Listen up! Got a little secret for you.
It’s something a lot of “professional” business owners think is a joke. It’s something a lot of the world thinks is silly. And it’s something you might even think is just a dream.
The secret is you can make money off your hobby or passion.
Seem unreal? It’s not. Other entrepreneurial geeks do it every day.
Take, for example, Elon Musk. He didn’t get where he was by giving up, did he? Even he realized he could earn some dough through his dreams of renewable energy and space exploration.
So why don’t more people start trying to build their own online business empires?
It’s because they don’t know where to start.
THE SO-CALLED BARRIER TO NABBING THAT FIRST BUCK
The biggest concern I find most entrepreneurial geeks deal with isn’t actually the thought of making money from their hobby or passion. Oh, they’re fine with that, to be sure.
What they’re most worried about is how to make the leap from no money to that first dollar in their pockets.
At first glance there’s a lot to consider before you can deposit that buck in your bank. It seems impossible to know where to start, and sometimes (okay, probably most times) you give up all together.
Plus, it doesn’t help that there’s a lot of crap out there (both online and in the physical world) about “getting rich fast” and retiring with more money than you know what to do with.
But I’m here to tell you the process of moving from no cash to your first income doesn’t actually have to be as overwhelming as you might think.
THE UNCOMPLICATED, SIX-STEP PROCESS TO EARNING YOUR FIRST DOLLAR (FEATURING THE WEASLEY TWINS FROM HARRY POTTER)
If you’re one of the people who’s not sure how to make the leap from zero to dinero, never fear.
I’ve put together this post to help you make that leap and start earning from your hobby or passion.
All you have to do is follow these six steps. I can’t promise you each step will be easy; some of these are going to take work on your end.
However, if you go through this entire process, I guarantee you’ll make your first dollar from your geeky hobby or passion.
This is the same process I used to earn my first payment as a freelance writer, and it’s similar to those many other successful entrepreneurs have used.
The only difference is I’m going to spice up the steps a bit with something I wished I’d thought of when I was just starting out: examples taken from Fred and George Weasley of the Harry Potter series. These goofballs started out as practical joke lovers, but later turned their hobby into a full-fledged business, with a building on Diagon Alley and all.
Splendid. Grab your magic wand and let’s begin:
Get in the right mindset.
If you truly want to make money off your hobby or passion, you must stop thinking about them as such.
No one ever made money by saying things like, “Oh, but I really don’t think I could take money for this… I love it too much.”
Stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself, along with everyone who could be lining up to pay you.
Instead, learn to treat your hobby or passion like a commodity, a highly-desired product or service other people will clamor to buy from you. And they will, if you do things right.
Only then will you get serious enough to put in the work to earn your first buck (and then some!).
Example: The Weasley twins love jokes and pranks, and decided they wanted to try making money off that love by turning their hobby into a business.
Verify your idea is viable.
Do some research to find out if people want your product or service.
This is actually fairly simple. Set aside a night or two for this step, grab yourself your favorite drink (butterbeer, perhaps?), and open up your web browser.
Start by checking out what others in your intended industry or craft are selling. Find a different angle and way to set yourself apart (which could be as simple as saying you create oil-based fantasy paintings instead of pencil ones).
If after all your sleuthing no one seems to be offering what you are, don’t panic. People may want what you have to offer, and it’s just that no one has ever offered something similar before.
Trust your gut, and power through.
Example: Fred and George Weasley already knew Zonko’s Joke Shop sold products similar to their ideas, but realized the shop had no competition.
Find out where your potential customers may be hanging out.
This step could also take a few days to properly complete, thought it’s actually pretty straightforward since your first dollar is the goal (not scaling from hundreds to thousands of dollars, for example).
You can start with friends and family and see if any of them are interested in your product or service. Figure out which online forums or sites your potential customers are likely hanging out. Determine if local clientele would love to purchase your stuff.
Heck, you can even look at the customers of your competitors; some of them would probably like what you have to offer, too.
Remember: the world’s a big place, but you can’t target the entire world.
Specialize, and aim for those people who will adore your specialized offer.
Example: The Weasleys decided to see if people would buy their practical joke products through mail order.
Get your product or service prepped.
Time to make your idea a reality! Ask yourself, “What if someone ordered from me tomorrow – what would need to be ready?”
Services like writing and web design don’t actually take preparation time before you’re hired, other than getting things like basic contracts prepared.
For digital products, develop what’s known as a minimum viable product, which is the bare bones version of something like an online course, ebook, etc. that you know people will pay for (even if you have to change it or make edits later).
If you’re offering physical products like geeky headbands, you’ll need materials like ribbons and other crafty supplies.
And of course, get up a simple website and related social media accounts so people know where to find you online. Focus on the benefits of your offer, so customers exclaim, “Yes! I want that!”
Example: Fred and George invented and put together their first products in their room at home in The Burrow.
Start doing some simple marketing.
This doesn’t have to be sleazy or complicated. Trust me.
You could post on social media a few times a week about what you’re selling. Or you could tell individual people one-by-one your product or service is available. If you can sell your thing locally, consider being a vendor or speaker at an event.
And if you feel so inclined, get creative and clever with your marketing! This makes people’s heads turn.
Better yet, help people out for free here and there. Eventually, they could ask to hire you for the same work you’re giving them without pay.
Example: The Weasley twins likely paid for an ad in the Daily Prophet to let people know they had practical joke products for sale.
Collect your first dollar!
Although, you may want to add in some celebrations here, because you deserve it!
Example: Fred and George got their first mail orders for their products, shipped them off, and grew from there into the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes business!
You see that?
You just made your first dollar.
Now keep at it.
The more you get your offer out there, the more likely you are to earn another dollar… and then another… and then another… to the point where you may even be able to see yourself doing this full-time.
Normally, I like to end these posts with a question, but this time I want to pose a challenge:
Go try out this six-step process within the next month. Come back here and let me know how much you made (or that you at least made your first dollar, if you don’t want to share exact figures).
For those of you who have already made your dollar, you can feel free to leave advice for those who are accepting this challenge!
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