Starting a business comes with truckloads of challenges and commitments, especially on the part of the business owner(s). Little wonder why the legendary Steve Jobs in his interview with Bill Gates talked deeply about having passion for your work. He said:
"You need a lot of passion for what you're doing because its so hard. Without passion, any rational person would give up.
So if you're not having fun doing it, if you don't absolutely love it, you're going to give up.
And thats what happens to most people, actually"-Steve Jobs
While most people always think about the financial aspect first, we've heard stories of entrepreneurs with mouth watery capital but yet weren't able to succeed in their businesses. When starting a business, it's very important to do some 'inner searching' and answer some honest questions.
It's very easy to get distracted by all the stories of people who have built successful businesses and are still scaling. What most people forget is that everyone is different; we are passionate about different things, have different skills, talents, gifts and we all have various ways of approaching an idea.
While John might be great at solving problems and making great forecasts, Jane might be more tech savvy and also prefer the creative side of things. In fact, both John and Jane might be passionate about different things entirely even if they are best friends right?
In order to build a sustainable passion-based business, an entrepreneur must understand that passion is not enough; you must be willing to go the extra mile towards building your business.
By answering some relevant questions first, you will be creating a better approach towards achieving your goals and executing on them faster with a clearer vision.
Let's face it; starting a business can be stressful. You will spend long days and nights planning, making decisions, asking deep questions and sometimes, you might feel like giving up. The one thing that will sustain and keep is your passion.
Passion in business is like a stamp that cannot be erased. As a business owner or potential entrepreneur, you will need to really find out what you're passionate about by asking certain questions. Your drive and enthusiasm for your business (product/service) will set you apart and make you sell your idea and product to your customers in a unique way that makes them feel connected to your brand.
You're the main marketer in your business and only you can get employees and customers attracted, connected and hooked to your vision. Without passion, your business will feel like struggling work and you'll always feel burnt out. Focus on how your passion is going to help someone's life to be better. Think about how you can serve people by adding value to the world.
2. What is your personality and what skills do you currently have?
Personality: When starting a business, going through a personality check will help you make the right decisions. So, think about everything from your temperament, attitude, habits, emotions and mindset. Are there certain things you need to adjust or change in order to be a great business owner? I'm sure we've all come across people who claim to be entrepreneurs but have a very bad attitude, to the extent that they drive their customers crazy and end up hurting the business.
The success of your business, customer approach and decision making process are all intertwined in your personality- directly or indirectly. You might get away with the fake it until you make it hype, but it won't last for long. The decisions you make in your business directly affect the success or downfall of it. You must be willing to stay true to yourself, but be bold and smart enough to take up challenges when they come by always improving on your personality.
Skills: What skills do you currently have and which do you need? Be honest and evaluate yourself. Figure out if you truly have the necessary skills needed to start a business, what you still need to learn and if you'll need to hire people to fill the space for where you lack skills.
Do a personal SWOT analysis, stick to your strengths and hire your weaknesses when you can. This doesn't mean you should wait until you have all the 'right' skills to start a business, but be willing to learn the basics needed to start and then commit to consistent growth.
3. What is the problem that your passion can solve?
Now, you have discovered your passion, but what can your passion really solve? In essence, you need to find out what the problem attached to your passion is and how you can be a solution. Identify a human need and meet that need in line with your passion-based business.
4. What is the solution to this problem? What is your product?
Now you've identified the problem that your passion can solve, it's time to identify your product. It's important that there is a demand for what you want to sell. Are people willing to pay for your product? Brainstorm and do your research, then come up with the right product that fits your passion and would enable you to deliver a valuable product. Focus on offering valuable products and services to your customers.
5. Who are the people that have the problem you are offering? Where are they?
Figure out your target market and customers. For example, if you sell women's clothing and accessories, who are you really catering to? Are your products targeted toward youth or older women or both? Would you rather offer high-end products for the working class and rich? Go the extra mile to identify your niche market and find out what they like and don't like.
It's also very important to discover where your customers 'hangout'. For example, if you're starting an online creative coaching business, are your customers mostly on Pinterest, Facebook or Forums? Listen to what they are complaining about, what they love, the keywords that always pop up and feel their heart beat by identifying what products will meet their needs.
6. Are you in a financial position to start a business? What will you really need?
What are the costs involved to start your business and how do you plan to cover them? Do you have money saved somewhere? Will you take a loan? Will you pitch to investors? Will you approach family/friends? Perhaps it's a combination of different things for you. Create a list needed and the costs associated with them, then decide on the best way to fund your business.
7. Who's on your ship and how can you leverage their expertise/support towards starting your business?
Having the right support system/team around you goes a long way towards the success of your business. Get guidance from your mentors, partners, good friends and experts too. Beyond just the advice, connections or financial help that you get from them, think about how your support team influences the way you think. The way we think and our belief system has an influence on our business.
8. What is your motive behind starting your business?
Honestly, one of the most important aspects of running a passion-based business is understanding your motive/purpose behind what you want to do. What drives you? Instead of neglecting your purpose behind starting your business, find out your main driver. Even during times you feel like giving up (and yes, you'll experience such phases), you need to be willing to stand tall, remember your core purpose and face your Goliath despite challenges.
Building a passion-based business goes beyond passion itself. It's important to know the motive (Your WHY) behind what you're doing and go the extra mile to understand the business aspect of your talent. Talent in itself isn't enough. Although it serves as the fuel for your work, even when you don't feel motivated, and nothing seems to be working, having more insight into the weight of the kind of business you would like pursue, including the market, is vital to building a sustainable passion-based business.