Starting a business in a sector that you love

Everyone in the world has their passions, the things they are obsessed with, their dream job. But, unfortunately, for many, it’s a simple fact of life that their professional life and what they are passionate about do not really cross over.

Even among business owners and self-employed workers, it’s common to find people who are working in a sector, industry or role that they have little to no real interest in. However, starting that dream business and turning your passion into a viable company doesn’t have to just be a pipe dream.

If you’ve got the passion for something – and a healthy dose of business acumen, of course – there is no reason why this can’t become a booming business. After all, if you’re truly passionate about something, aren’t you more likely to want to put in the hard yards and be more determined to make a success of it?

That’s not to say, of course, that there aren’t potential pitfalls to trying to make your dream company a reality. The process will require, not only hard work, but also the planning, skills and expertise to make your venture a success. Here are some key steps towards turning your passions into profit.

Consider your passion… and your strengths
Fundamentally, you don’t want to set out to start a passion project only to discover that your heart’s not in it. Before you begin, sit and think objectively about whether the business you are considering is actually a passion of yours, or just a whim that’s appealed on the spur of the moment. The last thing you want is to get too deeply involved and invested in something before realising you ultimately don’t love it.

Next, you’ll need to ask yourself the hard question of whether you actually have the capability to succeed in your chosen field. In the same way that not everyone who loves music can be a great singer, not everyone who is passionate about something is equally good at it.

For example, cooking may be your passion, but before you go ahead and open a restaurant, it is vital to glean whether you’re a good enough chef to compete in an incredibly crowded market. You could perhaps start by gaining some third-party perspective, throw a dinner for friends and ask for their honest (a.k.a. brutal) assessment of your cooking.

Then, you’ll need to consider whether you have the other necessary skills to succeed. Being a chef isn’t all about cooking. Do you have the relevant transferable skills, for example, to delegate and run a kitchen? And how well do your work under pressure?

This is just a microcosm, but asking these kinds of questions and considering your own capabilities will be vital in determining whether you simple have a passion, or the necessary skills required to turn that passion into a successful venture.

Consider your options
Realising that your skill set is perhaps more limited is, however, no reason to abandon your dreams. This can merely serve as another pointer towards what you’ll need to make a success of your business plan.

For example, you might find that you have excellent customer service and inter-personal skills, but perhaps lack the hard-edged thinking required to take on your competitors. Or, maybe you have excellent technical skills in your chosen field, but lack marketing capabilities.

Endeavouring to discover these things will be crucial as it will show you the skills you’ll need to look for in potential business partners or employees.

Get the right support on board
Acknowledging the skill sets you’ll need to complement your own can be a great first step in thinking about what support you’ll need prior to and after setting up. What legal assistance do you need? Who’s going to handle the finances, marketing and PR etc?

Getting the right people in place early will help to ensure that setting up your business is as smooth and efficient as possible and will also enable you to navigate some of the inevitable bumps in the road that come with starting a new business, as well as the potential gaps in knowledge that accompany starting a business in a sector that you love, but have perhaps never worked in before.

Be prepared
It’s a cliché, but it’s also fundamental when starting a company based around your passion: you’ll need to be prepared for the aspects of it that you don’t love so much. You’ll need to treat it as what it is - a business. Passion and a love for what you’re doing is vital, of course, but it’s not enough to make a functioning business. A solid business plan will be needed outlining what you’ll need in terms of investment, your plans for rolling out products and services and projections for cashflow and profits.

Starting a business, naturally, means a huge amount of hard work, late nights and stressful days and it might be too soon to expect that you’ll be loving your new job from the very first day. Stick with it, though, and you'll reap the rewards