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You have probably heard it said that when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. If you are discontent with your current position but cannot find employment in a field that excites you, perhaps you have considered starting your own business. This way, you are your own boss, and you can shape your endeavor into whatever you want it to be.
What if you do not know what you are passionate about, though? The world seems full of people happily running successful craft businesses, unique restaurants, art galleries, and more—meanwhile, you don’t exactly have an idea that you are in love with, but you know that being in charge of your own professional life is what you want, and you don’t want to get “stuck” in monotony again. Passions lie within you whether you realize it or not, you just need to fish them out.
Revisit Your Childhood Passions
You do not have to look far if you were passionate about something when you were younger and can think of a way to turn it into a business premise. Maybe you loved sports—contemplate opening up your own equipment retail outlet, or find a way to connect people with those hard-to-score tickets. Perhaps you enjoyed Harry Potter and comic books (and still do). What did you find enticing about them? Think of how you could bring that same joy to other people. You could open a bookstore, a fan-made art exhibition, or a business that encourages children to discover a love of reading.
What are your skills?
Take a good look at yourself and determine what your skills are. Are you good with numbers? Negotiating? Computers? If you have any abilities that your current job is underutilizing, now is an opportunity to make them integral to what you do. Do not be afraid to further your education if need be (maybe you would like to write software, but need a refresher). Not everyone enjoys what they are good at, but you are less likely to be continuously frustrated if you apply your talents appropriately.
Keep in mind that your skills may not be “concrete” things. When people think of skills, they often imagine activities with tangible or obvious results. People who excel at running might become athletes, folks adept with mathematics might go into banking, and others who can build sometimes enter the construction field. However, your abilities might be more abstract.
Maybe you are good at encouraging other people—you could be a life coach. If you are exceptional at thinking critically and getting to the root of problems, you could be a therapist or business consultant. Those two careers are vastly different, but they entail a similar kind of thinking. Your talents might not be the kind that can be taught in a classroom.
Remember to solve a problem
Every business should address an unmet need. What is the problem a pizza joint fixes? The fact that its customers, before they walk in the door, do not have pizza. Likewise, marketing companies help businesses reach more consumers, home improvement stores sell necessary house features, and law firms assist people with navigating legal systems. If you are passionate about music, you cannot simply produce repetitive songs; you need to compose what people have not heard before.
Realize it may look different than what you expect
Similar to how your talents might not correspond with what people traditionally think of as skills, your passions might not be what you expect, either (and this fact may be one of the reasons you are having such difficulty discerning what they are). While some people find themselves in love with science, literature, art, yoga, or something else, your passion might seem more “plain,” like personal finance or connecting people with products with the right dropship resources. That’s perfectly okay—passions do not have to be “exotic” by other people’s standards; if you love it, there is nothing plain about it (and helping people manage their money is certainly in demand).
Find a balance
While it’s tempting to overthink your business approach and over-analyze every detail, do not let fear hold you back. Allow your future to be uncertain. There is no way you can plan for everything, so let your venture take you where it will. However, you do not want to skip planning anything and throw yourself into an idea unprepared. Maybe try out how your passion feels in a professional context through volunteering or a side-hustle to give you an idea of what your fully-developed business idea will look like.
You should enjoy your work, so if you want to start a business that you are passionate about, remember that what you love might not be evident to you. What are ways you believe will help you recognize your passions?