I have a confession to make…I have failed in or had to end a couple of ventures I was passionate about. Let me share some of them:
- My young ladies club– when I was in the university, I started a young ladies club known as virtue blazers. I was passionate about empowering young women to rely on themselves and not focus on men for their provision. The vision was to teach the club members skills to help them excel in life and earn money while they were still studying. We were the early propagators of the ‘self-made’ movement. The club was quite popular in school and we had some of the biggest gatherings. When it was time for me to graduate, I picked two successors to continue running the club, but alas it died shortly after I left school.
You can blame it on poor succession planning or poor communication of vision, but I learned from that failed experience that passion is not enough.
- The business side of my fashion annual symposium– Myself and an amazing team of people were the pioneers of a community of aspiring and emerging fashion designers that gathered a packed full hall for 5 years for our annual conference to educate and advocate for the business of fashion. It was the buzz of the fashion industry and even recently, I was still asked why we stopped the event.
The truth is full halls did not translate to profitability and after years of struggling to get sponsorship and barely breaking even, we ‘gave ourselves brain’ and had to end it.
There are many more passion projects and businesses I have ventured into and failed and I am sure you have had similar experiences.
I am glad for all those experiences, though, because I met remarkable people, grew as a person and learned the most important lesson of balancing your passion with return on investment for time, energy and resources invested.
I wrote an article recently titled Is there a Method to the Madness, which shared my views on focusing on passion alone. Like we have learned that love is not enough to make a relationship successful, so is passion not enough to make a business successful.
So what are the other ingredients you should add to passion?
- Market need: Does the market need your product or service enough to be willing to pay for it? If your passion is not needed by people who are willing to compensate you for it, it should be a hobby or maybe a ministry, but even a ministry needs to have the R.O.I to remain sustainable.
- Skill set: Do you have the required skill set to execute your passion? One of my famous examples is that I love to dance, but I don’t consider myself a good dancer, therefore I cannot monetize my passion like Kaffy!
- Willingness to put effort: Until recently, I thought I was passionate about learning multiple languages. I always made an excuse that the reason why I had not made time to learn was that I was too busy to do it. Then I decided to stop making excuses and downloaded a ‘Learn French in 5 Days’ tutorial from YouTube. By the third day of watching the tutorials, I realized that I was not really interested in learning French verbs and vowels or maybe Spanish or Arabic might be more interesting. Lol.
The bottom line is passion is not enough for succeeding in business, so if you have been pursuing your passion for any amount of time and wondering why you are still struggling, you might need to examine if you also have the other ingredients.
However, success in anything worthwhile will take some time, so also be patient. By the way, have you watched my 4 Pillars of Business Growth video?