Editors note: This is a guest blog post by Iris Louwerens, founder of Dig Mondays

It’s been three months since I left my corporate day job to follow my passion and make a living off the things that energise, excite and fulfil me.

As you may know from your own experience, being able to make a living off your talents and passions is pretty awesome. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get beautifully paid to do something they love?

If you’re still looking for the ‘secret’ to turn any hobby or passion into a business, let me tell you that it’s actually quite simple: it’s all about finding ways to add value to other people’s lives. How can you use your talents and passions to help or serve other people?

Read more about it here, in a recent post I wrote on my own website.

One of the things I’ve learned over the past three months is that knowing how to get paid for doing something you love isn’t enough.

Once you’ve started your business you actually need to get customers through the door and get enough money coming in to make it sustainable – and that can be quite challenging! You can have the best idea in the world, yet unable to build a thriving and sustainable business.

In those short three months, I’ve learned that it’s easy to slowly turn your new business into a very expensive hobby. To prevent that from happening, here are three essential business building principles you need to follow:

1. Learn what product or service is most profitable

There are many reasons why people start their own business and money isn’t always one of them. If that’s the case, it can feel quite unpleasant, uncomfortable or even insincere to prioritise the money-making side of your business.

Trust me, if you feel like this, I get you. When I first started my business, it felt a bit dirty to focus on how much profit I was making. Sure, I wanted to make money, but I’ve always believed that the money would come as a result of being of service to others.

I still hold this view, yet at the same time I realise that as entrepreneurs we won’t be able to serve others if we’re broke.

In the end it’s pretty straightforward: to be able to help others, you need to make your business sustainable. In other words: you need to make a profit. It’s as simple as that. There’s nothing dirty about that.

So, if you’ve just started your own business, the best thing you can do for yourself and others is learn where your profit comes from. Which products or services allow you to run a sustainable business?

2. Learn how your customers are coming through the door

Once you’ve figured out which products or services make the most profit, you’l want to understand which activities are most effective at helping you to get customers through the door.

I’m going to be quite open with you here, because I want you to fully get this.

Here’s how this all works for me. In my business, the lion share of profit comes from my 1:1 coaching / mentorship packages. I know that most people only sign up for these packages if they’ve had a free 30-minute discovery session with me or if they’ve attended one of my live workshops.

This is essential information for me, because it allows me to prioritise how I spend my days.

Which leads to the final business building principle…

3. Spend most of your energy and effort on these activities

When you know where most of your profit comes from and how you acquire those customers, it makes sense to spend most of your energy and effort on these activities.

As much as you may love updating your social media profiles, designing your website or reading up on the latest developments in your industry, if it doesn’t help you to get clients through the door, you need to seriously consider how much time you want to spend on these things.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be doing those things, by all means do! If they give you energy and help you to grow your business in some way, then that’s worthy enough. Just make sure your main focus is always on the things that are most important: the things that help you to build a sustainable business.

See it as a compass that can guide you through the entrepreneurial jungle, now and in the future.

Let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you – leave your comments or views in the section below.

Much love,

Iris

Iris Louwerens, founder of Dig Mondays, is on a mission to help people start exciting, fulfilling and thriving businesses that allow them to let their full creative, personal and financial potential out and live life on their own terms. Through her one-on-one coaching, mentoring, blog and live events, she encourages, empowers and inspires others to let their inner genius out and create the career and life of their dreams.

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Richard Lalchan

Richard Lalchan is founder of Creatives Hub whose mission is to help as many creatives as possible get rid of the shackles of procrastination, break out of fear, grow in confidence and get stuff done. He also works with individuals and businesses to build their web presence, runs a podcast network and is currently writing his first sci-fi novella.

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