Take a sip of your coffee (or tea), take a break from email, stop packing lunch for the kids and think for a second. Are you living your passion? If you are, then continue reading for sublime validation. If your answer is no, then really think about what inspires you most. Then ask yourself, why aren’t I doing that? Most people think that doing what you love is just that – something that brings you joy, not necessarily money. But really, why not?
Take fitness guru Jillian Michaels for example. Struggling with her own weight, the path to wellness became a personal journey that sparked her passion for fitness. That passion pushed her to become a life coach, author, and ultimate trainer – eventually landing her a dream job motivating reality show contestants through total body transformations. I can imagine that for Jillian, her job doesn’t feel much like work at all. She would probably say she’s living the dream. And so can you!
Women are making great strides in the workforce, many of us becoming our own boss. In fact, between 1997 and 2014, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. rose by 68 percent*, compared to 47 percent for all companies. This is a huge accomplishment – especially considering the daily obstacles we face striving for work-life balance. It also makes me wonder, what would it take to have even more women-owned businesses? What’s stopping you? My guess is, not knowing how to transform your passion into a profession – and believing you can.
You may not know it, but you do have what it takes to be like Jillian. If you’ve been toying with the idea of being your own boss, I’m here to tell you it’s not too late.
Follow these steps to get your passion working for you, and you’ll never have to work again:
Step One: Discover the Link Between Your Passion and Profit
In many cases, just like Jillian, it all starts with a need. Find the one thing you love to do most in your free time and see if it could fill a need or solve a problem for someone else. Check out this list of 55 Hobbies You Love & Can Get Paid For to give you ideas of marketable skills and what it takes to get paid doing them.
Step Two: Find a Mentor and Build Your Network
Find a mentor who’ll share their expert knowledge and help you while you’re getting started. Join a network of businesswomen. It doesn’t have to be formal – it can be in person, by phone or even online. A good network can give you resources, ideas, and connections to potential clients and employees – and also give you some much-needed encouragement through the process.
Step Three: Research and Reshape
Find out everything you need to know about your industry. Research the main players and see what makes them so successful. Look into the latest start-ups: Where are they located? What are they offering that makes them different? What can you do to separate your business from theirs? Once you’ve found the answers take a look at your business model and reshape it for success.
Step Four: Build Your Business Plan
Your business plan will act as your roadmap to achieve success. Keep it simple. Know what success looks like and outline the steps necessary to get you there. It should address profit margins and short and long term business goals. Building a plan doesn’t have to be an arduous process. There are resources available online that can walk you through the necessary steps to create a solid, thought-out, customized business plan.
Step Five: Don’t Just Find a Lender, Find a Partner
Your bank or credit union should be a trusted partner throughout the lifecycle of your business. Having a strong relationship with your financial institution can help you build your case for a loan or other business product, such as a credit card or line of credit. At Navy Federal, the relationship we have with our business members is paramount. Our Business Services representatives take time to get to know member’s goals and challenges so that we always have your best interest in mind.
You undoubtedly have many of the tools and resources you need to live your dream. Have faith in yourself, outline your plan, and move forward with courage. Soon, you may never have to “work” again.
*Green, Charles H. “Women Are Starting Business At a Fast Pace.” Coleman Report. 2 June 2014. Web. September 2014.