Follow your passion and you’ll make millions. This makes sense and it works in many cases. The problem is that it causes people to try version after version of their passion until they can get paid enough from it to survive. The average person gives up before before then. When we focus on ourselves and what we’d like to provide we are missing a critical element of successful business:
To satisfy the customer is the mission and the purpose of every business. – Peter Drucker
Satisfy whom? If you are focusing on YOUR passion and what YOU want to provide to the world, you will eventually be successful. It might take 100 attempts of applying your passion in different ways, but eventually you will succeed in creating a profitable business. But, not until you stumble across a version of your passion that provides to a critical number of customers what THEY want.
Focus too much on what YOU want to give and people may or may not want it. Focus on what people want first, and then determine how you can passionately give it to them. Increase your odds of success exponentially. – Me, lol
I love listening to interviews with Dane Maxwell about this. He bases his whole TheFoundation.com business on this very idea and has tons of success stories because of it. He suggests that you take it a step further and determine a group of people or market that you want to serve and then go find the problems to solve in that market.
Lastly, your passion is likely going to change. Over time you have personality tendencies and enduring strengths, but what you are passionate about working on today, can change by next month! The more successful you are with this month’s passion, the longer you’ll stick with it. But, when you don’t see results for a long time regardless of the reasons…you aren’t so passionate about that idea anymore are you? By focusing first on customer pain, you will get base hits, rather than striking out 100 times to with hopes of a home run. Get good at making those singles and you’ll stay passionate to pursue the home runs.
- Determine which markets and customers you can passionately serve regardless of what the problems are you’ll solve
- Find people in those markets to tell you what pain they need relieved (ask, listen, understand, repeat)
- Rank those problems based on how painful they are for customers (most painful problems pay the best)
- Pick small problems you can be passionate about solving long enough to get successfully profitable
And as @tonyrobbins says, “Live with Passion!”
As an almost-startup founder, wouldn’t be nice to meet a hero who over the last 8 years:
- Helped individually 1,500 startup founders over the last 7 years in Silicon Valley.
- Incubated startups like AirBnB, Heroku, Reddit, Wufoo, and Dropbox!
- Invested a shared $8 million in these startups, overall.
- Has a portfolio worth almost $10 Billion of these startups, now.
- And is still going strong looking for more founders.
Further, what if he wrote letters to you offering advice and what he would look for in startups? Oh, and it’s free!
Of course, Paul Graham, co-founder of Y-Combinator, is who we’re talking about. For some reason, he writes “essays” to the public with his ideas and requests regarding startups.
So, the point is, here is this dude with practically infinite access to successful startups…giving out free advice on startups…so if you are into startups, this list of essays is required reading.
PS: If you are looking for a good list of companies they’ve worked with check this out: http://ycuniverse.com/ycombinator-companies