Follow your passion. How many times have you heard that as advice in how to make money. Especially in how to make money online … something I do and something many of you are interested in. It’s almost a mantra in the business. “Follow Your Passion”. A bit like “Build It and They Will Come” … and nearly as false and dreamlike compared to the real-world business of making money on or off line.
Here’s great article from a new online colleague I think you should read. Dear Internet Marketer, It’s (Past The) Time To Move On
A snippet here to wet your appetite:
DO NOT follow your passion: or perhaps I should say “BE VERY CAREFUL on following the “follow your passion model.” Instead of simply following your passion, why not follow NEEDS? Market needs, people needs, pain relief needs, help needs; any need that you see in which you believe you could do something about it.
“But I don’t like that niche/market/area where I see a need.”
First of all, many businesses exist today not because their founder was deeply in love with their product or anything like that. Most probably, someone saw an opportunity and worked to fill and deliver something that would help a need.
Secondly, I like Chris Guillebeau’s advice in his latest book, “The $100 Startup“, where he talks about CONVERGENCE. In his own words:
“The easiest way to understand convergence is: the overlapping space between what you care about and what other people are willing to spend money on. Not everything that you are passionate about or skilled in is interesting to the rest of the world—and not everything is marketable.
I can be very passionate about eating pizza, but no one is going to pay me to do it. Likewise, any particular person won’t be able to provide a solution to every problem or be interesting to everyone. But in the overlap between the two circles, where passion or skill meets usefulness, a micro-business built on freedom and value can thrive.”
Be the best or forget the rest: another thing to keep in mind is that anything that you decide to start, you must see a clear path on becoming the best in your field or at least very, very close to it.
Does it sound absurd? Well, it doesn’t. If you think that in any particular field that you might have an interest you might think you won’t stand a chance on getting to numero uno, why not narrowing down your area of focus? I mean, we have read and read and read more about different niche markets right? Well, it is time to use this knowledge! …
What are some “needs” you might want to look into?
Well this is the easy part. 90% of those who think they are interested in starting a business here, either online or off, are stuck at the “idea’ stage. people write me often and tell me they have an interest but are afraid to reveal their “idea” because someone might “steal” their idea and beat them to market.
Let me introduce you to a little fact of life you might have missed in your education. Ecclesiastes 1:9. Surely you studied that verse, didn’t you? Surely, even if you are agnostic or even firmly an atheist you recognize the fact that there is a great storehouse of knowledge in the Bible, no matter what you might think and God or any other deity in your life? Still can’t place it? For the lawyers among you, this may help: nihil sub sole novum.
Give up? “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (emphasis added)”
What advice would you have given Larry Page and Sergey Brin back in 1996 when they launched, of all things, yet another copycat Internet search engine called “BackRub” amidst a sea of already successful competitors?
What advice would you have given Matt Mullenweg back in 2003 when he launched a software system that not only did the same thing that literally thousands of competitors did, but he gave it away fro free and did not even copyright the code? (Matt’s not as rich as Page, Brin or Zuckerberg … yet … he’s “only” worth about $250,000,000 USD)
What advice would you have given Mark Zuckerberg back in 2004 when he launched a (to me) hopelessly inane copycat service into an already overcrowded “social networking” field called “Facebook”?
Aside from the standard age-old “stay in school” prattle (they are all four dropouts, school may be useful but it won’t teach you to have any original ideas), I am sure that many of you, especially the older, wiser, “business-savvy” among you would have said, “Don’t waste your time giving away stuff. You need a unique idea and you need to be first to market”.
To that I say, “Pure, unadulterated bullshit”.
For everyone out there “sitting” on a good “idea”, or waiting, reading, researching and other AIDS-related activities (no, not the tragic Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome, but the other terrible AIDS problem of As If Doing Something), I say launch something and make it work.
I never really ‘got” Venn Diagrams in school, but take another look at the one above.
Google didn’t start out doing anything better than its established competition. Unique? Hardly. First to market? Not by a long shot. Google just followed the advice of Be the best or forget the rest, and where are they now?
Was WordPress unique, or even ‘the best” when it launched? Hardly. Matt and his team just continually worked to make it the best and keep it there. They don’t have to ‘safeguard their ideas” from anyone. They published everything Open Source.
Likewise Facebook. hell I don’t even like it today, and there were so many competitors that did (and many still do) offer similar, sometimes almost identical services. Unique? Hardly. Zuckerberg had to settle a lawsuit, (IIRC, without admitting guilt) paying damages to the creators of an earlier website which the court agreed was the ‘idea’ that Facebook o0r9iginally ran with.
The plaintiffs’ in that lawsuit, , Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra decided that rather than take advantage of their ‘first to market’ status and to capitalize on their already established (though small) client base they would sp4end their time and effort “protecting their idea” and eventually were proven right by the courts. They all profited to the tune of millions of dollars. But Zuckerberg, alone, is worth well over $12 billion dollars, taking into account Facebook’s latest stock losses.
What’s more important on the path to success? “guarding” your ideas” Being first to market?
Again, I call “bullshit” on that advice.
Hate to reduce everything to a dollar basis, but who’s bank account would you rather have, Winklevoss or Zuckerberg’s?
In short, stop worrying about all those ideas that need safeguarding, stop worrying about what college degree you have (or don’t have), stop doing your endless, mental masturbation “Due Diligence AIDS Research” and launch the damn business, folks.