Today is a hot topic. You’re hearing everybody, especially entrepreneurs, talking about passion. Follow your passion and success will follow. Well, is shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that it’s not that easy. You are supposed to be a new entrepreneur by just following the things you love to do. A little more is shared on this episode and where you can get that passion.
I’ve got a clue for you: passion sucks the life out of you. What do I mean by that? Yes, it’s wonderful to have a like and a love for what you’re doing (and we’ll get to how you can develop that), but following your passion and putting your money on your passion, success will follow is the mantra. Where does it come from? How does it get there? It’s not just some magical, magical law of attraction. The idea that customers will just flock to your doors because you have this passion, well, there’s a little bit of truth in that, in the idea that if you have the right enthusiasm, and emit a wonderful positive attitude – yes, people will feel more comfortable around you and you’re more likely to get customers. That is something that you should have.
The idea that you can do almost anything and just have that passion for it. Does it pay well? Are there economies of scale, or are you just going to be trading your hours for money? That’s just another job. Is there a room for increased productivity? Your passion or love of a hobby may be very different when all of a sudden you think you love doing this, let’s say it’s scrapbooking or let’s say it’s stamp collecting, what happens when you have to do marketing, sales, bookkeeping, when you have employees, when you have to satisfy vendors, suppliers, when you have government regulations all entering into this hobby, the thing that you loved before? It is no longer just a passion. It’s something that’s much more complex and much more difficult.
People and marketers love to pedal the idea of following your passion. It sounds like a nice quick fix to happiness, but it doesn’t help if you can’t sell your passion to a consumer. You have to fill some need or demand that someone is willing to pay for. Can you completely fill that need? Take a look at all the people who have passions.
One way to do this is next time you’re at a shopping center, or shopping mall, or driving by strip malls, take a look at all of the empty stores. Not only did those people have a passion and truly believed in what they were doing, but failed, but most likely in almost all cases, they had to guarantee with the bank or others with everything they had, their home, their savings, everything, and you can be sure that they stretched out and went into debt, trying to make that work right up until the end. Their passion didn’t work.
You have to make sure that you have a combination of the right skills that will fill sufficient demand, to actually earn sufficient income, and that the market isn’t over-supplied. It also doesn’t mean you have to go necessarily to the thing with the highest income.
What are your goals, what are the desires that you have? If you’re interested in just earning a few hundred dollars extra a month or something, and you’re going to use that money to put aside and set aside for your retirement, that’s fine. But have realistic expectations. The idea that you’re going to make six figures or seven figures… I’m going to get to an episode of what the distribution of income really is, and you’ll find out that getting even six figures is not as easy as it sounds. It will be more about how you use your money, not necessarily just how much you earn.
Let’s get back to passion. One of the most coveted businesses that there is out there is actually restaurants. To open your own restaurant. Actually very, very few survive. It is the worst of all businesses, actually, to get into for the idea of making money and surviving.
Even if you do survive, there’s ridiculously arduous hours. You have to be in there early maybe to get the produce or get the things set up, then you may be staying late nights. If anything happens to an employee, a manager, etc., you may be having to work extra on the weekends just trying to get everything done. That doesn’t account for going back into what I was saying earlier, that you’ve got all the bookkeeping, the employees, the government regulations, everything else that you’ve got to consider.
One time I met Tom Douglas at an airport in Philadelphia, and I was chatting with him. He’s a very famous restaurateur, if you don’t know. He’s got 10 or 11 restaurants now in the Seattle area. Very, very successful. I was talking to him about one of the things I was thinking of doing was opening a bakery café. I didn’t expect to make money on that. I expected it to just be a retirement thing that I would just have 10 or 12 tables, make enough money, but just put up a sign once in a while: “Gone skiing. See you tomorrow.”
It wasn’t a goal of having something that I was going to make money on, but he said: “Gee, it’s really hard.” He didn’t know that actually as a kid, I worked in restaurants as a busboy and a waiter, and even had to work in the kitchen a few times, so I knew what it was like. But he said: “So many people want to do that. What I do is offer them—and if you want to come in, you can do it—I offer them to come into my workplace for a week. After a week, they’re, ‘Oh my god.’ They realize the complexity, the work, and everything else that’s involved, and all of a sudden their passion disappears.”
There’s lots of other things. There’s writers, there’s painters—I’m not talking about house painters, but fancy painters, artistic painters—art lovers, singers, musicians, actors, actresses. Those are all passions. Will you make money at it? Yes, there are some that do extremely well. It’s very rare. If you have that substantial talent, great. To think that just passion alone is going to get you through, there’s the amount of how many people are in there, what’s the demand for it, and what’s the likelihood of really making it.
Actually most passions don’t really map into great careers. There’s a reason that 21% of people like their job, and the rest don’t. There’s two-fold in that. One is there’s a bunch of unhappy people, period, where that’s just the way they are. I meet them every day, you meet them every day. There’s others that really are in something that they want to do for whatever reason. You can’t project your opinion, your ideas on them. I’ve met some that would just like to go in, make some money, then go home, and they only want to work 9 to 5, they don’t care about ever getting a promotion or anything else. That’s fine. That’s their choice. For those of us that have a passion and desire to do something, keep in mind what it’s about.
I used to go skiing usually in the mornings; I’m only an hour and 15 minutes from the ski slopes, and I used to go skiing three times a week. Fairly often, I’d have somebody who was either a ski instructor or part of the ski patrol be on the lift with me, and we’d be chatting. They were, of course, very passionate, had a great deal of desire.
I used to compare this and I say: “That’s great. What is right? What is the best thing to do?” I spent my younger years gaining experience, gaining credentials, all the things that helped propel me into doing a lot of really nice things. They’re spending their younger years enjoying things; skied in the winter, scuba in summer, etc., or flew to the other hemisphere and did skiing in the Southern Hemisphere.
What is right? I can’t say what is right and wrong. What he did, and this is what I would say, it’s really neat he is doing things like this, and for the rest of his life he’s got those memories. It’s too late for me to do the type of skiing that he’s doing. I could never do that. Whereas he’s got those memories later on, I have higher income, more things, etc., that I can roll back on. That’s what I have, but he has those memories that he experienced and I can never experience now.
It’s interesting. Which is the right thing to do? When he’s younger, strong and able, and flexible and everything to do those things and have those memories, why not? The only thing is when he gets older and he maybe lives in a house that’s not as nice as mine, he should realize what it is and not have jealousy. That’s the key. He had the passion. That was wonderful. He did wonderful things that I will never do, and never was able to do. Which is the right choice? It’s an individual preference. That’s my economic lesson for the day.
There are also lots of jobs, for example, dog walkers, caring for dogs and cats, people like to write poetry, even teacher. Actually the only reason that teachers’ salaries are as high as they are is there are unions that keep out many of the aspiring teachers that would love to help kids and really enjoy that.
Flight attendants. Very interesting. I fly now a lot on Alaska Airlines. Flight attendants are wonderful there; really nice, always polite, everything. Interestingly, a couple conversations came up that never came up on the former airline I used to be on. That is some of the airlines, many of the airlines, many of the attendants are resentful for the fact that they haven’t gotten big pay raises, etc. How can they get big pay raises? Is the airline able to make more money because they’re more productive, because they’re doing more? No.
What they’re doing is a job that really is for younger people. It’s interesting, you hear the Alaskan Airlines flight attendants basically saying that. They’re saying things like: “Well, this is a nice job with a lot of benefits, a lot of things, but it’s not a long-term career to make a lot of money and put aside.” They can have a passion for what they’re doing, but they realize and understand what the limitations of that position are. Following your passions is not necessarily viable for most people. That is right, it is not necessarily. But you can, instead of that, develop your passion.
Let’s talk about developing your passion. A lot of it is attitude. When I was younger, I worked at some pretty low-end jobs. I worked as a caddy on golf courses, I worked as a busboy, then a waiter, I worked in a printing plant as a proof boy. I’ll explain that one in a minute.
When I was working as a busboy or a waiter, there I was as a waiter. Most people say: “That’s a hard job, where you’re doing all kinds of things, you’re carting things, and trying to make people happy.” I look at it as an opportunity, that while I was there, I had the ability to make that couple’s evening something really truly special. That helped satisfy my passion.
Guess what? As a result, I made a lot more money. I used to get much more tips than almost every other waiter or waitress. Why? Because the people were happier, and they saw my desire to make them have a great evening.
Proof boy is literally, and this was a union shop, a big print place, what it means is I ran out the proofs for new ads and pages, and brought them over to the editors, etc. What I did and how I did it, kept it timely and everything else, I was very proud of that. Everything was nice and neat around me. I was happy doing that job. Now I knew it was a temporary job; it was summertime before college, but that was still something. You can develop a passion based on attitude. What have you accomplished?
Best example I ever saw was I used to go into New York City on a regular basis for some company that I was doing work for. I stayed at a hotel along the east side of the south end of Manhattan. In the hotel this was the first or second time I was there, go downstairs to get some coffee that they had set up for everybody. I saw three of the sanitation workers/garbage men.
The interesting thing was a couple of them were saying: “Boy, wait until you get back here tonight. You will not find a piece of paper or garbage anywhere around. This, outside, the outside, all in this neighborhood will be so clean you won’t see a thing.” Did they have a passion for their job? I respected them. They have a great deal of love of what they’re doing, and very satisfied about what they’re doing. Don’t look at a job. Passion is not what you do, but how you do it, and: can you develop pride in it?
That gets back into the other topic: how do you develop additional income, other things, that sort? Yes, you can have a hobby, and most of them you can make some money at. It may only be a few hundred dollars; it may be a lot more. There’s a lot more to it than just driving out with passion and setting up a store, or driving out with passion and getting on the internet. You have to make sure you have the plan, the understanding of what it is, how to put together the right tools, how to put together the right marketing plan, the strategy, etc. There’s a lot more.
When you hear somebody just say: “Follow your passion,” – with what?
Thank you very much. Please re-listen and go back to episodes 23 and 24 to define your goals, and take a look at your current or future business. Do they mesh? Refine, develop, and grow your business and attitude. Thank you very much for listening.