by Jenna Kutcher
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Most entrepreneurs get into doing their own thing for a few main reasons: to pursue independence, impact, or their passions. Often, it’s some combination of all 3 but along the way, it can be easy to lose sight of that initial intention and just spend all of your time keeping things running or handling the minutiae of day to day work and not necessarily experiencing the fruits of ANY of those 3 goals.
That, my friend, is what we want to avoid. Whether you’re JUST starting out or playing with the idea of starting your own business – or you’ve been running your own thing for several years – I want you to be able to build a business that not only supports what you’re passionate about, but also shifts and evolves when your passions shift and you evolve. Something that has the flexibility to morph into new versions just as you grow and change as a human being through the years.
This episode is all about digging into those personal WHYs — the core values that motivate you and what you’re deeply interested in pursuing — and how to spin those things into a business model that grows with you, that doesn’t hold you down or stifle you. If you’ve been wanting to start a business for a while now but don’t know WHAT to start your business around, or if you have a business that doesn’t seem to fit your vision any longer, these are the 3 steps you need to take in order to build a business that sustains and supports your heart, desires, goals, passions and life trajectory. Let’s jump on in!
1. DO WHAT YOU KNOW
The first step to building a business centered on your passions is to start with your own personal transformation story! It’s time to get comfortable sharing your passions with the world! When I first started my wedding photography business, it was something I was sincerely invested in. I had just been a bride, I went through that exact process of choosing a photographer and getting my photos, and I understood what I desired as a bride and how to serve that to my clients.
I loved creating beautiful memories, I loved being a part of the most special day of people’s lives, I loved getting to be creative and inspired every single day. And before long, I began to see the way I did things was different than other photographers – how I marketed my business, how I interacted with clients, how I communicated, the way I positioned myself in the industry.
After a few years of doing photography, I began hearing the same types of questions from other growing photographers: how did I know what to post on social media to garner leads and media attention? How did I get regular clients? How did the referrals come in? How did I charge premium rates? How did I not go crazy editing for days on end…?
I realized that MY way wasn’t the way that most people in the industry did things, that my techniques were different and valuable and viable. That lit the spark under me to create my first digital course all about marketing, and then my next one all about running a successful photography business. From there, I went on to build courses to teach the things I had experienced success in and had shown others the way in: social media, email lists, Instagram, and podcasting.
I didn’t necessarily get into the photography world realizing I’d one day hang up my camera on weddings and fully shift into an education business model, but I let my passions and growth dictate the direction of where my company went. This whole journey is a part of my transformation story – it started with something I was passionate about and changed to new things I was becoming passionate about and good at that fit with the lifestyle I desired.
I want for YOU to do this very thing. No matter if you’re in the starting stages or the veteran stages of business ownership. What interests you enough that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it work and get into the hands of others to help them? What do you ALREADY have experience with doing? What were you able to get results for yourself or provide results for others by doing? Get comfortable sharing WHY you’re passionate about about these things. After all, people tend to be really quiet when it comes to those things because we hold our passions sacred OR don’t even realize the meaning they contribute to our lives.
So, I’d invite you to get curious about yourself! Where does your passion and progress intersect? Are you spending your energy on the things that matter most? Is your business or potential business fitting into the life you’ve imagined? What does the profit potential look like for that? Start nailing down what success looks like for YOU.
Don’t know what it looks like? I have a sweet little exercise to walk you through to easily nail it down! Get my success worksheet.
2. CREATE A CONCEPT
After digging into what you know, what you’re good at, or what interests you, it’s time to create a concept around those things. Now if you’re pivoting an existing business, this doesn’t mean you up and go from selling succulents or tailoring dresses and suddenly decide you’re going to teach live seminars on natural birth techniques! We want the transition to be smooth and natural – so think of how you can make this more of a pivot than a 180 degree turn down another path completely.
It can be simplest to create your concept based on what you already know people want – what do people always ask you about? What are you the go-to person for? What do you find yourself “googling” when you should be working? It could be something less tangible like “how do you always seem so effortlessly confident?” or more practical like “how did you learn to get such insane conversion rates on your webinars – what’s your secret?”
Creating the concept for your business or your business’s new direction should NOT involve: digging into foreign concepts you have zero experience in, trying to crack some code within yourself about what you’re *actually* good at, or sitting on half-molded ideas that you’re really not sure you care all that much about.
To build a business around your passions, and one that LASTS, you’ve got to understand what’s already been a part of your journey! What have you learned or experienced or perfected or honed in on? What feels SO natural to you but not so much to others? There’s the sweet spot we’re looking to find! One of the best pieces of advice I can offer when it comes to creating a concept is simply starting to share those things you’re passionate about. I call it “breadcrumbing” where you start to add in aspects of your life to what you’re currently doing or what you currently share and just start to reveal other sides of yourself. Let people behind the scenes, share something you’ve learned, share what takeaways you’ve had recently, give a quick tip, ask a question. You want to warm people up to who you are 1.) So they care but 2.) So their feedback can help support your growth and concept.
3. TEST THE CONCEPT
Finally, on to the most important step in my humble opinion, you need to test that concept, preferably at no cost or a low cost to be sure your process or idea is viable and holds up when others use it. Doing some sort of beta group is my NUMBER 1 recommendation for testing concepts — a FB group or an email challenge or group coaching or even going live in a Facebook group.
You don’t have to start out from the jump by investing in course hosting software or recording a ton of modules or figuring out how to edit video and sound. Nooo, no, no. Let’s do this as simply and quickly as possible by just plain getting your idea out there and testing if it works for others! Just go on Facebook live and teach about something and get feedback, watch the comments, even if it’s just FIVE people in there, and continue to tweak and hone in on that.
I told a lot of my students I was leading through a course earlier this year to just do a beta group for their very first launches. They could host it for free to encourage people to sign up, grow their email list or even offer it at a lower price point than they plan on charging down the line – and advertise it as the beta group or early bird group that gets the coveted FIRST access to these goods.
Then I told them to really listen to the feedback from the group and just go through the materials week by week – no need to rush or push things. Let the real time feedback guide their creation and teaching process. It’s smart to have an outline prepared by reverse engineering what you want the end result to be for the group – what are the 3 to 5 steps it’ll take to get someone there?
And most importantly – pay attention to what the group is saying, what they need more clarity or guidance around, and what they want more of. Your biggest gift in this new direction of business will be student feedback and success stories. And the best way to get more success stories is to serve your students with what they need and will ask you for. That’s going to fill in the gaps and make your offer so much stronger and conclusive in the end.
The Big Picture
Whatever your passions are… whatever your interests are… whatever your strengths are – I truly believe you can build a lasting business around the things that matter to you most. The skills you’ve sharpened and experienced results or joy or life-change from. The methods you’ve built that allow more freedom and flexibility and progress in your life.
These are the things that matter and that others WANT to know about – and it’s up to you to teach them – because I fully subscribe to the notion that only you have your exact experiences, background, and journey to impact others with the gifts you have. No market is too saturated for your unique blend of goodness, sister, so start bringing what you have to the table and I can promise you that others will meet you there with open arms!