We all have passions and hobbies outside of work, things we do because we love them. Sometimes these activities earn us additional income. But, most of the time, we only hope that these passions will manifest themselves into a full-time career. 

Adam Bianco, the founder of @OhioStFootball and Sports Foodie, recently left his full-time job to pursue his love of sports, food and social media consulting. By honing in on his passion, determining there was a market fit and building a community, Adam turned his hobbies into an income.

Today, @OhioStFootball has 217,000 Twitter followers and, with over 12,000 Instagram followers, Sports Foodie is following suite. 

Adam joined us for this week’s #SproutChat to offer advice and discuss how he turned his passion into his livelihood. 

Evaluate Your Market

Your love of gingham may define you, but how do you make money by blogging about why it’s such a wonderful fabric? If your plan is to build a profitable and sustainable business, you need to understand if there are already others out there pursuing projects that are the same or similar. With the saturation of content on the Internet, save your time and fully vet the benefits of your venture before getting started.

Determine how you can offer a unique perspective and provide a new value to your audience. Consult industry experts, co-workers, friends and family. Maintain an objective point of view and don’t let your emotional tie to an idea steer your end goals.

Build Your Brand by Building Your Community

Once you have a business angle, establish a presence by building a community on social. Start small and focus on brand recognition. The initial stages of community building should focus on encouraging social media engagement and be comprised of intimate conversations in which you truly develop a relationship with your fans. Grow by fostering relationships with influencers and collaborate with others within your subject area.

Don’t Neglect the Power of Offline Interactions

While social is the easiest and least expensive way to develop a community, there is incredible value in connecting in-person. Meeting face to face breeds trust that online interaction can’t achieve in the same way. Understanding someone’s body language, cadence and general disposition will lend to a stronger bond and better communication. Private groups on social channels or Slack groups are another great ways to foster intimacy and encourage your followers to connect with each other too.

Set Yourself up for Success

Before pursuing your passions full-time, consider all of your responsibilities and options. Assess your longterm financial goals, map out your desired career trajectory, consider your personal health and take in account any of your dependents. When leaving an established organization to build something from scratch, make sure to continue practicing self care and do not overlook the mental and physical impact the transition may have. Allow yourself certain liberties that will make it easier to progress in the same way you would at a larger organization.

Join us next week on Wednesday at 2 p.m. CST for #SproutChat. We will be discussing Social Ads for B2B with Special Guest Ian Mackie, Director of Social Media Advertising at Point It. Be sure to check out our Facebook Group to receive weekly chat notifications and further connect with the community.