It's a common theme these days in the blogosphere and coaching space that your passion should be your business.
In theory it’s a great idea, but it’s not for everyone. There are reasons why choosing something you’re good at, and building a business around that, can be a better idea.
Let me explain why
Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean it’s a great business idea.
I’m what some would call ‘multi-passionate’.
There are many things that I’m extremely passionate about including knitting, Tarot, sustainability, and books. I’ve been told I’m pretty good at all of them, so I could build a business around any of them. But, for a variety of reasons, none of them suit me:
- The idea of combining a yarn shop with a book store is one that makes me swoon. Unfortunately, to be viable as a business, it wouldn’t work for me. I’d be tied into things that I abhor, such as working (or engaging staff to work) weekends and retail hours; keeping inventories; and focusing on sales far more than I'd like.
- Tarot reading is certainly another possibility. I certainly enjoy doing it for myself and others who know about my ability, but I’d feel really bad making money out of it. It’s a personal thing, so please note that I’m not judging anyone else who does here.
- Sustainability is something I know quite a bit about but, again, it’s a personal passion. I don’t have the knowledge or the expertise to teach about it (yet), although it’s something I may look at in the future.
What then, should you focus on?
When I first decided to venture into the online business world I was working as Operations Manager for a company based about 3 hours from where I live. Half of my hours were outsourced to another business about 6 hours from me. I also happened to have a profile on a global freelancing platform where others could view my qualifications and hire me for my business and administrative skills, which are prolific. I baulked at the idea of providing business advice and administrative services as an actual business, primarily because I had this belief that I HAD to follow my passion and you’d have to be pretty bonkers to be passionate about something as dry and common as management and administration, right?
This is where I went wrong
I decided that I needed to resume my Life Coaching studies, which I’d given up a few years before in order to go and work for the government in a job that involved travelling. In my mind, having to travel for work on a regular basis was incredibly glamorous - until I had to do it regularly!
Then I discovered I couldn’t participate in any kind of hobby or class regularly because I was away so much. I was missing out on time spent with family and friends.....and a whole heap besides.
On the upside I did rediscover my love for where I live, but I digress....
The real reason for the type of business you build
While I love helping people, and fully recognise that making a difference is one of the reasons I’m here this time around, doing it as a health or wellness professional makes me feel responsible for the whole world. My head recognises that others need to play their part in the healing process and that I’m just a facilitator; my heart, however, isn’t rational! It hurt when, in spite of best efforts and lots of incredible successes, I didn't have a 100% success rate. (Did I mention that I’m also a perfectionist?)
That whole scenario really stressed me, and set me up for certain failure as a result.
What I didn’t do at the time was pay attention to the fact that my core desire was to be of service, and that this could take many forms. My focus had also been on building a business that would allow me to live the lifestyle I wanted. Unfortunately I was so busy knocking myself out trying to build my business that it became my lifestyle!
Call me slow, but it took a little while to realise that in terms of supporting and advising others, I could probably be of far more service as a Business Mentor who also offers Virtual Assistance services, than as a bricks-and-mortar Clinical Hypnotherapist and Life Coach.
The benefits of recognising your core desire, and pivoting your business to suit
When my light bulb moment happened, there was no stopping me.
I immediately began re-creating my business as one that supports those wanting to make huge differences in the world. These people need to earn an income but get bogged down learning stuff that isn't in resonance with their skill-set, talent, or interests. My expertise and detailed knowledge allows me to tackle concrete tasks, thereby freeing up my clients up to focus on what they need to do.
With my experience of running my own and other's small enterprises, I could advise and guide on particular approaches to business.
Once I let go of what I thought I SHOULD do to follow my passion, it freed me up to actually start living.
Now I can walk at least once a week in the place I love most in the world. I have time for family and friends. I spend time communing with my beautiful little animal family and exploring new interests. I’ve returned to my love of Taiko drumming classes and aim to join a performance group as soon as possible. As I write this blog post, I’m finishing up a working holiday in Bali.
Life gets more amazing and fulfilling every day.
Don’t get lost
Don't give up!
If your business isn’t quite doing it for you, or it’s become the major focus of your life instead of allowing you to lead the life you dream of, re-assess what you can do turn it around. It may mean giving up the original intention of your business completely. It may mean varying the way you deliver your products or services. Listen to your gut and re-assess accordingly.
If you need a little help or advice along the way, I’m here.