The other week, my wife and I were visiting some friends in Nashville when they told us an interesting story we had never heard before.
Just a few months before our friends were going to get married, they were both fired . . . on the same day.
They went to each other, both discouraged and defeated, completely lost on what to do next.
They needed money. They needed jobs. They needed a place to live. And everything was snatched from under them right before their marriage.
Fortunately, that's the day they became freelancers. It wasn't by choice, they said, but they were thankful that it happened.
I tell this story because it's not all that uncommon.
Every day I'm seeing my friends and people I know lose their jobs suddenly, and being forced to whip up a quick solution for their family. In today's economy and job market, it's not so far-fetched to hear of someone being forced into entrepreneurship.
In fact, this exact same story happened to me. One month before my marriage, I lost my job. And after months of struggle and defeat, I finally listened to my entrepreneurial leanings and started a business.
I say all this because I want you to know something:
It's no longer risky to pursue your passion.
Years ago when social media wasn't as big and people weren't building online businesses, it was considered foolish to chase your dream. Back then, we equated dreams with recklessness and deemed passion as a villain.
But once social media and blogging came barreling in, everything changed. With more opportunities, people were able to pursue their passion with little to no risk.
People today might lead you to believe that it's risky and foolish to build a business on the Internet. But with today's shrinking job market, pursuing your passion online might be essential.
After all, when you're suddenly let off your job, what do you have to fall back on?
Making a business out of your passion--whether full-time or as a side-income--is the best buffer you can have if life decides to throw you to the wolves.
That's why I believe it's essential for people to build businesses out of their passion.
Don't wait until you lose your job to make your next move. Be proactive, and build your dream business now.
But now, that statement is easier said than done. Many of the people who haven't started a business or side-hustle by now haven't done so yet because of the overwhelming thought of it.
When someone says "start a business", a person's mind instantly jumps to a to-do list of: write a 100-page business plan, get investors, hire staff or contractors, get an office space, etc.
In other words, the reason more people haven't started businesses today is because the process seems too complicated to fathom.
Overcomplicating business is the easiest way to never pursue your passion.
But if you boil business down to its essentials, you would see that all business is simply selling a product or service to an audience. It is not "business plans" or "office space" or "benefits."
All businesses, in their genesis, start with selling something to someone.
And that's all you have to focus on first to start your dream business.
Once again, it's no longer risky to pursue your passion. What's risky is never starting, never taking hold of all of the opportunities that exist today to build something you're passionate about.
If you've let overcomplicating business stifle you up to now, here's a quick breakdown of what you can do to start a business today:
1. Start with a website.
Forget having an office space. Instead, occupy a space on the Internet. Register a domain name on Namecheap or GoDaddy, and build a website. Alternatively, you can get started with a beautiful website on Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix. They take care of the whole hosting and design thing, if that confuses you.
At this stage, branding and copy are important. But if you're letting the things stop you from moving forward and making business happen, then pause and take a moment to refocus.
Remember, all you need is a website to represent you. It doesn't have to be custom made or cost 1,000+ dollars, but it doesn't have to represent you well.
So get headshot done, find awesome free stock photos online, and plop them on your website. That's all you need for a website that looks appealing.
2. Validate your idea with compelling content.
Whatever business you want to start, you need to validate your idea to ensure its profitability. You don't want to invest fully into a business that's not going to work well with the market. You need to do market research and validate your idea.
The best and least troublesome way to do this is to create compelling content, and measure the feedback.
To do this, start a blog on your website.
With blogging, you can release your awesomeness to the world, and see what sticks and what doesn't. You can start putting out your ideas and test everything. Measure the comments, the social share, the clicks, and the downloads of any content upgrades you have in the post. Once you have this information, use it to come up with your profitable business idea.
3. Build an audience.
Whenever you start a business, you need clients or a raving audience.
The beauty with blogging is that if people enjoy your content, they can join your email list and become your audience. You don't have to do cold-calling or strategies that feel like you're shooting in the dark in order to get clients. Once you have a committed audience, all you have to do is send an email or create new content if you want
Once you have a committed audience, all you have to do is send an email or create new content if you want business.
So start with an email marketing service like ConvertKit (what I recommend and use) or MailChimp, put an opt-in form on your blog content, and start generating subscribers. If your content is awesome enough, you'll start building an audience that could late become your clients/customers.
4. Create something awesome.
Finally, you make something that your audience wants to buy. It could be a book, an online course, a paid training, a product, a service, etc. Just think about what ideas your audience has reacted well to, and then give them what they want.
Of course, there is more trickiness to this process, but at the end of the day, this is what starting a business out of your passion looks like. Notice how I didn't mention anything of business plans, investors, or employees. This process is simplified to the bare essentials of business.
So once again, don't be fooled into thinking pursuing your passion and building a business out of it is too difficult or too risky.
This process is proven, and you can make it work (with the mixture of other ingredients).
The decision then becomes, are you willing to do it? Are you willing to make your passion a reality?
If you need a little help in getting starting with your dream business, I have a FREE 5-day email course called the "Blog to Business Jumpstart Course."
This course will teach you everything from building your initial audience to releasing your first offer--all the essentials for starting a business.
Again I say, it's not risky to pursue your dream. In fact, it's riskier to NOT listen to that longing you have, to not act on your dream.
Take the steps to make your dream profitable, so that when the time comes and you possibly lose your job, you'll be ready for it.
This article was originally published on EssentialHustle.com.