So you have decided to start your own company and you feel you have the right skills for it because you have been working in that industry for some time. Maybe you have studied that course for a few years. Assessing your skills and passions is one of the first steps in starting a successful business. It’s important to determine if your passions are also marketable skills that can be turned into a viable business idea. Here are some exercises you can do to help you assess your skills and passions:

Exercise 1: Passion vs. Marketable Skills

Write down your top 5 passions and assess which of them are hobbies and which are marketable skills.

Marketable skills are abilities or qualities that are in demand in the job market and can be leveraged to generate income or add value to a business. These skills are often transferable and can be used across multiple industries or business contexts. Examples of marketable skills may include expertise in a particular software program, cooking, project management skills, sales skills, writing skills, and so on.

It’s important to identify these skills because they can help guide the development of a viable business idea and increase the chances of success.

Here’s an example of a table that you can have as a starting point:

Passion Hobby or Marketable Skill?
Photography  Marketable Skill
Playing Guitar  Hobby
Writing  Marketable Skill
Cooking  Marketable Skill
Travelling  Hobby

How did we define that Playing of Guitar and Travelling are hobbies? Well, for both, neither are we professionally paid for this nor do we feel we have the necessary skills to be professionally paid.

Exercise 2: Marketable Skill Assessment

Write down a list of tasks you would perform in a business related to each of your passions. Then, assess whether you have the skills to perform these tasks effectively. Here’s an example:

Passion: Photography
  • Taking and editing photos
  • Marketing and promoting your services
  • Building relationships with clients
  • Managing finances and accounting
Skill Assessment:
  • Taking and editing photos: Strong skills
  • Marketing and promoting your services: Some experience
  • Building relationships with clients: Limited experience
  • Managing finances and accounting: Limited experience

Exercise 3: Industry Research

Research businesses in your industry of interest. Identify the key skills required for success and assess whether you possess those skills. Here’s an example:

Industry: Photography
Key Skills:
  • Photography techniques and equipment (be sure you have access to what you need to perform)
  • Client management
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Sales and negotiations
  • Financial management and accounting
Skill Assessment:
  • Photography techniques and equipment: Strong skills
  • Client management: Limited experience
  • Marketing and promotion: Some experience
  • Sales and negotiations: Limited experience
  • Financial management and accounting: Limited experience

Exercise 4: Learning from Successful People

Talk to people who are successful in your industry of interest. Learn what skills they have and what has made them successful. Here are some sample questions you could ask:

  • What skills have been most important in your success?
  • What mistakes did you make when starting your business, and what did you learn from them?
  • How did you go about building your client base?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this industry?

By completing these exercises, you can gain a better understanding of your skills and passions and how they can be turned into a successful business idea. Remember to be honest with yourself and don’t try to force a passion that may not be a viable business opportunity.