Welcome to the first week of Lindsey’s Experiment with the Empire Building Kit. Last week, I introduced my intention to follow along with Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit and report on what I’ve learned and done to create my own business.
Read last week’s From Underwear Gnomes to Empire Building for more on my first steps to starting a business.
This first week, Chris starts out by asking us: What are you excited about that other people are willing to pay for?
This week’s case study profiles Johnny B. Truant, a self-described multi-passionate entrepreneur, who made $75,000 his first year of business. Johnny explains that a lot of his motivation for starting his online business came from wanting to escape his real estate career. He was not in a good place in his life and he wanted something different for himself. His desire to move away from one thing propelled him to move towards something else. All beginnings are good beginnings – no matter what their shape or size.
Johnny’s plan was both simple and brilliant. He went back to his I.T. roots and offered to set up people’s websites/blogs for free. How did he make his money? If his clients chose to go with the vendors that he had an affiliate relationship with for services like web-hosting, he would build them for free. If they chose a different vendor, he charged them a fee for his services. Very simple. Very effective.
Where does the multi-passionate part come in? It didn’t take him long to realize he could branch out and make the most out of his other passions. If you look at his site now, you’ll see products and services ranging from his ‘Unicorn Western’ books to his self-improvement ‘Get Legendary’ podcasts. This guy is a veritable Renaissance man of all things internet. He has many interests and multiple ways to make money.
The point isn’t to preach the wonders of being just like Johnny. It’s about what Chris, and probably many others, call convergence. That beautiful intersect between your passion and a profit. He cautions that your business model needs to make sense. He gives the example of being passionate about eating pizza. While you might love eating pizza, nobody is going to pay you to do just that. However, you could write reviews about eating pizza. Consider the wild success of sites like Yelp – an ‘urban guide’ of everything from restaurants, to shopping and night life reviewed by everyday people.
You can build a business out of many passions. Writing, photography, teaching, consulting, sports, and travel. You name it, it’s out there and probably profitable. Going back to Johnny for a minute, he understood there were a lot of people out there that wanted to build a site but didn’t know how. He knew they didn’t want to pay top dollar for a premium site but needed something. Johnny filled that gap. He offered his services in an innovative way, and got his start using affiliate income as leverage.
Think about your own life and get creative. I can’t give you the exact roadmap to your own success but I don’t need too. You are the only creative engine you need to move towards your true passion. A successful friend of mine is fond of saying: “I’m not any prettier, smarter, luckier or richer than anybody else – I’m just persistent.” While I think she understates her own remarkableness (is that a word?), the truth is we all have a capacity for creating our own ideal life and business.
Read more here about my survival tips for pursuing your passion so you can balance your life while following your dreams.
Now it’s homework time!
My homework: Raise the profile of my blog by guest posting with other websites and blogs. Chris and Johnny say a potential customer/client needs to encounter you five to seven times before you become credible. I want to start freelance writing and building a business so I need to get my name out there. So far, BadCredit.org has graciously hosted one of my articles. More to come!
Your homework: Make a list of your passions and brainstorm ways you can profit from them.
If you’re interested in your own empire, head over to Chris’ site and check out his Empire Building Kit (affiliate link). If you don’t want to use the affiliate link, just Google ‘Empire Building Kit’ and you’ll find it. No pressure.
So readers, what are you passionate about?
* A word about the affiliate links in this series. I believe in what the Empire Building Kit can do for me and, consequently, what it can do for you. When I recommend something, it’s because I have personally tried it out and I liked it enough to pass on to you. My first priority is to recommend great stuff to my readers. Full stop. I have a job and don’t need to make desperate and breathy recommendations to you if I want to eat next month. In short, there’s a lot of different ways to turn a profit and ripping you off with a referral to a shitty product isn’t going to be one of them.