Column: Turn your passion into profit

We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world and there are many people who agree.

You know enough about economics to figure out what happens next. Prices go through the roof!

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The realities of this expensive lifestyle often cause us to only focus on ways to cut expenses to improve our “bottom lines” but ignoring ways to grow our “top lines” by adding another source of income.

I’d like to suggest starting a small business as a great way to supplement your income.

The primary motivation in starting a small business should be rooted in one of your passions. If you think there is a way of sharing a unique value embedded in your passion, you have the makings of a business.

I would like to offer five tips to help you in your quest to either supplementing your income or to crafting your massive success story:

1. Do your homework. Research the market to determine if there is a need for your service or product and how fierce the competition is. Draw on associations relevant to your passion for their knowledge about your market. A good place to start is . They have some great resources on all the details about starting a business that I do not have space for in this article.

2. Build a simple marketing plan. Technology has levelled the playing field, allowing anyone with a plan, process and confidence to succeed. For a few hundred dollars, you can establish a very professional brand using services like For no cost, you can use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to build your presence. You can set up your own website, communicate with your blog and lead customers to your online shopping cart for practically nothing. The structural barriers to starting a business have practically vanished.

3. Be different! More importantly, you need to have a very unique customer experience that can be highly systemized so that the customer experience is consistently fabulous.

4. Do not do this alone. Try to involve those you love so that this pursuit does not negatively impact your relationships. Partner with other non-competing businesses so that you can refer business to each other. I would strongly recommend joining networking groups like the Chamber of Commerce and BNI. There are plenty of resources out there and plenty of business owners sharing their wisdom over the internet.

5. Delegate. This is tough at the beginning, but you should immediately define your unique genius and aim to cost-effectively delegate as many of the details as possible. This, of course, includes drawing on specialists such as accountants, lawyers and your financial advisor.

The opinions expressed are those of Richard Vetter, BA, CFP, CLU, ChFC.  Vetter is a certified financial planner and owner of WealthSmart Financial Group based in Steveston.

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