Most Americans these days consider entrepreneurship to be a good career. More than half of all American adults will start at least one business during their working life. In fact, an even greater percentage of the workforce now wants to work from home. Due to the shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home became a common practice that many Americans would like to see as a permanent work option. This means that if you’re like most Americans, you’ve either already started your own business or you’re seriously considering it. If so, you’ve come to the right place.
In How to Turn Your Passion into Profit, business expert Tara McMullin will guide you through the process of creating your own business. But this is not your typical “overnight success” course. In fact, as she leads you through the creative process of developing a business that you will enjoy running for years to come, Tara turns some commonly held ideas about entrepreneurship completely upside down. For example, you might think your first task would be to identify what you want to sell. Not so fast, Tara says. You think your goal should be to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible? Think again. What about using social media to market your products on every available platform? Everyone knows that’s what you need to do these days, right? Maybe. But maybe not.
Instead of rushing headlong into selling a product, Tara suggests you take a step back to ask what you want to get out of this business. Yes, you certainly want to make money. But as she explains, there are some more important basic questions to ask yourself. For example, what are the guiding principles you live by and how can they be incorporated into your new business? Do you become animated with excitement when talking to groups of people or do you prefer one-on-one communication? Do you want to develop a business that can be supported by your local community face to face or would you be more excited by international sales? With Tara’s guidance, your answers to these and other questions will lead you to the appropriate business model, and to the development of a successful, long-term endeavor you will enjoy.
Building Your Business by Answering Questions
In this course, Tara will ask you to answer many questions, sometimes personal, tough questions about how you want to live your life going forward. In five modules that each build on the answers you’ve developed to previous questions, you will be asked to consider:
- Why is pursuing your passion important to you? Whatever the reasons are, you need to identify them first. That step will help you have the tenacity to overcome some of the normal obstacles you will face.
- What are your guiding principles? These are the statements of intent that you will use to help you know how to structure your business. What is your intent for your business? How do you want your business to relate to your community or any social issues that are important to you? What kind of relationship do you want to have with your customers?
- How does your ideal business look and feel? How do you want to describe your business? Is it friendly? Artistic? Competitive? Edgy? It might sound like taking the proverbial cart before the horse, but Tara will explain why you need to know how you want your business to feel, both for yourself and for others—even before you know what you’re going to sell.
Choosing Your Business Model
A business model has three main components—what you sell, how you get paid for it, and how you deliver it. And within each of those components, there are many decisions to be made with respect to marketing, pricing, the kind of relationship you have with your customer, and much more. Tara will guide you through six different models to find the one that will best suit your needs, the one that best meets your guiding principles. The models include:
- Productized Service. This model involves developing and selling any service in a standardized way—with a standard set of steps and a standardized process that you package together and offer as one product. You’re delivering a service, but it’s sold as a product.
- Packaged Consulting. In this model, you’ll be delivering a specialized professional service with a written proposal, scope of work, and specific deliverable or outcome. While you’ll be able to charge more in this model, you’ll be working with teams and larger companies, and that can be especially challenging.
- Direct-to-Consumer Retail. In this model, you’ll take a physical product and sell it directly to the consumer through a website, art show, craft show, or any other physical location. There is a huge opportunity to build a loyal, repeat customer base with direct-to-consumer retail.
For each of these business models, Tara will discuss how much money you can make, how much of your time will be required, your relationship with your customer, best marketing practices, and so on. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to choose the model that will work best for you.
Watching Business Development in Action
From the very beginning of this course, you’ll meet Liz and Nick, two fictional individuals who are each itching to start their own business. While they both use the same business-development process, they end up with very different businesses, each well-suited to both the owner’s and customer’s needs.
Liz is an accountant with a day job she really likes, a job she’s not planning to leave anytime soon. But she is looking for a side hustle that would give her the opportunity for meaningful relationships with customers, whom she would like to impact in a positive way. In contrast, Nick just left his job after 25 years. He is looking to try something new and is considering pursuing his love of photography full time. Nick is looking for a business that would allow him creative control over what he shoots and would also provide him with opportunities to travel and explore.
You will learn how to develop your own business as you see how Liz and Nick develop their businesses, with respect to:
- Identifying Your Passion. Liz is the go-to person for her friends who need career advice, and she realizes she gets really energized by those conversations. Nick already knows he’s passionate about photography, but realizes he is most motivated when trying to tell the story behind a new place or landscape.
- Choosing a Business Model. Of the six business models Tara presents, the best match for Liz is the one-on-one coaching model. This gives her exactly what she wants, personalized time with each client and the ability to make an impact in her customer’s life. Nick chooses to develop a wholesale business, helping designers source photographs for high-end hotels and restaurants.
- Packaging. Liz has decided to develop a “career discovery coaching package” that includes working for six months in bi-weekly coaching sessions, a personality test, and more. Nick’s package includes a curated selection of photographs, working with a designer to transform a space with art.
In addition to the fictional individuals, Liz and Nick, you’ll meet real business owners throughout this course, entrepreneurs who discuss their journeys toward the mature businesses they now own. While they share their successes, they also share the twists and turns they took along the way, some leading to great outcomes, and some not. All of it makes for great learning opportunities for anyone who wants to start a business.
With Tara’s guidance, you will be able to ask the important questions that will help you determine the best business model for you. As you will discover, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful business. Rather, every decision needs to adhere to your personal vision, skills, and principles—something Tara will help you explore as you enter on your own, personal entrepreneur journey.