Building The Business of You

January 7, 2021

We have spoken before about the Passion Economy and how there are more ways than ever to capitalize on creativity. The ubiquity of technology at scale and the ever increasing amount of online tools really allows almost anyone to monetize unique skills and turn them into a business or side project.

Li Jin wrote about “The Passion Economy and the Future of Work”. She describes the Passion Economy as follows:

“Any potential path to monetization where people are leveraging their individuality...It is beyond just podcasters and youtubers and visual content creators. It encompasses things like video course creators or virtual teachers or tutors or virtual coaches or professional coaching…. Some of these online courses encompass everything from ‘how to organize your home’ or ‘how to not kill all of your plants’ to more traditional educational subject like ‘how to start your own online business’ or ‘how to start a podcast’”

At Startup Sanctuary, we like to say that you should “Build the Business of You”. Much of this thesis stems from the idea that Jin speaks about with the Passion Economy. How can you cultivate and create a business around something you love and earn a living from it.

Let’s take a look at how you can practically do this.

The Model

Passion is a funny word. It can be used in a variety of contexts, but by working on something you are truly passionate about, it will never feel like work.

As Steve Jobs said:

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.

What are you truly passionate about? What is the one thing you can do for hours on end without it feeling like a burden? Is it an existing hobby?

Discernment between a hobby and a profitable passion is important. You can absolutely turn your passion into a profitable business, but you need to complement it with two other key components.

Passion is only one piece of the puzzle. Our passions can get us into some crazy situations. If we don’t balance them with a semblance of structure and discipline about how we bring them into the world, it can be hard to yield a positive outcome when it comes to building a business.

We can use the model below to visualise what we mean when we talk about blending passion with structure and structure and discipline.

We can think of the structure as the tools, systems, processes and infrastructure (see below) that will allow you to bring your passions to life. You need to create the structure within which creativity can occur.

And we can think of discipline as the consistent energetic output that you expend on a daily basis to continuously move you and your passion in the direction of growth.

Combining these three components is a recipe for building the business of you.

The Infrastructure

The ability for creators and entrepreneurs to highlight their individuality and bring ideas to life has never been better than it is today. A growing number of digital platforms allow you to combine tools and fuel your new business venture with a fresh model of internet-powered entrepreneurship.

There is even a whole host of new no-code tools that are allowing non-technical creators to build projects they would otherwise never have had the ability to bring to life.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an entrepreneur who wants to build an eCommerce store, a writer who wants to begin sharing content with a wider audience, or an artist who wants to share and sell their paintings, the ubiquity of technology available today, makes it so easy for anyone to set up a business in a matter of days.

These tools and technology serve as the infrastructure that will house your business. They are the medium through which you can bring your passion into the world. The pervasiveness of these tools also means that the layers of intermediaries between you and your potential audience is being squeezed out. Now more than ever, you have a direct line to consumers that can be nurtured and monetized.

Check out how you can get started with some of these no-code tools and which might be best for the type of business you want to start.

The Secret Sauce (YOU!)

The type of business you want to start will depend heavily on you as the secret sauce. You may have a number of passions or ideas that you want to combine into a unique business offering.

As Li Jin stated, the passion economy will continue to be about quality and creating products and services that are not easily replicable.

Your uniqueness is your competitive advantage. Nobody else has the same set of beliefs, passions and niche interests as you. The challenge lies in your ability to craft these into something that has tangible value in the world that people are willing to pay you money for.

As we see, the tools and infrastructure exist to house your business. Platforms embracing the passion economy are pivoting away from traditional advertising models and are invested in seeing their users succeed and grow instead of driving one time transactions.

Software as a Service offerings with tiered pricing structures are positioned to benefit from the growth of their initial users.

Shopify is an excellent example of how this type of model can work at scale. Thousands of new businesses have been birthed on the Shopify platform.

The only thing left for you to do is start building the business of you.

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