One of the best pieces of business advice I've ever received came in the form of a one sentence analogy. "If you have a passion for rock climbing, don't start a rock climbing business; rather, start a business that will allow you to rock climb whenever you want."
It's becoming more and more common nowadays for people to combine their passions with their business endeavors. Business - for the better - has shifted from something you do to something you love. But if you remember my previous post on viewing your life as a whole, the things we love go beyond what we can turn into a business. Sometimes our passions are things we don't even want to turn into a business.
Other times, however, our passions are things we want integrate into our every day business lives. Going off of the analogy above, sometimes when we try to turn our passion into our business and we end up becoming a prisoner of that passion. If you are passionate about rock climbing but have to sell rock climbing equipment 60 hours a week to make ends meet, your passion will quickly become your nightmare.
Taking it one step further, sometimes we don't even have the necessary skills to pursue our passions as business endeavors. Sometimes we have passions - such as music - that we don't have the skills to be directly involved in. But if we take an intelligent look at our lives and find out where our skills lie, we can use those skills to become valuable to the types of businesses and markets where our passions can thrive.
If you are passionate about music but have never succeeded with an instrument, don't toil away trying to be good at something your not. Instead, leverage your stills and background to make yourself valuable to the music industry. If you are good at talking and making connections, try to master music business marketing or start your own artist management company. If you have a strong graphic design background, try to become a web development specialist for a record company.
If you - like me - are into technology and innovation but don't know the first thing about coding, don't break your back trying to become a computer programmer. Rather, leverage your skills and background that will allow you to either become an integral part of a technology company or run the business side of a technology startup.
Lets continue to use me as an example: I couldn't code my way out of a paper bag, but I have an extensive background in finance and business development. Instead of trying to understand computer code I can't even abbreviate, I focus on leveraging my strong financial background to make myself a valuable asset to local technology startups. Hey, just like I don't understand code, there are a lot of people out there who don't understand finance.
So while my passion may be technology and innovation, finance is the vehicle in which I achieve that passion.
My dad always told me, "find something you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life." Unfortunately for people like me who love baseball but can't hit a fastball, this may not be possible. But if we intelligently position ourselves in a way that makes us valuable to industries where our passions lie - i.e. working on the business side of a Major League Baseball team - we will be able to achieve our passions without ever taking a step onto the field.
Remember, you can achieve anything you want as long as you put your mind to it; you may just need to find a different vehicle to get you there.