are at risk.
And while I get concerned about risk, I’ve learned two things that have helped me deal with it. The first is trying to to “be where your feet are,” which means to stay in the present moment, and not worry about the past or future. If you are caught in an infinite loop of worry, you can’t focus on what you need to reach your goal. You won’t be able to plan the next big thing or even complete your daily routines. Don’t let worry hold you back, and instead focus on what you need to do right now to achieve your dream.
Secondly, a lot of times, our expectations and worries are worse than actual outcomes. Yes, following your dream will have challenges, you will make mistakes, and you might even fail the first time. But that’s OK. Some of the most successful leaders in the world have tried and failed several times before they made it. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?” When you identify those challenges and begin thinking through the solutions you might develop in the face of them, you’ll find that your fears might not be as scary as you think they are.
Of course, following your passion is one thing, but if you can’t pay the bills, then it doesn’t make sense to go full time with your business. Not yet, anyway. Here are some ideas from Forbes on how to start fulfilling your dream without going broke in the process.
Don't quit working. It's exciting when you realize your true calling in life, so it's understandable to immediately want to jump in with both feet. However there are usually many steps needed before you're able to really pursue your dream; most can be taken while still working a ‘day' job. Brainstorm and list every step needed to get from where you are today to where you want to be. Make a note of which ones you can do while still working, and when you absolutely have to quit. Keeping your job while preparing for your end goal will take pressure off you to immediately succeed, provide income and insurance during the many months (or years) before your dream job can support you, plus allows you to save money to fund your dream.
Develop your business plan. This doesn't need to be a formal document and doesn't apply to all pursuits, but if you are starting your own business you must have the basics: description, target market, market analysis, organization, funding, revenue and expense projections (more to come on that).