6 Ways to Harness and Monetize your Many Passions

Asides the obvious fact that the recent economic downturn has forced several young people to have multiple sources of income, it is quite the norm these days to meet people who have a full-time job and are running small businesses on the side.

They are also known as “side hustles”, and even full-fledged companies complete with all the bells and whistles.

Sincerely, it is now a reality that a single income cannot sustain a comfortable lifestyle and this has pushed the average young Nigerian to get creative and take a dip in the entrepreneurship pool.

Here are six ways to convert your many interests to money in the bank:

Take on practices that will not only push you out of your comfort zone but also work on improving your weaknesses - @tolanithomas Click To Tweet

Leave your comfort zone

Starting and running a business is not for the fainthearted, it will constantly push you out of your comfort zone.

For example, if you have a fear of speaking to strangers, you will have to overcome that when networking and marketing your services to potential customers.

Take on practices that will not only push you out of your comfort zone but also work on improving your weaknesses. You don’t have to be an expert, just be comfortable enough to deliver value that people want and need.

You need more than passion

It’s great to be passionate about your business ideas, but don’t let your enthusiasm blind you from reality. Be honest with yourself!

Ensure there is a market to tap into and you are ready to put in the work. Get honest feedback from people around you; even friends and family by offering your services to them.

You have to be truly good at what you do. Your passion could be making people’s faces up, but are you skilled enough to train others?

Also bear in mind that as a business owner, you’ll be responsible for reporting taxes, marketing your business and sorting out your finances. Are you ready for all the responsibility?

Offer Real Value

What void can you fill in the market? For example, if you are a makeup artist and there is no makeup studio around you, that could be a viable business opportunity.

The goal is to take advantage of the gaps in the market, that way you stand out and enjoy greater returns before the copycats join you in that space.

Ask yourself how you can make the industry better? Is this the business that keeps your entrepreneurial juices flowing?

Let’s say your passion is making furniture. Why are you better than your competitors? Is it because your materials are sourced locally? Or your products are unique and one of a kind?

That would be more appealing to customers as opposed to buying generic mass-produced furniture.

When I started my consulting company, I had used several competitors. I knew what made them great, but I also knew what I wanted that they didn’t offer.

I knew how to better the services. I started it and here we are!

Six ways to convert your many interests to money in the bank: 1. Leave your comfort zone... Click To Tweet

Convert your Passion to Cash

There are several ways to make money off your passions:

  • Selling an actual product such as clothing, beauty products online or in a store.
  • Sharing your knowledge about your passion by blogging, writing books or making videos. Between sponsorships, subscribers and selling your own products, you can make a decent living. For example, Arese Ugwu turned her passion for financial literacy into a book – The Smart Money Woman – into a book that is being sold in several countries in Africa and the UK.
  • Offering consulting services by giving advice on anything from law to skincare.
  • Investing in an idea you are willing to financially support.
  • Creating a software or gadget that makes life easier for people. For example, if you were a makeup artist, you could create an app that helps people find the right makeup products for their skin tones.
  • Start an event around your passion, such as a regular meetup, seminar or a festival.

Make Fun a Priority

Maintaining your passion when starting a legitimate business can be difficult. Some people even forget exactly why they started a business in the first place.

To prevent that from happening, always make fun and passion a priority. Your passion should reflect on your company policies, your passion should be communicated to your employees when you are hiring and they have to be equally passionate about your business as well.

Don’t wait till you master the craft before you start your business. You can learn as you go - @tolanithomas ‏ Click To Tweet

Improve Your Skills

It would be great if you have a lot of experience, however, don’t be too hard on yourself, there’s always room for growth and learning. For example, a furniture maker may be great are creating unique tables, but not so good at creating sofas.

You can learn as you go along your journey, don’t wait till you master the craft before you start your business.

Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field. Nonetheless, don’t let the perceived amount of time it would take you to be the best at what you do deter you from moving ahead with your plan.

It may not take you that long to master your craft, as you long as you keep looking for ways to improve your skills. Always ask for feedback and track your progress.

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Some things have to take the back seat: Balancing work + life #SheHiveLagos

shehive lagos she leads africa the balancing act

Although undoubtedly one of the most fun events of the year, SLA’s SheHive is also one of the most informative gatherings for smart African women. This weekend, the city of Lagos pretty much exploded thanks to #SheHiveLagos.

We could wax rhetoric about all the wonderful ways you can achieve some balance, but let’s be real. At the end of the day, you need a way out of those particularly uninspiring mornings where you just want to give up on everything.

To help Motherland Moguls shatter glass ceilings across all industries without breaking a sweat, Arese Ugwu, founder of Smart Money Africa, Nimi Akinkugbe, founder & CEO of Bestman Games and Nibi Lawson, founder of The Kinky Apothecary gave the best advice ever.

You’ll need to bookmark this!

What is balance to you? What does it mean to be able to balance work with life?

Arese: I believe in balance but not in the way most people view it. I spent a lot of time in my 20s trying to find balance. But you can’t have it all put together all the time and that’s fine.

You should be able to focus on your career and not feel guilty. Learn to live with it. Find out what best works for your lifestyle.

Nimi: I have never had total balance in my life. Some things have to take the back seat and that’s totally okay.

Don’t knock yourself out on everything. You can’t insist on micro-managing everything.

Nibi: Find out how things work with you. Compartmentalize them. Do things at the time you’re able to and when at your best.

As busy women, how do you cope with handling personal responsibilities?

Arese: There are times when my daughter says, “Mummy, you work too much”. I used to feel bad but I found a way to make her understand that my working hard is tied to the quality of life I am able to provide her.

Now, while she’s doing homework, I work. This works for us as we have a routine for homework, conversations and play dates.

Nimi: Guilt trips are real. Most times, I’m not able to do school runs but I’ve found a way around that. I decided on 3 days, a week.

Support systems are also critical. You need the help of friends, siblings and a spouse (if you have one). My mother-in-law is my greatest support. She kicks in just when I need her.

Nibi: I’m not married yet and I feel guilty about not having time for my friends (and weddings).

But I find ways around these things. Priority is key.

shehive lagos the balancing actHow do you decide on what to prioritize? What models do you make use of?

Arese:  I think everyone has to learn how to say, ”No”. It’s really that important. If you have to spend all day responding to emails, DMs and tweets, you will never get work done. How then do you pay your bills?

I remember being on a board where their expectations for my responsibilities were quite different from mine and of course,  I politely declined.

Figure out your priorities and focus on them.

Nimi: I have a broad picture of what I do. I don’t have idle time. And yes, even my thinking time is planned! I’m definitely not one to attend four weddings and a funeral on a Saturday.

It takes a lot to juggle family, friends, business and a career but you can’t sit and worry about how hard it is. You’ve simple got to prioritize.

Nibi: My hair business started as a hobby but even as a banker then, I had to decide between the two. You simply have to be courageous enough to decide what you need to do.

Looking back at your 20s, what would you have done differently if you knew better?

Arese: Maybe I would have gone harder on building my career.

Ladies, balance should not exist in your dictionary. Understand that this is a time to build yourself and go hard on yourself.

Nimi: Financial knowledge and discipline are very important as a lady in your 20s.

Also, develop yourself and don’t wait for things to happen.

Nibi: In my 20s, I waited for suggestions on what to do but now, I would say, do you and be focused.

shehive lagos the balancing actHow do you manage people’s expectations of who you are with who you really are? What drives your desire for success?

Arese: What drives me fundamentally is my child. I want to be successful so I can provide her a better life. And so, I don’t keep friends or people who question my drive and desire for success.

Nimi: It’s about purpose. That one thing you love and won’t mind doing for free. Gradually, you would make money out of it.

Nibi: I’m driven by success itself and I try to hang around smart and driven women who motivate me to great heights.

Final words to Motherland Moguls

Arese: If you haven’t found your purpose, that should be your priority right now. You know those issues that make you argue on end? That’s probably your passion. Start thinking of a way to make it work.

Your awesome, smart, and lucrative idea isn’t going to achieve itself if you don’t start doing something about how you’d make it happen.

Nimi: There is so much abuse of everything these days. So look after yourself, exercise and diet properly.

Give back. Have social empathy —think of that one thing you can do to change lives.

Nibi: Your health is very important. If you’re not healthy, you can’t be talking of success in business or career.

You can’t afford to be ill when there is money to be made. Taking a whole lot on yourself can make you flounder out somewhere along the way.