Small-business owners are typically passionate about what they do, with the most creative and powerful ventures often beginning as simple dreams. As any entrepreneur knows, your hobbies and passion projects can be what take you to your next plateau.
Your passion can also be what helps your business survive. Since most companies fail, as Carmen Nobel notes in a Harvard Business School article, doing what you love will, hopefully, provide an edge. So how can you turn your passion project into a business?
Always Be on the Move
In five years
"My passion projects have driven my career to a level I couldn't have imagined," Murashev says. "When I co-founded a startup with my friends, for example, it first started out as a passion project. I ended up quitting my job and doing it full time, which is some of the most fun I've ever had."
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And when that business venture failed? It was Murashev's passion project that led her to her next big gig—a role as a software engineer at Manilla.com. While building her company, she leveraged every free moment to learn how to code, a skill that was brand new to her. Less than two years later, she's positioning that hobby into her next business opportunity.
"My latest passion project is building TinySale.com, an easy way to sell digital goods online," Murashev says. "And I'm currently successfully selling my own book, How to Learn to Code, on my own platform!"
Focus on Learning
What do passionate people love? Everything. It can sometimes feel difficult to narrow down your focus to one key venture. Murashev encourages professionals to focus on one key goal: learning.
"I love learning, so I try to pursue projects that will optimize for learning whatever I'm most interested in at the time," she says. "I was a psychology major in college. So when I graduated, I still wanted to keep up to date with the latest psychology research, so I started a blog about it, PsychWorld.com."
Your hobbies should empower you to maneuver through your toughest challenges. "Recently, I chose to work on TinySale.com because e-commerce sites are some of the hardest to build, and I really wanted to improve my software development skills," says Murashev.
Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur
You don't need a formal business background or experience running a business. What matters most is that you love what you do—and you do it.
"I think everyone is an entrepreneur on the inside," Murashev says. "It's just that some people choose to act on their creative entrepreneurial instincts, while others don't, likely because they fear failure."
As with any business venture, focus is key. Treat your passion project like you would your professional interests, and prioritize focus.
"I make my passion projects a high priority in my day, so when I'm working on something, it is part of my schedule," Murashev says. "I am a morning person, so I work on my own project between 5 and 8 in the morning every day, right before work, and on most weekends. It's not easy, but it is a huge priority in my life."
Time shouldn't hold you back. Outsource life's mundane tasks to make room in your life for your projects.
"I use a service called MyChefByRequest to get healthy meals delivered to me throughout the week, so I don’t have to cook, and I have a cleaning service come twice a month so I don’t have to spend time cleaning," Murashev says. "Recently, when I had to go to the DMV, I used an app called Exec to have someone be second in line for me at 6:30 in the morning. I came at 7:55 a.m., and was done with the DMV in five minutes while I spent the morning building TinySale.com."
If you're resourceful, you can grow your hobby into your biggest accomplishment and love how you earn your living.
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