“Do what you love, and the money will follow.” That saying has inspired many a startup entrepreneur to quit their steady job and start a business to follow their passion. But for every entrepreneur who’s succeeded, there’s another who’s still wondering when that money they’re supposed to make from crafting hand-knitted dog shoes is going to follow.
Does doing what you love really guarantee success?
Doing what you love can certainly help your chances of success. When you’re spending time in a business you enjoy and are passionate about, prospective customers can tell. Your joy in your business will make customers feel good about supporting it. Bloggers, reporters and others in the media will feel inspired by your passion, too, and want to spread the word.
Doing what you love also helps you maintain your energy level, even when it’s 3 a.m. and you’re only halfway done fulfilling that big order you have to ship out in the morning. It makes you willing to work 24/7 to get your business off the ground.
However, doing what you love also has the potential to hurt your chances for success. How? When you’re doing what you love, you may get so excited just to be doing it that you neglect the business side of your startup. You might underprice your product or service—after all, you’d do this for free, and you’re thrilled anyone’s paying you at all! You don’t bother monitoring your cash flow or even doing much bookkeeping. After all, the money’s going to come, right?
Doing what you love can also blind you to outside opinions of your business. If your business lacks processes or systems, you and your team won’t be very productive—and your employees probably won’t be as excited as you are about working late every night. Or perhaps you’re starry-eyed about your product or service, and so convinced it’s perfect the way it is that you ignore valuable criticism from friends, family and prospective customers.
If doing what you love isn’t the answer, what is? I contend loving what you do is more important for small business owners. There’s an important distinction here.
You may start your business based around doing what you love. But in order to make it succeed, you also have to learn to love what you do. That means learning to love (or at least value) every aspect of entrepreneurship—including bookkeeping, making cold calls, packaging your products for shipment, and all the extra stuff that goes along with turning “what you love” into a real business.
If you want your business to succeed, you can’t just do what you love. You have to do the hard, dirty grunt work that makes that dream a viable business. And you’ve got to learn to love it because only then will you have the stamina to stick with it as long as you’ll need to succeed.
Want someone to help you learn to do what you don’t love—and even learn to love it? SCORE mentors can teach you everything from how to create a cash flow statement to how to market with social media and more. Visit www.score.org to get matched with your mentor today.