Crushin’ On Your Business: Like It or Love It?

When I found graphic design, I knew that it was what I was born to do. I got my graphic arts degree, went on to get a marketing degree and landed a full time graphic design job at a multi-million dollar company right out of college.

Six months later, I got promoted from to lead graphic and web designer, which was the highest design position in the company. Leading a department at age 25 – that should have been my dream, right?

But I felt like something was wrong. Designing menus and ads and building restaurant websites was just fine, but I didn’t love designing this stuff. I set out to find what I loved to do and built a business around it.

Building a business around what you love to do is the key to success in entrepreneurship, and here are 2 major steps in figuring out what kind of business you should start.

1. Define Your Talents
First you need to figure out what it is that you want to do in your business. If you really focus on these steps, you’ll have a business that is perfectly suited to your talents and passion.

  • What are your skills? What do you do well? Not just in your job, but in your life. Are you a great listener? Do you make killer pancakes? Do you know how to use Photoshop?
  • Next, think about your hobbies. In your free time, what do you like to do? When are you the most happy? What do you enjoy creating? What would your closest friends say your best qualities are?
  • Take a look at your lists and brainstorm ways that you can make money from them. Don’t filter any ideas, there may be a way to incorporate them into your business. Be creative and don’t hold back on this step – anything is possible.

For example: I love Anthropologie, reading blogs and doing DIY projects. I know my way around Photoshop and love giving people gifts. So, I created a Anthropologie Inspired DIY Guide and give it to anyone who signs up for my mailing list. See how I combined all of those things I love into one project? I had so much fun doing it and love giving it away.

2. Find Your Niche
Knowing your niche market is a must when you are designing a business you are passionate about because clients that you don’t get along with can zap your energy and kill your attitude toward doing the things you love.

To find your niche market, you need to really get to know them. Get inside their mind for a few minutes – feel what they are feeling, experience what they are going through.

Pick out your ideal customer and write down everything about them – age, gender, income, likes, dislikes, hobbies and values. Describe them in detail. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • What are they afraid of?
  • What would they need to have a dream experience while working with you?
  • What blogs do they follow?
  • Who are their key influencers?
  • What conferences do they attend?

Once you know who they are you can customize your message for them. You’ll know which blogs you need to guest post on and what conferences to meet them at.

These two tasks will give you a clear idea of exactly what you want your business to be and exactly who you need to market to, creating a strong foundation for a very profitable career doing the things you love.


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Mariah DanielsenMariah Danielsen is an award-winning graphic designer and marketer who discovered she could build a business around what she loves: weddings, stationery and DIY projects. She is the owner of Oh, What Love Studios and the co-creator of The Create+Connect Project, a program that helps creative entrepreneurs turn their passion into profit launching in early June. Wanna join the Create + Connect Project for free?