“When I wake up in the morning, my passion gives me tremendous energy and excitement to work on my business”. “Passion makes the time fly by when I’m focused on my business”. “Passion enables me to conquer any challenge or obstacle that comes my way”. These are just a few of the comments that I recently received when I asked a group of budding entrepreneurs about the role that “passion” plays in entrepreneurship and business.
Undoubtedly, passion plays a key role in entrepreneurship. Whether a business idea is passion-led or it grows over time, being passionate about your business is an emotion – a state of enthusiasm, excitement, energy, motivation, and desire to be successful regardless of any obstacle that gets in your way. You’ve heard the adage “follow your passion”. What does it mean, and why should you have passion when running your business? Passion generally follows your natural strengths and interests. And while your strengths and interests can evolve over time, so can your passion.
I recently met with a colleague who wants to start her own business. When I asked about her business idea, she told me that she didn’t have one – she then proceeded to ask me what she should do. I encouraged her to think about her strengths, and her interests. By focusing inward on these two areas (her passion), she was able to consider what she might be able to solve for others, either as a product or service based business. This thought process helped her to identify some business ideas for which she has passion.
“Follow your passion” is a much different approach than I took with my first startup businesses. Back then, all I could think about was that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and an owner of a company, and not much else was important to me. Rather than focusing on my passion (my interests and strengths), I entered into two separate businesses, neither of which ultimately proved to be a very good fit for me personally. Compare those experiences with my most recent business startup (a boutique winery), which was completely passion-led. The results were night-and-day different. Throughout the five years of launching and growing a winery business, I never thought about the amount of time and energy I was putting forth. My mornings, evenings, and weekends all ran together. I had so much energy, that I was able to operate this business in addition to meeting the demands of my more-than-full-time job. My enthusiasm transcended all with whom I came in contact – customers, partners, and suppliers. And although I sold my portion of the business in 2011, looking back, it was nothing short of an incredible experience and journey.
For those of you contemplating starting a business, I encourage you to consider the level of passion you have for your idea, for true passion has the ability to motivate and energize you in ways you may have never imagined.