Passion: A Valentine’s Day Wish or an Entrepreneurial Necessity?
Throughout February, we hear the word “passion” all over the place. Passion can certainly be related to hearts and candy and flowers. But passion influences entrepreneurs beyond February 14th. Passion is a key element to success as a young entrepreneur.
“Ideally, since 80 percent of your life is spent working, you should start your business around something that is a passion of yours. If you’re into kite-surfing and you want to become an entrepreneur, do it with kite-surfing. Look, if you can indulge in your passion, life will be far more interesting than if you’re just working. You’ll work harder at it, and you’ll know more about it.”
This quote, by Richard Branson, one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, brings to light one of the most important characteristics of entrepreneurs–passion.
Without passion, the desire to work hard, to focus your energy, and to succeed begins to fade away. With passion, an entrepreneur will be able to maintain the energy and enthusiasm necessary to make a living out of an idea.
So how do young entrepreneurs identify their passion and how can educators encourage young people to identify their passion? Here are a few activities that can be accomplished in any educational setting.
- Remember childhood—what games did you play? What activities did you love doing? How did you spend your free time? Remembering the things you loved to do at the very beginning of your life, helps one figure out what they are naturally drawn to.
- Get inspired—cut out pictures from magazines that appeal to you. Take a walk and see what catches your attention. Go to a library to browse the aisles and see what you are drawn to. By opening your mind and surrounding yourself with possibilities, you will begin to notice the things that you are passionate about.
- Journal—carry a journal with you for a week and write down anything you are thinking about. This could be conversations you have with others, foods that you eat, how you spend your time, what vacations you dream about. All of these things may spark an interest in your passion.
- Dream—if you could spend an entire week doing whatever you wanted to do, what you would you do? When someone is allowed to dream, with no restrictions, they begin to allow their mind to think about the things that they care most about.
Once you have done these activities, make connections between them. What common themes come through? Can you solve a problem based on your theme? Is solving that problem a way for you to make money?
If not, don’t give up. Continue to think about how you can turn your passion into a business. Be aware of everything around you as you engage in your passion. How could you make that activity, product, or idea better? Or how can you introduce this passion to more people? Thinking about these questions may help you turn your passion into a money-making venture.
When you have the opportunity to start a business, don’t rely on your passion alone. Be sure to focus on the details of your business and focus on making your passion a money-maker. But passion is still a characteristic that can help your business grow:
- Hire passionate people. Find people who share your passion and perhaps use their passion for a skill that you don’t possess. You can always teach skills, but you can’t teach passion.
- Connect with others who share your passion. This will help you grow your business by finding new clients. Not everyone who is passionate about something will be able to create a business out of that passion. So it’s your job to find those passionate people and help them grow their passion by providing them with a product or service.
- Don’t stop with just one passion. Continue to grow and experience new things so your passion can grow and expand too. You never know—it may lead to an expanded or new business opportunity.
Everyone is passionate about something. It’s now your job to figure out what your passion is and how you can take it from something you love, to something you can live off.
Further Classroom Discussion
- Beyond passion, what other characteristics do many entrepreneurs possess?
- Can you think of an example where being passionate wasn’t enough to be successful?
- What questions can you ask of yourself to prevent this kind of entrepreneurial failure?
- Check out NFIB’s Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom Exercise 1-3 Characteristics of an Entrepreneur, for more classroom activities related to this topic.
- Check out NFIB’s Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom Exercise 1-4 Entrepreneurial Passion, for more classroom activities related to this topic.
The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting the importance of small business and free enterprise to the nation’s youth. More information is available at www.NFIB.com/YEF. The Foundation is associated with the National Federation of Independent Business; NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.
Entrepreneur In The Classroom. The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom (EITC) supplemental curriculum exposes students to entrepreneurship and the necessary steps to take an idea and turn it into a business. The free curriculum can be integrated into classes teaching a variety of subjects including music, art, fashion, business and many more. You must be registered to view the full Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom curriculum.
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