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Obsess a Little

A 10-step guide to transforming your obsession into a successful, moneymaking venture.

This story appears in the May 2008 issue of Start Up.

By all accounts, Beth Liautaud is obsessed with animals, and she has been since childhood. Now, as the owner of Aunt B's Pet Resort & Spa, a high-end, full-service pet facility in DeForest, Wisconsin, she's turned her obsession into a successful business with projected year-end sales of $850,000. Liautaud, 41, has even devised a 10-step formula to help others cash in on their obsessions:

  1. Change your mind-set. Says Liautaud, "The first thing I did was, instead of separating work from play, I got rid of the term work altogether and began making at my play."
  2. Incorporate everything you love into your new venture, so you're surrounded by stimuli that will "fuel you, build you up and make you the happiest you can be," advises Liautaud.
  3. Confront your fear by believing in your competence. After all, a lifetime of passion has likely turned you into an expert.
  4. Trust that your core passion will lead to the skills and crea-tivity you need to start your business.
  5. Allow yourself to dream big by disregarding financial limitations and self-doubt.
  6. Ask yourself a series of detailed questions to determine what kind of life you want: Where do you want to live? How much money do you want to have?
  7. Ask yourself key questions about your dream business: What type of business is it? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with?
  8. Determine the you'll need for your dream business. "It's OK if you have a $3 million plan with a $40,000 budget," assures Liautaud. "I took the best ideas I could afford--plus the great ideas that cost very little if nothing at all--and I began putting them into a realistic plan that I could afford."
  9. Write down everything you need to do to execute your plan.
  10. Create a list of resources and experts that will help you on your journey.

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