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How to Find Your Passion Before You Start Your Business

Jan 3, 2008
If you're like me, you have a lot of different interests and you're probably very good at a lot of different things, which means you could make money doing just about anything. You could probably even make money doing nothing much at all. The question is:

What do you ENJOY doing? What do you enjoy so much that you could turn it into a business?

Those are the most important questions for any aspiring new business owner when trying to decide what business to start. When confronting these questions I've found, in my experience, there's a few other things to consider before trying to answer them:

a)When you start a business, you suddenly become an "expert" of sorts. People will look to you for advice and information about your field of expertise. The questions now become:

What would you be proud to be an expert about? What are you willing to continue learning about for as long as you're in business? What questions are you happy to answer over and over again?

I knew a man who opened a postal mailbox store and began offering office supplies and services to make more money. However, he was completely disinterested in learning about copy machines, different ways to bind reports or the various bulk-mailing options for marketing mailings. When I met him, this new part of his business was failing and he couldn't understand why. It was my job to tell him it was because HE didn't want that part of his business to succeed!

b)No matter what business you start, you put yourself in the role of Customer Service and Support. The questions now become:

What type of customers, if any, do you enjoy working with? To what degree to you want to work with them? What kind of people would you love to help over and over again?

I was once asked by a financial consultant to help him work on launching a public speaking career. I suggested he conduct a mock presentation in which I, and others, would sit and be his mock audience. At the end of the night, after being bombarded with questions about his slides, he realized that the presentation was targeted to the wrong group of people. His presentation was a "beginner's guide" for those new to personal finance. His true passion was advanced financial planning. He realized that he wanted to work with people who had a highly developed, working knowledge of personal finance as he had found all of our questions boring, mundane and, ultimately, frustrating!

c)Quite often, the work will become so hard and so draining that you'll have to find within yourself a reason to do it even when you don't want to. The questions then become:

What means so much to you that you have to share it with others? What do you believe in enough to want it for others more than for yourself?

When I started my own dance troupe in early 2007, the start-up work was unimaginably grueling, both physically and psychologically. My partner was helping me choose songs for the show while I was choreographing. I was designing costumes while he was making them. Add to that web design, business card design, advertising, writing marketing copy, fielding sales calls and teaching a class twice a week while remaining a dancer myself!

Even though I would have a miniature nervous breakdown every Sunday, the one thing that kept me going was the employment of my dancers. The one thing I was most proud of, that I believed in the most, was their ability to make a living doing what they loved. I was giving that opportunity to my dancers, showing them it was possible. It didn't matter too much to me if I failed or the business failed. What mattered was they needed to know they COULD make money as dancers, that they COULD combine work and passion. They depended on me for that opportunity, and I believed in it so much I just couldn't give up. It's that drive that got me through the first few months of the season, and what kept my dancers loyal and hardworking through all the early kinks.

If you're having trouble, like I have in the past, deciding what your passion is, what business you're truly interested in, ask yourself these questions over and over again. When you can answer all of them clearly, simply and quickly, you'll have your answer to:

What type business do I really want to start?
About the Author
Reese Leyva is the founder of SaltyBird Entertainment and author of The Beginner's Guide to Abundance. She is a a poet, playwright, entrepreneur, finance professional and Polynesian dancer extraordinaire! Her new book, Impassioned Entrepreneurship, will be available Spring 2008. Find out more at http://www.reeseleyva.com.
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