How to Build a Business You're Passionate About

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 Written by Ken Oboh

passion-entrepreneurship-article

Do it with Passion or Not at All

Many moderately successful businesspeople build successful businesses without having a burning passion for them, but there are downsides to this approach. It can be compared to physically pushing a car with brute force to its destination — the car may eventually get there, but you run out of steam at some point along the journey.

This approach to business doesn’t leave most people happy or fulfilled in the long run. They only end up feeling the physical brunt of the work, rather than connecting emotionally with their companies’ goals and mission. For this reason, it is vital to not just have passion, but an all-out, uncontrollable, raging, ridiculous obsession with the business and industry.

Finding Your Future

Many professionals understand the need to work in a job or field they are passionate about; however, they have never had the chance to truly explore where their dedication and interest lie. For those who want to make the leap into a passion-fueled business, here are some tips on determining what type of job or industry would provide for a fulfilling future.

1. What annoys you?

Irritating, or even infuriating, product or service issues can sometimes point to what you inherently value and have an eye for. The chance to create something better may be your best motivating factor for building your own.

2. How do you spend your free time?

The way you voluntarily spend your time is a good place to begin. It may not be immediately obvious how this interest could become a business, but the Internet is full of opportunities to turn passion into commerce. One option is becoming an “information publisher.” For instance, if you love gardening or are a model train enthusiast, you can use social media networks to connect with like-minded people, then write about your subject and publish content through online platforms. Over time, you can establish yourself as an expert on the subject.

3. What type of people or groups are you drawn to?

Consider the type of people you like to be around and the subjects you talk about with others. Do your friends come to you to find out about the next great restaurant — or what club to visit next? Rediscover what you already love talking about, and see if there’s a way to build an expanded following surrounding this topic. You’ll find that producing content for a blog or other online venue will be easy because you already know, understand, and have a passion for the subject.

Strategies for Launch

Money can often be the biggest obstacle when attempting to build a passion-fueled business. If you’re ambitious and want to start a business, you will need to make money in the short term to keep yourself going until your business begins making enough to support you. It’s possible your passion could be immediately profitable, but oftentimes, it takes a while for your idea to get off the ground and make enough money to be a financially viable option. Depending on your current situation, there are multiple options for making your passion a business while you continue to pay the bills.

Situation #1: You have a day job that you don’t completely hate, and it leaves you with enough time to follow your passion and begin to build your business on the side.

Business strategy: Keep your day job and concentrate on building your passion into a business with every spare minute you get. Eventually, your business will develop to the point where it’s making enough money to enable you to quit your day job and make your new business your focus.

This strategy will help keep your passion pure, meaning you won’t have to put the pressure of making fast money on your business. This is probably the best way to build a business around something you’re passionate about because you can allow it to grow organically, rather than by force. It will begin to make money when you’ve created something of true value that people are willing to buy again and again.

Situation #2: You hate your job and want to become your own boss as soon as possible, but your passion cannot immediately be turned into a profitable business.

Business strategy: Find a simple business that will generate profit daily, and replace your current day job. Use this as a short-term moneymaking measure, or as a bridge between your current job and your long-term goal of building your passion into a profitable business.

Beware, though: don’t fall into the trap of continuing to expand this small, day-to-day business; only use it as a temporary replacement until you can get your desired business running smoothly.

Situation #3: You are young, single, and do not yet have a family to support.

Business strategy: Consider moving back into your parents’ house so you can reduce your expenses to the very minimum. This will help you avoid having to worry about making money in the short term and allow you to focus only on your business.

In any of these cases, start with as little capital as possible, and be willing to patiently build your passion into a profitable business over the long term.

Create Value First

The founders of some of the most well-known businesses didn’t launch businesses so they could simply examine revenue numbers; they were driven by a passion to express themselves and connect with people who also shared their values and interests.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook wanted to connect students and make it easier to communicate online. Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google wanted to build a better search engine. Anita Roddick of Body Shop was motivated by issuing fair pay to suppliers in developing nations, as well as advancements in the formulation of organic beauty products. Jamal Edwards of SB.TV was obsessed with documenting young musicians in his neighborhood.

Each of these successful individuals created a company that built upon his or her passions and interests. It’s not an easy path to begin upon, but it is one that can lead to not only a more fulfilling career, but also a more fruitful and energized life. Don’t waste your passion at a 9-to-5; build something that can truly change your — and your audience’s — life.

Ken Oboh is the co-founder of REMIX.com and UMIX.com, two music sites that give users the power to be their own DJs. Ken is a serial entrepreneur in the entertainment industry.

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