Should your startup be based on your passion? This is the million-dollar question for budding entrepreneurs ready to take the plunge in developing their own ideas into reality. There is so much buzz and hype around entrepreneurship now that it is easy to get swept away in the infatuation surrounding starting your own business and all the benefits it brings. Self-employment, your own working hours, decision making empowerment and flexibility lure people towards entrepreneurship like moths to a flame.
However a lot of media and articles in the startup society has a habit of viewing entrepreneurship through rose-tinted glasses. A more holistic view at entrepreneurship provides both positives and negatives for starting up your own business based on your passion.
As with a lot of huge life decisions, starting a business based on your passion is not a black and white decision – it is more varying shades of grey. Rather than trumpeting from the rooftops what you should do, it can be helpful to look at entrepreneurship from the position of sitting firmly entrenched, albeit uncomfortably, on the fence.
Why you should base your startup on your passion?
1. When the tough gets going you are more likely to push on through
This is the biggest reason supporting why your startup should be based on your passion. With ANY new business there will be trials and tribulations. If you are passionate about what you do, you are more likely to push through the tough situations. As an entrepreneur you will inevitably face tough decisions and tough times relating to money flow, sales and the viability of your product/service. If you love what you do it will be easier to persevere and take the big risks that need to be taken.
2. With passion comes a higher level of skill.
When you have a higher level of passion for something you also have greater attention to detail. As an entrepreneur it is vital to pay attention to ‘the one percenters’ – the little things in a business that add up to make all the difference. If you love what you do, it is easier to revel in the details of your business and make your entire operation more watertight. Often mundane tasks such as accounting, legal operations, administration can become so much easier when you love transforming your passion into a business. If not, these tasks can become a drag and it is easy to drop the ball.
3. Passion is a higher motivator than money - (If your basic needs are met)
All entrepreneurs should familiarise themselves with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, when your basic living needs are met, we as human beings seek self-actualisation. Self-actualisation is the process of following your passions. And this process has more value than money. It has a driving force that cannot be matched by dollars and cents.
It becomes even more important as an entrepreneur starting your own business that you have the means to follow your passions. If you are struggling to live day-to-day your motivational needs can change very quickly and all of a sudden your passions do not matter so much anymore.
Why should you not base your startup on your passion?
1. You have objectivity
If you choose to become involved in a startup that is not necessarily your passion you will have more objectivity. Having more objectivity will give take the emotions out of your decision-making. It can mean making smarter decisions around your business that are not attached to a certain emotional outcome. This can be very helpful when tough decisions in business need to be made. It can often be the difference between digging a deeper hole or realising the facts of a situation and taking your spade elsewhere.
2. You will have better work-life balance
Entrepreneurship can suck you in. It can be like running on a hamster-wheel that is hard to get off. This wheel can spin faster and faster and out of control if the business is your passion. You can run yourself to a standstill and blur the lines between work and play. This can have serious ramifications on your health and relationships with your friends and family. If your business is not a passion of yours you are more likely to treat it as such and maintain a better work-life balance.
3. You are more likely to ask for help
One of the biggest downfalls of entrepreneurs that are following their passion is that they follow a strictly ‘Do it yourself –DIY’ attitude. This can be extremely helpful for getting your business off the ground but can have its limitations.
Passionate entrepreneurs can find it difficult to delegate and let go of responsibility. The result can be that you become a victim of your own success and can become a bottleneck for your business. Asking for help and delegation can become problematic when you are so invested in the business. If you are not as passionate about your work as entrepreneurship you are more likely to see your role in the business for what it is – and step out of the way of inhibiting success.
This is all food-for-thought when you start your own business. There is no right way to start a business. There are entrepreneurs that have found success down both avenues. Having passion will no doubt help your longevity in business but it can also blur the lines towards being successful.