POVERTY TO WEALTH...........How to creatively turn your Passion into a Business!

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A Vocation can be a skill or talent, a trade or handwork you know very well, but you have not considered it worthy to make it your profession. You enjoy practising it when the opportunity presents itself.  An example can be Photography, football commentary and analysis or even cooking.

You understand this vocation very well, but you have never considered making money from it.  I know many Bankers, who had to fall back on their talent and vocation when their job with the bank was over, only for them to realize they were making more money than the bank was paying them.

Imagine that you understudied Aluminium fabrication business, while you were in the University.  After graduating, you got a job with a bank and abandoned the Aluminium business.  If you are passionate about it, you can fall back on it when the bank job finish.  I knew a woman who left her teaching job at Corona International School in V/island for cooking business.  Within one year, she discovered she was making more money than her teaching job, pays the salary of three support staff and she has peace of mind.

Passion - First Criteria

The most important credential is your passion for the trade.  If you are very passionate about football, even if you cannot play, you can organize a 'Match Viewing Center'.  You can also start a Football Academy or a football club.

In this message, I want to encourage people who have a passion for anything meaningful to try their hands on it, instead of looking endlessly for the job.  Recently CNN showed a video of a lady who had to become a master Cake Baker, after looking for a job for many years after her Master's degree.
The starting point is to identify the Vocation or activity you do very well, with ease and without any real training.  You may need to carry out recent market research about the trade or vocation.  You can also study and deepen your knowledge about the vocation and how it is done today.  You should look out for the best styles and presentations and study the individuals and firms leading in that direction before you venture out.

Identifying your Passion

Whatever it is, if you want to explore it for income, you should:
1. Study it as a business
2. Study its demand within your city and state
3. Identify a unique proposition - What will make your own unique and stand out.  Where you will reach your customers and how you can package it better than many people rendering the services around you.  

POINT 1: Having come to a firm conclusion to give the venture a go, you should identify one person who started the way you are hoping to start and how he has fared and why.  I know a man who started betting in a well-planned and low-cost way, and that has at least three branches, as at the last time I talked with him.  So, identify the pitfalls of the business and what could go wrong.

POINT2: How long have you taken an interest in doing that vocation?  The vocation must be one that you have always had to do very often.  If your vocation is snapping pictures, how often you do that and for how long.  I give you an example.  With my phone, I snap nature anywhere I see a beautiful scene of nature, whether it is on Facebook, on the road my phone has an uncountable collection of beautiful scenes, Many times, I have to delete some   
There should be evidence of your love for this vocation around you.  Know for sure that you can record meaningful success in any business or vocation you devote time to study and establish.  If you refuse to be discouraged, you will experience success.

Steps to Turning Vocation into Profitable Business

1.    Package it as a service: - How? To package that vocation into a service, you start by doing simple business research on the subject to establish the viability of the idea and find people who need the service.  When you have all the relevant information from the marketplace, you are ready to package the service and launch out. Let me warn you that from experience, this information should be collected and analyzed within a space of time so that it can be the correct reflection information at that time.

Sample Vocation and opportunities

These are suggested business opportunities that can be exploited under individual vocations.  It could be extended based on experience and the persons involved.
Photography - If you love taking pictures, then you can:
1. Open a Photo Studio, where customers come to snap pictures
2. Become a Freelance photographer to Newspaper houses
3. Open an Online PhotoShop to sell your exclusive pictures and images
4. Establish an Event Management company that provides video and photographic services at events.

Football - If you love football, then you can choose one of these options:
1. Establish a Match Viewing Centre
2. Establish a Football Academy to train young players and children
3. You can establish a Football Club and register it.

Cooking - If you are good at cooking food, then you can choose any of these business options:
1. You can open a Restaurant - big or small.
2. Establish a Baking and catering outfit for snacks and Cakes
3. Establish an Event management company to provide food strictly for Events.
4. Supplier of baked items to Stores and shops, as well as cook for Events

Fashion and Wellness - If you love to look good always, and you can pick good quality fabrics, then you can choose any of these business options and work-it out. The options include:
1. Choose between Men, Women and Children wear to focus on.
2. Choose between owning a shop to being a supplier to shop owners.
3. Choose between ready-made clothes, new or fairly used.  Either of them will bring good money, depending on your understanding of the business and the customers you want to serve.
4. Identify four different sources of best quality fabrics, ready-made clothes and second man clothes and establish contact.
5. Open a Boutique, that can stock other related materials like shoes, Jewelry, Ties etc.

3. Organize a Business Structure: 
The next level in packaging the vocation into business is to arrange/organize your structure for providing the service.   Assuming you are trying to turn the vocation of photography into a business, and you have gathered information of the people that need photography services, when and where they want to be snapped. 

You will also obtain information about leisure gardens and locations where families relax, the appropriate days and times when the pictures are snapped.  Then you need to know the closest film washing company around the leisure locations and their requirements
4. Make basic Investment in Materials: 
The basic materials required to carry out the should be acquired.  With the photographer’s example, you need to obtain a small camera, a set of jean trousers, T-shirts and canvas for the services. With the materials, you know your passion is ready for the next level. It is cost-effective to start at home, so whatever the service might be, please start from the house.
5.    Create Awareness: 
The final step in transforming your passion to business is awareness creation.  In the case of Daycare, I mentioned earlier, you print a simple flyer and give it to the parents dropping their kids in the morning, give members of your church, especially young couples.  

You should share the flyers when you are ready to start the business.  Also, be ready to pay a marketing visit to proprietors and inform them about your services and how it will benefit parents who close late. Remember to include the nursing and other cares you are organized to provide to the children.
As a budding entrepreneur with adequate information and knowledge about the business, do not compromise on quality.  Whatever be the service you are providing, provide services as promised to customers.  Do not be cut in the web of people trying to economize materials and thereby reducing the quality of the service they provide.  The customers would know it, though some of them may never complain openly to you.  Be known for quality and be consistent about it.
Take every necessary step to reduce wastage and if possible eliminate it.  This will enhance your profitability in the short and long run.

6. Learn the Trade formally
You got to the business through passion, but before you launch it as a business concern, there is a need for you to be well-grounded in it. Consider obtain formal education on the subject, or attaching yourself to a well-established entrepreneur in the same field and learn the business for a period of time.

The trade will soon become your profession, so you need to understand the business inside out. As a matter of fact, if you are not in a hurry, it is advisable you obtain a Diploma in the course, and this can be done online or part-time.  

7. Build your brand
To build a brand is to develop patterns, styles and products that are unique and you call them your name. Let what services you provide be uniquely customized to be your brand, distinct from all others. There are different bread brands in the market in Abuja for instance, but branding distinguishes them.

What is building your brand?.  Deliberately distinguishing your products and services from that of any other person/organization.  Do your own thing in a different way.  If you will sing to entertain, sing differently from other Artists, dance differently from others.  Create your own pattern and follow it with passion.  If you are baking, create new varieties of the same cake, meat pie and doughnut.  Branding is doing your things differently, so it will be recognized anywhere as coming from you.  This is why soccer players use their hairstyle to brand themselves.  Whenever a football star, musician or artist wants to recognized everywhere, they wear a distinct hairstyle to keep to that style.  Remember Mike Tyson, Anita Baker and so many others. 

8. Online Presence
In advanced countries, where people do everything through the internet, use your last Dollar (Naira)  to create a web presence for the business.  It can be a few pages website or a blog to discuss the business, offer your products and services to the world in general.

9. Identify New Markets/Locations
After you are well established in the business, seek new and better market and locations that will launch the business into a more visible entity. Take some objective business assessment of locations and the availability of the service in those areas and identify where it may be ideal to site the business.
You may consider the location that will add value to the business.  For instance, a location where a similar service has been well established and prospering can be a good location.  For instance, when the Tantalizer fast-food brand started, they decided to tap into the market of well established MR Biggs by opening their Restaurants opposite MR. Bigg.  This was done to take advantage of the fact that people who enjoy snacks already know where Mr Biggs is located.  So, opening their shop close to Mr Biggs will attract many snacks eating to their shop immediately.

10. Introduce Varieties 
Introducing varieties is basically expanding the business.  If you are in Supermarket business, introducing varieties will mean stocking more and different products, branching into other service areas that have been left behind like stocking cosmetics, clothing, electronics, household furniture etc.

If you are into baking, you bake more varieties according to the taste of your customers. There is no benefit in baking French bread, or exotic fruit bread if your customers are not in the high-class bracket.  They will not appreciate the creativity, because they may not be able to afford it. 


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