Loving what you do, getting great results and feeling even more energized than when you started. What does it take to make that happen?
Marketing campaigns would have you believe that “following your passion” or “being the change” are enough. In truth, you need much more than this. Passion is more of an entrance ticket, a prerequisite to competing in the arena of entrepreneurship. Action will extend your journey and “specialized knowledge” will give you an advantage; but ultimately, you need all three.
Passion and action come into play first, specialized knowledge arrives later. Picture a baby learning to walk and you’ll get the idea.
Let’s sharpen our perspective on all three:
What is passion? Sometimes it’s a feeling, a deep interest, and a nearly limitless amount of energy for a certain idea. Also – and this is a big also – it’s a willingness to endure the times when your energy isn’t there, you just lost a deal, or there is a fun outdoor event and you decide to stay in this Saturday and get the job done. That’s passion.
Look back at your life and explore the times when you’ve had success. What was the topic, setting, relationship, and/or motivation? Uncover the answers, and they will shed light on what you are truly passionate about.
Action is your best friend. Leadership experts reveal that successful entrepreneurs have a “bias towards action.” If you’re reading this, you probably do, too. So, what gets us out of action? Getting caught in a thought pattern of, “I don’t know what to do.” The cause is usually massive uncertainty.
Take the fear of uncertainty, become a scientist, and run a few experiments. Ask, “I wonder what will happen if I try X? What are the top three things I could do right now?” Then do them. The feeling of uncertainty will not change until you go and act on these things.
Furthermore, once you are back on track and have your actions prioritized, make sure you are attacking the three most important items first. Brian Tracy calls this “Eating the Frog.” You’ve probably heard the maxim “Efficiency is doing actions right, effectiveness is taking the right actions.” It says a lot.
Specialized knowledge is where not all founders are created equal and is the reason why people assemble a board of advisors or mentors. You are not expected to know everything; you are expected to identify people who do have the knowledge you need. What are examples of specialized knowledge?
Let’s look at the knowledge available about the Internet. It was commercialized in 1995. Today, it’s twenty years old. The most experience anyone can have building an online business is twenty years. To put this in perspective, a company like Nestlé was founded in 1866. They’ve been in the chocolate business for 149 years.
In 1995, when the Internet became available for commercialization, a small percentage of people knew what the ‘the world wide web’ was, an even smaller percentage saw the business opportunities, and an even smaller group knew how to do something about it: those people had extremely specialized knowledge.
Apple’s app store opened in 2008 which makes the idea of “apps” as we know them a little over seven years old. This means that the people who have been in the industry from the start have about seven years of specialized knowledge.
If you are creating a product for a relatively new industry, it means that you can start with a brilliant idea, learn a niche subject, build relationships, and if passion and action follow suit, have a real chance to compete and win. What will you build?