I have always supported the idea of pursuing your passion. Working on something you love helps make the whole process of starting and running a business so much easier. Work becomes less of a chore because you enjoy what you’re doing. As I mentioned in the post “Starting a Business: Pursue Your Passion”
Starting a business is hard and requires persistence, hard work, time and commitment — and feeling passionate about what you do in your business can help sustain you even during bad times. As others have said — do what you love and money will follow.
Passion goes beyond loving a particular type of work; after all, many entrepreneurs succeed by starting a business they know nothing about initially. More importantly, you must have the passion to succeed. You need to want to become successful. This burning desire to succeed will push you to become more creative, be persistent and work smarter.
In addition, you need to know what you are getting into. Starting a business involves a myriad process, and you need to learn how to handle the others aspects of business.
For example, if you’re a web designer, excelling in web designing is just one part of your business. You also need to learn about marketing and finding clients, ensuring the adequacy of your contracts, managing your customers, even accounting and collecting receivables. You need to think how you can set your web design business apart from your competitors and develop a strategy. You need to prepare yourself to wear many hats.
I experienced this first hand when I opened my video shop business back in the early 90s in the Philippines. I was passionate about films and I could watch movies for hours on end. One time I was in a video shop renting some movies when it dawned on me that I want to open a video shop too. Since I make decisions quickly, I immediately got things rolling and I applied for a license, scouted for a location and started to purchase inventory. In a month, I was up and running. However, I quickly realized that while I may be passionate about movies, I knew next to nothing about the video shop business.
Starting a Business: Expect the Unexpected
Despite your best intentions, it is sometimes hard to anticipate what will happen in your business. You pray for immediate success, but sometimes it takes a while before you can generate significant revenue from your business.
Take Michelle Arpas of GeniusBabies.com, who learned the tough challenge of maintaining realistic expectations when starting a business with limited capital. When she started her online business, they were shifting from a two-income family into a single income household. With a new baby, their budget was already stretched to the limits. To start this business, Michelle invested $5000 and budgeted $300 per month to sustain the business with more supplies, business phone, fax lines, web hosting and such.
She hoped that she could recoup her investment quickly. Unfortunately, it did not work as she originally hoped for. Instead of earning as soon as the site was up, it took her several months before she got her first order, and the monthly business expenses drained their budget.
Success comes when things fall into their right place at the right time, with a lot of luck thrown in between. Plus, you need to avoid some common mistakes when starting a business:
- False confidence: not knowing what you are getting into
- Lack of belief that you can make money while having fun
- Lack of resources
- Too much resources but lacks creativity
- Lack faith in yourself
- Burden of being the boss: if you don’t do it, it won’t get done; work may spill over and cut into family life; you need to wear many hat
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of failure
Luck aside; I feel that the most important step is detailed preparation. You need to know what you are getting into. More importantly, you need to understand what needs in the marketplace you are trying to address, and why your approach is the best way to solve their problems.