By Valerie Young
When you are so busy just trying to do whatever job you trained for or fell into, your true passions and gifts can somehow got lost along the way. Deep down though I think everyone knows what they love to do. They just need to do a little digging.
Let’s look at how three people discovered what they love to do and how they are going about turning their interests into income. It basically comes down to three steps:
Step 1: Find What You Like To Do
The key is to finding your passion is to know where to look. There are lots of places to start looking for clues:
One often overlooked place to look is to your childhood or adolescence. Back when you did things because you enjoyed them and didn’t have to worry about whether or not you could make any money. Still, today these past passions can hold clues to future business ideas.
What about you? What kinds of activities or subjects interested you growing up? Did you love reading mysteries or historical books or books about animals? Did you love art or dance or science? What were your favorite toys or games? What kinds of outdoor activities did you gravitate to?
When Pat Beith was growing up in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, he could usually be found playing sports. In high school it was football, but his first love was track and field. So when he went off to the University of Massachusetts (my alma mater), he was a sprinter.
Thinking he needed to do something “practical” Pat started out as a business major. But it was the elective courses he took in Exercise Physiology where he learned how the body worked that fascinated him most. Even then, Pat knew he didn’t want to spend his life dressed in suits and working in an office all day, so he wisely changed majors to follow his bliss.
Another place to look for clues to your calling is people you “envy” or somehow wish you could emulate. Think of someone you know whose life or work attracts you in some way. You might be drawn to the kind of work they do, a particular skill or characteristic they possess, their lifestyle, their attitude or approach to life.
For Pat that person was a performance expert he heard speak at a conference. The speaker’s passion for training athletes so inspired Pat that he decided then and there that the world of strength and conditioning for athletes was where he wanted to be.
Maybe you get inspired when you see someone who clearly loves their work but also happens to be famous. People like Oprah, Dr. Phil, Suze Orman, Rachel Ray, Deepak Chopra, and Rick Steves have all successfully profited from their passions in a big way. For Gerald Romine from Phoenix, Arizona that person was real estate master Donald Trump.
Gerald was in the Marines when he started thinking ahead to life after the military. As he looked around at the people who were the most financially successful it always seemed to be the ones who got into real estate.
Gerald says he had no money and no credit at the time, but he didn’t let that stop him. Instead he started reading and studying what the big real estate gurus were doing and began to dabble in real estate investment while he was still in the service.
A third place to look for clues to your calling is things that happily grab and hold your attention. I was out doing some errands earlier today when I ran into a local guy named Tom. Tom is an outgoing people-person type of guy who tells me he’d love to change course but has no real interests. First I had to get him to change the question from “Who would hire me?” to “How can I generate income?”
Then I started grilling him about what he loved to do as a kid, people he admired, and what kinds of things happily grab and hold his attention. As it turns out, Tom loves early American history even majored in it in college. When Tom talked about history, his whole face lit up. So what’s he doing today? He works in a mattress store. But if I have anything to do with it, he’ll soon be doing something very different. But first he has to take step 2…
Step 2: Figure Out How to Make Money Doing It
Pat did go into the fitness industry, starting out as a personal trainer. But that meant getting up at 4:00 a.m. and his income was limited by the number of clients he could see. Then he became the fitness manager at t local athletic club. But being a manager took him away from the hands-on training, which was the part he loved most.
More importantly though, it was a job-job and Pat wanted to be his own boss. So he teamed up with another coach who also wanted to leverage his knowledge and passion for working with young athletes. Together. they started a sports performance business aimed primarily at athletes and coaches. They started running sports camps and clinics, moved onto to creating videos and other training products, and then began consulting with people who haves sports-related businesses and wanted to be more profitable.
Today they have customers and clients from all 50 states and over 75 different countries. Despite this faltering economy, Pat’s business and his clients’ businesses are more profitable than ever.
I’m really excited about Pat’s newest venture because, over the years, I’ve consulting with at least a dozen people, mostly men, who love sports and coaching kids but just didn’t know how to put it all together. They know how to coach – they just don’t understand the business side of making a camp profitable.
A big key to turning your interests into income is being able to answer the question, “Who wants what I have?” What Pat has is knowledge and experience running profitable sports camps and clinics. Who wants “what Pat has” are people who already run camps but aren’t making enough money doing it as well people like my clients who want to get into the business, but just don’t have a clue where to begin.
Pat has the system down pat (so to speak). So much so that last year he held a live workshop on the topic that cost $1,400 to attend. His new program is more accessible and affordable but still covers all of the bases. Even if you are not interested in starting a sports camp yourself, Pat’s video has lots of really good tips that can be transferred to many other businesses. Check it out at ChangingCourse.com/recommends/sportscamp
Then there’s Gerald and his passion for real estate. Over the years Gerald realized that the biggest problem facing people who want to get into real estate investing is fear of making a bad investment. So he developed a system for people to quickly and easily figure out the financials of a deal and then use that information to decide whether it’s a no or a go – and if it is a go, how to make a justifiable low offer.
Who wants what Gerald has? People who have read books like Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad or Gary Keller’s The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, and understand the wealth building capacity of real estate. Like me, they also probably realize that this is a great time to jump into the real estate market, but are not yet confident in their ability to sort out the deals.
Then there’s Tom, our early American history buff. Who wants what Tom has? Well for starters, Tom lives in an area of the country that is rich with early American history. He also lives in a community with five colleges and universities, which means there are lots of families and tourists staying at local hotels with time on their hands and a curiosity about the area. Tom could easily keep his retail job and still put together a 2-3 hour weekend tour focusing on any number of topics related to early American history.
Step 3: Figure Out How to Market Your Business
Marketing is key to business success. Unfortunately few people know how to do it, or they think they have to somehow be ultra slick or have a huge marketing budget to do it. But there are lots of simple ways to get the word out about your business – many for very low cost.
The obvious place for Tom to start is by talking with managers of local hotels and Bed and Breakfasts to get a feel for the needs and opportunities. From here, he could print up flyers to display in hotel lobbies and then create a simple web site.
For very little money, Tom could purchase a copy of Cynthia Morris’ Go For It! Leading Tours for Fun and Profit. In it she covers everything from how to come with a tour theme, pricing, and how to get customers. (If you happen to have the Making Dreams Happen audio program with Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, and I, Cynthia is on audio #18 at ChangingCourse.com/makingdreamshappen.htm)
If Tom finds he likes running tours, he can create videos to give potential customers a better feel for what the tour is all about. In fact, videos are a great way to explain what you do. Pat created a great video that gives people a really good feel for who he is and what his How to Make Money Running Sports Camps program is all about – including a bunch of free tips.
Gerald is also using video in creative ways. One is a “news segment” style video that you can actually customize to insert your own picture and name and send to your friends. In less than a week, over 1,000 people took advantage of this neat tool to create their own videos. To see how that works go to ChangingCourse.com/recommends/realestatevideo
From what Gerald says there have been so many videos made that he’s starting to have some server issues, so if you want to create your own video, I would do it before his host company makes him shut it down.
But video can also be used to educate your customers or clients. For example, Gerald has also created a video specifically for people interested in real estate investing. It’s called “How to Create Justified Offers in 5 Minutes” and you can find it at ChangingCourse.com/recommends/realestateinvesting
The point is there are endless ways to a) find your passion, b) come up with a product or service that someone will pay you for, and c) attract a steady stream of clients or customers. Pat and Gerald chose very different paths but both led to great success. They also both used video as a tool to both promote and educate.
Tom is still in the idea phase. But now that his mind is open to possibility I have a feeling his life will never be the same. What about you? Follow these three simple steps and see where they lead you.