From Passion to Paycheck: How to Convert Your Hobby into a Business


Do you crave starting your own business? Then read on. Today Beth outlines the process she developed to turn her passion into her career. Consider it a blueprint for you, whatever hobby you love.

Beth’s evolution began abruptly in 2003 when, after 10.5 years, the company she worked for laid her off in a round of “right-sizing.” (Talk about euphemisms!) Beth worked part-time in investments and financial services, specializing in estate planning and training. She loved what she did for the company. She was devastated when layoffs hit. In a couple of minutes Beth’s dreams were dashed.

As she and husband Pat discussed options, Pat finally said, “You have a business in the basement. Why aren’t you doing something with that?” The business was her scrapbooking, photo management, and Creative Memories which had been her successful “side gig” for some time. But Beth never considered turning her passion into a full-time business until Pat suggested it.

Beth also had to banish the self-doubt that being fired generates. “I finally accepted that firings don’t mean incompetence. More often they mean stock prices and clashing cultures,” says Beth. “Banish that ‘It’s my fault’ feeling from your life—forever. You must, to move forward,” says Beth.

Her immediate reaction: “How could I make money doing what I love? Would there be enough interest? Would people pay for my help?” She had done well with Creative Memories and gradually realized it was feasible. Once she internalized that, the paradigm shift began.

First, Beth acknowledged the power of words. She wasn’t simply a “consultant,” she was a “business owner.” “Until I validated my work as a business, I couldn’t really move,” says Beth. She used the right words to influence her—and clients’—thinking. Beth’s advice: language is important. “We’d better be saying that we own our businesses. Terminology changes the mindset,” says Beth.

Once she saw herself as a business owner, there were first steps: operate like a business. That meant a name, logo, tagline, stationery, business cards. Gradually, she added a web site, newsletter and more.

Concurrently, she did some long, hard thinking. What would her business look like? What services would she offer? Could it support her? Time for a business plan. That’s where research and her networking skills entered: “First, get help from others who have done this,” says Beth. “Second, use lessons learned from professional organizations you’ve participated in.”

Soon networking opportunities abounded—so much so that Beth realized they could drain her time and money if she didn’t choose wisely. After trials and errors, Beth focused on education-based organizations and avoided referral-based groups. “I love associations like the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, The Photo Managers, National Association of Women Business Owners, Synergy for Success and similar organizations. They offer education and connections—cornerstones of my success,” says Beth.

Beth also has a “helping” mentality. Rising tides do raise all boats. So, she helps other business owners whenever possible. The favors are frequently returned. “It’s so important to work with other small business owners. For example, Beth invites small business owners to participate in her events’ welcome bags, door prizes, etc. “Networking is not ‘Do you have a lead for me?’ It’s about building relationships and helping others out,” says Beth.

Beth’s business plan is fluid. The more she learns, the more she adjusts. Beth views plans as a starting point. For example, Beth’s early days focused on scrapbooking and photo management. It got her started. Gradually new opportunities surfaced. These days Beth is a sought-after public speaker and business coach with clients across the country. She continues with her original offerings of scrapbooking and photo management. In addition to these, Beth’s offerings now also include:

1. “The C.L.I.E.N.T. Presentation” Beth helps clients realize that clients are their best marketing partners. She offers her lessons in both training sessions and presentations.

2. “Life Organization A-Z” which is small-group training or retreat. She provides tools to succeed.

3. Coaching—a team of small business owners—monthly, with one-on-one coaching included. “Business owners that use the vendors I use are my best clients for coaching. So, I coach other small business owners and photo managers,” says Beth.

4. Event planning

5. Small office organizing for productivity

“Where I am now is a direct result of everything I’ve done up to this point,” says Beth.

So, if it is time to turn your passion into your business, Beth suggests beginning with this central question: “What’s the one passion that inspires you most?” Then adopt her mantra:

“While business plans change, the value of referrals and happy clients never changes. Your clients are your best referrals and marketing partners. Word-of-mouth is always the top advertising venue. So, whatever you do, do it well. Learn and grow.”

If you’re primed to transform your passion into a career, contact Beth. She has many, many options for those ready to give business ownership a try.

Let’s get started: 612-616-1215; beth@gettingorganizednow.com 

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