July 24th, 2022

As a business coach for more than 25 years, I have heard a lot of business advice from leaders and other business coaches in the industry. And much of it, while it may seem well intentioned, is actually pretty bad advice. And there are a few pieces of it that I have heard over and over again that make me cringe. So today I want to share one of the worst tips I have heard and tell you what you should be doing instead.

“Do what you love, and the money will follow”

This piece of advice is often given to a new entrepreneur looking to start their own business. They don’t really know what they want to do yet, and have dabbled in a few things, but haven’t really found anything that has gained traction. Their business acquaintances see them searching and share this tidbit as a way to help their friend find their path. And it is often coupled with a story of a friend of a friend, who found a love for some obscure hobby and turned that hobby into a multimillion-dollar business seemingly overnight. It’s inspiring and uplifting for the aspiring entrepreneur stuck in a dead-end job. But for every person who followed their passion, there are 1,000 people who started businesses in things that they weren’t particularly passionate about and not only made it work but made it successful. Maybe you don’t love mowing lawns, but you could have a very successful landscaping business. Is anyone passionate about urinal cakes? Billions of them are purchased every year. The list goes on and on. You don’t have to love the industry or the product that you sell to build a successful business. You do have to think about it objectively, though.

Know your audience

Does that mean that you shouldn’t try to do something you love? Of course not. But it is imperative that you do your research. You need to understand your market and your buyer before you take the next step. Is there value in the market itself? What does the competition look like? Does anyone need a product or service surrounding your passion? If the market is viable, then by all means pursue it. But if the numbers don’t add up, sticking with it could end up spelling disaster for your business and your savings account.

Create a plan

Another problem with the “do what you love” mantra is that it is implied that by simply following your passion, you won’t have to work as hard as other business owners. And this is simply not the case. You want to create a plan for how you will approach the business, and how and when you plan to scale that business to meet the demands in your industry. It will take a lot of focus and attention to get your business to grow, and passion will only take you so far. The rest will come through strategic planning and accountability.

So, in summary, I would change the advice to: Do what you love (after careful market research), and then create a plan of action to make it happen.