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.”
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…
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:
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.
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)
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:
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)
There are three types of feedback you’re going to want to get:
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:
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:
The more specific the better!
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).
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:
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:
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
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)
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.Tweet 2 Comments