If you have an entrepreneuring spirit, you might experience a familiar back and forth: On the one hand, a certain business opportunity may sound exciting and promising. On the other hand, do you really want to commit—say—the next 10 years of your life to it? Is it likely to succeed? Is it engaging enough that it will still put a spring in your step a decade from now?
You don’t want to be that person who leaps at everything and ends up overextended and miserable. But you also don’t want to be so practical that you talk yourself out of great opportunities and regret it later.
What’s your passion?
If your shoulder angels go to war every time a new business idea comes along, my advice for you is to step back and identify your passion. Cliché, right? Maybe—but I stand by this important principle.
Look closely at the options, and decide what you love. Then reverse engineer how to monetize it. That way, you’ll know what you like instead of choosing from whatever options are still standing after reviewing a list that is focused on money first. I’ve known plenty of financially successful entrepreneurs that hate what they do, and you don’t want to end up in that boat.
One major benefit of this “passion-first” strategy is that it helps minimize regrets (which are a force to be reckoned with in the entrepreneur’s world). Let’s say that you pass on pursuing something you have a personal interest in to pursue a “unicorn” for money. If that venture fails, you’ll regret letting the passion project pass you by. But if you pursue your passion and it fails, you’ll learn a lot and be proud that you tried.
I’d highly recommend this video by Jeff Bezos that supports this idea:
Narrowing your focus
Many financially successful entrepreneurs that I network with take on too much and wish they narrowed their focus down. They’ll admit that they feel they could be more productive with less quantity in their lives, while also feeling less burned out.
As a long-time entrepreneur, I’m still getting distracted with new ideas to consider. There are clear opportunities in these ideas. But, more often than not, I choose not to pursue them because I don’t want to risk what I know will be good time/money for “maybe” time/money.
Most entrepreneurs have more opportunities and ideas than they know what to do with. Whether you succeed or fail is up to you. But when you let your interests and passions guide your decision making and pursue quality over quantity, you’ll be less likely to get stuck in unfulfilling ventures or spend your time chasing money at the expense of your happiness.