Turn your Talent into a Business: The Reality

Pursue your passion…and you'll never work on your passion a full day in your life…

Wait…that's not how the old adage goes, is it? Isn't it true that you if you work on something you love, your'll never work a day in your life? What's this about not being able to work on your passion?

Well the truth is, while there are benefits in pursuing your avocation as a vocation - you're not going to have too much time to work on that passion when it becomes a business. You don't get paid for just pursuing your hobby! You get paid for distributing and selling your passion.

Freelancers know this all too well. Say you have a talent that you want to share and monetize: Baking? Web Development? Design? As you start offering your service, the most of your time will not be working on your expertise. The reality is that business development, marketing, sales, finances, tech support, and other day-to-day activities will take a longer portion of the day than the actual skill you are offering to clients. Also, many solo entrepreneurs have a side job to help make ends meet as they are growing their businesses.

Another example comes from someone who is creating a product to pursue his/her passion. For example, your passion may be creating sustainability and green products and you have decided to launch a line of products for interested customers. The majority of your time will not be involved in creating the eco-friendly products - rather you will be busy with market research, customer buy-in, go-to-market strategy, etc, etc. Eventually, as the business scales, and you add more new hires, this balance will tilt in your favor.

For bloggers, Derek Halpern from Social Triggers says most spend 80% of their time creating content and 20% promoting it; these proportions are exactly the reasons why most bloggers fail. He claims that the most successful bloggers don't spend most of their time blogging! In fact they spend 20% of the time creating content and 80% of their time promoting it.

Similarly, according to Payson Cooper, many entrepreneurs spend their time in the following way (which leads ultimately to a failed business): 
65% Developing or working on product/service
25% Business operations
10% Marketing.

However, in pursuit of a successful business, the recommended time breakouts include 
65% Marketing 
25% improving and developing new products/services 
10% on operations.

All in all, the thing to remember is that starting a business involves MUCH more than just your skill set and yes, you will have to wear many, many hats and serve as a jack of all trades for a while.

Did you pursue your hobby as a business? What was your experience? Did you get to spend enough time working on your talent?


lokender said...

Very beautifully written and an excellent attempt to make people realize the important of Advertising and Promoting. Indeed I feel marketing plays a very key role. Its better to build a strong network and market yourself so that when the work comes you don't really need to run from pillar to post in getting it executed. Presence and visibility of our Service/Product in the market will help us in the longer run where we can demonstrate our abilities to large source of crowd which will eventually get us more and more business. How about working in a Team who has wider avocations which can be converted into vocations? Collaboration is vital in current scenarios. Let the guy good in Marketing take care of his stuff and the other person best in product design and service can keep improving himself, and so on, but at the end of the day the result becomes so humongous and also it doesn't requires us to wear different hats and act as Jack of all trades.

Entrepreneur Fail said...

@lokender Thanks so much! I totally agree with your comment about collaboration. Not enough of it happening!

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