As far as I’m concerned, it’s a word that people in the business world haphazardly throw around, like free candy when you go trick-or-treating. And just like chocolates, it lures, teases, and excites! Aspiring and brand-new entrepreneurs hear it over and over, like a broken record on Edison’s phonograph.
I’ve been mulling over it and I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to business, passion is terribly overrated.
Maybe I’m not much of a romantic, but I’m certainly a realist. Just because a piece of advice is so common, it doesn’t mean it applies to every person and/or business owner.
I could be very passionate about cars, but that doesn’t mean that I know the technical, financial, or logistical aspects involved in starting an automobile manufacturing company. Nor do I have the money, but that’s another story.
Or, I can be incredibly passionate about watching Netflix (which I’m not), and that doesn’t mean I can create a business out of it. Although it would be ace if I, or anyone else for that matter, could.
Anyway, plenty of people are passionate about all sorts of ridiculous things and ideas, it doesn’t mean they end up creating successful businesses. I think the problem is that too much emphasis is being placed on the concept of passion that people tend to rely solely on their passion, and have nothing to back it up. And in entrepreneurship, much more than passion, what’s substantive is actually having knowledge about the marketplace you’d like to penetrate and knowing how to work it.
If you lack substance and you’re unable to clearly articulate your experience in relation to your passion for your business, and unless you have the expertise, your passion amounts to nothing.
It’s time to break down and demystify passion.
WHAT IS PASSION?
Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion, an intense desire for something, a thing that arouses enthusiasm. It’s classified as an emotion. And what are emotions? They’re feelings that pass, that don’t last, that aren’t permanent. Put two and two together and you logically come to the conclusion that passion is fleeting. They appear just as quickly as they fade.
But passion is powerful, and often incredibly so. We all know that anything in excess can’t be good. When we’re in the throes of passion, we become blinded and we tend to do things we later regret. Heck, even passion fruit can cause cyanide poisoning, but you get what I mean.
Take this series of studies on choosing a career based on passion versus developing passion in a skill-based career choice. Researchers found that although both facilitate success, there were differences in the motivations and productive behaviors of the workers.
It was discovered that those who found passion in a career they chose based on objective reasons ended up being slightly more successful than those who simply just followed their passion.
What gave them the edge? A strong work ethic.
Just because you’re passionate doesn’t mean you have a strong work ethic.
A good work ethic exhibits resiliency, discipline, and desire to do a good job. People who have these qualities are the ones who are willing to put in the time and effort to start a business, to take a pay cut, to push through times when they face failure. Passion alone will not get you through trying times because it will most likely disappear when troubles come knocking.
Am I suggesting that you ignore your passion? Of course not, because it does have a significant function in starting and growing businesses. In fact, it’s quite often the reason why we choose to take risks. Nevertheless, passion isn’t enough to keep a business afloat when you hit the entrepreneurial wall.
If that doesn’t convince you, maybe this will:
IT FUELS YOUR FIRE, BUT PASSION WON’T PAY THE BILLS
Fact is, it’s a harsh world out there and no matter how many people support you or are wishing you well, very few of them will show you the money. They may be very well-meaning, but few will actually offer the help you need, in the ways that really matter, when you get in a fix. As Dylan once said, “the world is cruel to the young, sentimental to the mature, and indifferent in between.”
So, if you’re working a 9-5 or exchanging time for money and dreaming of the life of an entrepreneur pursuing your “passion” — know that it’s not all wine and roses or sunsets and margarita-sipping in the Caribbean. Passion will not replace the security provided by a guaranteed paycheck, and you don’t get paid coffee breaks or reimbursed lunches either
Am I saying forget about your passion?
Not at all! I’m saying get the right help to steer your passion in the right direction. A guide that can help you generate feasible business ideas from your passion and who also has the chops to provide you with a roadmap that will take you where you want to be much faster than you can ever get yourself on your own.
I’m saying, minimize your losses… from the start! Otherwise, if all you’ve got to bank on is your passion, you’ll just be another number in the statistics. Check out the data if you don’t believe me.
In a survey of about 1,000 business owners in the US, Canada, and the UK who run companies with fewer than nine employees, a solid third revealed they’d lost the “passion” that they started with. And if you ask me, I think that number is probably much higher, as the other two-thirds may not have been entirely truthful
So, if you’re serious about translating your passion into a business, you need to check your motivation because doing so will turn your passion into a job. It may lead you to put all your eggs in one basket, so you better be determined not to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry.
Before you get on that rollercoaster ride that is entrepreneurship, with its high highs and very low lows, make sure to get the guidance you need from the right mentor/s.
My tip: MAKE MONEY.
Rather, make sure that that passion business of yours will make you money.
Because truth is, the most successful small business owners aren’t incredibly passionate about what they do. Maybe they are, but not in the way that we think. They generally enjoy their work and are happy to be running their own show, but what excites them the most about their business is the money.
A business is just a business. It exists to provide a living to its owners, its employees, and their families. If it’s run well, it can grow in value and become an asset to sell someday. The passion actually comes from all the things that a business can help you buy to make your life better: a nice house, maybe a few vacations, college education for your kids, a comfortable nest egg, some charitable donations, pursuing advocacy.
These small business owners like their business, but what they’re really passionate about is the idea of their business being able to afford them the things that they want in life.
BUT there’s A TON of hard work and multiple-hat-wearing involved before you get to the point where your business provides your needs and feeds your passions.
All the passion in the world won’t help you hire great employees. Just because you’re passionate doesn’t mean finding and acquiring customers will be a cinch. It’s not passion that will create systems and processes to streamline your operations; although having it will make this part of business-building much more bearable. So, while you need to have a passion for the business to do the things that need to be done, don’t think that relying on passion alone will get them done.
And if you need a quote from some famous and successful entrepreneur to make you understand that passion alone doesn’t cut it in business, let’s take billionaire Mark Cuban.
According to Cuban, passion is “one of the great lies of life everyone tells you.”
What matters, he says, is putting your time where your best skills are — “Passion isn’t what you need to focus on. If you put in enough time, you get really good. And nobody quits anything they’re good at, because it’s fun to be good, to be the best [at something].”
So, the question is, do you possess the knowledge capital to back up your passion? Do you have a combination of a history of acquiring skills, mitigating risks, and identifying market demand where opportunities reside?
Perhaps you may argue that intellectual capital couldn’t be accumulated and applied to a business if the entrepreneur were not excited by something in the first place. True, but it’s still not the entire answer to the puzzle – just part of it. If it were, then we might as well invest in dumb luck and the ability to “embrace failure”.
Needless to say, your passion needs to have the right motivation.
In general, there are three drivers to what makes people put effort into what they do: achievement (people work hard if they feel they will reach an end goal), affiliation (they will be recognized), and power (they will be rewarded). Unless you have the right motivation, your passion can only sustain you for so long.
THERE’S ALWAYS A BACK-STORY TO THE “PASSION” STORY
On the surface, you see all these startups seemingly living the life of their dreams by following their passion. What we don’t see is the shit-ton of work behind the scenes and for all you know, they’re just “projecting” because when you dig deeper, it’s common to find that “passionate” entrepreneurs have a bunch of family money in the bank that’s propping up their business. Or they’re a celebrity. Or they have a rich uncle. Or a bunch of low-paid workers working many hours. Or a supplier from China.
I don’t want to throw cold water on your dreams but just having “passion” isn’t going to hack it.
For the start-ups that succeed, their owners eventually realize that doing something that they’re passionate about still requires the same B.S. as any other business: hiring and firing, accounting, financing, marketing, selling, dealing with complaints, writing off debts, doing the laundry, taking out the garbage.
And if you think building your passion business will give you the opportunity to do more of what you’re “passionate” about — NOPE. Not at the start. Not until you have all your systems & processes in place and your business is in a stable place. In the meantime, you’ll be consumed with running the business.
SO, IS PASSION IMPORTANT?
Yes, IF the business borne of it fills a market need and earns you money. Let’s face it, the smartest business people know that you don’t have to be “passionate” about what you do as long as what you’re doing is contributing something that the world needs – and a profit can be made. That’s where real passion lies.
THE most important question, therefore, is: DO YOU WANT TO DO IT?
People have many reasons for taking a chance on their business ideas, but if you look for commonality, it’s the passionate desire to build, regardless. Entrepreneurs are always doing something they want or something that will get them what they want. Still, the desire by itself is insufficient. What distinguishes them from dreamers is that they act and they persist.
Passion is like icing on the cake. Believing that you should ONLY do what you’re passionate about is short-sighted, and thinking that passion will tide you over bad times is just foolish.
If you really have a burning desire to change your life and do something based on your passion that will create the life of your dreams, what’s better is to find something you genuinely like doing which can be a viable business and bring your passion into it!
Get the roadmap that will take your passion business to the level of your wildest dreams!
Join https://titanology.world/ — it’s free — and discover how to let your passion take you on a fulfilling business adventure! 😉
PS: Here’s me talking about it more in a short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f3dWcBPsAQ?sub_confirmation=1