Passion is a word that is frequently thrown around to describe someone’s great interest and enthusiasm for a particular subject.
It is also frequently advised that when starting a business, you should chose an area that you are passionate about, so that you can be motivated to get out of bed in the morning everyday, and work on your business for years to come.
I think this is a really great thing – and I do believe that you have to have enthusiasm for a subject if you are going to build a business and sell products or services based on that subject.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that you walk into your local supermarket, grab the items that you want to buy and go to the checkout. How would you feel if the checkout operator didn’t even say hello or acknowledge you whilst serving you?
It wouldn’t make you motivated to return there to buy something else would it?
Now imagine that you walked into the same supermarket, and when you approach the checkout, the checkout operator gives you a big smile, and greets you with phrases such as “Hello there! Do you need a bag? Is there anything else you are after? Great, thank you and have a good day!”.
My guess is that you’d be returning to the second supermarket more frequently to do your shopping, right?
And that is why passion is extremely important in your business – it can be the key difference between a great service, or a horrendous one.
Having said that, something I’ve picked up over the last few years in business is that having PASSION ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH.
You shouldn’t start a business in something just because you are passionate about it – passion alone does not make a business work.
The way some people go around talking about building a business from your passion makes it sound like you only have to be passionate about the subject, and then the dollars will start rolling in. Which is absurd!
This may sound like common sense, but to some it’s not.
So what does make a business work?
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It’s easy to get blinded by passion, but if you are only focused on your passion for the subject or particular niche in which you have your business, it can be a quick route to failure – and here’s why.
The fact is that there are many elements to a business, and you need to get your business cash-flowing to make it work – no matter what business you are in, or what you are passionate about.
Because frankly, no sales = no business.
Being passionate about what you are doing is amazing, in fact, I would go as far as to say that it is necessary if you are going to operate your business long-term.
What you do want to avoid though (and what damages the hopes of many beginner internet marketers) is having over-attachment to your business, because of passion.
You see, when you are passionate about something, you treat it like your baby. It can never do anything wrong, it can never fail, it is always beautiful, and it is the best thing in the world (in your eyes!), no matter what happens.
With a real baby, that’s great! But your business is not your child, and even though it can be very easy to get blinded by passion for a particular subject, and not see when things start to go wrong, it’s imperative for the long term success and sustainability of your business that you don’t get blinded by your love and passion for it.
A great example would be Jessops (a photography company in the UK). They used to have a HUGE share of the photography market, in fact, they were one biggest photography companies around. If you needed a new film for your camera – you would go to them, if you needed to get a film developed – you would go to them.
So what happened to them?
They got so wrapped up in developing pictures from old films that they forgot to develop their business. They do still exist, but since the digitial photography market has rapidly expanded, lots of other companies have entered the industry (including Supermarkets such as ASDA!), so their share of the market has rapidly decreased.
Now you could say that this is simply due to rising competition in the market, but the fact is that Jessops got complacent (due to their passion for traditional photography), so they may have missed opportunities to diversify into other markets.
Don’t let that be your business. Don’t be blinded by passion to the point that you begin to miss opportunities, just because they are outside the ‘norm’.
Passion is a great thing to have, and it needs to be there to start a business and keep it going long-term. Just make sure you don’t get wrapped up in having so much fun yourself that you forget the people (customers) that you are serving and fall behind with the needs of the market!
Here are 4 things that you can do to ensure you expand your focus from your passion alone, to monetising and being in total control of your business:
1. Extend Your Passion From Enjoying What You Do to Being Passionate About Helping People
It’s great to be passionate about what you do, but it’s even more powerful if people can see that you are passionate about who you are doing it for as well.
Let me give you an example.
I recently met a university student studying Veterinary Medicine at Liverpool University in the UK. I asked her what area she wanted to specialise in (farm animals, small animals, equine/horses, etc.), and I expected her to say what most students seem to say – “oh I’m not too sure yet, I’ll see what happens”.
But boy was I wrong! To my surprise, her response was rather more concrete than that. She said something along the lines of – “I’ve always loved horses, since I was about 6 years old, and I want to be an equine vet. I love riding them, I love looking after them, and I love making sure that all horses are being well cared for, and are given the treatment that they deserve from vets, when they need it”.
She knows exactly what she wants, she knows exactly where she’s going, and she’s not only passionate about horses, but she’s also passionate about caring for them.
To be honest, she was so passionate about everything to do with horses – enjoying herself as well as serving the animals – that she started to make me want to get involved with them too. That’s what happens when someone is so passionate from all sides about something – they just make everyone else want to get involved as well!
So be sure that you let your customers know that you are passionate about helping them, as much as you are passionate about running your business.
Everybody likes to feel like they are getting special treatment, and using your passion in this manner can really make them feel that way.
2. Always Focus On How You Can Improve Your Product or Service
When you are just focusing on having fun in your business, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in how passionate you are about the business and the niche you are in.
However, if you expand your focus, and use that passionate energy to improve your product or service, then things start to click in to place.
Shifting your focus towards improving your product or service will do 2 things:
- It means you will always be selling something that is completely relevant to your customers – maintaining the demand for your product or service.
- When mixed with your extended passion for helping people, you will be almost guaranteed to make sales – because everybody wants to feel important, and everybody wants something that is good value and up to date.
So it’s not only essential for business development, but it also expands your mind towards having fun in the area of your passion, while using that energy to help your customers.
3. Keep Up With the Latest Developments in Your Niche, and Be Ready to Adapt When Change is Imminent
This one directly serves both you and your customers.
It serves you because if you are passionate about the subject in which you have a business, you won’t mind furthering your knowledge about it, right? So keeping up with and learning about the latest developments in your chosen subject or niche will serve your passion for the subject.
It also serves your customers because the new and improved up-to-date you will be able to build better products and provide better services for them.
You also won’t be at risk of falling off the map because you can’t keep up – which means that they can keep coming to you for solutions to their problems, for many years to come (rather than having to start the process of finding a good provider all over again for new information).
So it’s a win-win all around on this one!
4. Always Remind Yourself That the World is Forever Changing and Evolving
This is the most important one of all.
When you are passionate about something, and get really good at doing whatever it is that you do in particular way, it can be very difficult change.
But the reality is that what has worked in the past may not always work in the future, and you have to make sure you are prepared, ready and open to change should you need to do so, to survive in your industry.
Take Tiger Woods, for example. He was the best golfer of his day, and still is an amazing golfer. He got to the top, and got comfortable. He decided to change is swing in order to improve and stay ahead. This meant that for some time, he dropped down the rankings until his new swing was perfected, and he was also hit with a tidal wave of attack from the media, saying that he “peaked too young”, and was now out of the game for good.
At this point, he could have let the negative media attacks get to him, and given up all together.
But no, Tiger Woods was different, and knew that it was only a matter of time before he proved them all wrong.
After he had fully perfected his new swing, he capitalised on his opportunity to do exactly that – he stormed to the top once again, and was back where he belonged.
This story is very significant to the point which I am making here.
Tiger Woods got to the top. The number 1 golfer in the world. He could have decided to just sit there, enjoy himself, and do what he has always done. But no, that wasn’t good enough for Tiger Woods. He knew that there would be some young hot shot, with a better swing than him, who would be waiting in the wings to knock him off the top spot.
So instead of waiting for that to happen, he was proactive, and took action before somebody else did.
Yes he kind of knocked himself off the top in the end (all-be-it temporarily) until his new swing was perfected, but the main thing is that he knew that he would not stay at the top unless he continuously adapted, changed and improved his approach.
So he embraced that, was prepared to change, and therefore got back to the top and stayed there.
Business is a cycle, and it has seasons – just like the weather.
Sometimes you have to be prepared to ride out the Autumn and Winter, so that you can re-grow in the Spring and flourish in the Summer.
To wrap up, there are numerous things that make a business successful, and depending on who you speak to, some will claim that one is more important than the other and vice versa.
In reality, they are all as important as each other.
Be passionate, strive to always improve, extend your passion to helping people, and keep up with the changes in your marketplace.
Doing those 4 things alone will help you use your passion productively in your business, for the good of both yourself, and your customers.
So over to you… How do you use your passion to better your business?