Nothing is more inspirational and satisfying than seeing someone going far in life by doing what they like. There’s something pure about it. These are the people who can truly brag about success; and not because they are richer than most, but because they are making money and growing as a consequence of chasing their genuine interest. While it seems like a distant dream to most people, those who decide to become entrepreneurs have a realistic chance to achieve it.
As a disclaimer, I am not saying business life will be all smiles and celebration. There’ll still be hard work and uninspiring moments involved, such as accounting and firing people. I am also not saying you should only perform the tasks you like when working. Instead, my point is that your work will be more meaningful, fulfilling, and motivating if it’s centered around an area you are interested about.
Well, the most obvious answer is, “Because it’s better.” It’s safe to assume you will feel better working many hours with things you like learning about than with those you do simply because you need money to pay your bills.
If you are going to manage a business and let it become a major part of your life, than you want it to revolve around something you really believe in and like doing. Working is necessary; doing stuff you enjoy is good. So why not combine both and actually enjoy working, in spite of its obstacles?
Another reason that can’t go unnoticed is because it’s necessary. When you work on something you like, it doesn’t always feel like work, even though it is. Instead, it feels right. It’s self-motivating, so despite the hard work, you can wake up more motivated and energized to start your day.
Working becomes its own fuel when you actually want to do it, and that helps preventing that terrible burnout scenario that many businesspeople suffer from, especially during the harder times. Long hours of work, pressure to succeed, and adaptation are already tough enough.
Also, if you like what you’re doing, you will constantly be learning about it, because interest in an area keeps you curious about it. Curiosity will make you learn. Learning will make you good. You will be good at it, and in the end, everyone will benefit from that thing you like and do well.
It’s a cool logic, isn’t it? It’s so cool that Milton Hershey, the man who gave us Hershey’s chocolate, wisely said, “My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know, but because of their insatiable need to know more.”
I can relate to that. As someone who is passionate about the entrepreneurial world, I lost count of how many times I woke up in the middle of the night to watch webinars about business related subjects. I was curious about them, so it was not a burden; I was satisfying my curious mind.
But don’t take me as an example, look at Bill Gates—yes, let’s aim really, really high. Microsoft’s history can be traced back to a tech-loving boy who would exchange time with friends or looking for a girlfriend for time with his computers.
Gates’ dedication to learning more and more about computers and everything related to them is what helped him stay awake through entire nights solving math problems and writing computer code. The necessary and exceptional parts of the work came naturally because they were more than work; they were the object of his interest and curiosity.
Ok, first things first: are you sure you should start a business based on that? Because we all want to pursue our interests in our work life, and that’s great. But having a business means struggling against specific challenges that you wouldn’t face otherwise, and being self-employed as en entrepreneur means being responsible for much more than when you’re working for someone else. That is my fist suggestion. Besides that, here are some questions I believe you should ask yourself:
Are you sure your interest area should be a business idea and not another career? As we said above, this is the primary one. You can do many things in your area of interest; starting a business is only one of them. If you are passionate about designing clothes and accessories, for example, you can launch a business based on it… but remember you can also join an existing brand as a fashion designer. So before you start anything, question yourself to make sure entrepreneurship is the right path for you.
Is there a market for it? This will define if your interest area has the potential to take off as a business. If you’re passionate about TV series, for example, starting a business based on watching series might not be as easy as it would be for someone passionate about working out. That person could invest in an innovative gym, as the demand for that is much more evident. But the market is unpredictable, and innovation is always welcome, so keep an eye out for opportunities.
How can that improve anyone’s life? Because answering that question will be your advertisement. Do what you like because it will benefit someone. It has to come as an improvement, after all, or people won’t see any need to buy it.
When it comes to starting the business, doing something you enjoy may not be so different from starting any other business. You will still need the planning phase, the initial investment, preparations, a marketing campaign, and the eventual launch. But because starting a business is not so obvious (we don’t learn that at school), we might commit mistakes.
I have recently seen people who had a good business idea they were passionate about planning to launch it—great, right? But first, in order to save money, they planned to start with another business idea and then intended to make a transition in the future. “This is not what we really wanted, but it’s easier to start with. Later on we’ll start doing what we like.”
The only problem with that approach, and I imagine you will agree with me, is that the investment and dedication their not-so-liked business is going to demand will become a burden. A huge one. Can you imagine getting a bank loan to start operating and then working many hours a day on a business you are going to drop soon after that?
If you think you still need money and more time to prepare, that’s reasonable, but there are different ways to do it. Maybe finding a common, temporary job is better. Even if you don’t like it, that’s easier on you and easier to leave than a whole business project.
Obviously, you won’t stay in this job forever—or even long depending on how much money and time you need—but rather use it as practical way to support yourself while you get ready to launch your business idea.
It may sound like a contradiction: “I have to pursue my interests, but I also have to do something I don’t like before that…?” However, that “I don’t like this” phase is not your goal, but only a temporary stage you know you are going to overcome. And if staying there for a while before kickstarting your business feels bad, imagine not doing what you like and staying there forever. That fear will be quite motivating!
Actually, the whole process is the same one we go through when saving money for a trip. You work and live economically for a few months to save enough money, and then you travel. The only difference is that in this case the result of your temporary sacrifice will be a business that is overall aligned with your interest, and it’ll be well worth it.
If you are serious about starting a business, then you might as well add a genuine interest you have to the formula. But in order to succeed, being cautious and observing the market (and yourself) is necessary. After that, go ahead and start building an entrepreneurial name for yourself based on your interest. You—and everyone else—will benefit from it.