HomeBusinessSme’s chat:Should you follow your passion or profits?

Sme’s chat:Should you follow your passion or profits?

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it. But if you love what you are doing, and always put the customer first, success will be yours.” — Ray Kroc

Phillip Chichoni

Ruth loves painting. At high school she passed fine arts at the top of her class. Her dilemma was that she could not pursue her passion at university but instead went on to study law. Now she thinks she made a mistake and has decided to make a u-turn.

The problem is whether she can build a sustainable business that can pay her rent in the field of fine arts that she loves.

This question vexes many young entrepreneurs, who find that in most cases there are no opportunities in the fields they love.

Building a business takes guts, hard work and sometimes a long time with little or no reward. You may fail many times before you build a business that is profitable and sustainable.

The challenges can be so overwhelming that you may see it as wise to just quit.

If you are doing something that you are not passionate about, you will give up easily at even the slightest sign of problems. Some of the now famous entrepreneurs worked hard in the areas they loved, taking decades to build businesses that have now made an impact.

Most readers will be familiar with the story of Colonel Sanders, who toiled for over half his life in the restaurant business before finally making Kentucky Fried Chicken a global brand, well into his 60s. If he had no passion for the fast food business he would have given up quite early.

There are other people who spend decades in the fields they love, like acting, singing or sport, before breaking into the big time and becoming superstars. Certainly, if they were not passionate they would not have gone far in their careers.

One of the traits that characterises real entrepreneurs is their passion. It is the level of their personal commitment, ambition and imagination that determines the highs an entrepreneur will scale.

However, there is another side to the debate of following your passion. In the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, Carl Newport says there are real dangers in trying to listen to the old advice to follow your passion, especially when you are young and fresh out of college.

First you might not know your real passion. One thing can excite you for a while and you may think that is your passion. A while later, something else catches your fancy and you think that is your passion.

That is what happened to me when I was in high school. Some friends and I got together and started collecting some electronic engineering magazines, reading about components, electronic circuits and all that stuff.

Using parts collected from broken electronic equipment, we assembled all sorts of fancy gadgets, including working radios, remote controlled toy cars and music equipment.

I went on to write the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation amateur radio exam and received a certificate as an amateur radio operator.

However, as soon as we left high school my friends and I went our different ways. I decided to study accounting after seeing the high number of well paying jobs in this field being advertised in newspapers.

Years later I thought full-time accounting was boring and decided to use my skills to help others, especially those in business who disliked the field but needed accounting help.
After writing three sets of books on business and entrepreneurship, I discovered that the excitement lies more in embracing a challenge and winning; in building something that works. It becomes a passion when you get good and start loving what you are doing.

For most people, passion develops slowly. It is rare to find someone who loves a certain career before they have become very good at it.

Sometimes, as is the case in our slowly recovering country right now, it might not be realistic to follow your passion.

You passion may not pay well enough, or there may not be a big enough market for your offering.

You might need to try a few lines of business before you discover where you passion really lies.

So what do you think, follow your passion or follow the money? Please share your thoughts at http://smebusinesslink.com/ask-an-expert/.
Until next week, best wishes in accelerating your growth.

Phillip Chichoni is a business planning consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email: chichonip@smebusinesslink.com. You can also visit http://smebusinesslink.com.

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