Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. – Lao Tzu.
(This is a post by Nathalie Lussier).
Do you jump out of bed in the morning, excited about your work?
Whether you currently work for someone else or you’re your own boss, you probably think a lot about what work lights you up. After all, we spend over half our days working.
You’ve probably heard this recipe for success a hundred times before: follow your passion and you will have a successful business.
But does it lead to a “jump out of bed in the morning” excitement that you’re looking for, and is it sound financially?
Let me tell you my story…
I’m a scanner, a multi-passionate sparkler like you. I love so many different things, I’m a learning machine, and I couldn’t imagine just doing one thing as a career for the rest of my life.
Except there’s one thing I learned in my years as a self-directed business owner: you can’t make everything into an income stream. Nor should you try to optimize all of your passions.
There was a time when I thought that all I had to do was pick a topic or interest of mine and start a business and a blog around it… then poof! Instant lifestyle business that could support me financially while fulfilling my need to serve the world.
Except, that hasn’t been my experience, and I’m here to tell you how you can avoid the trap of turning your passions into unprofitable projects.
The Story Of Trial, Error, and The Passion Lesson.
Back when I was in college, I was studying to be a Software Engineer.
You know, a coder chick. I lived and breathed computers, worked at a few cool tech companies as an intern, and decided that I didn’t love the corporate world. Something about the dress code and the lack of passion. So I looked deep inside myself, and discovered there were a lot of things I was passionate about.
Healthy eating was one of them. This love for making people healthier developed while growing up. I watched so many of my family members suffer fatal heart attacks because of unhealthy lifestyles.
I took it upon myself to rid the world of heart attacks, armed with a few good smoothie recipes, and bunches of kale. I decided that this mission could also support me financially. Yes, it would be my new business!
So when I graduated from college, I turned down a job on Wall Street to start a web site called Raw Foods Witch. It was definitely a crazy move, especially to parents.
But it felt like the right move, and I trusted my intuition.
I didn’t have years of experience in nutrition, let alone a degree in the field, but I knew that getting my dad to eat more raw food had helped him lose weight and reduce his chest pains. That seemed like enough to go on, I’d learn the rest along the way.
I got my site up, started getting some traction, and then a funny thing happened. People started asking me who made my web site, and if I could answer their technical questions, and give them advice about online marketing.
Those were all things that came naturally to me, but I kept turning these people away because I was following my passion, helping people get healthy. That was supposed be the formula for success right?
Around that time, I read a book by Malcom Gladwell. It talked about the 10,000 hours that truly successful people put in to become stars in their field.
That’s when I realized the fork in the road I was facing.
I could either continue to follow my passion for health and wellness, dedicate myself completely to my craft, enroll in nutritional school to further my knowledge, and really make a go of it…
Or I could leverage the 10,000 hours I had already put into my computer career, and all the online marketing practices I had learned growing my raw food business…
Taking The Easy Road, Without Losing Your Passion.
I decided to turn my raw food business into a resource web site, where all the information people would need was there for the taking. Then I put all of my energy and my focus into my new technology focused business.
This new business turned into one of the most enjoyable, easy, and fun careers. I do strategic consulting with incredible clients, teach do it yourself technology programs, and I get to write articles like these to share my journey.
I couldn’t be happier.
So what did I learn from all of this agonizing over what type of business to start? I learned that:
- Your passions can stay hobbies and lifestyles, you don’t need to monetize everything you love
- If you want to start a business, pick something you’re good at, whether you’re naturally talented or you have hours of experience
- You don’t need to set your niche in stone when you start your business, you will figure it out once you start putting yourself out there
- Don’t start a business just to make money, start it because you want to make a difference in the world and the money will come
- Dedicate yourself to your craft and improving your knowledge, skills, and expertise without stop – and if you don’t, that’s not the right path for you
- Work with as many clients and customers as possible in the beginning, and you will find out what you like and what you don’t like
- Don’t spend ages trying to figure out a name, a tagline, or the perfect colors for your web site, these will all change down the line
- No matter what lifestyle business you start, focus on building an email list of people who want to hear from you – they’ll stick with you even if you change businesses
- Find other like minded business owners, and become friends with them – they will support you when you doubt yourself and lift you up when you need a hand
Anything Is Possible, You Just Need To Decide How Many Hours To Invest.
I would never be where I am today, running a profitable six figure business from my home office, working with my ideal clients, and truly changing lives if it weren’t for following my passion.
But it was that step away from my initial “pure passion project” and toward my natural talents and skills that really brought me success. And I have to say that I’m a lot more passionate about what I do today because I feel like I’m deploying all of my skills and no part of me is left unused.
That’s not to say that I couldn’t have invested more time into following my health passion, and becoming a true leader in that field. It just wasn’t what was right for me at the time.
Now that I’ve shared my story and my biggest take aways, I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know if you’ve had to learn the passion lesson… and if you’re currently mulling over your options, write down why you’re passionate about each one and what ones come more naturally to you. Then you’ll have your answers! See you in the comments!
Nathalie Lussier is a Software Engineer turned Digital Strategist, and she’s the creator of the Website Checkup Tool that tells you exactly what tweaks to make to your website to get more visitors, and increase engagement and sales.
She’s also a Taekwondo black belt, drinks green juice, and reads far too many books. Find her at www.nathalielussier.com & on Twitter.
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