We live in an age where many believe that “following your passion” is good advice for making decisions. Especially big decisions such as what career path to choose or what kind of business to build.
Truth be told, on its own, it’s really bad advice – especially if you wish to succeed in either of those endeavours. As a work at home mum, you have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Can you afford to spend your limited free time on a business that you enjoy but is doomed to fail before it even sets off?
Here are 5 things to consider before you build a business based on what you love rather than what you know.
Passion is flaky
If you were to hire someone whose key responsibilities in a business were to be:
- deciding the direction to take your business
- motivating you to perform your best and
- ensuring you loved turning up to work day in and day out
Could you afford to hire someone who kept changing their mind, turned up less than half the time or was generally quite flaky?
By choosing to build a business around your passion, that’s exactly what you would be doing. If you build a business based on what you think you love doing, then you’ll find that you may never have a clear direction moving forward.
Passion tends to change its tune, and rather quickly mind you. What you like changes so often that building a business on such a foundation is a recipe for disaster.
What are you actually passionate about?
Think back to the days you were growing up when people would ask you “ what do you want to be when you grow up?” If you are anything like the rest of humankind, you probably had no idea. You might have made up an answer though, deep down, you probably weren’t all that sure that’s the thing you wanted.
Following your passion assumes you have a passion that you are devoted to. The truth is, most people don’t. And it’s totally ok if you don’t either.
If you haven’t got a clear idea of something you are passionate about and are loyally devoted to then don’t build a business around it. Simple.
Why are you starting a business?
It helps to come back to why you are starting a business when thinking about following your passions. If you’re financially sound and want to experiment in creating something you love (just for the sake of having that experience) then by all means, consider building a business based on passion.
If you are building a business in order for it to financially sustain you, it may pay for you to think again. Businesses are a long-term project. They grow over months if not years. In that time, the things you love change.
Consider instead building a business on skills. Start your business using existing, monetisable skills or knowledge you have. The key difference between skills and passion as a base for a business comes down to long-term viability.
Over time, passion wanes whereas skills grow. Skills become an investment. Passion becomes a liability.
So ask yourself honestly, why are you building a business and what do you want your business to achieve?
What makes a good business
A good business produces an output and it brings in a return on investment. The output can be a product or service that solves a big problem for many people. The bigger the problem solved, the more money they are happy to spend.
It can be very rare that the things you are passionate about also solve big enough problems that people would pay you adequately for. Most people are passionate about things like reading, playing sport or being creative.
While these can become successful businesses on their own, the balance between passion and work can get in the way.
If you want to succeed in your home based business, at some stage you’ll need to decide on what to prioritise. It may mean that you’ll need to prioritise tasks that you’re not so fond of to keep the business running. This will come at the expense of prioritising the things you love.
Why skills outweigh passion when it comes to meaningful work
The last point to consider is that just because you love something it doesn’t mean you’re good at it. Let alone being good enough at selling it that you can earn a living from it.
Turning a casual hobby into a successful business can be hard if you don’t have the skills and knowledge to take it to the next level. Not only that, but you may also end up frustrated and hating working in the business built around the thing you love.
Research has indicated that people who get good at what they do end up loving what they do. Even if they have just been office admin assistants for 15 years. Sure, no one ever says that’s what they want to be when they grow up.
But, there are admin assistants out there who absolutely love what they do simply because they are really damn good at it. And this is true in just about any industry.
If you want to do something you love, use the last point to your advantage. It pays to get good at building online businesses based on any topic you have skills in. In fact, aim to get so good at it that your skills help you enjoy doing it.
Online businesses offer the versatility you need as a work at home mum while letting you build on skills you have cultivated in the past.
If you commit to getting good at it, passion will follow and you will find yourself living a life of pure awesomeness in no time!
Despina is a best-selling author and educator who is passionate about using the potential that the digital world offers to create a life of freedom and abundance. She writes about education, marketing, career development and personal development on despina.online, her personal blog.