Have you seen some of the books and self-help programs available over the past few years that promise if you can simply do what you love, that the money will follow?
Well, like you, I am into that! Here is a short list of things I love to do:
- Eat Gelato
- Make Love
- Play in Playground – no not with children, I mean I like to swing on the swings and stuff!
- Travel to exotic places and get massages
Okay, let us take those 5 items and connect them with money to follow.
Eating Gelato a lot could land me a job as a spokesperson for a famous gelato-maker, or I could simply become HUGE.
Making love, well, I hear there is a profession involving the *** trade and I could make bundle (quick someone hide my photo from the reader!), but there is some legal issues and I could wind up having more sex than I care to mention – behind bars!
Playing in the playground! Okay, someone could photograph me and I could sell the photos to “Growing Older Is a Return Journey into Childhood" Magazine – but then that could damage my chances of finding my night and shining amour. Hmm, what to do?
Traveling and massage – now there is a business in that for sure. I need a few thousand dollars, a tanning salon, and a companion I can stand to be in the jungle with, and I am good to go!
Playing the Piano – here is a tidy piece of cash. However, I need to get started now, and hope to heaven I live long enough to get good enough to be hired. Hold on, I found middle “C" already; I think I just might have a chance!
It is great to say we need to love what we do, and do what we love. But in the meantime, and there is a MEAN TIME involved in the process, we need to make enough cash to keep us alive.
Here are my top 11 ways to turn your dream into a paycheck without going broke.
Make a list of things you love. Be sure you have more than one idea. Have 20 things you love and explore for a while. You might be very surprised at yourself if you did not stop until you wrote down 20 things you loved. The best idea may be number 19. The reason is that we have default brain waves that take us to the same thoughts over and over, unless we pursue beyond. Write 40 things you love to do. Keep writing. Take a week to do this exercise, do not be rushed!
Choose your top 5 or 10 ideas. Feel the ideas, imagine the ideas, and talk about them. When you know your top 10 narrow your list to these. (Yes, it is a written list you can look at)
Go and actually do each one of your top 10.
This is where it gets really interesting! Let’s say you love to give shoulder massages. Great! So you determine that if you are going to follow your passion it means you will become a massage therapist and work with hunks all day long. Well, before you take out the student loans and kiss your job goodbye, why not decide that for 1 month you will give at least 10 shoulder massages (10 minutes each) a week to friends and family? (They will love you for this!) Think of all the personal enjoyment you will receive from doing what you love!
Make notes of how you “feel" in the process. Did the idea stay fresh? Did you still love it after week 3? Could you imagine yourself doing this for 3 years, and 30 hours a week? If so, brilliant. If not, go to the next one on your top ten list.
KEY- don’t get discouraged! You simply found out more about what you want and don’t want to do. Your jewel awaits!
Take your time. By now, a month or more has passed. You have been “experimenting’ with your varied passions. Don’t cheat yourself. Take time for the experiments: this time is crucial to your future paycheck!
Decide to take 2 or 3 ideas to the next level. If you find that none of them really turned out to be what you thought they might be, simply start making a new list and redo #3.
Don’t quit your job! It is too soon. (I am throwing this in for free, we won’t actually count it as a tip!)
Meet with your mastermind group. Anyone going into a business needs to be a member of a group of people who work together as each other’s sounding boards on a regular basis. (If you want to know more on this subject there is a good wealth of material written and on audio. You can contact me and I will send you in the right direction if you like. ) Tell them about your passion, your experiments, and ask them to brainstorm with you on applications. If you don’t have a group yet, call 3 of your friends together and meet with them over coffee. The dynamics of the group will create energy for ideas you might never think of alone.
There is a prevailing guideline here: No idea is a bad one and no one is penalized for suggesting anything! Remember, even if the idea is not THE idea for your millions, it could be a stepping-stone along the way to a better idea, and you need the stones!
Call in an expert! The reason everyone in the world does not do what they love doing or creates businesses they love doing is because they don’t really know what they are doing! Don’t be offended by that statement. All of us need others to share their expertise with us about something. We just don’t know it all. You can save yourself a world of disappointment by embracing the wisdom learned by others before you spend all kinds of time learning it for yourself, and loosing money and time in the process!
Will it cost you some money? Probably. But you will be investing in what you really want to do in a way that moves you forward. If you discover in the process that your idea may not work, you saved yourself a lot more money than you invested.
If your passion leads to a career move, where you imagine yourself working with your passion, but for someone else, go to a career counselor of renown in your area. If it requires a new business start-up, talk with a business strategist or marketing expert.
Don’t spend a lot of money on marketing or marketing tools! That may sound a bit odd for a business strategist to admonish, but I have seen clients spend excessively on logos and brochures and expensive business cards, when as yet, they did not even have a plan. Dear Reader, you need a plan! For the time being, you could simply order some free business cards. People really do not care about your card at this point. They care about what you have to offer, and you need to test this a lot at first. So why spend a lot of money in advertising materials when you are not sure as of yet just what you will advertise?
MAKE A PLAN This is where the expert can really help. You need to establish a plan that includes a lot of testing (which will be tip #10) to determine what course is best to follow. The plan stays really loose for the first several months and up to a year in some cases. It involves being flexible, trying something and changing it, or changing a few things about it and trying it some more. Following your dream does not mean you are unconscious! It means you allow your imagination to feed you with inspiration and motivation. Then your dream becomes reality by conscious and responsible action.
Go Beta Test everything. Test your assumptions. Test your skills. Test the market. Test the finances. Test the schools. Test the potential customers. Test what you test.
Here is a practical application of testing: Let me tell you about Bob. Bob loves fishing tackle. He is not so fussy on fishing. He learned that after doing step #3. He went fishing everyday for 20 days for 2 hours and he found out he hated the rain, was infuriated by the mosquitoes and tired of soggy peanut butter and jam sandwiches. (You should know, Bob had always dreamed of making a living by taking men fishing…but soon found out, the boots for the outdoor life were not a good fit for him. )
Still, Bob loved fishing gear. He could shop the catalogues online and offline for hours. When he felt stressed, just opening the fishing tackle box, and looking at the gear in fine detail made Bob feel like a new man.
So Bob met with his pals; some of them fishing buds and some of them colleagues at work. He began to describe his passion and some of the refinements he had learned during the testing phases. Then he asked for feedback. Bob couldn’t write fast enough as his friends made suggestions of how he could use his passions, and in his case, begin by working part-time on the weekends in a fishing specialty store to really learn the ropes, and finally to take his dream into an online business. (He found an expert to help him. )
The whole process was over 3 years. But guess what? Bob is doing what he loves, lives the life he dreamt of living, and makes enough money to write his generous paycheck and two part-time paychecks a month.
You can do what you love to do, and you can make money doing it. Be strategic; honor your dream with a process that insures the highest possibility for success.
Copyright 2005 Harmony Thiessen
Harmony Thiessen is a business strategist for small business. Harmony has consulted and taught on business and marketing strategies for over 20 years and owns several businesses herself. Her website http://www.smartmarketingsense.com offers subscribers complimentary business strategies and marketing tips. Join the upcoming teleseminar “Secrets I Learned From The Gurus. "