Being in business is fashionable. Along with it are the concepts of loving what you do and never working a day in your life.
It’s wonderful to live in a time where we’re able to fashion the sort of career that gives you satisfaction. And it’s great that technology allows many of us to grab hold of what we do by both horns and make a red hot go of things.
But you can’t always love what you do.
You don’t have the business equivalent of a Mills and Boon romance happening every day. And because you don't doesn’t mean you should feel like you’re missing out.
Here’s why loving what you do isn’t always possible. And why it doesn’t matter.
It takes time to establish
Have you ever heard of someone who was an overnight success? I know I haven’t. Beyond every giant company and business personality is a story of waiting, working, sweating and putting their butt on the line.
Socrates famously said "A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does."
All entrepreneurship is a process of learning. It’s about discovering who we are and what excites us. We refine as we go and grow in the strength of that knowledge.
Like teenage infatuation versus real lasting love, you’ll be in better stead to go the distance.
Learn to love your endeavours over time instead of expecting an instant teenage attraction.
It can become your day job
I was talking to a fellow freelancer recently. They spoke of their plans to extend their business far beyond the reaches of their current offering.
“Freelancing has become my day job. You know what I mean?”
Yes, I think any entrepreneur or freelancer can understand what she meant.
Sometimes even the most successful of endeavours can get a little boring after a while.
Call it the five year wall, call it the fact you’ve gotten to a plateau after toiling for so long. Whatever you call it, it’s important to understand that sometimes our entrepreneurship baby grows up.
And we feel like nurturing a part of ourselves that is no longer satiated by the existing format. The challenge has left the building.
This realisation for a passion-based business can be devastating. This is especially if there is no clear view of the “what next?”
Sometimes, you’ll have to plug through until it gets to a point where the next challenge can become the main stay of income. That doesn’t mean you’re doing yourself a disservice by not being as gleeful to get out of bed as the entrepreneur down the road.
It might simply mean you have to spend time figuring out what your next move is. And that’s perfectly fine. Maybe you have to bide your time until you can jump off the blocks in a new direction.
And if you have to work until you find the next bright idea, there’s no shame in that either. A caring, thoughtful entrepreneur has doubts. Lots of them.
And working through them is far better than choosing a new direction in a panic.
You need more than love
“I just love dogs!”
I was speaking to someone recently about their business. I’m a crazy dog lady- so I can relate to this statement. However, it’s not reason enough to model your whole financial future around it.
The focal point of the conversation centered on the love of dogs and the assumption other people make money through walking and day-care services.
While admirable, without research or a plan, the love of dogs simply won’t be enough to propel this person forward to action. By the time they decide to take the leap, it may be too late.
Most people don’t love research. But it’s what you need to undertake to be able to see where the opportunity resides.
There’s no point in starting a dog business in a town full of cats. Or in one where dog walkers outnumber the dogs, 2 to 1.
Your passion should never be ignorant of the audience that may share it. Nor should it ignore that being on-trend instead of setting the trend can be a massive negative.
Less love and more problem solving
You don’t need to love a business idea or have a great burning passion for it to have it succeed.
And you can love the concept behind your endeavours as much as you want. But if customers aren’t buying it, all the passion in the world won’t keep your business afloat for long.
What makes for a successful business is not what you love. It’s what your customer’s love.
And to get that love, you need to solve a problem for your customer.
Don’t be the person who thinks foisting your passion onto people will make them want to buy it. It needs to mean something to them, too.
Instead, think about how you can inspire love from your customers.
Think about how you can alleviate their pain or invigorate their passion. Give them something to admire, respect and care about you for. Build an endeavour that makes your audience care.
That way, no matter what you put out there, you’ll always be happy and content with your work. Don’t you agree?
Rebekah Lambert makes her living as marketing, content creation and copywriting freelancer, Unashamedly Creative. Rebekah has begun a mission to improve the mental health and wellness outcomes for freelancers and entrepreneurs as Hacking Happiness. She believes stress has a productivity cost many entrepreneurs ignore. You can follow her journey via Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Photo Credits: Ben Rosett & Jan Vasek through Stocksnap