Enter your Should you turn your passion into a business? The jury is out and there are advocates for both sides of the camp. So I asked Blaire Brown for her opinion. She should know, because she lived it.
“Do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
A very similar version of this quote is also attributed to Marc Anthony.
At the very least, it proves that the question of whether we should turn passion into a business is an age-old dilemma.
But is it true? Is it the key to jumping out of bed buzzing with energy and ideas? Or is it a romanticised idea? Does it set you up for false expectations that could be detrimental to your business and the thing you love to do?
Turning passion into business is something I have thought about, probably just like the rest of the adult world population. But I’ve never taken the jump.
Blaire Brown from Visionary Advantages Brand Strategy Group, however, has!
If you ask me, she’s our gal to ask the big question: SHOULD YOU TURN YOUR HOBBY INTO BUSINESS?
Turning Passion Into Business
Blaire’s entrepreneurial story starts when she’s barely 16.
Many of her friends are flashing Louis Vuitton handbags. Blaire’s parents, however, are having none of that budget-blowing peer pressure nonsense that comes with teenage girls. So Blaire gets creative, pulls her passion for sewing out of the bag and makes her own handbag.
Turns out the young lady isn’t short of talent and the compliments come thick and fast. A $300 loan later, Blaire is turning passion into profit and starts running her handbag business that lasted 8 years!
Then it ends.
Walking Away From It All
Blaire still feels passionate about sewing and fashion in general. But in the end, running a brick and mortar store (or even selling on Etsy) wasn’t scalable. So...Blaire walked away from her business in passion.
Does she regret turning her passion into business? Did it kill the passion?
I didn’t ask her in so many words, but it would come as a massive surprise if she did.
This is what she says:
‘I still get excited about fashion and making things. I even went to fashion school. But in my heart, something was tugging. ’
After a subsequent stint in fashion journalism, product development and an Amazon business with her mum, she had to follow the little voice in her head that made her walk away from fashion to start her agency called the ‘Visionary Advantages Brand Strategy Group’.
Blaire’s Agency- What came after the Business in Passion?
The short answer: a different kind of passion.
Let me explain.
Blair may no longer be running a business in fashion, but it was her earlier business adventures that exposed her to the world of marketing. After all, when you run your own company, you wear many hats and you figure it out as you go. It’s what we all do.
Blaire found she has a talent for marketing and a soft spot for helping people. It’s still very creative.
But unlike her handbag business, Blaire’s agency is digital with a remote team of now 5.
Most importantly, it’s a lot more scalable. It may not have originated from a hobby, but Blaire loves what she does, AND it makes more sense from a business point of view.
But that doesn’t mean Blaire needed some time to figure out the team structure that worked. Initially, it was just Blaire doing it all, but this definitely slowed things down. Although Blaire is still the client facing person to this day, her one regret is that she didn’t make the jump to hiring a team earlier.
Blaire’s leads come from Social Media, and some fine-tuned target audience profiling combined with database scouring. Many of her clients (although not all of them) are in the fashion industry. (Hah!)
What makes Blaire so successful is that she knows exactly what it feels like to be in her client’s shoes. What can I say... life’s a journey.
So... Should You Turn Your Passion Into A Business?
It’s clear Blaire has no regrets or ‘residual trauma’ about turning passion into a business, although her path ultimately led her elsewhere.
Personally, I’m rather reluctant.
Like Blaire, I enjoy sewing. My sewing machine has been my loyal companion for the past decade or so. I LOVE IT.
But much of why it’s such fun for me is because I can work on whatever is the flavour of the day. I often have several projects on the go at the same time. I would have to be a lot more organised and structured if it would become a business. That would be a buzz killer for me.
But based on Blaire’s story, it’s clear that that’s not the case for everybody.
Here’s something to consider though: It’s good to have a passion for what you do in business, but passion alone isn’t enough to make a business successful. What you do needs to make sense from a business point of view as well. Being passionate helps, but it’s no ticket to an obstacle-free ride.
I think you should run with the heart and the passion if that’s what feels right, but don’t forget to put your business glasses on and go in with the right expectations.
There you go. Blaire’s and my five cents of wisdom.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a business that was born from a hobby or a passion? Are you considering turning your passion into a business? What are the draws, the obstacles, the hesitations?
If Blaire’s gutsy approach to business perks your ears, you really should check out her podcast ‘Curate Your Success’.
Serial entrepreneur that she is, Blaire thinks having your own business is a matter of taking the opportunity and run with it. It takes courage, but it’s yours for the taking.
Blaire loves to interview other go-getters. You may find things get really interesting because she especially likes people who are brutally honest about their mistakes. And that, my friends, is when you learn the most!