There is a joy in starting your own small business, as anyone that’s done so can attest to. You likely have the type of personality where you like to be in charge, have a want/need to create something of value, and enjoy the challenges and busyness that come with. (It sounds a little narcissistic, right?) The romantic view of pouring your passion into something that you love or truly believe has created many small businesses out there, and feeds the idea that anyone who’s truly passionate about something can make their dream come true and be successful.
But what if you don’t have that passion? If not, then it becomes more of a chore, and the rewards must be far higher to receive the level of satisfaction for to help drive your focus on the venture. Without the passion, the drive is far harder to muster within yourself to push forward with business!
As we get closer to our first market, everything in my own schedule get’s busier. While I”m lucky enough to have the opportunity to work from home up to two days a week (thus saving me 3 hours each day I work from home), my time after work is now filled with check lists of what’s in place, what’s not, training volunteers, contacting folks, and just aligning everything to ensure our target date of our market open on June 1st is ready. Is it tough schedule wise? There is far less “relaxation” time, far less time to enjoy TV, or date nights, or going out to movies as now I essentially have two jobs at the same time now. Am I enjoying it? Absolutely… the idea that we’ll be selling pizzas at the market in under a mere two weeks fills me with all sorts of emotions .. excitement leading off, angst that we don’t have all our equipment yet and agreements in place yet, nervousness that anything that could go wrong WILL go wrong, etc.
But it helps to look at what’s gone right so far: We’ve had a successful kickstarter translating into family, friends, and strangers that believe in our vision. We’ve practiced, and practiced, and practiced some more to get a technique down with opening the pie (which I”m trying to teach to my partners and volunteers for when I’m not at the market) along with a recipe that we believe people will love, the county health department has given us the okay to proceed (which was far less painful of a process than I thought, perhaps because I had done my research on food safety pretty in depth), etc.
It’s the little goal achievement that help continue to drive me forward and push me to focus on the next task. Goal achievement, as well as the fun I have shopping for equipment for our business. Nothing like more toys and tools to play with, like the arrival of our oven paddles, equipment, etc.
I guess what I’m saying is, if you don’t have a passion for the business you’re considering getting into, you’re probably better off just NOT going into the business… It will show. Who here watches Shark Tank? It’s a great show where people with business ideas are able to pitch it to five “shark” investors to see if they’re willing to partner with them from a money and business standpoint to help make the proposer’s business take off. A recent episode of Shark Tank (which I’ve begun watching in the mornings on my DVR while I make the dough), one the sharks rejected partnering with a proposal because through the whole pitch, the two owners never conveyed their love for their project, but focused solely on the infrastructure and potential income generation they believed would be great. (It was a pretty weak infrastructure to be honest, and very untested). It’s easy to tell when someone isn’t passionate about their job or business… it doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily be good at it without the passion, but you’re definitely a lot less likely to make the sacrifices and put in the extra time to make it great. It comes out in your body language as you do “tasks” associated, in the way you talk about your business, in your excitement or there lack of when you execute. And I firmly believe that your customer/audience can feel it, see it, and will be turned off by it.
At a recent market I went to, you could tell who was truly excited about their business, believed in their product, and wanted to engage you by telling you more and more. And you could also tell who was burnt out, no longer wanted to be there at the market, and was ready to toss it all in, but probably kept at it just to make a bit of extra cash or hope that somehow, they’d get lucky and hit it big with someone wanting to place a big order with them. And in the same fashion, it was easy to see which tents were filled with people ready to interact, talk, and learn more while other tents were just empty of customers, with the vendor standing there looking like they were ready to go home.
As the new tagline of one of my favorite companies, Baking Steel, says: “Start Doing Things You Love”
It’s such a simple belief and thought that just doesn’t seem to translate in nearly enough people. On a semi-related note, I feel like I should get another Baking Steel just for that quote! Perhaps when I’ve made some profit from our business first though… =)
Now while I believe you need passion to drive the business, passion should not get in the way of making good business decisions for your business either. All too many stories have been told of the passion and frenzy of a business owner not making good decisions for the business, and going down with the sinking ship because they were too passionate/obstinate to see things any other way. There’s a place for that passion, and there’s a place for good decision making processes to ensure you’re taking your business the right way. More on this in a future post…
Finally, I’d like to leave you with a new pi that we’ve been toying with that our taste testers (see family and friends) seems to have latched onto:
Oh yes… that’s jalapenos…. and chorizo… and queso fresco! And it was delicious… While I personally think it needs some more tang (cholula maybe?) this particular pie has been requested multiple times after we made it during one of test sessions. Look for this to become one of our rotating specials.