Looking to start a business that allows you to profit from your passion? Read on

Ready for a thought experiment?

Would you rather own a successful business that generated plenty of money but the product/service that you sell is BORING and something you don’t care about…..

OR run a business that you’re EXTREMELY passion about but…. (there’s ALWAYS a but!) it doesn’t make very much money.

It’s a tough question. And though I’m no Socrates, I’m confident in telling you that you don’t need to waste your time thinking about the answer, because there’s a third option that beats the two.

What if I told you that you can have both?

That’s right, a successful business that revolves around your passion.

Profit vs. Enjoyment

Who am I to tell you that you can have both profits & enjoyment from your business? Well, let’s say I know from first-hand experience…

But this isn’t a blog post about me, it’s a blog post showing you how to do the same.

Are you ready to turn your passion into profits? If so, let’s dive in.

Below are seven simple yet proven steps to make money from something you love.

Step 1. Pick your Passion/Expertise

You know the cliché “Pursue your passion and the money will follow”? Well, it’s not true for everyone… but it can be.

What's Your Passion?

I want you to ask yourself these question:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What are your friends always asking you about?
  • What area would you consider yourself an expert in?

Maybe you’ve been working as a financial advisor for eight years, or maybe you’ve coached golf for ten summers in a row…

Either way, there’s probably something that you are exceptionally good at it.

Some questions to ask yourself if you’re not sure what your expertise is:

  1. What do you get excited about?
  2. What do you enjoy helping people with?
  3. How do you prefer to spend your free time?
  4. What would you love to learn about?
  5. What’s something your have years of experience in?

** Note: As you can see, these are all very personal questions.  If you want to build a successful membership site, it will be based on your own personality and skills… not just copying what someone else is doing.

It may take some time to figure this out, but it’s there. Once you gather some ideas of things you love to do, brainstorm a list and write them all down.

For example, if I were doing this exercise, here’s my list of passions:

  • eCommerce
  • Travel
  • Business
  • Freedom
  • Golf
  • Snowboarding
  • Food

As a matter of fact, this list has stayed consistent for the last ten or so years. When I first started Drop Ship Lifestyle, I was able to combine a few of these passions: eCommerce, Travel, Online business, and Freedom.

Tony Hseish Quotes

Once you’ve got your list of passions, it’s time to pick one and figure out how you are going to help people.

It’s okay if you’re not an expert yet. And remember that there no penalty for writing down bad ideas.

**Note, in my Performance Marketer training, we help you strategize a profitable business plan based on your passions and hobbies. We also show you how to position yourself as an authority.

Now, in order to move on to step #2, you need to filter out your ideas based on some criteria:

  1. Is this topic evergreen? Will this still be relevant two years from now? If it’s related to using your DVD player, then maybe not. But if it has to do with health, then it’s likely evergreen.
  2. Does your target market have a disposable income? In order to turn this into a business, you are going to need to make sure your target market has money to spend. This is because, in order to sell something, you need to make sure that your target audience has money to pay. If you chose “how to travel the world cheaply” as your passion, you may need to think again.
  3. Is the opportunity for upsells? There’s almost always an opportunity for upsells. For example, in my eCommerce community, I offer our students upsells to courses, affiliate programs, and more. The trick is to start thinking about possible ways to provide value to people. The more value you provide, the more money you will make.

A basic formula I like to use is this

Passion + Desire to help others = success

Next, it’s times to get your hands a little dirty and do some market research.

Step 2. Market Research

Once you’ve got your idea in mind, you want to browse the web for free and paid content and see what else is out there.

Membership Site Research

Market research can be broken down into four simple stages.

  1. Find as much free content as possible. There’s never been more free content available than right now, so go ahead and check out YouTube, podcasts, blogs, etc.  If you are passionate about learning how to play guitar, start by looking up all the courses and tutorials out there. Don’t worry about competition, if there’s a lot of content out there already, that is a good sign!
  2. Identify the most “active” and best free content. Look closely for the blog posts that have the most comments, the videos that have the most likes, and the content that seems to be helping the highest number of people.
  3. Find all of the paid content out there. After finding all of the FREE content, it’s time to peak at the paid content. After all, this is going to be where the money is made. If there’s no paid content on your topic, chances are the market is premature. If there’s plenty of paid courses about this topic, that’s a good sign.
  4. Identify the most profitable paid content out there. After you find the paid content out there (video courses, communities, products, etc.) it’s time to identify which ones are doing well. You want to find out what other businesses are doing well and what problems exist in this field.

Note** In my marketing training course, I show you exactly how to analyze your competition and know how much money they are making off of their content without having to pay for the content itself.

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to make a plan…

Step 3. Plan Your Roadmap

This is the most important step. You need to create an “end goal” for your future customers. You need to think about what result you want to help people achieve. If you’re a fitness coach, perhaps you want to help people lose 10 pounds. If you’re a language teacher, you may want to help people have a conversation in their target language.

For my eCommerce membership site, the “end goal” was owning a profitable eCommerce store. That’s the end result that I teach everyone who signs up for Drop Ship Lifestyle. It’s not just a bunch of videos teaching them random facts, it’s a step-by-step guide showing them how to go from nothing to owning their own drop shipping store and making money online.

Here’s a MindMap I created when I made the first version of Drop Ship Lifestyle (2013):

drop ship lifestyle mindmap

Once you decide on the goal for your own future members, it’s time to map out the process.

To do this, you’ll need to take some time and brainstorm every step along the way.

Since you’ve done it before, you may not realize how many steps are involved. You may have learned it so long ago that you forgot about many of the hurdles along the way that may trip other people out, so the more specifics you can include here, the better…

Step 4. Create Your Content

Once you’ve got your road map that leads people to the end goal, it’s time to create the content that takes them there. This can be overwhelming for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be.

When you create the content, don’t think of it like you are creating a course for hundreds or thousands of people. Just act like you are creating it for one person. Make sure your instructions are clear and easy to follow.

No joke, when I first created my first video course, my goal was to make it so easy to follow that even my own mother could follow along! Keeping that in the back of mind made sure everything I put out helped people and did not confuse them.

Start by writing down all your notes in a detailed manner. For me, a mind map helps a ton (see above), but everyone has their own way of getting their ideas on paper. Once you map it out, write a script. and organize it so it is presentable. Next, it’s time to make your videos.

If you’re not comfortable on camera, this is the time to get over those fears! If you REALLY HATE being on camera, then perhaps building a membership site isn’t for you. If you’re a little shy, don’t worry. You don’t have to be on camera the entire time. Instead, you can create PowerPoint presentations and record a voice over walking people through your content. It’s engaging, efficient, and extremely easy to follow.

Step 5. Create Your Website

Once you’ve created your content, it’s time to build your members area and your site. This is more technical than the other steps, but it’s very simple. For the forum, my suggested tools to use for this are building a WordPress website, using Optimize Press, and using Wishlist Member software.

Here’s what our members area looks like:

Drop Ship Lifestyle Members Area Preview

I don’t have an affiliate with any of these products, it’s what I’ve found to be best for membership businesses that are just getting started. As you grow and need more bandwidth, there are other products worth looking into but those will give you all you need to get started.

You also need to add your sales page and all other content for your site. This typically includes a sales page, about us page, FAQ, and any additional information. Remember to make sure you are providing value. Include some free content so people can get a sample of your material before they buy. Without providing value upfront, it is going to be difficult to gain trust.

Note*** In my Membership Site Masters program, this technical aspect is completely done for you. You’ll get a site built for you with a sales page and a members area included. All you have to worry about is focusing on the content.

Step 6. Drive Traffic/Customers

So, your website is up and the content is complete… 

Time to relax and watch the sales roll in, right? 

WRONG.

Now, the marketing begins. In order to establish yourself as an authority and direct people to your free content (and later to your membership course), you need to get creative.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Get interviewed on Podcasts. This is a great way to get in front of a new audience. Look for shows that have a big audience and pitch the podcast host on being a guest. Make sure to keep the focus off of you yourself and keep it about what value you can provide the audience instead.
  • Post on related forums and answer people’s questions. Since you already did this research in step #2, go back into those forums and become active. Answer questions so people see your name popping again and providing value. If your content answers a common question, share your blog post or video inside the forum.
  • Comment on blogs. Almost everyone will notice you if you are the first one to comment on their blog post. Anyone who reads through the entire post will see it, so make sure you add value and insights rather than simply posting a muscle flexing emoticon.
  • Buy banner ads on related websites. Since you know your target audience, figure out what other websites they spend time on and buy banner ads there.
  • Offer free memberships to action takers. If you see someone that is active in a forum or blogging about your topic, send them free login credentials. You don’t even need to ask them for permission because you are doing them a favor! Simply send them a message saying something like the following.

Hey Ben (insert real first name), I enjoyed your recent blog post about eCommerce. My name is Anton and I run a community helping people build eCommerce stores online. I think you would find it very valuable, here’s a username and password. Check it out and let me know what you think!”

Lead Capture

Step 7. Maximize Profits

Once you’ve got your systems in place, it’s time to scale.

Once you’ve gone through steps 1-6, you’ll notice that you will occasionally have to go back and update something. Maybe one of your videos is outdated and you need to redo it. Perhaps you write a new blog post that goes viral and you need to make a video about it for your members. As your course gets better and your community goes stronger, you’ll notice that your membership site is more valuable than it used to be. That will mean it is time to raise your prices 🙂

But you can only raise your prices so much…. so here are three other ways to maximize your profits:

  • Referral program for existing members: Offer an affiliate program that allows people to split the profits for every customer they send you. The highest affiliate program I’ve seen out there is 50%, but it’s completely up to you. You may not make as much per sale, but you get other people to do the work for you, so it’s definitely worth it.
  • Offer value added upsells: Once you’ve got a bunch of members signing up and going through your course, think about other ways to can help them out. Put on your entrepreneurial hat and start thinking about better solutions.

How can you help them achieve their goal faster? Are there any done-for-you services you can provide? What problems are they running into along the way? Is there a product or software that could fix this?

For example, part of Drop Ship Lifestyle’s coaching program teaches people how to build their online store in several basic video tutorials. Still, some people HATE the idea of building a website, so we’ve added an option where people can pay extra and have their site built for them.

  • Promote products on the same or related topics: Once you’ve created a stellar community filled with high-value individuals, you can offer related products in your space. Say, for example, you run a fitness membership site that teaches people how to lose 15 pounds while exercising only twenty minutes a day (I’m just making this up by the way).

Since fitness and diet are related, you could sell a healthy cookbook. Or, maybe you sell yoga mats since yoga is one the exercises included in your training. Perhaps you sell dumbbells or stretching bands. Or, maybe you offer a completely different course on cooking that you are an affiliate for. There are many ways to make more money off of the site once it’s up and running, these are just a few ideas.

Profit From Your Passion

So there you have it 🙂 I know it seems like a lot, and it is a lot. But this is it. Once you go through this process, you can build a business from scratch. Not just any business, but a membership business that stems from something you are passionate about. You’ll be able to watch people achieve success, which is more fulfilling than any paycheck you will receive. Trust me.

I know it seems like a lot, and it is a lot. But this is it. Once you go through this process, you can build a business from scratch. Not just any business, but a membership business that stems from something you are passionate about. You’ll be able to watch people achieve success, which is more fulfilling than any paycheck you will receive. Trust me.

I know it seems like a lot, and it is a lot. But this is it. Once you go through this process, you can build a business from scratch. Not just any business, but a membership business that stems from something you are passionate about. You’ll be able to watch people achieve success, which is more fulfilling than any paycheck you will receive. Trust me.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and keep the conversation going! 

And if you know one friend who’s looking to build an online course or a membership community, definitely send them this link. They’ll thank you for it, and I’ll appreciate it, too!

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