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How to Monetize Your Passion

How to Monetize Your Passion

Ah, those dreams of being able to monetize your passion…

You’ve been working away on your project for a while now, haven’t you? Maybe you’ve switched projects a few times. You’ve tried a few things and it’s not quite brought in the cash you would have liked so maybe you’ve gone back to the drawing board. It’s got to the point where it’s all a bit of a muddle. You’re frustrated that you’re not making more money despite the huge amounts of effort you’ve put in. It even makes you want to give up at times.

If this resonates with you, then you’re not alone–and there is something you can do about it.

The Illusive Piece Of The Puzzle

Having coached individuals to rock their revenue for a few good years now, there are some patterns that crop up again and again, and here is what I can tell you for certain: You’re not the only one who is struggling to monetize their project.

The truth is, making cash out of your activities is the most difficult piece of the puzzle… if you don’t set it up right from the beginning. I’ve seen dozens of highly skilled, talented and driven individuals set up some awesome businesses: projects that could change the world.

They start with great ideas and they put in place awesome delivery systems, but getting the damn thing to cash flow can sometimes feel like trying to get blood out of a stone. If you can relate to this you need to know: the root of this problem, and the solution, starts way before you launch your product or service.

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If you understand what I’m about to outline, you will be able to position your business so that the monetization phase becomes the EASIEST part of the whole project.

The biggest problem you face is actually that monetization is the last thing that happens in the whole creation cycle. All the work has to be done upfront though. And even if you have cash, all of this needs to happen without even a minimal reward to spur you on.

It’s not that it is impossible, but it can be tough, and managing your own expectations from the start is key. There is a way to make all this MUCH easier.

Start with Your Day-to-Day Love

Every business becomes easier to get to (and through) the monetization phase successfully if day in and day out you’re doing something that you love. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing and not just doing it for the money then it becomes easier to go that extra mile to put in a few more hours, to influence one more person, to get up and dust yourself off and press on when the going gets tough.

In fact, if you love what you do every day, you’ll find very quickly that going to work on that project actually gives you energy. That’s right! You end up with more energy at the end of the day than when you started. Getting up and getting on with the tasks of the day becomes effortless because you’re aligned with what you naturally want to be spending your day doing. So you can see that monetising your passion is much easier to do than monetising any old business or side project.

This is a very important point, because it shapes everything that comes after it. This is where much of the pain and frustration has stemmed from already, because if you’re struggling to get to the point of it “working” (i.e. making a profit) it probably has something to do with you not being fully aligned with what you love to do. I mean this in both the conceptual sense, and in the day to day workings of what you do.

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When I work with clients we start with defining very clearly what they love to do and where their natural skills are, then align it with producing a business that delivers what the market wants. This is the step almost everyone misses out even if they’re passionate about the concept they are trying to deliver.

Concepts don’t get you to go the extra mile when you’re tired and you’ve suffered an intermediate defeat. Loving the day-to-day of what you do does.

Monetization: The Final Phase

When it comes to needing cash flow from your efforts you need to take lag time into account. Depending on how much ground work there is, being able to monetize your effort will vary from several weeks to several months. Heck, I’ve invested in companies that, three years down the line, aren’t paying dividends because they need to reinvest the profits into mega expansion.

The point is, you need to take this into account, whatever size you’re planning to grow the business to. You can’t start pulling an idea together and monetize it in a few days. Monetization is the *final* phase of a project. But here is how to short-cut it and stack the odds of success in your favor–BIG TIME.

1. Be Clear On Your Passion

Contrary to popular belief, your passion is what you want to spend your time doing and not some random vision written on a blackboard in the sky that you somehow need to “discover”.  Ask yourself what you love doing day in day out, because ultimately this is your passion.

2. Align Your Passion With What You Are Good At

Most people skip these two most important parts of the process, thinking it will get them to the money quicker. They think that there is more money to be made in another business, and that the grass is always greener. If you pick your industry based only on how much money you think you can make, then you can expect to always be chasing the money.

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If you take the time to align these two aspects effectively (your day-to-day passion and your skills) you will flat out make the rest of the process much easier.

3. Find A Market You Want To Work With and work out what their biggest pain is.

Again, most people do this the wrong way. They think “who is most likely to pay me money”, and even if they aren’t in the market they want to work with, they push on anyway. This again is the road to pain and struggle.

4. Tailor What You Offer (your passion, product or service) to the avatar of the people you most want to work with.

In other words, think of a character that represents the people you want to work with (your avatar) and design your offering for just that person. Give them a name, and describe every detail of their pain, their fears, their hopes, their current situation… down to even the more tangible aspects of their lives like where they shop and their educational backgrounds. This will allow you to hone what you have to offer precisely to what they want, and this will form the basis of your marketing messaging when you talk to them.

At this point, even early on in the process, you’re making it easy for them to buy.

5. Work A Marketing Plan

What I mean by this is simply create a plan around how you are going to connect with them.

Note: Facebook is not a marketing plan! Even those marketers who are rocking it on Facebook only get about 20% of their sales from it. If you’re in the online world you need an email list. Period.

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Create database of people you can email (or snail mail) and build up a relationship with them. This is your audience. These are the people who are an ideal fit for your product or service and are interested in hearing your message. Make sure you have an easy way to be in touch with them so that you can communicate about your product or service before it’s even ready. Part of this plan will then be to build a relationship with your audience, getting them involved in developing the product (or service), then communicate what is available and make it really easy for them to buy.

You Can Do It The Easy Way

What we’ve talked about are the first, most vital steps in creating cash from what you love to do, because they set the tone of everything else that comes later. The sales, marketing and positioning come much more easily once you’ve got the first few items figured out. In fact, monetising is just a process, one you’ve worked out what you want to spend your time doing, what your natural skills are and who you want to work with.

Remember lots of work goes in before you get anywhere near to being able to monetize. If you align with what you love to do every day, your natural skills AND the market you want to serve you will massively increase your chances of monetising your project effectively in the shortest possible time.

What Are You Going To Do About It?

Never leave the scene of learning something new without taking a new action. It’s time for you to declare which action step you’re going to put some attention onto and why. Share in the comments below.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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