So you want to learn how to start a business around your passion that makes money 24/7 and gives you the ability to work where you want when you want. Imagine the lifestyle you would be able to live if you turn your passion into profits. Online entrepreneurship can help you to reach these specific goals, but it’s not easy!
To create a business, you need the formula to turn your passion into profits. But first….
There are two questions that many books and online resources seek to answer:
- What’s Your Passion (Business Idea)
- Who’s Willing To Pay For It (Build & Grow Your Business)
I believe that when starting a business, you first need to start with the end in mind. You want to build a business to live a specific lifestyle.
So you need a business plan that’s integrated with that specific life plan. Often we confuse being rich with living a productive way of life.
Through my personal journey with entrepreneurship, I have discovered some core philosophies that I want to share with you to help mold how you determine to turn your passion into profits.
The 4 Hour Work Week
Tim Ferriss is a lifestyle entrepreneur that went through many trials and triumphs before discovering how to build a business designed around his lifestyle instead of the other way around. He later went on to publish his discoveries in a book called The 4 Hour Work Week that became a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.
The 3-part mantra that Tim focuses on is “Escape 9-5 Live Anywhere, And Join The New Rich”.
1. The Time Trap
Ask yourself how much is your time worth. Is it worth $50 per hour or $150 per hour? Personally, I feel my time is priceless because it’s the one item you can’t get back. We all feel the desire to follow our passions, but we know that money controls our ability to do them.
To escape the time trap, we must create a way to generate passive income.
There are four types of incomes broken into active income on the left below and passive income on the right below:
My desire is to help you build and grow a business (upper right grid) that gains profits using automated systems and limited manual labor on our part. Tim suggests we eliminate all tasks from our life that aren’t essential until we are at the essence of the problem and solution.
In my life I used to have a service-based business where I focused on inbound marketing consulting. I made over $3,000 per month working part time on top of working my full-time job as a digital marketing coordinator, but I soon realized I was trading my hours for dollars.
If I desired to take a vacation or take two weeks off from working my income would stop. So now I focus on creating products (online courses, affiliate products) and doing limited marketing consulting with clients on retainers using HubSpot to leverage my time.
In order to avoid the time trap you must learn to create an business that leverages software, tools, and other people to give you freedom to make money online 24/7.
I address solving this problem by creating business models that leverage time. For now just remember that you want to create a business that’s based on products. If your product can be purchased to create a recurring month-to-month revenue, this is even better when planning out your business around your passion.
2. Become Location Independent
If you’re reading this blog post, then you’re more than likely to understand that creating a virtual business allows you to work from anywhere. What does being location independent mean?
For starters here are some of the myths about being location independent.
Mostly no one can manage time. Are we all given the same amount of hours in a day? Regardless if you're Barack Obama or a small business owner.
Gaining the ability to work when you want and where you want is about creating valuable experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to have.
Imagine if you were able to…
- Able to stay at home instead of having limited time on paternity leave if you are giving birth to your child
- Able to surprise a loved one. Distance often hinders our ability to spend time with loved ones. What if you could visit them when you want?
- What if your sports teams clinched the playoffs and were heading to the championship game. You could avoid the hassle with a flexible lifestyle.
- You could travel around the world while your business makes money around the clock.
I know right now some of these things may be far fetched. Here’s several of my friends that are lifestyle entrepreneurs.
- Nomadic Matt: He started traveling at 23 and managed to travel for 18 months. After that, he finished his MBA and became location independent. Matt has created an online business where he teaches others how to fly around the world first class with an economy sized budget. He makes income from book sales and his online courses all while traveling the world of course!
- Natalie Sisson: She has traveled to over 69 countries all while living out of her suitcase. She embraces the minimalist lifestyle. What I love about Natalie are her transparency and enthusiasm. If you are longing to be closer to family and are on the fence about starting an online business, then you should read her inspiring story.
- Jodi Ettenberg: She’s a retired lawyer… Well not exactly. She quit being an attorney in 2008 and revamped her lifestyle. She now blogs while traveling the world. Unlike other lifestyle entrepreneurs, she focuses on how you can eat while traveling. This is an essential element that all lifestyle entrepreneurs that decide to take the minimalist approach must consider.
- Samantha Brown: She started blogging to shed light on parts of South East Asia. Her site is organized for tourist who is looking to learn about specific areas to visit. Samantha now has a TV show on the Travel Channel. With blogging, you can gain authority… The sky’s the limit.
- Dan Andrews & Ian Schoen: They successfully exited a tech startup in 2015 with a nice payday. They now podcast and run an online business called Dynamite Circle which focuses on connecting lifestyle entrepreneurs who are location independent.
- Colin Wright: I love the idea of moving and traveling to a new country every four months. Colin does just that while writing books and doing public speaking gigs. Most of all he has a theoretical approach to life that makes you think differently and ask challenging questions like… Why do we work 8 hours per day?
3. New Wealth Perception
Traditionally when we think of wealth, we imagine having to become a doctor, a lawyer, or a wealthy businessman that grew and sold a company. Why do you want to be wealthy?
Is it necessary to work like a slave to live like a millionaire? Simply put no. The New Rich is a group of people that understand the concept of lifestyle design. They live their life in a way to have maximum impact on others lives and enjoy life now, not later! We don’t need millions of dollars but only the knowledge required to have experiences that millionaires used only to have the privilege of enjoying.
I’m guilty of having some selfish desires that are good but can easily lead to bad habits that would leave me feeling empty inside. Some of my original wishes before I matured were:
- Material possessions such as a MacBook, iPhone, Jordan’s, & Ferrari
- The power that’s associated with wealth for the wrong intentions
- Respect and admiration to impress others and fill my ego
These empty desires will only provide temporary satisfaction. How many electronic gadgets, & pairs of shoes, do we need? When focusing on building a business in the traditional sense, we get sucked into a money trap where there’s never enough. Lewis Howes is an online entrepreneur (author of The School of Greatness) that had it all but understood that lifestyle entrepreneurship was the only way to fulfill his deep desires to turn his passion into profits. When we begin thinking on a larger scale and focusing on meaningful and fulfilling desires such as:
- Experiences with others instead of material possessions
- Supporting social causes that makes a global impact
- Living a purpose driven life with sincere intentions
So to build a business that’s focused on turning your passion into profits, you need to:
- Develop a way to create passive income
- Create a business that allows you to work from anywhere
- Change our internal definition of attaining wealth
If you want to learn more about The 4 Hour Work Week Then check out Malkhaz Geldiashvili who does an excellent job in his animated book review of summarizing the main ideas.
Now that we have some of the core principles required we could now build and grow an online business to live life on our terms.
Here are the four areas I focus on to help you grow your online business…
When starting to build a business, you must plan. My grandfather always says, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” Business plans are great on paper, but by the time you start your business, a lot has already changed; this is even more so now with the Internet and technology that advances at a rapid pace.
Business plans take too long to write, are seldom updated, and almost are never read by others but documenting your hypotheses is key. Lean Canvas is an adoption of the business model canvas. Lean Canvas allows you to build a 1-page business model in a fraction of the time it would take to create a traditional business plan.
You can download the lean canvas-template here.
After properly planning your online business you will need to build a minimum valuable product (MVP) and test your hypotheses (ideas) to see if they work. Screw building a product or investing money into a business that hasn’t been validated. The ultimate goal is attaining product-market fit.“Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.”
Once you have a proven product and business model, you will then focus your efforts on a mix of growth marketing, inbound marketing, and social selling. The goal at this point is to increase the number of overall customer acquisitions while still keeping down your cost per acquisitions.
I highly recommend setting up Google Analytics with your core conversion goals so that you can measure which marketing channels are giving you the best return on your investment.
Now moving forward we will focus on developing an inbound marketing strategy .
To generate online sales, you simply need qualified traffic going to your website that converts into sales. You have a lot of options when it comes to deciding how to gain sales.
I will let you in on a secret… different forms of inbound marketing will help you achieve different goals along with your customer's buyers journey.
Personally, I’m focusing on four main things to generate sales. They include in-depth blog posts (2,000 words) around long tail keywords, high-quality guest posts (750 words), blogger outreach and creating exclusive resources to grow my email list (eBooks, cheat sheets, courses).
After attracting enough traffic to my website and building up my email list, I can focus on converting and closing website visitors through landing pages and exclusive resources.
I know what your thinking… this will be a lot of work. You want a faster way to generate sales. Well, there’s a faster way, but it will require money.
If you’re selling a product or service and want quick sales to look into Facebook Ads (remember to use the Facebook Pixel to track conversions) or Bing PPC. I recommend Bing because the cost per click is a lot lower the Google Adwords due to lower competition.
In some of my other blog posts, I go into more details about digital marketing. This just serves as an introduction to some of the core strategies and processes we will be using.
Your best customers are your paying customers that you already have. Besides focusing on sales to gain new clients, think of ways to increase the customer lifecycle of your current clients.
If you plan your online business correctly, then you will have a product-based business with multiple sources of income (in my business my revenue streams are online course sales, affiliate products, and marketing consulting). Here’s where we work on retaining clients by creating recurring revenue streams. Some examples of recurring revenue streams that keep clients are lawyers with monthly retainers, monthly utility bills, and software subscriptions.
Before pivoting to help lifestyle entrepreneurs I solely worked with tech startups. I was a freshman in college in 2009, so I experienced 1st hand the growth of Facebook & Twitter. Saas based companies usually get large IPO’s because of their ability to scale (creating a digital product) and subscription-based business models.
Three great examples of recurring subscription revenue include a premium Spotify account, a premium LinkedIn account, and a NetFlix account. Recently more traditional companies are moving to recurring business models. Companies like Apple & even Audi… I love to look ahead of the curve.
This 2-minute clip from a lecture at Cornell paints a vivid picture of what’s happening.
In some of my other blog posts, I go in-depth over strategies to increase your revenue using your current customers and reveal methods to retain them using what Seth Godin calls the purple cow technique… Ok, he wrote the book but I'm just applying his ideas to teach you practical advice. I figured I would give credit where it’s due.
Imagine when customers purchase a product and land on your thank you page they receive a coupon. Or maybe you send your clients a handwritten note with an item so that you win their trust.
Last but not least is business automation. Once you have your online business operating and begin to gain customers, you will need business automation systems to allow you to scale your company. Most importantly systems are what help you avoid the time trap to live life on your terms.
As a business owner, you can choose to invest in an all in one solution or use growth hacks to create your custom solution. I recommend purchasing an all in one system after your company is generating enough revenue to cover the operating costs.
Here’s the top all in on marketing and sales automation platforms:
- HubSpot: $200 Per Month ($80 if you have an early stage startup)
- Infusionsoft: $199 Per Month
- Marketo: $750 Per Month
- Pardot: $750 Per Month
In other blog posts, I will share all of my growth hacks that I have learned from startup veterans. I’m not here to just make promises.
IFTTT does an excellent job of using automation techniques to help you save time. You can spend 15 minutes to see what strategies you can apply to your online business or better yet just watch this video by todoist on the top productivity hacks using IFTTT.
I wanted to use IFTTT as an example to help you envision the type of automation techniques you can use for each part of your business and personal life and remember…
If we can’t automate it, then we can always outsource it!
Your Next Steps…
So are you up for the challenge to change both your personal and professional life. If so then you’re in the right place. If you're interested in growing a business that gives you both freedom to work when you want and where you want to consider building a purpose driven tech startup because you will the ability to work from anywhere, and you will be able to develop a predictive revenue stream through creating a subscription business model. If you're ready to build and grow a startup, then you're the right place. I just ask that you make sure you're building a startup with both your purpose and passion in mind. Now get out there and turn your passion into profits!