Dear Brit: 'I Want to Turn My Passion Into a Business, But I Don't Know My Passion!'
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Brit Morin was 25 when she left Google to start Brit + Co, a lifestyle and education company aimed at helping women cultivate creative confidence. Now — 10 years, $50 million in funding and 1.2 billion pageviews later — Brit’s passion is empowering more women to take the entrepreneurial leap. She’s a managing partner at VC fund Offline Ventures, host of iHeartRadio podcast Teach Me Something New, creator of a 10-week start your own business course for women founders called “Selfmade,” and, most recently — Entrepreneur advice columnist. Find her here twice a month on Thursdays, answering the most personal and pressing questions of women entrepreneurs. Have a question for Brit? Email it to Dearbrit@brit.co and she could answer it in an upcoming column!
Get butterflies in your belly for that business idea
Dear Brit: How do I combine my passion and expertise with a meaningful market opportunity? And what if I haven't found my passion yet?
This is one of my favorite problems to help solve! Your idea is the foundation of whether or not you will succeed.
Step one is finding your passion. If you’re not sure what your passion is, you’re not alone. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know theirs! To get started, look at all the clues life has laid out in front of you: What hobbies have you always loved? What types of people have you always looked up to? What roadblocks have you had to overcome? What experiences were formative to who you are today? What are the natural skills you possess? Are there any commonalities among these?
Now let’s think about what the world needs. What problems are hindering other people’s lives, or your own life? You can list things as wide-ranging as “the mental health epidemic” or as narrow as “my baby won’t sleep at night.” All things go! As you add to your list of problems, pay attention to which issues you gravitate toward more than others. Narrow your list.
Once your list is small enough, compare the answers to the first questions (the ones that help you figure out, ‘What is your passion?’) with the problems you care most about. Can you think of any businesses that might exist when you pair those two things together?
For instance, I have multiple family members who’ve suffered from debilitating depression. I’ve watched the pain they’ve endured, and know first-hand the pain of being a loved one by their side. These family traumas were formative to how I see the world. I also know that the mental health epidemic is worse than ever before, thanks to Covid. So we have a match!
Now, what business could I create to make a dent in this meaningful market? Should I start a company to better serve those suffering from depression? What about one to help family members of those dealing with depression? What could I create that hasn’t been done before?
This is where the real fun begins. But now that you’ve matched your passion with an obvious market, you are well on your way.
Okay so the passion is real. But is this 'the one?'
Dear Brit: Once I have a business idea, how can I validate whether it’s worth pursuing?
One of the best parts about today’s world is that there are infinite possibilities for testing a basic business idea. Here are a few thought starters:
Set up a basic landing page using Mailchimp, Squarespace, Shopify or any other website creator. Write up a short elevator pitch for your new business along with a few visuals to help consumers understand it. Then add a “sign up for more information” email capture box and see how many people sign up.
Create a series of Instagram or Facebook polls to have your audience determine if your idea is one they’d use or buy. Make sure to describe the problem as one you want to solve for THEM and not YOU.
No audience of your own? No problem. Find a Facebook Group populated by the market you wish to reach with your idea. Suggest your solution and see what they say. For an even deeper focus group, DM those who express interest.
Note that all of these actions don’t even require you to make an actual product or service. Validating your idea before you spend time or money investing in the final product is imperative. Capture as much of it as you can and then build using the feedback you’ve received. One research study observed two groups bringing a product to market. The placebo group built a product without testing, and the second group validated their idea before building. The study showed that the difference in potential revenue over the researched period was $300 for the placebo group and $12,000 for the entrepreneurs who tested first. Which group would you rather be part of?