Question 5: What is Your current passion

What is Your current passion for your business out of 10, with 1 being completely fed up and 10 being energised and fully “lit up”?

I don’t watch “Little Britain”, but my daughter did and I think one of their sketches that is funny because it is true to life is the dissipated clerk who turns round and just repeats ” the computer says no”. The point I particularly like and rings true is not that the computer doesn’t cope with the situation and is fixed ( that’s not news that’s just life!) but that the clerk is fixed and unempathic! I think she probably gets a “1” on that scale.

The trouble is when we first start up in business we are really enthusiastic and enjoy going out and justifying buying a pile of stationery and a new desk from Ikea ( actually the wrong thing to do when you first start in business but I’ll get to that in a later question!), but soon the pressure mounts up and the anxiety about how quickly the money is being depleted from the bank account ( even if we have done cash flow forecasts). Usually somewhere between six months and a couple of years we find we are working longer and harder and still taking less out of the business than we used to earn in employment. The pressure seems relentless and in all honesty we would be quite happy to give up there and then. If you haven’t got there yet, sorry to disillusion you, I don’t know many self employed or small business people who don’t hit the business equivalent of “the wall” when running a marathon.

What pulls you through? Well it is usually two things, either a steely determination or a passion for what you are doing. When I first started on-line business I chose niches I thought would be successful to run alongside my business coaching and writing which I am passionate about. Mistake. Er sorry! read that as “a learning opportunity”. An expensive learning opportunity ( like ¬£5,000 ($8,000) learning opportunity). I had no real passion for the subjects so when it all seemed to get overwhelming I dropped them, took the learning from it and moved on. Now contrast that with my window cleaner, Roy. He is a lovely guy, ex telephone engineer, who really enjoys his job and is always cheery and chatty and takes a pride in what he is doing and asks if I would like him to come and clean out the gutters ( of course!) and replace a couple of broken tiles ( that would be perfect). I am sure there are times when it is bitterly cold and we have a strong sou’westerly the last thing he wants do to is to climb a flimsy ladder, but his passion pulls him through.

If you are not doing what you are passionate you can guarantee there will be people who are passionate. You can tell those who are passionate: they would do the job whether they got paid for it or not.

The action point for this week is to be really honest with yourself about how passionate you are in your business. Record what you spend your time on during the week and note which parts of the job you enjoy ( probably those where you are skilful and your strengths) and those that you find a chore. A successful business is one that you are passionate about and that plays to your strengths. Ask your colleagues, friends and family what they consider your strengths to be ( we can’t always see them ourselves as we take them for granted). At the end of the week you should have recorded a list of the tasks you undertake with their relative weighting in terms of enjoyment and a list of the tasks you find a chore.

Do you have a low score for your current passion in your business?
If you have a very low amount of time doing what you are passionate about now may be the time to think about shifting your business to something you are passionate about.

Do you have a high score for your current passion in your business but there are a number of tasks that you consider to be a chore? ( I know a lot of people hate the bookkeeping… I hate the filing!)
With those chores ask yourself, “What can I do to eliminate these tasks, make them more efficient, automate them or pay someone else to do them?”

Well you have been looking at these questions for a month now, thank you for staying with me, I hope you are finding the questions and challenge useful. How are you getting on? Do let me know in the comment box. Also if there are areas you would like me to cover do write them down in the comments box.

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