Passion Is Overrated and Not a Prerequisite for Entrepreneurial Success

Following your passion mindlessly and trying to turn it into a business is the worst thing you can do for yourself. It is the wrong step in the right direction.
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Do you believe that you have to be passionate about your business to be successful? Everyday I come across articles that tell you to follow your passion or people that insist that they need to quit their job to follow their passion.

When I hear that, I disclose to them very gently that they are thinking about it all wrong.

A lot of time people tell me they want to start their own business and they are making a list of their passions so that they can figure out what kind of business they want to start. If you are one of them and are thinking of starting a business or quitting a job because you want to follow your passion and believe that you can turn your passion into a business, may I please stop you right here.

Following your passion mindlessly and trying to turn it into a business is the worst thing you can do for yourself. It is the wrong step in the right direction. You might have many passions, you might even be great at one or two but why and how does your greatness in your passion steer other people to pay you money for your services?

When you want to use a passion as an avenue solely to make money, you are gravely putting yourself at risk. The right way to approach it is to first examine if your passion or that "thing you are into", translates into service to others. Are you able to serve others with your passion? Your business is about your customers, it is about their needs, not your passion.

Recently, I was working with a client and we were working on identifying her niche. Eventually we came up with two powerful niche topics. One that my client is completely passionate about and knows that she would enjoy doing. And the other which she is certainly an expert at and more importantly people seek her out to get her help on it. When we walked through the exercise, her instant reaction was to jump at her primary passion as her chosen niche. But after subsequent mind maps and brainstorming, she came to the conclusion that it was short-lived. She is unable to serve her customers in her passion niche because there aren't many customers asking for that service.

Many times, people express to me that they want to do something but they don't know where their passion lies. This continues for quite a few months or even years, they are still finding their passion.

Passion is an excuse for not doing what you want to do. With my client, if we had quit there and not pursued the second choice, she would not be able to serve the people that she is serving now. After a few months, she has cultivated her passion to her current choice which helps her become financially independent.

Steve Jobs was passionate about Eastern Mysticism and stumbled upon Apple. He chose to cultivate his passion into Apple and built it to what it is today.

The other aspect to passion is when you are so passionate about something that you have to do something about it. At that instance, do what you are passionate about but don't put undue pressure on your passion to use it to help you pay bills.

If you are passionate about playing the drums or writing, do it when you have the time, at nights or lunch breaks. Start it, hone your craft and relieve the pressure off of it, so that you can give your creative best. Don't demand your passion to pay bills. When you do that, you are putting so much at risk that it is bound to fail or you are sure to lose the motivation and the inspiration to keep going.

Usually, people are under the impression that a passion is not real until it pays the bills. Untrue. You can certainly follow your passion, but follow it for yourself. Follow it because it makes you happy. And then if a real business comes out of it, that's great. But don't try it the other way around.

In the entrepreneurial world, passion is not enough. So focus on what serves other people and don't forget to throw in a good measure of hard work and determination to move forward even when times are rough. When you do that, you are sure to cultivate passion for your entrepreneurial venture and make it a success.


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