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Turn your Passion in a Profitable Business

This article is about doing business from your passion. To work from your heart. And to earn good with it.

I wrote this article because it has interested me a lot, since many years. The trigger for it came when I was still working in a job, when I realized that the majority of the people I have met, were not working from their passion.

Instead of that, they ‘had’ to go to their jobs, do their things and when the bell rang at 5pm, they went to their homes to do what they really love to do such as: playing music, be a leader of a volunteer company, doing work for their nabours, gardening. Whatever they were doing in their ‘own time’, they talked about it with passion, with their eyes sparkling. They kept sharing what they did. They were seen in their qualities and it maked them happy.

Why was doing in their job different than what they did outside their job?

So my question was: ‘why don’t people follow their passion more and see if they could make a living out of it?’

The answers were like:

  • I cannot earn (enough) money with my ‘hobby’
  • I have to earn a certain amount of money to pay my bills and take care of my family
  • It is not possible to earn money in music, refurbish cars, gardening (fill in the passion that you have)

The question here is: are the arguments they have mentioned, all true? Or could it be possible that some people could really make money from their passion?

Passion into Profit

Yes, the bills have to be paid

Okay, let’s be real. The bills have to be paid indeed. You want to take care of your family, of course. And I know that not everybody do have the qualities to be an entrepreneur, or is able to stand the insecurities they think they cannot overcome. Besides the fact that you really don’t know how to turn that passion into a business.

So let’s write further to people who are already an entrepreneur, who want to work from their passion and want to find out how to make a profitable business from your passion.

Could is really be possible to create a profitable business with your passion? Imagine that you …

  • do what you love the most
  • are in balance with what you find important in your life
  • can create an offer to help others
  • are able to find you ideal clients
  • earn good with working from your passion

You might ask yourself: “Why whould I choose for a construction like this? If I just work hard and make enough hours of work for my boss I can still achieve a good income

Actually it works very simply, like many things are just simple. Once you are at the place where everything is in balance, you will attract clients like a magnet. In that case you are authentic, you effortlessly give the best of yourself, your clients will feel that and will enjoy working with you. And the logical step is that you earn good with doing what you like the most.

Learning to do business in the traditional way

Now if you have done business education like MBA, they don’t talk about finding your passion first and turning that into a profitable business. It is the other way around: find something in the market that is missing and fill that gap with your business.

Of course there is nothing wrong with that. I only think that if you really want to work with your heart (yes, and with your mind, body and soul as well), you will be happier and healther for the long term. Working does not feel like working and you will gain a lot of freedom when turning your passion into a business.

More than one passion

The chance is big that you, like most people, have more than one passion. That is great! My passions, for instance, are: travelling, reading, personal development, walking, cycling, cooking, but also earning money in a different way than many others and talking about sustainability and leading a team of people to achieve a common goal.

Do I have to work all those passions into a business idea? No!

The great thing is that if you dive deeper into your passions and find out which of them (or a combination) are suitable to work out further, you are on the right path. Questions to be answered are for instance: with which kind of clients do I want to work and what are their problems I can provide a solution for?

An example. Suppose one of your passions is photography. You like to make the most wonderful pictures and the people arround you say so too. If you feel that somehow you want to make your business around your passion, it is good to do research of the possibilities. What type of pictures appeal you the most? What type of people do you like to be with as a possible ideal client? what kind of questions/desires do they have according to photos? And for yourself: do you like to maken pictures more than, for instance, teaching other people to become a very good photographer as well? Or do you like editing photos more? How do you see yourself in 1, 3, 5 years? How does that feel?

If you choose to focus on your possibilities instead of the possible problems, the chance is big that you will come up with some solutions to work out further.

Passion into Profit

The pain of working too hard in a job you don’t love enough

I know it as so many others, too work too hard. Without thinking too much whether it suits you and your life goal. The consequence? For me it was a burnout, years ago. I could not do anything for 4 months.

I, who always thought a burnout would not happen to me. In my mind, a burnout always happened only to others, right? I had disconnected my feeling too much from my real purpose in my life and that did not work in the long run, obviously.

This was about 13 years ago. I am happy that my body gave me the signals so clearly that I could not work this way longer. In the recovery that followed, I learned to make contact again with what I wanted the most and I came back on the path of where I wanted to be with my heart. Not long after my recovery, and after working 24 years in jobs, I decided to quit that job and I started my first business. Once that was clear for me, this decision came quickly.

So, what is the message here? If you work from your heart, from your passion and follow your unique path in it, you live accordingly to who you are. What do you have to offer the world? And if that simultaneously coincides with a nice company in which your clients are happy with what you offer, earning nicely from your business is a logical outcome.

How do you find your passion?

This is a question that often is asked to me. There are several ways to clarify your passions. I give you a direction to find your passions.

You can find your passions, for example, by asking yourself some important questions.

  • What do I always do as a matter of course?
  • From what activities does my heart beat faster?
  • What do my thoughts regularly look like?
  • What big worldissues do touch me?
  • What often wakes me up at night?
  • What did I always enjoy as a child?
  • With what kind of activities I do, does the time fly?
  • Where do I relax?
  • Where do I talk or write freely about?
  • Which TV programs/films/books/articles appeal to me and why?
  • When I ask my best friend what I like to do, what does that person say about me?

Passion into Profit

How much does the average entrepreneur earn?

I will now discuss how much money the average solo entrepreneur earns. Then about why you should work from your passion and what comes next. Finally, you can read what you can do to find that magical place.

On to the facts. What is the current situation with the profit for the average entrepreneur without staff?

I have done some research and from various sources it appears that many solo entrepreneurs earn a minimum income. Of course we all know the entrepreneurs who do it differently and are very successful. I also know many people who earn a lot of money with their freelance work and their excellent hourly rate. Unfortunately, I often see an issue in the latter group: it is nice to earn that money with working for someone else, but the price that has to be paid for it, in the form of stress, to guard your boundaries and not having the freedom of an entrepreneur can become a problem if you don’t work from your heart. I see that too often, unfortunately.

More and more people are starting their business (for instance, in the Netherlands, every year about 40,000 people start, source of Chamber of Commerce) and I assume they did have not started their own business to just earn a minimum income only.

A few more facts about entrepreneurs and their income:

  • The Netherlands employs almost 1.5 million self-employed persons without staff (source: Facto)
  • They earn an average of €36,000 per year (source: Facto)
  • The personal income of a freelancer is 10% lower than that of an employee (source: Statistics Netherlands)
  • 60% of freelancers demand a low hourly rate (source: Businessinsider)

And then the question is: ‘How is it possible that so many solo-working entrepreneurs struggle and work too hard while they do not earn enough money?’

Why do we work too hard and earn too little?

A few possible causes that I see (and which I myself also know from my own experience):

  • They do not dare to ask a good price for their offer
  • They have a one-sided earning model
  • They often miscalculate like as confusing turnover with profit
  • They don’t attract enough clients
  • They have too little focus to grow their business
  • They take too little action
  • They see their work more as a hobby than as a serious business
  • They don’t have a clear strategy
  • They do not dare to invest in themselves and their business

From the stories of the many entrepreneurs I speak, I know that these causes of too little earnings are true for self-employed people. There is a lot of fear. Fear of shortage, fear of too much competition, fear that others can do it better. Who does not know those thoughts and feelings themselves? A very large part of what obstructs you to be really successful is your mindset. Your way of thinking about money, business and success.

I also have known from my own experience that my mindset obstructed my way. Especially in the early years of my entrepreneurship. I regularly thought that nobody was waiting for me. Or I thought there were too many competitors and therefore I did not build on my original idea. Or, while my possible client was sitting in front of me, I did not dare to close the deal and I was too hesitant to do so. Result? That client went shopping around and became the client of someone else.

The big difference with those first years of my entrepreneurship is that those negative thoughts have become less big, I see them faster and I take action earlier to change it. In all the trainings and mentorships that I have followed in recent years, where I invested in myself and in my company, the theme ‘mindset‘ has always passed by. How stubborn is our way of thinking! And how nice it is when someone helps you, walks with you and shows you which patterns you have to deal with them.

How happy are you now? Okay, the facts are clear and as far as I’m concerned it is now about how you look at your company and your results. Are you happy, or are you regularly in doubt whether you should ‘take a job’ again? Every time I hear that from my clients, it hurts a little bit every time. It is a pity and often so unnecessary that you have to work too many hours in a place you don’t want to be for a few months to make ends meet. To temporarily shut down your company because you simply can not focus on and work in a job as well as to make your company more profitable.

Suppose you earn a gross annual profit of €60,000. On average, that is €5000 per month. I do not go into accounting rules and whether you choose to build up a pension or a pot for disability or illness. What I do know is that with this amount you do have an excellent basis from which you can grow your business further. You can continue to invest sufficiently in yourself and in your company, you should be able to pay all your monthly expenses and there is also plenty of room for extra things such as travelling or whatever you find important in your life. Most entrepreneurs are just very happy with a minimal annual profit of €60,000.

Myself, I am a business coach since 2007. I have had several companies, including one in the United Kingdom where I have bought properties for a rental income. I like to talk and write about passion and work from your heart as an entrepreneur. I have chosen the title of this article for several reasons such as:

  • I made my first e-book ‘Passion to Profit’ in 2008
  • the vision board that I made years ago, shows my passions and has had the word ‘passion‘ on it (this board has a place in my office)
  • my previous business name was PassieVol, dutch for ‘Full with Passion‘ (which I stopped because it did not completely cover what I wanted to offer my clients).

I must admit that I regularly became somewhat overwhelmed with the word ‘passion‘. I heard it so much around me. How special is it that the theme keeps coming back. The word ‘passion‘ seems to be a hype sometimes. We have read a lot about it in the media, and there are also many business coaches that offer something about finding your passion. That is not really what it is for me. For me, the most successful entrepreneurs are those who are passionate in what they do. Where your work almost comes effortlessly out of yourself.

The Profit

Do you know the American TV-program ‘The Profit‘ where Marcus Lamonis have helped entrepreneurs with his approach ‘people, product, process‘?

I love to watch his shows. Most of the time you can see that the entrepreneur has started his business from his passion earlier. He once had a dream and he worked that out with his company. Made it succesful but it has going bad later on. No wonder it always hurts as soon as Marcus comes up with a proposal for change or takeover. If you touch someone’s passion, it hurts. Fortunately, it has become often good again and the entrepreneur has the option to stop (for example if that passion was not so strong). Or he reconnects with his passion and then opts for a different business model with better products and better running processes in place.

Sometimes, passion is confused with hobby and it is said ‘do you want everyone from his hobby to make a business?’ No, that’s not what I mean. A hobby is a hobby and a company is a company. A passion goes deeper. Everyone knows the moments: that you become so absorbed in something, that you talk about it so enthusiastically, that it makes you happy, that time flies by, that it is easy, that you feel that you are completely in your element. You are in a flow and you work from your heart. When you also know that you can combine this passion with helping other people, you are on the right spot.

Is finding your passion enough to be succesful in your business?

If you have read the book of Stephen Coveythe 8th habit, from effectiviness to greatness‘, it is about finding your inner voice. And that is more than finding your passion only.

People with a big influence do have a very well developed inner voice. We can discover your voice because of 3 gifts we are all born with:

  1. The freedom to choose
  2. The natural principles or laws: they are universal. Those principles dictate the consequences of bahavior. Positive consequences come from fairness, kindness, respect, honesty, integrity, service and contribution.
  3. The four intelligences.
    – mental intelligence by vision
    – physical intellligence by discipline
    – emotional intelligence by passion
    – spiritual intelligence by conscience.

Covey talks about great achievers expressing their voice through the use of their intelligences.

  • Great achievers develop their mental energy into vision
  • Great achievers develop their physical energy into discipline
  • Great achievers develop their emotional energy into passion
  • Great achievers develop their spiritual energy into conscience – their inward moral sense of what is right and wrong and their drive towards meaning and contribution.

Covey has said that the reality in business today is that there are many people who have not found their voices or even have lost their voices. We see this every day around us – people go to work to serve their ‘bodily’ needs, but do not really put their creativity, talents and intelligence into the job. Very true – and losing your voice is a good metaphor for understanding – the question of course is; how do we get our voice back?

Inspiring others to find their inner voice

As soon as you have found your inner voice, you can begin inspiring others to do the same. This is really about leadership. Great leaders have always inspired people to be self-aware, to find themselves and to find their voice. That is the essence of greatness. People and organizations who have truly found their voices go on to become great.

Leadership greatness is about 4 things

  • modeling the 7 habits
  • path finding
  • aligning
  • empowering

Covey illustrates those four things that are very important to enable people to identify and unleash their potential.

So having found your passion alone is not enough. You have to add energy from your mind, body and soul and you have to unwrap your other birth gifts. Then you have found your inner voice and herewith you are also able to inspire other people. How great that is!

Before 2007 …

When I was still employed as a Human Resource Manager at a large ICT government organization, and I had many selection interviews with new candidates, I always was looking for that passion the applicant had. If I did not see his eyes shining, I would keep asking until that happened. Or it did not happen and we did not have a match. My colleagues and I got more and more fun to only hire people who spoke enthusiastically about their working field and wanted to learn more automatically. And that worked: absenteeism was low, just like the low amount of people who have quit their job. The result was: involved, passionate and enthusiastic employees. In other words: people with passion.

Working from your passion is the key.

So my passions also include traveling, to develop myself personally (I like to do tantra and biodanza), develop myself professionally (by letting me coach through a business coach), help others with their growth, have nice conversations, bring projects to a good end, learn about ways to generate a passive income. obtaining and improving processes. But also lead a team at a festival and much more. If you can be busy with your passions every day, you are a very happy person. Then it flows, you work from your heart and you inspire others automatically. If you can also realize a feasible and scalable business idea with your passions, you are creating a profitable company.

How to build a profitable business from your passion?

Of course the question is: how do you do that, put your profitable company down with your passion (or continue to grow)?

Your company contains several elements that you have to research and elaborate, if your business idea is to lead to a good business model.

Every time I work with entrepreneurs to help them grow their business, then I use my framework. If you master these elements one by one, you build a solid foundation and there is no limit on your profit.

  1. You as an entrepreneur: know your current and your ideal balance in your life, have your passions clear, work your mission and you vision out
  2. Search & research business ideas with your passions, your mission and your vision
  3. Your irresistible offer for your ideal customer in a clear businessmodel
  4. Measurable marketing
  5. Be very good in sales
  6. Eliminate and automate

Passion into Profit

If you take these 6 elements and actively use them, you get a solid foundation and a nice profit is possible for everyone. And not only that. By applying parts 4, 5 and 6 consistently, repeatedly and more efficiently, you also work on scaling up. Make more people happy with your offer with fewer hours and where your profit can be infinite.

By examining these 6 important elements and taking action in particular:

  • You are more authentic
  • You are more often in a flow
  • Work from your heart
  • Write and talk you with enthusiasm about what you have to offer
  • You are inspiring to others
  • You are more recognizable and visible
  • You will attract more clients and you create more profit
  • You will create more freedom and balance in your life.

Good luck with finding your passion, adding your vision, know your conscience and work with discipline!

Saskia Bussink

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