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3 Simple Steps To Help You Pursue Your Passion

Steve Jobs told Stanford students that when he wakes up each day he tries asking himself:

“If this were my last day on earth, would I be happy with my to-do list.”

Steve Jobs told Stanford graduates that his to-do list needs to be good enough for his last day on earth

 

And if his answer is “no” for three or four days in a row, he does something about it.

Well, a goal in my life is to help people explore their passions, ideally in a way that helps them make a living.

I thought I’d share three steps that I used to further my own career passions.

Ok, so let’s dig in…

Step 1: Pick a Passion

It starts with picking a passion — your passion may be obvious to you ( politics, sports, medicine, photography religion) and you’re good to go.

If your passions are not obvious to you, ask those closest to you (friends, colleagues, family members) what they think.

If you still don’t know, here are two good questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is it that you do where time just slips away? and
  2. What would attempt if you knew you could not fail? (a great question that Dr. Robert Scuhller once posed and Tony Robbins made famous)

For me, I picked the subject of business (that’s what I know) and in particular business advice (like much of the content found in this blog).

A friend of mine considers his passions photography and triathlons.

Step 2: Deposit Yourself/Content Into The Universe

Your next step is to put yourself or, more specifically, your content out there.

I call these bits of content “beacons” or “knols” that you’re putting out there in the Universe.

I’m talking about journaling…but not any old journal (although that’s better than nothing)– you need to start a blog!

The reason for a blog is that it allows you to receive feedback — more on that in step 3 below.

As far as blogging tools go I recommend WordPress…it’s free and effective (check out my “7 Easy Steps On How To Set Up A Blog Using WordPress” article)

Producing Content (i.e writing)

So now you start creating content. There are three types of content you can start with depending on what you’re comfortable with/best at:

  • Text — If you’re a good writer, focus your blog on text
  • Audio — If you’ve got an amazing radio voice (I don’t), utilize audio
  • Video — If you’re very visually enticing (again, I’m not), pick video

You’re going to want to contribute content to your blog consistently (at least a few times a week)…some tips:

1) Re-use existing knols of content such as:

  • Emails you write to friends or colleagues about the topic you’re passionate about
  • Presentations/Speeches you’ve given on your topic
  • Papers you wrote for school
  • Opinions you have on other people’s articles/videos you consume

2) Don’t’ worry about being perfect – you can always go back and correct something.

3) Be specific (more on that later)

Step 3: Get Feedback

There are three types of feedback you’re going to want to get:

Feedback #1: Web Analytics

For this, I recommend you set up Google Analytics (read this 3 Easy Steps To Using Google Analytics that I wrote (includes a great video!) — Google Analytics is free and easy to use.

Google Analytics will tell you things such as:

  • How many visitors you receive
  • Which geographic areas they come from
  • Which other Web sites link to your site
  • And a whole lot more

Remember how I told you earlier to be specific in your content?

Well Google and its Google Analytics loves when you’re specific — they will tell you how many people arrived at your blog through someone Googling a specific keyword. Here are examples of how specific the search terms can be from people who searched Google and ended up here at my blog:

  • “Best name for a Web site to attract customers”
  • “Process of converting a bridge loan into a term loan”
  • “Macy’s credit card turned down my application why? fico score over 800″

The more specific the better!

Feedback #2: Set Up A Comment system

This allows you to hear what people think about your content

It’s really fun to get real people talking to you

And anyone who takes the time to comment on your blog is someone who could be a customer, partner or even friend.

Comments are fairly standard in WordPress blogs you set up but make sure to pay attention to it (especially moderating the comments (you may get some spam) and replying back to commenters).

Feedback #3: Set Up An Affiliate Program (To Get Customer Feedback)

What is an affiliate program you may ask? Basically, it allows you to sell other people’s products and receive a commission (Read Affiliate Marketing Programs: Tips From A Veteran Q&A I did with a colleague).

The best example of an affiliate program is Amazon’s  – they allow you to easily link to products that they sell and receive around 4% to 8% commissions if anyone clicks through to Amazon and buys something.

It’s tough to get rich from affiliate marketing (5% of a $20 book you link to only gets you $1 in commissions) (read this Myths of Blogging I wrote)…

…but it is a super-useful to get a sense of what types of things your readers like to buy.

Ideas for Amazon products that might be related to your blog topic include:

  • Books
  • Movies
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Hobby products

Ah-Hahs

What were some “ah-hahs” from my blog experience…and how did it help me develop my passion?

Well, I chose to write about business as I mentioned. Here’s some feedback I received:

The Content That’s Most Popular With Your Readers May Surprise You

I wrote about Personality Types in business (80% of my traffic came from about just 15% of my postings (those postings took me just a weekend and I have blogged 120 other postings and no other articles came close in volume) (read Pareto’s 80/20 rule).

I had NO idea that

I chose not to pursue personality types…but it’s a nice option to have

Your Readers Buy More Than Just The Products You Write About

I sold 14 different types of products; half of the sales were items I never wrote about (Amazon gives you credit for whatever they buy once they click your link (for that visit)

  • 50 Books
  • 2 Beauty products
  • 1 Grocery product (Latte Drink mix)
  • 1 Health product
  • 2 Home and Garden
  • 1 piece of jewelry
  • 8 Kindle eBooks
  • 2 Kitchen products
  • 1 MP3 Download
  • 1 office product
  • 1 pair of shoes
  • 2 sports
  • 1 toy
  • 12 Videos on Demand

The most practical learning I had is that one of the most popular keywords people search on that leads to a visit to my blog is “Careers.”

I had never thought of Careers as being a topic that I was much of an authority on, but clearly Google disagrees and sends much of the Web universe searching Careers my way.

In fact, I began coaching more people on their careers after that and realized I do enjoy it.

Final thoughts: If you follow the 3-step plan above I think you’ll make enormous gains in understanding what career passions to pursue.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

2 Comments

  • Maturemarketingmaven

    Thanks for writing this blog and for reminding me how important it is to recognize one’s passion. You inspire me to get my beacons out there in the form of a blog.

  • http://www.robdkelly.com Rob Kelly

    By the way, if a blog is too much for you, you can substitute tweeting for blogging (step 2) and simply share useful information on your passion through Twitter (your own thoughts or retweets of articles you see that are related to your passion).

    You can even get analytics (Step 3 of my recommendations above) on your Tweets — check out http://www.technobuzz.net/21-great-twitter-analytics-tools/ for 21 Twitter Analytics tools.