Your No-Fail, Winning Combination
There's a lot of talk about business and passion these days. As it concerns Indie Business, it's mostly about how passion gives you an edge and how, without it, you will either fail in business or be miserable even if your business is successful. Passion is undoubtedly important. When I first started making soap and beauty products, I was driven obsessively and solely by my passion for all things natural and fragrant.
No matter how long or hard I had worked at my job, I came home and made something that I could rub on my body. My passion consumed me, but eventually, more than passion began to drive my efforts. I began to entertain the possibility that I could use my passion to help people discover handmade beauty products by selling them in my own retail store. This came to pass when I opened Maria Grace Bath & Aromatherapy Shop. But I quickly discovered that my passion-filled, pie-in-the sky thinking, however endearing and sincere, was not enough.
The Passion: Necessary, But Not Enough
Soon after I opened my store, while I continued to love making products, the excitement of making money soon wore off. I needed to figure out how to make a profit. I couldn't afford much advertising and the Internet had yet to prove itself as a viable retail tool. Yet, I was surrounded by retailers on all sides who were making money. How were they doing it? I had at least as much passion as they did. What was their secret? I learned that, as valuable as passion is, it's not enough to sustain a business.
Passion is important, yes. But that's the easy part. Everyone has passion for something, so to spend countless hours each day indulging that passion is easy. That's what hobbies are for. But as a business owner, passion will only carry you so far.
I discovered that if I pursued my passion at the expense of all else, my business would go straight down the tubes. Which it eventually did.
Indulge your passion! But if you also want to turn that passion into college savings, retirement funds and mortgage payments, you have to move beyond simply doing what you love. You have to channel your passion very specifically. You have to shape it and mold it into a purpose that transcends the passion itself.
The Purpose: Where Passion Takes Flight
When passion is channeled toward the fulfillment of a specific purpose, it takes on new meaning. The purpose begins to direct and guide the passion in ways that create business opportunities that rarely materialize when passion alone is the driving factor.
If passion is a raging river, then purpose is the course it takes.
One of my life's passions is inspiring and encouraging women to maximize their potential as Indie Business owners. Other passions include indulging in as many luxurious beauty products as possible, and building relationships with women who enjoy being business owners and home managers like me.
I have channeled my passions into purposeful activities: Indie Business Radio, Indie Beauty Network, etc. These activities give my passion life, vigor and value beyond myself. They channel my passions in ways that yield fruit.
And I'm not the only one. Take Pam Keller, and IBN member who discovered a passion for animals, particularly goats. Pam, a wife and mother of three, decided that she wanted to pursue her passion for goats by raising them on land she and her husband own in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Now, there would have been nothing wrong with raising goats just for the passion of it, but Pam decided she wanted to channel her passion for goats in a specific way. Namely, she wanted to figure out a way to make the goats pay for themselves.
This became Pam's purpose. Figure out a way to enjoy her passion for goats without adversely impacting the family budget.
After weighing several options, which included raising goats for their meat, Pam settled on using their milk to make soap.
The Passion: Goats
The Purpose: Use their milk to make handmade soap
Once you combine passion with purpose, it's time to move on to profit.
The Profit: The Icing On The Cake
Pam's goal of pursuing her passion first, and then her purpose of making her passion pay for itself, quickly graduated to the next logical thing: making a profit.
This is the hardest part, because if you don't want to make a profit, you don't really have to sweat the details. You can just enjoy your passion, and maybe try to make enough money so that it at least pays for itself. Like how Pam started out. But if you want to make a profit, you curb your passion so that it does not get in the way of ensuring that it makes you more money than it costs you.
I spoke with an Indie a few weeks ago who loves to make herbal beauty products. As a licensed herbalist, Shelly (not her real name) creates herb-based salves for relief of everything from dry skin to a stuffy nose. Shelly came to me for business coaching because she couldn't figure out why her products, which worked well and were reasonably priced, were not selling enough to make a profit. Shelly was pursuing her passion and purpose to help people be healthy through the use of herbal remedies. She was having fun, but she was not making a profit.
What could the problem be, she asked me?
I pinpointed it quickly. Shelly's passion for herbs and making herbal products was getting in the way of making profitable business decisions. She had far too many products in her line. Some of them sold well. But others sold intermittently at best. Additionally, every time Shelly heard about a new ingredient or a fun new way to package something, she would divert valuable resources to making these new things. The time and money Shelly was devoting to passionately making new things was not being used wisely to sell the things she already had in her line.
Shelly is now in the process of trimming down her line so that she can focus energy on selling a lot of a few things instead of selling a little bit of a lot of things.
This pruning process is difficult, but it's necessary. When it's completed, Shelly will still have her passion. But it will be channeled so her purposes can be accomplished in ways that generate a fair profit.
What about you?
Has your passion for what you do gotten in the way of making a profit in your business? Have you learned to curb your passion in order to make better business decisions? Share your insights in the comments section, and don't forget to share your website link so we can find out more about you and your passion.