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If you love what you do, should you start a business? I don’t think the answer is very straight forward.
A lot of the most successful entrepreneurs will say passion is the most important thing. I agree that passion is very important. However, I don’t think that passion is the only thing.
You can’t just start with passion and build a successful business. You also have to have solid business chops. You need to know how to grow a business.
If you start a business on passion, you’ll very quickly find that 80% of your time is working on the business and not in the business.
Fall in Love With Business
That means you’re going to be doing infrastructural things like taxes, accounting, customer support, and everything that is around and enabling the thing that you love to do. The passion—the thing that got you into the game—isn’t what you’re going to be spending most of your time on as a business owner.
What it takes to start a business is very different from what it takes to grow a business.
Similarly, growing to the next level beyond that requires yet another set of skills.
Gary Vaynerchuck grew his dad’s wine business, Wine Library, from $3 million to $60 million in just 5 years. His dad started the business. He grew the business from $0 to $3 million, but those skills weren’t the same skills that grew the business from $3 to $60 million. That’s where Gary came in. Gary is really good at scaling things. He’s also less attached to the emotion and passion that was required to grow the business from nothing to that first $3 million.
Gary, in this case, is someone who’s working on the business, he’s not working in the business. He has a different perspective. He’s able to think in terms of scale because he’s not focused on doing the actual work or making the actual product.
If you’re passionate about something, naturally you want to do the thing that you’re passionate about. That means working in the business, but to grow the business, you have to work on it.
If you enjoy what you do and want to do more of it, don’t start a business.
You might dislike this, but go ahead and start a business with what you love to do and what you’re passionate about, and something you want to do more of, and you will find that the vast majority of your time is going to be spent on the business. The way you’ll be successful is if you happen to find that you love the act of growing the business.
You may find that you enjoy business itself, and if so, you will be successful. But if not, you will burn out and be frustrated that you’re not able to do the thing that got you into the game.
There are anomalies who have been able to work in the business and on the business like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates. These guys were in the business from the very beginning doing the actual work and then ended up working on the business and scaling it.
The reason they’re so rare is because it takes different skill sets to level up your business. When you start out, you’re doing the work yourself. When you grow the business you become a manager, you become a CEO, you become a visionary. From $0 to $100,000, and from $100,000 to a million, and from a million to a hundred million, and a hundred million to a billion dollars all require different skill sets.
The common trait that these anomalies possess is adaptability. The reason you need adaptability is because:
You must become a different person if you want to personally be involved in scaling your business to the next level.
I mentioned earlier that a lot of people say you can have passion and that’s enough to start a business. That’s not enough in and of itself. Passion is a very important element. If the work you do isn’t work that you enjoy or it isn’t work that fulfills you, then you won’t be motivated to continue doing it and that’s where passion truly is important.
Passion Alone Isn’t Enough to Grow a Business
Ultimately, if you want to grow a business you have to work on it. Working on it means you’re not working in it. So, if you want to know whether you should start a business that you’re passionate about around something you enjoy doing, the key question to ask yourself is whether or not you are adaptable.
You have to be willing to become a different person if you want to start a business. I learned this the hard way. I didn’t know that business required being passionate about business. I just enjoyed doing what I liked to do and people said, “You should start a business.”
Now, fortunately for me, I fell in love with growing the business. I actually ended up not doing what got me into the game, but I loved the act of growing the business and that’s why it worked for me.
Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself if you’re willing to be adaptable. Most people won’t give you this advice. You’re not going to hear this advice that says you need to be willing to learn things. You need to be willing to change who you are and become a different person in order to grow a business. That’s something you need to evaluate before you start. If you don’t want to do that, that’s totally fine.
Making a business, growing a business, and starting a business is not for everyone, but make sure you know without a shadow of a doubt you have the willingness to change, grow, and ultimately become a different person if you want to start a business.