Passion to Profits: 3 Inspiring Stories of Young Entrepreneurs
Kids don't grow up thinking I am going to be a pet photographer or a sustainability expert – and much less, a content marketer (that would be me). But here we are and millions of people across the world are making new inroads turning their hobbies or passions into profession.
These people are inspiring and fun to be with but there is a depth to them which makes you realize that they are as serious about their profession as you would expect a doctor or rocket scientist to be.
Pet Lover to Professional Pet Photographer
Meet Bill Parsons. He and his partner Natalia Martinez went to a photography school together. Bill wanted to be a commercial photographer, but then life happened and he became a professional pet photographer. During his journey, he met with many setbacks from economic downturn to his dog's cancer. But he carried on, and today, he is a successful pet photographer with a website that sells stock photos of animals.
Words of Wisdom
According to Bill, there is massive scope for pet lovers-turned-photographers as, “the speed and ease of digital has made pet photography more accessible to many more people and the industry has grown.”
Bill's journey might not look fascinating considering he was into photography too, but we have even seen the likes of a retail banker changing career because she wanted to “feel good” about what she did every day and know that she was “making a difference for the better.”
If you happen to be a pet lover who knows photography or a photographer who happens to love pets, here's a small guide on starting your own pet photography business.
Aerospace Engineering to Agriculture
If there is one thing that millennials have it right (other than technology), it is sustainability. But Rikin Gandhi, CEO of Digital Green, went a step ahead. He connected technology and sustainability.
Aerospace engineer by profession, Gandhi grew up wanting to be a pilot. However, his wish never took flight. In 2006, he visited India as part of a Microsoft Research India's project. Being an Indian-American, he hadn't ever seen an Indian village and it was a new experience for him. But soon he found his calling in a remote Indian village – creating a sustainable agricultural environment through use of technology. He founded Digital Green which helps farmers across the country to share agricultural tips and best practices through videos.
Words of Wisdom
Gandhi wanted to make a real difference to farmers' lives. “I spent a few months thinking what could be done and how can we intervene. I figured that featuring local farmers in the videos and enabling them to make their own videos will create a bigger impact,” he says. “When I started Digital Green, I wasn't sure how successful it will be. But within two months of the screening of the first video, 58 percent of the farmers had implemented the lessons learnt on their farms,” added the CEO.
However, it was not all peach and roses for him and his team. They had a hard time producing videos because it was not a professional expert but a farmer behind the lens. Digital Green is making use of a lot of tools to catalyze change, from analytics to Farmerbook, (a Facebook-like application for farmers), they are trying everything to connect local farmers with technology.
The truth is technology doesn't always hurt our environment or our social fabric. There are hundreds of examples where technology has helped create extraordinary solutions for people living in remote locations.
Digital Green's idea of sustainable farming through videos gathered steam because it was the easiest way to bring content to a segment of the population that wasn't technologically savvy. Small business marketing is taking to online videos like fish to water. Research shows that immediately after viewing a company's video consumers are far more likely to call them or visit their website. Make use of videoconferencing technology and tools such as ClickMeeting that helps you reach remote vendors, customers and partners, educate them via webinars, hold moderated private chats, and record them in videos to be distributed in any way you want.
Football Star to Tech Geek
Yes, you read that right! We have seen countless movies where geeks rise from obscurity and turn into stars, but this former NFL player changed the direction of the north wind. Isaiah Kacyvenski is a Harvard grad and has played six seasons as a Seattle Seahawks linebacker.
Ever since his football days, Isaiah didn't fit the NFL mold. He was one of those exasperating people who raise a hand during team meetings voicing doubts and questions all the time. And this behavior often got him in trouble with his teammates.
When time came for his retirement, he decided he wanted to do something big and something creative. So he started a company called MC10 that makes wearable devices. He has over 80 employees today and his company has patented many inventions in digital medical devices. The success of his wearable skullcap device CHECKLIGHT proves that he is doing something right.
Words of Wisdom
Isaiah's story proves that passion overrides everything. It also shows that one person can have many passions – as we cannot deny his undying love for football. The trick is to understand when you have reached the zenith for one passion and when the time has come to begin another.
In an interview with Engadget, Isaiah said, “People are starting to understand that there is data pouring off of your body, 24/7. The age is coming where we're going to be able to capture that data for an extended period of time, and let you know when you're getting off the path.” He can clearly see a positive future for his second passion and knows it will bring in profits.
Wearable technology is here to stay. The field might be saturated with products, but certainly not with ideas. And it's easy to think of one – the challenge is in the application. If you are passionate about wearable technology, you absolutely must keep on top of technological (and biological) developments. Subscribe to this blog and this one. Oh, and this one too.
Coda: Passion Brings Profits
I think Frank Zappa has summed it up very nicely here. These three stories are real life examples that Frank is right. They stamp out that nagging but persisting myth that passion doesn't bring profits; they tell millions of young people to become passionate entrepreneurs and profits will follow. There is no if, no but, no either, and no or; if you are determined and passionate, success will follow.