Live with Passion

If You Do What You Love, Will the Money Really Follow? There is a saying that goes, “Do what you love; the money will follow.” Although this is noble and possibly true, there is more to small business success than simply doing what you love. Don't get me wrong. Doing what you love is indeed the first prerequisite when choosing the right business, but it is just that—a first step. Live with Passion What is it that you love? In life, we tend to succeed and perform well when we are engaged in something that we really enjoy. Your business should be no different. Richard Branson did not start Virgin Music because he thought that music would be profitable but because he loved it. What about you? By now, you know what excites you, what it is that you love most. You know what you like to do, what your passions are, what is fun for you, and how you like to spend your time. Barbara Winter, in her great book Making a Living without a Job, says that passion leads to purpose: once you get in touch with those things you are most passionate about, you can begin to create a business of purpose around those things. That is your first assignment: deciding which of your passions you love enough to start a business around. Remember, your business will become your baby, and like any baby, it will require a lot of love, time, money, and attention if it is to grow strong and healthy. Of those resources, right now, you should be most concerned with time. Your new business will take a lot of time, so pick something that you love doing because you will be spending a lot of time doing it. Once you know what you love enough to spend all day, every day doing it, you need to figure out what business you could start that relates to that love. Say, for example, that you love plants and gardening, and you have decided that you want to spend every day doing something related to those things. What are your choices? You could, for instance: Start a nursery. Open a flower shop. Start a lawn care business. Grow organic vegetables. Buy a farm. Start a winery.
This is the time for one of those “anything goes” brainstorming sessions. Go for it. Write down any kooky idea that you have. No limits! There are few times in life when the stars align themselves just so and we have a chance, not only for a fresh start, but for a fresh start that is completely of our own choosing. Usually, money is tight, the opportunity passes, or something else conspires to interfere with a brand-new beginning. But if you are at a place where you are reading this and you are ready to start your own business, and you have the wherewithal to do so, and you can choose any business you want, then savor this moment, for it is rare indeed. Although it is good and wise to let your mind roam, it is equally shrewd, afterward, to come back down to Earth. What if, instead of gardening, what you love most is nineteenth-century Flemish architecture, and you have decided to become a Flemish architecture consultant? However interesting that may be to you, and although it certainly would scratch your Flemish architecture itch, if you cannot find people who are willing to pay you for your expertise, people who are willing to buy the product you want to sell, you do not have a business, you have a bust. Be realistic—there must be a market for the product or service that you plan to offer. Assuming, then, that you have decided to pick a business that is a passionate practicality, the last question to be answered is whether you will be able to make sufficient profit from it. There is no sense in starting a business, however much you might love the idea, if you will not be able to make a good living. One reason we go into business for ourselves is the chance to make more money.
Whatever business you want to start, then, whatever product or service you decide to sell, you have to be able to sell it at a price that is high enough to make a profit but low enough that people will buy it. It is not always an easy balance. Why do so many stores in expensive malls go out of business? Because even with a great concept, if their overhead is too high, making a profit is mathematically impossible. Before jumping into a business, you have to crunch some numbers. Do your research. How much does a small business of the type you want to start make? How quickly do they make it?
Caution! Too many new entrepreneurs fall in love with their idea and become convinced that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Do not make this mistake. You must strive to be as objective as possible. Do other people like your idea as much as you do? Ask around. Get feedback. Crunch some numbers. Be a businessperson. Although hunches and intuition are great, you need some objective criteria before making the leap into the land of entrepreneurship.


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