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Monetizing your Passion as an Entrepreneur

A few weeks ago, we explored the tips and tricks on how to monetize your Passion as a Corporate employee. But working as an employee is not the only way you can monetize your Passions! There is another route, a riskier and less explored path; if you decide to embark on this journey, you need a strong mindset, a clear strategy, and the right skills. It will be steep, but the upside is incredible, and the view from the top is beautiful.

COVID has made us realize that no career path is safe. I remember sitting on my bed and thinking “Thank God I am one of the best employees in this company, because if they fired me, I would not have any other stream of income!”.

How sad is that most careers are 100% dependent on a decision from the upper management, and if they fire you, you do not have another way to support yourself? Not to mention the toxic competition with your colleagues, that should never happen under any circumstance.

Thanks to COVID, I understood the importance of not settling for the “good enough”, building new skills and creating additional revenue streams. You see, you do not even need to become a full-time entrepreneur! You can, if you wish, and it’s an amazing journey, but you could simply decide to add another stream of income to your life.

Many people will tell you that being an entrepreneur is risky. I am here to tell you that being an entrepreneur is the least risky thing you can ever do! Let’s define risky. Risky, for many people, means “the unknown”. Your family, your friends, they will tell you entrepreneurship is risky because you don’t know what you will face. You might lose all your money! What if, instead of focusing on having the resources, you learned to become resourceful in any situation? It’s a mindset switch!

Risky is having one single source of income, getting fired because of COVID and having nothing else to do. That’s risky! But if you are an entrepreneur, you can diversify. You can pivot quickly. You can have many clients and this de-risks the enterprise. Entrepreneurial thinking in essence means de-risking.

We all need to learn the basics of entrepreneurial thinking because it is a mindset of being empowered, of being in control of your life and making the best of the resources you have.

I know you all think that entrepreneurship is difficult because monetizing it is difficult. But here is some food for thought: if you are really passionate about it, very interested about it, and you develop your skill to a high degree, you will start to attract money! The reason? Simple: there are very few people in the world who are deeply passionate about what they do and are working every day to become the best at it. And you can be one of those people.

How do you monetize your Passions if you do not go for a 9-5 job?

The first step is understanding what you are building. Are you are building a:

  • Physical product -> Something tangible, such a book.

You spend time writing it, but once it is finished you can market it and sell it on a large scale.

  • Service -> Per dictionary definition, a service is “the action of helping or doing work for someone”.

There are many kind of services you can offer, but in my opinion the common denominator is: a service saves people time and effort. “Hey, would you like to go to the cinema tonight? No worries, I will clean your house while you are outside. I am saving you time and effort”. If you are good at, and you like shooting videos, you can start a Production company that helps people make videos!

  • Course to Educate -> You buy a camera, you prepare an engaging script or presentation, and you start recording!

The topic is what you know best, Public speaking, Sales, Negotiation, Gardening, Acting, anything you know/are passionate about that can benefit people!

  • Consulting -> You could open a Contracting Agency and become a middle-man.

Consulting firms make an agreement with their clients; the agreement specifies the services or personnel to be provided on behalf of the organization and the fees to provide these services or personnel. To make it easier, you might go to a bank and say “You want to digitalize, but you don’t know how to do it. Today is your lucky day! I have 5 people who know how to do it, they will provide the service for you and you pay me a little commission”.

  • Coaching -> My business is a Coaching business.

Coaching is a personal, usually one-to-one intervention that uses a collaborative, goal-focused relationship to achieve professional or life outcomes. If you like Coaching you can do 1:1 but also Group coaching, etc.!

The most important thing, which is where many people fail, is that you MUST choose one.

You cannot start with all of them! I know you might have a desire to write a book, shoot a course, build an agency, coach people, but what happens if you do all of them at once? You lose focus, and focus is power! We will have a podcast episode on the shiny-object syndrome, quite typical for entrepreneurs.

How can you choose? Understand what is going to make the biggest difference.

There are two questions you need to answer to make a difference: the questions are simple but few people stop reflecting on them!

  1. What is working in that industry? What are your competitors doing right? What are they nailing, what are they mastering?

Everything great they do, you copy it! Add a little twist to it to make it yours, but if it works, do not change it. For instance, my previous employer had a fantastic idea: matching corporate clients with experts who could share their knowledge. Wonderful business model, high margins and easy to scale. Something worth replicating.

  1. What is not working in the industry and what are you going to bring that is going to change the game?

This is the most important question. You want to bring something totally memorable! If other people copy you, they should be considered a copycat. For instance, my Self-Mastery program does not exist in the world, it’s unique! And this is important because people associate "Matteo Grosso" with "Innovation". When it comes to the T1 Growth Academy, it solves two pitfalls of my previous employer: 1. the profit margins for the Coaches are incredibly high, which solves a retention problem because if you pay people a lot they stay with you. 2. the why that drives the business, helping people live a better life and express their potential, is stronger than my previous employer’s.

In the second section of this Podcast, we will answer a hot question: Why do people fail? Some people start and fail, some people fail to even start!

According to Dorie Clark, author of the book “Entrepreneurial You”, people fail because they do not think as entrepreneurs. I was fortunate enough to take part into a webinar with Dorie and I find myself in agreement with her because she talks about Mindset, and Mindset is the most important thing everyone needs to have to succeed.

How can you think more entrepreneurially? Here are three reflections!

Describe what you do simply & clearly to other people!

The truth is: I might like someone but if I do not understand what they do, what they sell, I will not pay for it. You need to explain what you do in a simple way.

Example: “I do coaching”. This is a very generic description.

I do coaching for people who want to change careers”. Ok, so if I am in transition from a career to another, maybe you can help me.

I do coaching for people who want to change from a career in tech companies to a career in healthcare companies”. That is even more clear! If I am someone who is transitioning from a tech to a HC company, I know I can benefit from this.

The more clearly you can explain what you do, the more others understand what you do and the more they will consider paying you for it when they understand the benefits/value.

Embrace constraints and do not get on your own way

Believe it or not, it is never the exogenous factors that prevent us from achieving greatness. It is always us. We study this even in Relationship with dating coaches. People find excuses and they tell themselves stories to justify those excuses and make themselves feel better.

Here are the three main excuses of aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • I do not have connections in this industry! If you want to become a Chef, write a personal letter to all the most important Chefs in the city. One of them will reply and you can start working under their wing.

  • I do not have time! Give yourself 30 days and only focus on your business. I do not believe you do not have enough money to survive for one month! Working under pressure helps.

  • I have no money! Do it for free for 30 days and ask for some free advertising to get noticed! “I do it for free, you tell everyone about it”. This is also how I started, because it is incredibly tough to start if you do not have a success story to present to your prospects. I therefore asked people “Can I do this for free? You give me a feedback, a testimonial!

Most people do not start a business because they are afraid to be seen struggling. But everyone starts from somewhere! History will remember you for what you accomplish, not where you start from.

Train yourself to think like an entrepreneur!
  • Understand the metrics that matter

In her book, Dorie Clark interviewed a person from Shark Tank. She asked him “What do you look at when you invest?”. He said that he looks for people who know their numbers! You cannot hire someone else, you need to understand your business! Especially at the beginning.

  • Place little bets

This is key. Dorie gave the example of Danny, a guy who got into online courses. When he first created his online course, only 1 person bought it. This is the story of many of us, of many young entrepreneurs. After years spent being afraid to try again, he realized he needed to do this in a different way. Instead of making the perfect course, that is a very wasteful project, he decided to test and iterate! He created a 1-pager, recorded the 1st Episode, and sent it to everyone. He asked his friends “Hey this is what I am going to do. Do you like it? With your feedback I want to do it piece by piece!” and all the friends gave him useful suggestions. He learned along the way. Rather than working so long for the final product, embrace the Lean start-up methodology, the Agile way of working.

  • Get your hands dirty

Some people want to do the things they are good at doing, and nothing else. That’s marvellous but that’s an employee job. Remember? Employees get paid to do things they are good at doing! So do you want to be an employee, or you want to be an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to be “a utility infielder”. I love this metaphor! In baseball, a utility infielder is a player who typically does not have the offensive abilities to justify a regular starting role on the team but is capable of playing more than one defensive position, they enter where they are needed.

At the very beginning, at time 0, you need to play every role in your business. You need to change hat. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you cannot say “I am too good for that”, or “I should not be doing that”. Take the ego out, figure out what needs to be done and do it!

Then, of course in the future you will hire for your weaknesses! When the business is mature, the opposite needs to happen: the business must run by itself. You want to make yourself useless. But that’s the end game! At the beginning, you have to understand everything; this is why I do my podcast, my website, my marketing, my sales. In the future, I’ll probably only coach people, create content, organize events.

  • Persevere

Rob Dial says that three things are needed for any business to succeed: Direction, Action and Time. Time is what people typically get wrong because they do something for a year, it does not work, they give up. “This is not for me, it did not work out, it has been a great experience”.

Let me give you an example of perseverance: Joe Harbinger has an Apple podcast with 3M downloads per month. Amazing, isn’t it? Well, he started podcasting in 2007 and he never stopped. The average podcast typically lasts 12 episodes before their creator gives up. And people do no start because they say there is so much competition! That is true, but remember, the vast majority of people give up! Is there a huge competition? 40% of podcasts listed on YouTube appear to be dormant.

The competition, and this is a crucial thing to understand, only exists if you are dormant. If you persevere, there is no competition. There is no competition for the people who work hard on themselves, on their business ideas, who never give up. The competition exists for mediocrity and for the people who are lazy.

So get to work, and start with your entrepreneurial mindset!

If you liked this Article please share it with someone who could benefit. Make your life a masterpiece, see you next week, I appreciate you and I hope you have an amazing day.

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