If you have read any business article in the last 10 years you’ve likely came across the phrase “follow your passion” and success will come.
I don’t want to mince words or come off as extremely negative but that just isn’t true and especially so if financial freedom is your end goal. I don’t mean “lean FI”, but actually “True Financial Freedom”.
But I’ve read it so many times, how can that many people be wrong??? Because pie in the sky thinking has no place in actual business. That doesn’t mean don’t dream big, but you have to think about your end goal when you start and here are a few key areas to mull over:
- Market Size: If your passion is bird watching and making videos of it, the overwhelming odds are you won’t make 7 figures in this niche no matter how good you are. The same would go with your paracord shop making lanyards on Etsy and many other small business ventures. If 25k per year via youtube affiliate marketing makes you happy then that might work for you, but otherwise, we need to pass on the passion advice.
- Business Participation: There are two types of businesses, those that can be largely passive from a time investment standpoint and those that require daily attention to thrive. In the building phase, this isn’t true as the harder you work on either the more successful they will become. But if your business is a local plumbing company and you intend long term to be on the labor side then it will never be truly passive. On the flip side if your business is an insurance agency and you are a producer with one service rep then once your book of business is built up it can be mostly passive and require only weekly/monthly participation on your behalf.
- The Fad Trap: Many people fall into the trap of launching a small business based on the current trend that comes their way, they mistake this short term passion for a potential route to long term success. A glaring example of this is the multi level marketing trends, most recently I’ve seen a rush of the “It Works” and “Vasayo” in our local geographic region. It is highly unlikely that 95% of these people will achieve any level of long term success, but they will certainly be “following their passion” out of the gates.
- Fitness Life: This one deserves an entirely separate section because I have first hand experience in the fitness industry and it’s not for the faint of heart. Time and time again I’ve seen people that were either overweight or out of shape transform their body and immediately try to shift their career to helping others do so. This is not a bad thing and it’s very admirable, but from a money perspective it rarely ever works out. They are almost always truly passionate in the beginning and some even hold onto that passion long term…. But the hard reality is most personal trainers and grout fitness instructors make virtually no money, it’s a low paying industry at large. The more successful the person was before their transformation the larger their financial fallout tends to be, why??? They try to open a gym, or nutrition store, or insert random current fitness fad franchise (Example: Orange Theory) which ends up being a full-time job with massive amounts of work and minimal return with few exceptions. Passion is there – success doesn’t follow.
I can’t leave this one a negative note, the good news is you can defintiely create a work life balance and enjoy those passions in your spare time. In most cases having an escape will prevent burnout and keep you on track long term. Nobody woke up one day and said “I would really just love to sell insurance products, that sounds so fun!” but there are plenty of people who became massively successful doing so. Forget the passion advice on choosing what to do and be passionate about what you are actually doing – what you know how to do… THEN success will be yours to enjoy.
Thanks for reading!
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