I am a huge proponent for building a business built on what you are passionate about. I am truly passionate about creating businesses and teaching others how to build businesses so they can live a life they want through personal financial freedom. I?ve also worked on businesses that I wasn?t passionate about, thinking money was all I needed, and trust me, it is NOT worth it!
Below I share eight hard-earned lessons I?ve learned over the years about following YOUR passion in business. I explain why passion is so important when building a business, and also why it isn?t the only thing you can rely on for success.
1. Money doesn?t provide satisfaction.
In my experience, more and more money can actually equate to more and more stress. Luckily, I love what I do, so it excites me. However, I have abandoned profitable businesses that did not align with my passion. If you think that… “once I get money, everything is going to be better”… you may be in for disappointment. Money does not provide satisfaction. Money is a tool, and that’s all I ever look at money as. Money, in my opinion, should never be an end goal, but a resource that helps you achieve that goal (such as in my case money is the tool that helps me achieve my goal of a specific lifestyle I want to live). The reality is you usually don’t need as much money as you think you need to achieve and if the way you are making money now is causing you to be stressed and miserable? do something else (yes, YOU are in control of that choice)!
2. Believe in what you’re doing or selling.
If you don?t, your customers are going to notice. Sell something that you are actually proud to recommend to your grandmother, to your grandfather, to your best friend. If you’re embarrassed and don’t want people to tie you to the company of what you’re selling, or you would not even purchase what the product (or service) yourself, chances are it is going to be felt on the customer’s end as well. It’s close to impossible to provide a great customer experience when you don’t believe in what you are selling. If your customers do not feel the company behind their purchase is passionate about what they offer, they will eventually leave you and migrate to one that does.
3. You need to find out what your passion is.
What causes you to get louder when you talk? What things do you feel extremely comfortable talking about others with? What do you wake up in the morning excited about? For example, I think being healthy is mandatory for long term happiness in life, but I am not passionate about the topic. I don’t get up and get excited about it, the only reason I get up to exercise is because I force myself to so I stay reasonably healthy. What I do get excited about however, is creating, growing, and running my businesses, and teaching people how to do the same. I love reading business books, reading business articles and talking about business. Figure out what you love to read about and talk about, then figure out how to monetize that passion.
4. Commit to it.
Fear will destroy everything you build, even if you are passionate about your business. You’re going to face moments where you?ll NEED courage to push through. Passion isn?t always enough to push through… sometimes you need that extra bit of courage to keep doing what you love. The words I live by are, ?Today, do the things you are afraid of, so tomorrow you can accomplish what others only dream of.” Just because you are passionate about something, does not mean fear will disappear. Passion simply helps fuel your courage, but at the end of the day, if you are not truly committed to your business (willing to have courage through the difficult times and do the things you are afraid of), no amount of passion will help.
5. If you’re not having fun, then you’re just working a job.
Just because you’re working from home, and you?re your own boss, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be happy. You could still hate what you’re doing, and it will feel like you?re working another J-O-B. In fact, sometimes it feels worse because if you are doing it alone, you have no one else to talk with and the negativity can start to take a toll on you both emotionally but also physically. I wake up in the morning excited to work because I absolutely love what I do and feel like I am making an actual positive difference in people?s lives, and that is in every business I am part of (real estate, investing, e-commerce, online business education).
6. Roadblocks are going to happen. Passion gets you through them.
If you don’t like what you’re doing and roadblocks come up (even small ones), what’s going to give you that energy to push through? Your business is going to have big hits happen, and they’re going to be uncomfortable and sometimes even stop you in your tracks. If you’re not doing something that you’re passionate about, and that you enjoy doing, when those roadblocks come, it’s going to be VERY difficult to want to push through. On the other hand, when you are passionate and excited about what you are doing, roadblocks seem to become dramatically smaller and ‘giving up’ is pretty much removed from your vocabulary.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others.
It’s your passion, not theirs. If you compare your passion to your peers? you may start thinking, “I’m not good enough. My passion isn?t as good as John?s. I really should be doing what he is doing.” Stop focusing on what everyone else is doing, and look within yourself. Your passion could be something you already do daily. A passion is personal to you and only you. Focus on yourself and your passion, and try not to compare yours to your peers and friends.
8. If you?re not planning, you?re failing.
Being passionate about something doesn?t automatically mean you?re going to be successful. You must have a plan of what you want to achieve because if you don?t have a plan, you’re planning to fail. Your business might be something you are very passionate about, but you still must treat it like a real business. Research how you can monetize your passion, create a plan, stick to your plan, and help your passion become a truly successful business (passion cannot do it alone).
Are you following your passion? Have you suffered trying to run a business for the wrong reasons? Have you ever experienced starting over to follow your passion? I would love to hear from you and your thoughts about this, so please comment below and let’s share our knowledge together.
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.