Did you guess correctly? This word inevitably turns up in every conversation I have with a natural products entrepreneur. "What advice do you have for others in your business?" I ask. "Be passionate," they reply.
It's the case with Akiva Resnikoff of The Cookie Department and Dan Russo of The Shopping List Bag. These men devote their lives wholeheartedly to their product because of the difference it makes in the world. Likewise with Aileen Magnotto, founder of MagNoodles (her Q&A coming soon to NewHope360), a breast cancer survivor and organic whole grain pasta maker who loves to demo her product.
"I want to educate people on the value on non-GMO, organic, healthy whole grains," she told me yesterday. I asked her if she'd ever make a gluten-free option, but before I could complete my question she interjected, "No, no I'm all about the whole grains." Rather than jump on the gluten-free bandwagon, it's clear to me that Magnotto's staying true to her passion.
And for good reason. A product, service or experience that's the most popular is usually the one with the most passionate people behind it. It's why you just can't build it and expect customers to come. It's also why so many businesses that use Groupon ploys and discounts fail to retain customers. You can bribe people into your doors, but if you don't demonstrate to them that you're worth spending time with, out the door they go.
Last night I was reminded by a friend and personal trainer to "begin with the end in mind." This is applicable not only when you're struggling and out of breath in a workout, but to launching a business in the natural products industry. By not knowing where the road leads, it's difficult to know if the road you're on is the one you should be taking.
How to solve this: Start and stick with your passion. The rest will reveal itself.
Having trouble finding your passion? Accused of being too passionate? Tell me in the comments.