Your passion might be a surprising source of wealth. But the journey to success is rarely quick and you need backbone to get ahead. Without considerable pluck and willpower, you’re likely to give-up before you see positive results.
How many times have you heard the advice ‘do what you love’ and wondered whether some crooked sycophant was leading you into a piranha pit? We’re surrounded by money-making stories, often told by ‘experts’ who say they have secret information that will make you rich.
We all know some of these folks aren’t actually as wealthy as they suggest. After all, would you bother to tap out articles about how well-heeled and clever you were if you genuinely had money? Probably not. You’d be busy on your yacht.
You might also be suspicious of ‘follow your dream’ articles. They attempt to persuade you to do what you want to do, and life surely can’t be that easy. To have a job you absolutely adore and make enough money to pay the bills, and more, if you’re lucky, might sound like a dream.
But what if it’s possible?
Plenty of entrepreneurs, or should I say laypeople, have found it to be so. They began their careers as ordinary folk with big aspirations. They followed their passions, and it changed their lives.
Their tales of success can be off-putting, though, because they often don’t mention the road to success might be long and challenging. Not everyone wants to read about the difficulties of transforming a passion into mega-bucks, or even a livable income.
Readers sometimes want to hear about how easy it is to live the dream. Only learning about how successful people are, however, may make you think they have special qualities you don’t own, which means you can’t be like them.
Here are just a few true tales of minion-to-mogul to whet your appetite that don’t leave out the hard work part.
Ben & Jerry’s
Ever heard of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream? It’s a gigantic, mega-buck-creating business, but the partners started their career after a lack of work-related success. They loved food, however, and not knowing what else to do, took a $5 ice-cream making course. In 1978 they opened their first shop in a converted gas station.
To increase momentum, they gave away free scoops of ice-cream on the anniversary of opening, hosted a free film festival, and sold pints to grocers. Their unique flavor-combinations fueled their success, but that’s not the only savvy quality Ben and Jerry are known for these days. They are also environmentally conscious. Their ice-cream is made from hormone-free milk, for instance, and they are committed to recycling and energy conservation.
1. Be prepared to offer freebies and be generous
2. Keep up-to-date with the times
3. Add your own unique twist to your product or service
As a vegetarian, I’m not a Kentucky Fried Chicken fan, but I can’t help admiring the story of how its founder Colonel Sanders began his business. At age 40, he sold food at a service station. At age 65, he started his chicken franchise. The fact he had humble beginnings and launched his own business late is heartwarming.
There’s hope for us all.
Sanders began cooking as a kid when he took care of his younger siblings. He left school in the seventh grade because he didn’t like algebra. “Oh, Lord, if we got to wrestle with this, I’ll just leave” said Sanders, and “I don’t care about the unknown quantity.”
One day, he heard someone complain there wasn’t much tasty food around, so he decided to fall back on his culinary skills and produce it himself. Eventually, Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.
1. Meet people’s needs
2. Use your skills
3. Don’t let your age or circumstances hold you back
Howard Schultz was a Starbucks employee directing marketing and retail operations in 1982 before he expanded the global brand. While visiting Milan he noted there were lots of coffee houses, 1,500 approximately. This sparked an idea.
He started his own coffee shop outlet chain in 1983 after quitting Starbucks, and in 1987 he purchased the Starbucks company and made it super-successful. While I’ve no idea if Schultz struggled to get ahead, it’s clear he worked his way up to success and wasn’t handed a golden ticket.
1. Learn your trade
2. Recognize opportunities
3. Take calculated risks
Schultz, Sanders, and Ben & Jerry were ordinary people who came from humble beginnings. They worked their way to business success by following their dreams, using their talents, noting opportunities, and thinking outside the box. They weren’t afraid to take risks, and they didn’t let their current life situations hold them back.
The badass quality they share the most, perhaps, is how they stepped away from their comfort zones. Most people leave their dreams alone. They imagine they can’t turn their passions into money-making ventures.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How many people might have been successful entrepreneurs if they believed in themselves and took a leap of faith. You might be one of those people. But it’s not too late. Colonel Sanders is testament to the fact age isn’t an opportunity-killer.
It’s striking, too, how making money doesn’t seem to have been as important as being adventurous. Passion outweighed the desire to be rich. Wealth was a pleasant outcome of following the dream for these entrepreneurs who weren’t afraid to stop behaving like ordinary people.
Your passion might make mega-bucks. It won’t if you don’t use it productively, though. You need not if you’re happy as you are, of course. You might find fulfillment from carrying out a best-loved activity on the side, and there’s nothing wrong with the idea. But it couldn’t hurt to turn your love of painting, writing, or something else into a successful business if that’s what you desire.
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