Perhaps you are unfulfilled in your day job. Maybe you have had this nagging idea about your own side business that just won’t go away. Maybe you’ve even started working on an inspired idea, but you are not sure how to really make it profitable.
If you can relate with any of these, it sounds like you might be ready to start your own passion project. This can be an exciting time, but before you quit your job, take the leap, and go full force into your passion project, there are a few things you need to do in order to set yourself up for success.
Follow these six steps before starting any type of passion project:
1. Evaluate Your Passions and Skillset
Assuming you already have a clear idea about what your passion project or business is going to be, write three lists:
- List your current skills and talents.
- List what you are most passionate about.
- List all the skills you will need to be successful in your endeavor.
Then, take the time to evaluate and compare these three lists. Answer the following questions:
- How do your passions and your skills align?
- What skills do you already have that will support your success?
- What skills do you need to brush up on, and how can you start today?
- What skills are actually your weakest areas, and how can you outsource them?
2. Specify and Align with Your Market
This is always a hard one at first. It’s easy to feel like everyone is your possible target audience, but if you talk to everyone, you end up talking to no one. Products and services are made for specific people to solve their specific problems or enhance their lives. You must determine who will care about your passion project by determining who specifically will resonate with you and benefit from your product or service the most.
To help clarify this for yourself, answer these questions:
- Who is your target market?
- What does your market want that you also want to excel in?
- Are you willing to become a master in what your audience wants?
3. Honor Your Needs
Before starting your passion project, you must determine and honor what your needs are. Following your passion and purpose is a worthy journey, but it is not always going to be easy. When you know specifically what you need out of your passion project and honor those needs, the journey will be more enjoyable and ultimately more successful.
Grab a journal, and write down the answers to these questions:
- What are you willing to sacrifice for your passion project?
- What are you driven by?
- How do you want to affect the world?
- What are your income needs?
- What do you need from a work environment?
- What do you need in order to excel?
4. Create a Strategy
Having a clear strategy is essential to the success of your passion project. It should include:
- Personal goals
- Income targets
Create a time log to determine where you are currently spending your time, and figure out how you might be able to set aside specific chunks of time on your passion project instead of less valuable activities. Break your big goals into smaller, more manageable tasks, and put them on your calendar during your specified open time areas.
Then, spend some time answering these questions:
- Do you need to save money before you start your project? If so, what are your savings targets?
- What days and times will you begin to work on your project?
- What do you want to achieve through this passion project?
- What are the specific projects for those achievements?
- What are the specific tasks for those projects?
5. Create a Personal Brand Profile
Creating a personal brand profile will help you make the most aligned decisions as you begin your passion project. It will also help you determine how your brand will stand out from others, and let others know exactly what you stand for and why they will want to partner or work with you. Use your personal brand profile to build a personal brand website you can update yourself as your passion project evolves.
Use the following questions to help identify your personal brand profile:
- What do you stand for?
- What differentiates you from your competition?
- How will you prioritize your actions?
6. Take Care of Yourself
Starting a passion project is exciting and motivating, but there are bound to be setbacks and challenges. Make sure to leave time for the people and activities that fill you up and bring you the most joy. Create a support system you can lean on if you experience challenges. Practice visualization and meditation to gain confidence and reduce stress. Remember that your passion project may start as one idea and evolve into an entirely new idea as it grows—and always take care of yourself as you change with your passion project.
Before you embark on this journey, create a solid foundation:
- Who will you turn to for answers or inspiration when you run into obstacles?
- How do you want to feel while pursuing your passion project?
- What are your personal boundaries to prevent burnout?
Pursuing a meaningful project or work is a worthwhile cause. It may not always be as easy or as glorified as others can make it out to be, but it is deserving of your time and effort. It is worth it to know that your work has meaning and to create a life where you are excited for every day, not just weekends and vacations. It is always worth it knowing you are bringing something into the world that can help other people.
Genuinely reflecting on the questions above and taking these action steps will help set the foundation for this worthwhile cause. It will create the groundwork and strategy for your passion project to grow into a meaningful business and thrive.