For some of us, being able to make a living from what we feel called to do is the ultimate dream.
But it can be hard to know where to begin, and often it stays a dream.
To turn that dream into something real, you need to consider what it is you want to achieve (your purpose), what you can easily do (your skills) and how you’d like to do it (your interests and ideas).
This exercise will give you a simple and clear plan of how you can turn your purpose into a business.
From there you can either implement it (if it’s a low risk and easily validated business), or use it to carry out further research (if it’s a business with higher risk). And this plan is super simple – just four steps.
Let’s get started!
Write down your purpose
Grab a sheet of paper or open up a new doc, and at the top, write your purpose. We’re assuming you already know what your purpose is, and if you do – perfect. Write it down. If not, you’ll need to spend some time figuring out exactly what it is.
This is a whole other topic, but some quick points to remember: your purpose isn’t a job or an occupation, and it isn’t your passion/s. You can bring your purpose to life through your job or passion, but they’re not the purpose itself. Your purpose is like your ultimate life goal. It’s what will gently steer the direction of your life, along with any path you choose. There is no one way to bring a purpose to life, but a business is a great way to live your purpose on your terms.
List your skills, commitments and interests
Under your purpose, add three sections: skills, prior commitments and interests
Under skills, you’re going to write down every skill you have; the official ones, the life ones, and the secret skills that no one even knows you have. This includes any qualifications, musical or fitness skills, work skills, people skills. Absolutely everything you can think of.
Under prior commitments, list all the bigger commitments and responsibilities you have in your life. This includes your partner, your family, your job, your mortgage, your bills, any roles you hold in your community. This is really important. We all have things in our life that we need to take into account when making big life decisions. And you want to be sure you’re bringing your purpose to life in a way that actually fits where your life is now so that it doesn’t stay an unattainable dream. Once you have your list and mark a little cross by any you won’t take into consideration, and a tick by those you will.
Finally, list all of your interests. Anything from hobbies to lifelong passions and just things you love. You might have an overlap on your skills list, like graphic design or photography. This is fine.
Brainstorm everything you can do that takes into account the skills you have (keep in mind you can upskill or outsource), the prior commitments you want to keep, or the responsibilities you need to take into account, and your interests. Remember there is no one way to bring your purpose to life, so jot down every idea you can think of.
Plan and Prioritise
From these ideas, create your plan. You’ll decide what you’ll offer, and in what order. You’ll decide how you’ll reach people – online (1:1, private groups or communities or on a completely open platform), in person through a physical space; like a store or a class – or a combination of these.
And that’s it! Simple, right? To make it clearer, let’s look at some examples.
Let’s say your purpose is to teach children about the importance of nutrition and health. Your skills are strongest in teaching, speaking and cooking. Your prior commitments are that you have a home with a mortgage, but you could rent out your house if you wanted to. And your interests are food, health, business, writing and nature.
Here are a few ways you could turn your purpose into a business:
Write children’s books
Write children’s cookbooks
Speak in schools
Implement a program around healthy eating in schools
Create a kids food and cooking channel on YouTube
Run local school holiday programs
Host kid friendly cooking/gardening/health lessons
Write books aimed at parents, teachers and caregivers
Write a blog or create a website to sell your own and affiliate products
Expand on this as much as you can. What else can you offer that people would be happy to pay you for? EBooks? Videos? Classes? Classroom workbooks?
Now you can narrow your list, prioritise ideas and plan how you’re going to reach people. So you might start off with a blog and website, and local school holiday programs. Eventually, you’ll be doing speaking tours in schools and creating a classroom workbook. Then you’ll create your own eBook packages (for parents and kids) to sell on your website.
Let’s try another example.
Maybe your purpose is to help new mums to reconnect, relax and rejuvenate through yoga. Your skills are graphic design, basic web design, and yoga, obviously! Your prior commitments are your partner and two kids, your family home and small portfolio of local websites you update and maintain. Your interests are yoga, spirituality, health, and personal development.
You could turn your purpose into a business by:
Hosting local yoga classes
Selling yoga videos online
Develop a program or class that you license to other yoga instructors
Creating an eBook
Creating a website and blog to host your products and others to sell
Developing a line of products such as clothing, yoga mats and equipment
Creating a membership site where people can follow along online – each class is live for 24 hours
Create a 1:1 service for new mums that’s part yoga, part health coaching, part meditation
Or, offer the same yoga/health coaching/meditation service in small, exclusive groups
So you might decide that you’d prefer to go primarily online, as that would fit around your day-to-day life. Again, you might start off with a website and blog, but your main priorities are to get videos up and an eBook together. You might also decide to upskill by studying as a coach to increase what you can offer to new mums.
And as a final example, let’s say your purpose is a little more open ended.
Maybe your purpose is to bring a little fun, magic and whimsy to people’s lives. How do you make a business out of that? Again, focus on your skills and interests to come up with potential plans. Let’s say your skills and interests are around food and cooking, everyday magic and making people smile. Maybe you turn your purpose into a beautiful boutique baking business – think Heston meets ‘freak cakes’ meets Pantone cookies.
You could build and expand this business by:
Baking to order from a commercial kitchen
Having a physical bakery
Hosting baking classes
Making online videos to promote your work
Creating a published cookbook
Creating a self-published eBook
The priority here is a kitchen – whether you use a private one or open up a physical store. A web presence is always a good idea, but rather than focusing on a blog, you might have a simple website and put your focus toward Instagram and Pinterest.
So after you go through this exercise, you’ll have a clear plan of what you want to do, and how you’re going to do it. It takes into account your prior commitments and responsibilities, and the skills you already have (or are excited to acquire!). And it’s in line with your interests – it’s easier to stay motivated when you’re actually interested in what it is you’re doing.
And this is perfect! From here you can move into the phase of research and putting your plan into action.
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Misty Sansom is on a lifelong mission to help people discover what their purpose is, and how they can bring it to life. She is the creator of Life, Designed., which is an online program to help people do exactly that. Driven, inquisitive and free-spirited, Misty has fostered a love of business, philosophy, creativity and new experiences into a life filled with adventure. She writes about purpose, business, health, personal development and everyday life from her home on the coast of New Zealand.