When was the last time you asked yourself, “Is this my passion? Do I love what I’m building? Do I love it enough to continue doing this forever?” The reason we read book after book about passion being the key to every successful business is because it will be the driving force to keep you motivated to stick with your business through the ups and downs, and to not only invest your money but also your precious time in order to reach your goals.
We tend to be passionate about things we are good at. We enjoy the activities that come naturally to us. Yet having passion and being good at something isn’t always enough to create a successful business. The most successful business owners take their passion and build on it by continuing to learn, develop and grow their skills. In order to make any new business a success, you need to commit to continually improving your skills and experience so you are consistently moving forward and growing your passion…and that includes investing in yourself.
Let me reemphasize the importance of passion. It keeps you energized and helps you enjoy what you do. Because building a business often requires a serious time commitment, this is a critically important factor.
Passion is infectious. Potential investors can get swept up in your passion. Employees may be inspired to work harder on behalf of the business. Customers may share your excitement about a new product or service.
Passion breeds patience and a willingness to endure. Patience enables you to see the big picture and helps you make better business decisions.
But passion is not enough. You need equal proportions of passion, growing skills (what you can be the best in the world at) and an economic engine (products and services), which can be fueled by the first two. If you can’t use your skills or experience to build a profitable business, then what you have is a hobby, not a business.
When you work for someone else, all you have to do is show up on time, leave on time and, in between, you have to do the work that your boss tells you to do. When you go home, you probably leave all that behind and enjoy your time with your family and your friends.
When you work for yourself, you go from wearing one hat to wearing many hats. You need to know a little about a lot in order to succeed. You are now the marketing department, sales, accounting, maintenance, and everything in between. From the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, you’ll be thinking about your business: how to increase sales, how to increase income, how to get more done, how to handle challenges, and how to get more time out of the day.
Here are some ideas to grab that passion, incorporate it into your business, and make sure that you are on the right path.
1. Start with your “WHY.” Unless you have a compelling “why,” it will be very difficult to stay focused and stick with your business when you hit some of the speed bumps. Is there something you would do, even if you didn’t get paid?
2. Identify your interests and what’s driving you at this point of your career and life. What topics are you paying attention to? How do you spend your free time? What is it that you want to create in your life and in your business?
3. Get clear on what you want and what you’ve got to offer. What are you good at? What can you be the best in the world at?
4. Create a plan for achieving the results that you want. Start with the end in mind and work backwards to see what your progress would look like.
5. Execute your plan. This is where you get started. Which financial products are you most passionate about and what consumers truly need and want?
Every now and then, it’s time to go back and review your initial goals and objectives. Have they changed? Have you added to them? Is the business still your passion? No matter what, things do change. Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it.
Don’t Lose the Passion
Don’t lose the passion that brought you to the dance. It can get lost when you are consumed in the day-to-day activities of running a business. Try to keep that passion on fire so that it continues your chance of success.
Here are a few ideas to ensure your passion fuels your success.
1. Profile your customers. Who are your most valuable customers? Can you describe them in 50 words or less? What do they value?
2. Play 20 questions. If your five most valuable customers are sitting in a room with you, what would you want to know about them that would help influence their decision-making process?
3. Who are your strategic partners? Who is already in your space that compliments, not competes with you?
4. Have your 30-second talk ready and make it strong. Learn it and be able to say it in any setting. This is simply to get them to say “Tell me more,” but not selling them anything.
5. Take your passion and use it as one of your business strategies. What do you love about your business? Have a list of the top 10 reasons why you are passionate about your business. Keep it with you so that you can review it often.
Remember why you started your business. Go back and think about how that felt when you first decided to do it…and do it again. Always remember that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.