Woman Throwing Money at Poker TableHave you dreamed of being your own boss? Do you have a passion (maybe writing, cooking, or landscaping) that you’d love to turn into a business? If so, you’re one of the fortunate few who has the opportunity to start a business doing something you love.

After working with thousands of entrepreneurs over the past decade, I’ve learned some important lessons when it comes to turning a passion into profit:

1. Think about others

There’s an old saying “Love what you do and the money will follow.” While it’s nice in theory, reality doesn’t always work this way. Certainly, passion and doing something you love are important keys to success. But in order to build a profitable business, you need to offer something that others are looking for. After all, the market doesn’t care that you’re fulfilling your lifelong dream. Customers spend money on products and services that fill a need or desire. Therefore, you’ve got to think about what your passion can mean to others. Will people buy what you’re selling?

2. Get over the fear

Too often, people don’t follow their dreams, because they’re afraid of failing. As Sven-Goran Eriksson once said,“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” When you’re starting a business, it’s easy to worry about how things will turn out, but you can’t let a fear of failure stop you from moving forward. Just remind yourself how frequently even the most successful entrepreneurs have failed. And remember, that if you never try, then you’ve already failed from the start.

3. Don’t forget your “day job”

If you already have a full-time or part-time job, you may want to keep working while you get started on the new business. There’s a lot of planning tasks that can be done on the side, such as creating your business plan, choosing a business/domain name, designing a logo and branding, and getting your website, marketing materials, and even your product in place. While this plan may involve some very late nights and busy months, you’ll benefit from having a steady paycheck and your business will be ready to rock and roll from day one.

4. Be smart about your financing

Be realistic about matching your business plans with your available funding. If you don’t have tons of extra capital to spend upfront on the business, don’t launch a company with lots of overhead and expensive product inventory. However, you can start a business today with a small investment.

5. Surround yourself with support

Turning passion into profit is usually a long and challenging journey. Stay motivated during the tough times by surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and your vision. You might also want to join a formal entrepreneur or business leader group that meets on a regular basis. Forming relationships with fellow business owners gives you a chance to learn from others, share business models, and problem-solve common challenges.

As you’re starting your own business, there will inevitably be ups and downs. It’s important to celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small. You’ve got an exciting journey ahead of you, so make sure you enjoy the ride.

Editor’s note: This was originally written by Nellie Akalp for BlogHer.