How Strong Is Your Passion
Updated: Nov 17
I ask this question because I think you have a passion for what you’re doing to be a successful entrepreneur.
Passion allows you to overcome the obstacles, rejections, and the pain involved with being a small business owner.
A partnership between myself and individuals reflects values. If I’m going to choose to partner with someone, their degree of passion is a very important determination.
My passion can’t be stronger than yours.
Otherwise I’d rather go ahead on my own (solo) because the degree of risk is high as a small business owner and if I’m going to share that risk with somebody else, our passions must meet, our passions must join. It must be at a minimum on the same level or preferably stronger than mine. We must be in it together and the commitment from the other side needs to be the same.
There’s a certain passion that all successful entrepreneurs display. It’s borderline obsessive and just short of lunacy, but it’s a measured, relentless, strategic approach. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to be successful within the boundaries of what’s ethical and above board.
Failure is not an option and that mentality requires: passion.
Failure is just part of the process.
Not having a passion or a low level of passion means you’re replacing it with something else, right?
Usually it’s replaced with acceptance; specifically accepting falling short. Let me be clear, I can accept making mistakes and that I’ve failed many times, but I don’t settle. I don’t accept failure as the end result. After all, Thomas Edison said: “Success is 99% failure.”
Failure is just part of the process.
Let me share a personal experience that taught me this valuable lesson.
When I was 20 years old, I started my first business providing financial services in my local community centered on matching up Commercial and Residential clients with the best real estate financing product, bank, or broker to fit their needs.
I was quite young, but I had a lot of passion. As a result, I quickly built relationships with local business owners and a nice pipeline with interested commercial and residential prospects. The sky was the limit, but I should back up a little and mention that I decided to bring on one of my best friends at the time as a strategic partner.
My friend Waymon, had connections, experience, my trust, and…passion (so I thought). I had little savings, but solid personal credit which provided me with the working capital I needed to get the business started, to buy business cards, and finance the necessary equipment which included my first laptop. It was a Toshiba laptop with Windows 98 that cost about $2,600 (I know I’m dating myself). The business plan was simple, I would be the boots on the ground managing the prospect pipeline and Waymon would oversee the back office and make sure the deals I sent in would fund and close.
There was just one problem. My passion was stronger than Waymon’s.
“Failure is not an option and that mentality requires: passion.”
The thing about passion is that the more you divide it, the weaker it becomes.
You see, I was all in, no side gig, no back up, this was and would be my main source of income. However, Waymon held on to his full-time 9 to 5 job. At the time, I thought, well maybe one of us should have another source of income. That’s not a bad idea; right? Wrong. The thing about passion is that the more you divide it, the weaker it becomes. The fact that Waymon had a comfortable full-time job left him divided, weakened his passion for our shared business venture, and provided a “safety net” that led to “acceptance” of falling short and failure as the end result. Sound familiar?
Moving forward, I would only work with others with a passion equal to or greater than mine.
For Waymon, failure in our shared business venture was an acceptable end result. He stayed with his comfortable full-time 9 to 5 job until that company struggled and went out of business less than 2 years later. For me, that failure was just part of the process of becoming a successful, serial entrepreneur. It taught me a valuable lesson in resilience, perseverance, strong work ethic, and helped me identify what true passion looks like. I would not allow myself to ever settle for failure. Moving forward, I would only work with others with a passion equal to or greater than mine.
I don’t do what I do to make money, I make money because of what I do.
How strong is your passion? True passion is having a total gross revenue of only $90.00 your first month in business and instead of saying: “I’m going to accept that this is not going to work out,” you say, “If someone was willing to pay me $90.00 then why not $9,000?”
True passion is knowing I don’t do what I do to make money, I make money because of what I do. The meaning of that is best expressed in the words of the late Steve Jobs who said: “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” (In my case, instead of technology, it’s working backwards “to the money.”) My value- proposition- reverse- engineering process starts with the need of my customer, contractor, or partner. Once I know my “why” and I’ve answered their main question or need by providing a quality solution, the money comes naturally.
Don’t be greedy!
Being passionate in business doesn’t mean you must be greedy. When I prepare a service proposal or a contract agreement, I ask myself: Would I want to do business with or work for me? Would I want to sign this agreement? Being able to honestly answer yes to these simple questions have mitigated or eliminated my need to negotiate. That’s why I always say: Don’t be greedy! That doesn’t mean that I’m the cheapest service provider either because I’m certainly not. I know my worth, my value, my quality, and I’m fair and reasonable, but I’ll walk away from a deal or opportunity that short changes the high quality, professional people that I hire or sacrifices the integrity of the solution I provide.
Now that’s a strong passion.
Johnny Romero is the owner of InterSys, LLC and an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business and communication experience. He is the host of the new podcast, Tuned In. Follow for similar content and small business success tips, interviews with industry leaders and more.