Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You want to be an entrepreneur because it’ll give you the opportunity to do what you love, spend time with your family and friends, and be your own boss. Here’s the thing, though, sometimes doing what you love is just a really bad idea. I’m not telling you that you should stick to the 9:00-5:00 grind, and I’m not telling you not to become an entrepreneur. In fact, I’m telling you the exact opposite, but before you make your decision on which idea to pursue and which startup to launch, let me give you a little bit of real-world advice about following your passion and doing what you love.
IT’S NOT PROFITABLE
First of all, never get into a business only for the money. If you can’t think of a single reason you want to get into a particular industry other than gaining wealth, then get out. That’s because there’s no guarantee that the thing you love the most is going to make you any money. Look into your niche market. How big is it? How much competition is there? Is it sustainable, or are you going to make a small splash and then see nothing at all after a few months or a year?
If the thing you love isn’t profitable and you can’t find an angle that will make you money over a sustained period of time, then you really shouldn’t do it. So what do you do? Find another niche. Look for something you have some interest in that you can get passionate about that will make you money. Seriously, you don’t have to be in love with your niche to get excited about improving and innovating in it.
YOU’RE NOT GOOD AT IT
I love what Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs, says about following your passion (he recommends against it, by the way). Rowe says, “The people I’ve met on my journeys, by and large, didn’t set out to realize their dreams…They looked around for an opportunity. They worked at that opportunity. Then they got good at the opportunity. Then they figured out how to love it.”
Basically, if you look at the things you love and try to start your business from there, you could be getting into an industry you know nothing about and a field you’re really not cut out for. On the other hand, if you look at the opportunities available to you, and you find an angle you can work with, you’re going to set yourself up for success. As you do that, you’re very likely going to find things that you love about working in your chosen field.
YOU COULD END UP HATING IT
Finally, if you love something as a hobby, you might want to think really hard about turning it into your career. Are you prepared to turn your hobby into a full-time job? Are you going to need to find new hobbies to get away from your old hobby that’s now inextricably linked to the stresses involved with your business?
You need to answer all of these questions before you decide to jump in headfirst and turn the thing you love into the thing that earns you a living. If you don’t, you’re likely to start resenting and even hating what you used to love and what once brought you a lot of joy, especially if it’s not very profitable or you struggle with making it in your chosen industry.
I’m with Rowe on this one – look for an opportunity that will give you the chance to find something you love in your business, and build your empire from there.