Every year thousands of young people finish school and have to choose which career paths to embark on. What should be a fairly simple decision is however complicated by the imperfect nature of the world in which we live in; for many people, this ultimately becomes a choice between what they are passionate about or interests them and what is most likely to earn them a decent living (or an extravagant one where possible). Whether you want to pursue further studies, find a job or start a business venture, you may be forced to make this choice at one point or another. Here we will focus on the last scenario—choosing a line of business. So if the choice between money and passion is not clear-cut enough for you when choosing a business idea to pursue what do you do?
The case for money
There are a great many compelling reasons for abandoning or ignoring your areas of interest (or passion) in favour of chasing money wherever it may be. As an example, we have seen a great many doctors, lawyers and other professionals go into farming instead of starting their practices in their respective fields.
You can be passionate about money
This should come as no surprise to anyone but you can be passionate about money. Entrepreneurs who wholly embrace this attitude are extremely versatile. They can find opportunities in even the most mundane of things. When you choose to chase money in any direction where you can see it, you have greater freedom as a business person. Such an entrepreneur will always be ten steps ahead of his counterparts who are presumably always trying to reconcile their latest business idea with their current skills, passions, interests and whatnot.
Many people enjoy business activities
Some of the least enjoyable aspects of running a business can also be the most unavoidable. Cases in point: marketing, paperwork, queues associated with said paperwork, sleepless nights, dealing with the red tape in government and other organizations etc. There are plenty of people out there who enjoy this kind of drudgery (you might be one of them). For instance, while many people would consider the idea of being a classic salesman (i.e. approaching people on the street or in their homes to sell them something) to be terrifying, there are still a great many others who would enjoy this—there is a friend of mine who says he would love this because it is a great way for him to meet new people. Some people proudly declare that they work best under pressure—excluded here are all those who would merely use this to justify procrastination.
Not all passions make business sense
Not every area of interest or passion has business potential. “Do what you love and success will follow”, is a great sounding quote but one which unfortunately leaves its definition of success widely open to interpretation. There are absolutely no guarantees that loving what you do will make your business any more successful than just caring about the bottom line. Some interests and passions are better left as hobbies and side projects done in our spare time.
If you have a great work ethic
My dictionary defines “work-ethic” as the belief in work as a moral good. People with great work ethic are those who work not because they particularly enjoy it all that much or there are significant rewards but rather because they believe it has to be done. This work for work’s sake attitude is something which all of us have but in widely differing quantities. If you are one of those people who are always willing to put in all their all regardless of the kind of work or reward then any discussion about passion is probably moot in your case.
The case of passion
There are countless numbers of businesses which owe their existence and success to the unbridled passion of the people who founded or run them.
Motivation is very important to complete any endeavour in life. Unfortunately for many people, it also happens to be a very scarce resource. That is why there is an entire industry built of motivational speakers and books. However instead of listening to a motivational audio clip to rile you up enough to go start a business, why not choose a line of business closer to your heart? If you venture into a line of business which you are interested in, it is easier to get pumped when going to work. Sometimes what even the so-called lazy people lack is just motivation.
More likely to have the skills and the knowledge
If you are passionate enough about a certain topic or subject area, you are likely to have more knowledge and skills around it—some of which cannot be learnt in a classroom or through any course. People who are passionate about any line of business will usually have a head start over their counterparts who may just have pounced on an opportunity. There is nothing particularly exciting about Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropping out of college to start billion-dollar businesses once you realise that their passion in computers allowed them to learn more about them at much earlier ages than their peers.
Better able to weather dry spells
Starting and running a business can be quite difficult. Unlike employment where you can expect paycheques at regular intervals, depending on your line of business you could have an influx of customers one day and gone the next. Sometimes business can be so slow that it is unbearable—you may end up doubting yourself and the viability of your business. However, if you love what your business does, you are in a better position to persevere through such moments.
Your pitch is more convincing
A great salesman has to be convincing and what better way to be convincing than actually believing in what you are saying? If you love and believe in what you do, you will be better at winning over anyone from customers to potential investors. The conviction in your words and your body language will do all the work for you.
Here I have presented what I think are equally strong arguments for following either your passion or money. At the end of the day, the choice still rests fully upon you. Look at the points above and hopefully, you will find one which best resonates with you.