Earlier this week I received an interesting question from a reader:
“Jonathan, what do you do when you have too many ideas? How do you know which one to pick, and which one is going to actually sustain your passion long term? I feel like if I could just be confident in where I’m going and know a general path to get there, I could finally get started.”
The thing that’s not interesting about this question, is I get some version of this all the time.
If you’re waiting for the perfect idea, you’re definitely not alone. So many people put off blazing their own trail because they’re afraid that:
- They won’t choose an idea that they can be passionate about long term
- They won’t be able to make enough money to quit their jobs with confidence
But, here’s the secret no one is telling you:
You don’t have to know exactly what you’re doing, or if it will work before you get started.
In fact, nearly all of the successful entrepreneurs that I know had no freaking clue what they were doing when they started.
All they really had was a burning desire, and a sense for what their passion was. Not a clearly laid out five year plan of action. Not an impeccable tag line or elevator pitch. Not even an avatar of their ideal customer.
Honestly, I’m tired of seeing people never start on their path to entrepreneurship, because they don’t have a clear idea or roadmap.
What you’ll learn in this guide to making your first $1,000 from your passion
First of all, this is just one path you can follow. I’m not saying it’s the best path. It’s simply the path I’ve had the most success with with my students.
What you’re about to learn:
- How to uncover your deepest passion and validate that it has staying power
- How to know if your idea can actually make enough money to support you
- The process for turning your passion into an offering others will pay you for
- Where to find the people already seeking what you have to offer
- How to build your tribe so you can successfully launch your product and service to enough people to make enough money
- The approach I use to validate product or services ideas before I create them
- How to actually launch your first offering successfully and make your first $1k
I know this seems like a lot to cover in this guide. The truth is that it is. I break this content down over the course of six months in my programs.
What I want to give you here is a road map you can use, to see what order you should work on things, and what the most important actions are for each stage.
Step 1: Uncover your passion and validate it
The common advice to finding your passion is just plain wrong. Most people will tell you that you need to go out and search for it — embark on a quest to discover it in some ancient tomb.
After a lifetime of searching and struggling, maybe you’ll find it. If you’re lucky enough.
This is just stupid.
We all have passions within us. The problem is that we get trained out of listening to them. Practicality, the search for career security and the cultural drive to specialize, turns us into passionless drones.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Look to your past. What are your peak moments or memories when you were really excited about a project or exploration?
- Ask your friends and family. “What do you think my passion is?” (Hint: a lot of time we can’t see it because it’s so close to us)
- Think about what you could research or explore for hours without tiring.
Now, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I turn this passion into an offering of value to others?
- Is there an existing market for this (the more competition, the better!)?
- Am I somewhat of an authority or could I become one on this topic?
- Can I give people a sense of belonging or alleviate a deep pain helping them with this?
You might need to try offering your services to others for free first to gain some confidence.
Step 2: Turn your idea into an offer to the world
Now, you need to take this idea or passion and actually craft it into an offering that other people can get behind.
This is where it becomes less about you and your interests, and more about serving a tribe that you’re excited to work with.
The keys here are to identify:
- The unique outcome or transformation you provide giving your passion to others.
- The core message or reason why that makes your brand stand out from the competition.
- The group of people that are in a state of deep desire or pain that need your solution.
Your offer to the world in the broad sense is what you do and how you help people. It’s something that should be reflected on your website, in your social media profiles and in your content.
When someone lands on your website they should be able to tell within a few seconds:
- Why they are here
- What value you have to provide
If they can’t, your offer to the world needs work.
Step 3: Build your tribe
Now you’ve got a fairly good sense of the direction you’re going (you don’t have to have it all figured out yet!). So, it’s time to start building a tribe or audience you can serve and exchange value with.
The biggest asset of every digital empire builder is their email list. It’s not Twitter or Instagram followers or Facebook likes. All of those can go away if a platform dies or if they change the rules.
Email is still king, and that’s where you want to drive people to on your website.
So, how do you build your tribe?
Start with identifying the three biggest challenges you ideal tribe member faces.
- What’s keeping them up at night?
- What do they secretly worry about?
- What solutions and resources do they wish they had access to?
The answers to those questions will determine the type of content you want to create.
Like a lot of other teachers, I recommend starting a blog and building your content there. With each post, you should have a call to action to subscribe to your email list.
In fact, your entire website should be optimized to get people to join your email list.
I recommend using Mailchimp. It’s what I’m currently using and it’s incredibly easy to set up.
(Note: This is an affiliate link which means I get a small commission if you use my link at no extra cost to you).
Step 4: Extract your winning product idea from your tribe
Wouldn’t it be nice if your audience told you the exact product that they’d love to buy from you?
Most people are terrified of creating a product or service. They have nightmares of crickets on launch day, forced to face the reality that they spent all that time and energy building something no one wanted.
The good news is, that’s the old way of creating products.
The new way is getting your audience to tell you exactly what they want you to create.
By now if you’ve followed this approach you should have built an email list of at least 500 people. It’s time to survey them and find out exactly what they’re most hungry for you to create.
Here are the exact questions that I use when doing this:
- What’s your biggest challenge or frustration when it comes to ____________ (your topic here)?
- What would your life look like as a result of solving this problem? Specifically what would change in regards to your life, income, work, etc.?
- What would make it easier for you to solve this problem?
The answers to these questions are going to give you some serious clues to knowing what product or service you should create. Aim for at least 25-50 responses to get a solid idea of the frontrunner.
Once you’ve compiled all your results you’ll want to…
Step 5: Outline and validate your offer
Now you’ve got a pretty solid direction for your offering. You know what the gist of it is. But you haven’t yet nailed down all the specifics of your offer.
Really nailing your offer is the key to a great product or service. What do I mean by that?
Each offer you create is a recipe made with certain ingredients. You want to make sure you have the highest quality materials as possible.
Answer these questions to make your offering as powerful as it can be.
- What’s the core differentiator for my product or service? What about it sets you apart from the crowd?
- What’s the core transformation that occurs as the result of your customer using your product?
- What’s the story your product is telling? How does it relate to your tribe member’s life and what’s important to them?
- What are the main benefits they’ll get from using your offering?
- What actual content will they get?
- What’s the guarantee? How can you make it rock solid?
- How much will it cost?
- What bonuses or value adds do you include to make it easier, simpler, faster?
Once you have all of these elements of your offer figured out, then you start outlining the actual product.
Most people create the product first, then they work on the offer (if they even do at all). This completely 100% backwards and it’s the reason most products don’t sell.
Create the offer first, then build the product around that.
Step 6: Launch and make your first $1k
It’s finally time for all of your hard work to start paying off!
By now you’ve identified your passion, created your offering to the world, and you’ve built a tribe and figured out what they want you to create for them.
Sweet, but you’re not done yet. It’s time to launch.
A successful product (or service) launch takes a lot of careful planning and execution. What you really need is a checklist to make sure you do it right.
Would you have guessed that I’ve got you covered there as well?
Here’s what you need to do before hand to ensure a successful launch:
- Set clear goals for your launch. How much do you want to make? How many copies will you need to sell to reach your goal?
- Shape the narrative and plot. Every launch has a good story, what’s the story that your tribe wants to be a part of?
- Set the date for your launch. When you will open? When will you close your launch?
- Create margin. Create margin and clear your schedule leading up to the launch. Launches are always crazy and things manage come up that you couldn’t have anticipated, so it’s better to have more time than you need blocked off.
- Create the campaign. Map out all launch emails and blog posts. Generally, the higher priced the product is or the more important the launch, the more time spent on pre-launch. I typically like to go for about 3-4 weeks of pre-launch before the cart opens.
- Create desire. Plant seeds of anticipation in blog posts and emails to your list long before your official marketing campaign kicks off.
- Get commitment in advance. Ask your audience if this is something they’d be interested in before you start building it. Continually solicit higher and higher levels of commitment through participation in blog posts, surveys, contests and other events before you give them the opportunity to buy.
- Demonstrate their commitment. Include and acknowledge any involvement your audience has had in shaping the offer so far (surveys, email, comments, etc.).
- Results in advance. Release special pre-launch content that helps them get a result and builds more anticipation. This could come in the form of a case study, report or free toolkit.
- Create the sales page. Where will people be directed to buy? A sales page or video? If so, create it.
- Create urgency. Will the cart only be opening for a limited amount of time? Will it be limited to a certain number of buyers? Will you have a special bonus for the first 50 people? How can you create urgency to get people to buy?
As you can see, great launches take a lot of work. You could just do what most people do and throw up a buy button and say “surprise, here it is!” But that will only lead to heartache and misery.
Don’t do that.
Congrats, you’ve made your first $1k — what’s next?
If you’ve implemented everything in this guide, you should have made your first $1,000 from your passion. For most people, this is going to take an average of around six months.
Some will do it faster, for others, it will take longer.
Consistency is the biggest key. Keep showing up and putting in the work and it will pay off.
Want help implementing this with a step-by-step course?
I know this is a lot to take on. Building your own passion business takes a lot of time and energy. It takes guts and persistence.
That’s why I created Trailblazer. Each month comes with specific video training (and transcripts) to guide you to success.
But that’s not really where the magic is.
It’s in the monthly coaching I give you on the phone and the support you get from a community that won’t let you quit.
You don’t have to do this all at once. You can join a program that guides you, by the hand and chunks everything down into manageable steps.