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My own opinion lies somewhere in the middle—that running a successful business takes a combination of finding something that you love, and something that makes money. And as for passion’s exact place? It’s more complicated than you might initially think.
Here are a few things I’ve found helpful when it comes to searching for passion in my own business.
The first thing I like to keep in mind is that passions evolve constantly throughout life, both inside and outside of your career. Add to that how transformatory the process of growing a business is, and it’s not surprising that entrepreneurship is often a career of constant shifts.
For example, when I first began my design business, it was because I was passionate about design and seeking a creative outlet. Though as I’ve gone on to grow from freelancing to running a design studio, my interest in the business side of things has significantly increased. And as my interests have shifted, so has the work that I do day to day. When design was what fueled me (and it certainly still does), that’s where my focus lied. But after a decade of sinking my teeth into that role, there are other parts of the business that provide newer and invigorating challenges for me.
If you’re looking to make room for this evolution in your own business, I’ve found it’s important to create a business structure that can challenge you in multiple ways,so you can adjust your priorities and keep things interesting as your passions change over time.
You’ve likely heard this before, but it’s also important to remember that running a creative business involves much more than just the creative work. If you’re a painter selling your artwork, for example, the business’ success will require an interest in the other areas of your business as well.
Particularly when you’re first getting started and are responsible for everything, you may find yourself spending a significant amount of time on areas like customer service and communication, finances, marketing, and of course, managing your overall business strategy and how all of these elements work together
And while the business side of things doesn’t need to be your number one passion a willingness to enjoy and feel challenged by it enough to give it the time and focus you need to meet your business’s goals is required to see success.
Finally, in addition to an interest in some of the other business tasks that will need your attention, a fire for entrepreneurship is necessary for any kind of long-term sustainability. It can take years of hard work to get a small business off the ground, and a lifetime of new challenges to successfully grow it. Some would also argue that it takes a certain personality type or work-ethic to work for yourself autonomously, set your own schedule and boundaries, and navigate the myriad of unique tasks involved in self-employment.
I would even venture to say that an interest for running your own business may be more important than a passion for what you do inside of that business. Otherwise, it’s easy to burn out when faced with the less creative work involved in your new venture.
What’s your own opinion: are creative business owners born or made? How do you combine your interests with your own business? We’d love to hear your own experience in the comments.