Does Passion Bring Success or Failure in Business?

By John R. Aberle | Small Business Management

May 12

Here is the heart-centered quandary: do you pursue money or passion in building your business? If you are a heart-centered marketer, you know that passion fuels the entrepreneurial urge.

Passion Inspires and Fuels Your Dream

It drives you forward towards a worthy goal. It gives your life purpose. It inspires you. Perhaps you even feel sorry for those poor mortals who lack a vision beyond merely amassing sales and profits. They live a passionless life and probably try to fill it with more material goods hoping that those possessions will bring happiness.

As a heart-centered marketer, you know how short a time those new possessions bring happiness and true satisfaction. After all, material goods wear out. And in today’s Internet world, they also get replaced within months with a new, superior edition which means they no longer satisfy.

Moreover, numerous writers describe how chasing the hottest craze doesn’t work for anyone except those at the forefront of the craze. The only way to sustainable success is to pour your efforts into something you are so passionate about that you will be motivated to keep making the efforts when the going gets tough and the market has yet to see the value of your dream.

When Passion Fails

The problem is that unless you start to see some success for all that effort you have been pouring into manifesting this passion, your dream will end up on the trash heap of failed aspirations. After all, there is so much more to small business or entrepreneurial success that just passion. Things that are grunt work.

Eventually, you can delegate those tasks to others who actually enjoy doing them and excel at them. Still, when just starting out, you only have your passion, not the income to pay for outsourcing help.

Finding the Middle Path

So, is there a middle ground, somewhere for the passionate yet guided by business logic? There is. Shane Melaugh, founder of Active Growth and co-founder of Thrive Themes, makes a lucid and compelling case for a middle path in “Should You Follow Money or Follow Your Passion?”

Screen capture of Shane Melaugh in his article, “Should You Follow Money or Follow Your Passion?”

Shane Melaugh in his article, “Should You Follow Money or Follow Your Passion?”

Should You Follow Money or Follow Your Passion?

Follow your passion! Dare to believe in your dreams! You can do it!!

Sound familiar? The areas of entrepreneurship and personal development/motivational stuff and intertwined and "follow your passion" is run-of-the-mill advice in both.

But is it actually good advice or is it just another example of guru bullshit?

In my experience, it's bad advice and the "follow your passion" crowd usually don't last long as entrepreneurs.

So, you should be a hard hitter and chase the money, right? Coffee is for closers and all that.

Well, chasing the money is also a pretty reliable way to fail at the startup game...

So, what exactly is the right approach? Check out today's video to find out...

The Problem with Chasing the Money

Just find a good niche, no matter what it is, and monetize it! It's all about the opportunity, bro!

This is a pretty common attitude in the online marketing space. The problem is, it usually doesn’t work.

If your single focus is making money, you’re only chasing the best keywords, the latest money making machine tools, endlessly trying to hack search engines and find more opportunities you see others getting rich by.

All you do is keep on chasing that bright shiny object in the dark and never actually get anything done.

Does Passion Matter?

Follow your heart - is this just an overused cliché or it’s something you can allow yourself?

Spending our days on something we truly love is the end goal for most of us, but for an emerging business, that might not be the right step to do.

Doing what you’re passionate about gives you more gratification to start with - you can’t wait to grab your laptop and continue working on your project, even when you’re supposed to eat or sleep!

But, as long as you don’t have it all figured out, not being able to see your business without the rose-tinted glasses can easily make you go bankrupt.

Having passion for something doesn’t validate the business on its own. If there’s no viable business in the area you picked, it’s damn hard to make money out of it.

Finding the Middle Ground

If following the money and following your passions are both to avoid, what is the right thing to do?

To get the full picture, watch the video at the top of this post. As a reminder, the solution lies in finding that intersection of stuff that pays, but within your area of interest:

Graphic: Shane Melaugh’s Venn Diagram showing the overlap of money and passion being the sweet spot for your business

Especially when you start out, it pays to be a bit ruthless about getting paid. Think of it as creating the foundation which will later allow you to focus more on what you're truly passionate about.

One of the examples I mention is blogging. In my experience, most people who start a blog go about it totally backwards. You can see an example of how I applied this money/passion approach to blogging in this article on how to build your mailing list fast during a product launch.

More good reading on the topic: this post shows you how to effectively build a mailing list with a product launch. That's a good way to:

  • Get real validation and feedback from your market.
  • Get paid.
  • Build an audience.

The more you do those last two things, the more "fuel" you have to start pure passion projects.

Over To You

What's your experience with following your passion vs. chasing the money? Have you made any mistakes in striking the right balance? Any questions about how to apply it to your business?

NOTE: The preceding was taken from “Should You Follow Money or Follow Your Passion?” by Shane Melaugh,

As Shane pointed out above, “the solution lies in finding that intersection of stuff that pays, but within your area of interest.” What does the market know that they want and are willing to pay for? The more unknown the benefits are to your product or services, the more education you will have to do and the longer it is until your value is something they will appreciate needing and wanting enough to pay for it.

Consulting Experience Says Satisfy the Client First

Ideally, find something your ideal customers are looking for now or a solution you can provide now even if it isn’t core to your passion. As Gina Gaudio-Graves or Directions University tells her students and audiences, there are two problems people have:

  • Those they know they have and want a solution to
  • Those they don’t know they don’t know

When I was a consultant for George S. May International Company, I quickly learned that trying to help a client with a problem I recognized he had – but he didn’t already know he had so didn’t want to pay to solve was a great way to end that job early. On the other hand, delivering what he had already contracted our company to provide gave me time to educate him as to the value of the additional job. I obtained many add-on jobs from clients who trusted me because I delivered what they already ordered.

Just so, find what they need and want now. Deliver that. And while you are providing the solution to their perceived need, you build the trust for them to allow you to show them what “they don’t know they don’t know” they need.

Thus, until you are established enough to have the revenue stream or cash flow to sustain you and your business, find the need your ideal customers already feel and deliver that to them. Provide more value than they expected so you build the relationship necessary to take them to the next step. Help them to know, like and trust you then guide them to the products and services that you passionately care about.

Open your heart in selling,

John's digital signature written with mouse

John R. Aberle, Aberle Enterprises

Image of How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses book cover for 12 Types of Content Marketing’s #12 Books

P.S. Do you love taking care of your customers and prospects? If you yearn to build more long-term business connections with your customers, get your copy of the Amazon Kindle eBook: 

How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses.

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About the Author

I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.