By Erika, Resident Fashionista
Side note: Please excuse the video image. It’s like YouTube (or iMovie, I don’t know which) picks the most unflattering clip from your movie and makes it the video image embedded in your blog post.
As I mentioned in my video, today we’re talking about understanding your passion and your gift and how those two things working in tandem can lead to an idea for a small business. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “I wish I had an idea for a business,” or “I wish I knew where to begin in starting my business, but I don’t have any ideas.” Well, I’m here to tell you that there are LOTS of ways to come up with an idea for a business. You may see a need or a gap that needs to be filled. Or, you may have a great idea for a product you think everyone will use. Or, you could just be really, really excited about something.
Everyone, however, may not have that luxury. Some people just know they are called to be business owners but do not really know what they are called to do. This post is to help those people think about some other ways they might discover a business idea.
Many people do not know that I fell into personal styling and shopping. For as long as I can remember, I have always cared about how I looked. Even as a little girl I had strong opinions about what I wore to school or how my halloween costumes should look. I’ve also always had style (except for my awkward middle school years where I was more into wearing a Tommy Hilfiger polo-style shirt and tan corduroy pants than anything else) and I’ve always had an eye for fashion and color. That’s why I started a fashion and style blog with the intention of sharing tips and tricks and publishing a book with the content. Sure, I wanted to help people look their best (hence the blog) but I did not necessarily want to help them shop.
One day, a friend of mine who is a sports agent mentioned that he knew a few guys in the league (NBA, in this case) who could use some help dressing in a more professional manner, especially given the league’s dress code. He figured that I might be able to help them out, put me in touch with the players, and, as they say, “the rest is history!” It was from that single conversation that Your Chic is Showing, LLC was born. Why did it turn into a business and not just a really expensive shopping spree? The answer really comes down to just one thing: my passion and my gift perfectly lined up when the right opportunity presented itself.
Everyone may not have an opportunity fall into their lap the same way I did. But everyone can take the time to understand their passion, their gift, and how they both can be turned into a viable business.
Passions and Gifts
In my opinion, a lot of people get a gift confused with a passion. For example, I may say that I am really passionate about making movies. This very well could be the case – but I would suggest that, perhaps, I am truly passionate about telling stories, not making movies. I could be passionate about being a voice for people who do not have a voice. Or about telling familiar stories in new and exciting ways. How I tell the stories – through movies, television, art, music, etc. – would be my gift. I might be gifted in directing, or writing, or editing, or lighting. I might have an eye for color or an ear for melodies. Those are gifts that would help fuel my passion – storytelling.
Like I mentioned in the video, my passion is helping people and making them feel important. I rarely say “no” when people ask me to help them (often to my detriment), I enjoy serving and encouraging people, and I love to do little things to make people know they are important and cared about. However, all of my life I have had a gift for choosing outfits and clothing. Even at the height of cross-colors and jam pants in the 90’s I could still put together a good look (check my fifth grade school picture for evidence). It should also be noted that I have wanted to own my own business for as long as I can remember. I’ve known from a young age I was called to be an entrepreneur. But, until my friend asked me to shop for a client, I never thought that my passion for helping others would collide with my gift and my entrepreneurial calling.
But, how do I find my passion and/or gift?
The easiest way to discover your passion and your gift is to think of your “what” or “why” versus your “how.” “What” and “why” speak to your passion or purpose. What do you love doing? Why are you doing what you do? “How,” on the other hand, will help determine what your gift is.
Sometimes, determining your gift is easier than discovering your passion. One of the fastest ways to figure out your gift is to think about what people always want you to help them with. Are they always asking you to edit their papers or work for them? Or style their hair? Do they come to you when they need a mediator during an argument? Or do they ask you to help them plan their kid’s parties? Are you the one they ask to edit videos or photos? Write those things down on a piece of paper.
Once you’ve gotten all of your gifts on paper, then you can start thinking through your passions. This may be hard at first and you may want to leave your “passions” at the surface level. You may say “I love doing hair.” If you find yourself giving surface answers dig deeper. Why do you love doing hair? Do you like giving people a new look? Do you like making people feel good about themselves? Maybe you like helping them solve their problems while they sit in your salon chair and pour out their soul to you. As you think through your passions you should also write those down on a piece of paper.
Once you get your gifts and passions down on paper, then you can start brainstorming business ideas. Looking at it this way may cause some ideas to jump off of the page. Or some might sound crazy. It doesn’t matter – just write down every idea you get. All we are doing in this exercise is getting you to think creatively about potential business ideas. There is no right or wrong answer here. It’s just important you get started.
Again, this is just one way to help you get going while you look at starting your own business. I hope you find it helpful and would LOVE to hear what you all are passionate about!