There is a very popular, heavily marketed idea that “finding your passion” is the key to success, prosperity and happiness, and that your business responsibilities and activities should be governed by your passion. In concert, promoters of this idea tell you that if you are not accomplishing what you want, it is simply because you haven’t yet discovered your true passion.
Steve Adams, one of my alumni Titanium Members, is an exceptionally successful entrepreneur. His main business is as a retailer, operating and doing the marketing for a growing chain of pet stores. And he is the author of the book, The Passionate Entrepreneur, from which I quote: “I enjoy pets…, but it was NOT a passion for animals that brought me into the [pet] industry. My motivation and drive were based on something else… What I liked about the pet supply industry was the emotional connection: It can be built upon people and on relationships with customers in a way that cannot be copied and commoditized. I was getting into a growing industry. When I got into the business in 1996, it was about $12 billion in revenues, and today it is about $56 billion. It has been expanding at roughly twice the rate of U.S. economic growth over the last 15 years… My passion was to lead and motivate people as an entrepreneur.”
In short, Steve is NOT in the pet store business because of his passion for animals, or even because of a passion for being a retailer (although that has developed). He is there because he determined it was a growth and relatively recession-proof category; one that his research indicated would offer him opportunities to excel and to develop wealth as an entrepreneur.
The moral of this story is: Be careful what you define your passion as. How narrow and limiting you define it. And be certain you make business decisions for business-like reasons. One of the chief causes of business failure is being in a business for the wrong reasons. Passion may be permitted to govern play. But not business. Yes, such passions can benefit you greatly as a messenger. But not as the business strategist or entrepreneur.
Renegade Millionaires are all about uncovering unmet needs, overlooked opportunities and exploitable market gaps, not meditating about their own passions. Like it or not, the only grease that actually moves the wheels is money. It’s more fun to sit in a room and talk about passion than to talk about marketplace facts, trends and dynamics. It’s more fun to search for your innermost passion than to search out competitive intelligence, industry information, mailing list sizes and availability. That’s why there are always lots of magic-wand-waving mystics and fairy princesses available to take your money and deliver a fantasy disguised as a seminar. Real millionaires, who own their mansions debt-free, are amused by it all.