It’s been a more than couple of decades now, since the world was introduced to a novel concept: ‘do what you love and the money will follow.’
How liberating! Finally, permission to leave your hum drum job, bad company, rotten manager and follow your bliss. Actually strike out on your own, do something you’ve always been passionate about, and watch the money roll in.
It’s absolutely empowering. You’re not stuck anymore! You’re actually dizzy with excitement.
Why didn’t someone tell you that before?
Why didn’t you tell yourself that?
If that’s what you’re thinking, it’s time for a reality check.
It takes more than passion to succeed in business. And, while following one’s bliss may work for some, it fails for most.
Why is that? I’ll tell you. I’ll even use myself as an example.
I’m passionate about music, but I don’t play an instrument and I can’t tell a high C from a low one. Being good at music appreciation is a far cry from being a virtuoso performer. I would never succeed in the in the music business.
Rule#1: If you’re intent on doing what you love, make sure you’re good at it. There are a lot of poor musicians out there playing to empty houses.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be was a doctor. I was sure I would save mankind and find a cure for some mysterious ailment. When I realized it also involved needles, I realized being a doctor was not for me.
Rule #2: If you’re intent on doing what you love, make sure you’re realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.
But enough about me.
Let’s say you took the leap. Left a bad job and started your own business selling gizmos. Gizmos are your passion. You’ve bought them, collected rare ones and even made your own for as long as you can remember. You’re jazzed about the idea of throwing caution to the wind and going into the gizmo business. You’re sure your knowledge and enthusiasm will make you a star. You know everything there is to know about them and can talk them up from now until you know what freezes over. You know your knowledge and passion will excite customers enough to buy.
But guess what? Your customers aren’t as excited as you are. In fact, most of them simply don’t care about you.
They want you to tell them what value that gizmo of yours could bring to their lives:
- How will it make their lives better or easier?
- Will it save them time?
- Why do they need it?
- Why is buying it from you more valuable than if they purchased it – at the same price as your competitor?
Rule #3: Your value is determined by your customers. To succeed you need to determine who your competitors are and what you can provide or do differently than they can. Then, define your difference in the language your customers not only understands, but feels. They need to believe you. How will you show them?
Lastly, understand that any business founded on bliss alone is short-sighted. To succeed at living your dream, you must also embrace the hard skills of owning and managing a business.
It means managing people, selling, accounting, inventory, CRM, hiring the right employees and being able to fire the wrong ones. It means listening, making projections, stashing away at least 2-3 times the cash you think you need to get you through a dry spell. You need branding and networking, You need to continue to learn and grow all the time, while at the same time deliver value consistently.
Living the dream sure sounds good, but it’s not a skate. In fact, it’s far from it. But done correctly, and wisely, it can be the most satisfying of all possible worlds.
My question to you is, will doing what you love be worth it?
Rule #4: If you have any doubts, keep your day job.