I realize a headline like this might surprise some people, but with all of the bad advice I hear now a days from “follow your passion” coaches and lifestyle experts, I thought it was worth touching on.
In fact David Dutton and I decided to dedicate an entire podcast episode to this very topic for episode 304.
For start, let me say I have nothing against building a business around something you have a passion for. Obviously I think there has to be some interest in what you decide on.
My biggest problem with “passion” is that it seems to be the main focus with so many people today.
I see people following bad advice, launching podcasts based on some broad area of expertise that makes them feel good. What I find even more interesting is the number of people creating podcasts on “creating the lifestyle you want” all while still working their 9-5 job. That would be like me getting marriage advice from my Uncle who’d been married 4 times. Not going to happen.
I see so many of these generic, lifestyle & passion podcasts, getting launched and my first thought is usually “how many episodes before they give up?”.
The problem though is not with the people who are launching these sites.
It’s really with the people who are encouraging them to follow the path without any clear idea of how they’re going to profit from it.
I know of a successful copywriter who has been a guest on my show, who is now trying to become a life coach; and the reality is most life coaches barely eke out a living.
Being a passionate generalist doesn’t work. Unless you have a targeted niche with little competition, it’s very difficult in today’s market to build a sustainable business teaching content on the following:
- How to Make Money
- How to Create the Lifestyle You Want
- How to Live Healthy
- How to Lose Weight
- How to Be Successful
Some podcasters and bloggers may provide good inspirational content, but at the end of the day they are swimming in a huge ocean filled with bigger fish. A great book every business owner should read is Blue Ocean Strategy. It talks about identifying those niche markets.
I’m constantly getting online business startup questions from my podcast audience, and my meetup groups; and what I see most frequently is a tendency to go very broad and generic when identifying their ideal business model.
I ran into this just a few days ago when meeting with a client who had a tough time focusing on a target market within his area of interest. He described his passion as “helping people connect and collaborate with one another giving them better opportunities to succeed”. I told him he was too vague – and could not turn that statement into a profitable business without identifying a clear market that needs serving.
As we talked, I identified a clear market opportunity for him pursue within his area of interest. He is a reader; and enjoys reading business books – specifically on organization and leadership. He wanted to launch some type of audio podcast platform.
I gave him a profitable idea – providing audio podcast summaries of business books for business executives who have little time for reading all of the latest business books that come out. He could provide short book summaries on audio that cut through the fluff and give the key takeaways. For revenue, he can get sponsorships for the show, sell affiliate products, and even create a continuity plan for members who want additional book summaries.
Usually when you have a passion in some area, there is a tendency to go broad. My advice is usually to look for market opportunities within those areas of interest. Look for areas to serve a specific need in the market.
Identifying Market Opportunities and Lesson from Gene Simmons
Passion is not a bad place to start, but you’ve got to go further than that. In a recent interview, legendary rocker and KISS frontman Gene Simmoms made the statement that “thanks to a crumbling business model, including file-sharing and downloading, rock is finally dead”
Simmons went on to say “It’s very sad for new bands. … They just don’t have a chance. You’re better off not even learning how to play guitar or write songs.”
Many might disagree with Simmon’s statement about Rock being dead, but the fact is the music industry has completely changed; and therefore the market opportunities for someone with a passion for rock music are just not there today like they were 30 years ago.
To be successful, you should be able to serve a niche market of “hungry fish”. Then you have to have proven revenue models that can be used within this market to build income.
These can be:
- Book and Ebook Sales
- Information Products (Video and Audio)
- Coaching and Consulting Programs
- Affiliate Products
- Advertising and Sponsorships
- Speaking opportunities
In this podcast episode, David and I will be discussing the topic of following your passion and why you should be looking for market opportunities within your area of interest.
One of the best pieces of advice David offers in this episode is to target markets that are easily identified. These are often B2B markets that have physical locations that can be contacted directly.
We’ll be sharing our thoughts on the whole idea of “following your passion” and why it can be bad advice without a clear plan of action.
Enjoy the episode and have a great week!