Passion is Just One Part of Your Startup Success

You’ve heard of ‘follow your bliss,’ right?  Just focus on your passion and you will be successful at whatever you choose. Follow your bliss and the money will follow? It’s not true.

Look, I love pizza. I fall into a blissful state when eating it. I have a great passion for eating pizza. You know the expression, ‘pizza is like sex, even when it’s bad, it’s good?’ That isn’t true, either. The thing is, nobody will pay me to eat pizza, no matter how much bliss it might bring me, especially John’s Pizza on Bleeker Street in New York, or Joe’s in New York or LA as a close second choice. Following your passion down the road to success, whether in a startup, as an entrepreneur, or even as a restauranteur, isn’t the whole picture.

You have to provide value.

And you have to provide value in the right dosage.

Certainly your passion will get you started. Anybody who has ever started anything knows that you have to work pretty hard at it, putting in more hours than you first imagined. Passion is the driver, and it’s necessary. But anybody who claims they four-day-work-week’d their way all the way entrepreneurial success is either a liar, a seminar leader, or both.

You know you need to provide value because when you do provide it, that’s when people start paying you like magic. Is it dumb to say that receiving revenue is a good indicator of value received? This simple formulation seems to escape lots of startup founders, and the investors who fund them.

Your passion has to be perceived as valuable by other people.

Duh, right? But it’s worth saying. Connect your passion to truly providing value to others, and that’s when the magic happens. Provide the right dosage of value, not too much, not to little, and you find success.

Hat tip to Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup, for the pizza thoughts.

Hat tip, also, to Joseph Campbell, whom I don’t mean to malign in this post. I just think he’s a lousy startup mentor.

Here’s his full quote about bliss. If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.