Are you struggling to build your online business? Not making the money you want? Following strategies but not getting results? Do you find yourself wondering why other people are successful and able to “make it online” and you’re not?
You might think it has to do with traffic, marketing, sales conversion, even what you’re selling. And it’s true – to build a solid business, you need all of the above; a product people want to buy, a market that spends money, a way to reach those customers and enough customers clicking the buying button to generate income.
But there are two ingredients that are more important than all of the above – and without them, you’ll be hard pressed to become a success at whatever business venture you attempt…
Passion and purpose.
Over the years I’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneurs. I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurial profiles, biographies and autobiographies. And the one common trait among people that are successful and happy in their business is that they love what they do. At the heart of their business there was a passion and a purpose that determined what type of business they built.
In fact, I can’t think of one successful business owner who has ever said “I don’t care about what I sell, I don’t care about my customers, I’m not interested at all in my niche market, yet I’m wildly successful.”
Somewhere in the equation you call your business, you have to be passionate and have purpose about what you do. You may not like every aspect of your business (in fact most people don’t), but there has to be some part of your business that gets you out of bed in the morning and finds you saying “Yes! I am excited to do this today!”
Because it’s this passion and purpose that leads to the other “p” that you need in business – and that’s persistence.
If you don’t love what you do (or at least like it a lot) you won’t have the motivation to persist. With out persistence, the success rate is nil.
How about you? Do you love the business model you’re pursuing? Do you get up in the morning excited about what you’re going to sell or with new ideas of how you can serve your customers?
Or are you going through the motions, hoping that if you just take the right steps, you’ll make some money.
Now there’s nothing wrong with creating a short-term cash machine. Need money by next week? Anyone can list something around the house on Craigslist or eBay and make a quick buck.
What I’m talking about here is a business that generates a part-time or full-time consistent income. Something that you are invested in that is going to pay you back with income.
Unfortunately many people who are stuck or struggling with success online are pursuing the wrong business model.
There’s a big difference between discovering that you love the thrill of selling physical products online and wanting to learn how to be very good at it versus trying to start an eBay business or a website because you heard there’s big money in online sales and “anybody can do it.”
You may be enthralled with the idea of being a profitable blogger, but you hate to write or be in the public eye. Each post becomes a struggle, each day you have to gear yourself up to blog.
If this is the case, it’s not the right business model for you.
If you’re struggling with what to sell online – you’ve gone through niche after niche, product after product, and you just can’t hit on something that feels right for you – there is something inside of you that’s blocking your progress. (Note: This applies to people who have been looking for profitable items to sell for a few years. Not the person who has been looking for a week.) 😉
If you are trying to build a business without passion or purpose you won’t have the motivation to dig into your market and figure out what your customers want, what the new products are in the market, what books your customers are reading, what they are buying. etc.
If you’re out there searching and searching for a way to make money online, you first need to stop and take stock of who you are and what you like to do.
- If you like to write, you’re probably good at it – or you like it enough to want to get better. Blogging might be the perfect business model for you.
- Love the process of ferreting out niches, putting up websites and driving traffic? Affiliate marketing might be your passion and purpose.
- Have a skill, an expertise, an experience that you want to share with the world? Information marketing might be your perfect model.
- Maybe you love to present in front of groups and enlighten and inspire? A business that revolves around teleseminars may be your path.
- Are you an expert at getting people organized? How about marketing that business along with related products online?
- Maybe you’re the ultimate connector, bringing like minds together wherever you go. The perfect business model for you could be a community portal – one that gets so much traffic as a result of your desire to connect that advertisers come to you and pay you to piggyback off your traffic.
- Maybe you have a passion for antique cars and video and you travel the country taking videos at all the events. What about a membership site where fellow antique car lovers can connect?
You could be like my friend Dave. Video and audio editing was his job. And he’s good at it. But he loves cooking. These days you’ll find him cooking up something tasty on a local TV cooking show in his hometown. I have no doubt it’s just the beginning of his path to the Food Network. Speaking of which – did you know that Martha Stewart started her empire because she had a passion for cooking and entertaining. She started a catering company with a friend. Do you think she would have been as successful if she had decided to start a business selling plumbing supplies? It’s doubtful.
Or my other friend Jeff who’s what I call a “Deal Scout” – he’ll find a way to sell anything. No matter what it is, he figures – why not try and sell it? And he’s always looking. You’d be surprised at the stuff he’s sold on eBay. This is a guy who if he sees me with a bag ready to be donated to Goodwill, will ask to go through it first to see what’s in there that he can sell. He loves the thrill of the hunt.
What about you? What makes you light up? If you could have any business at all, in the entire world with guaranteed success, what would you do? In that answer lies the clues to what you should be doing.
I hope this is gets you thinking… gets you in touch with your dreams, your passion and your purpose…
Because what I’m about to say next might shock you.
Profiting online with passion and purpose is not about “Do what you love and the money will follow.”
What you love to do must translate into a business model if you want to make money.
You may have a passion for goats, but are there enough products , services and information to sell related to goats in order to build a business? And are there enough people buying products, services and information about goats to generate the kind of income you need?
If the answer is “yes”, then congratulations, you can monetize your passion! If the answer is no, then it’s time to look at what is it about the “goat business” that appeals to you. Maybe you can’t build a business solely around goats, but you can build a business around farm animals (goats included).
When I got started selling online, I was also contemplating homeschooling my son. I had a lot of friends who were homeschooling their kids. So I thought about selling homeschooling products online. Unfortunately there are many limitations by the manufacturers as to what homeschooling products you can sell online. Additionally, there is not a lot of profit in selling used homeschooling products. Because my potential market – homeschooling parents – like to make their training materials budget stretch as far as possible.
If I had stuck with the homeschooling niche, I wouldn’t have been able to make a go of it. Instead I went into the more lucrative kid’s higher-end product niche. A market I also knew and loved – and one that was profitable. In the end, I was happy – I was selling high-end products to parents who had the money to buy them, and in turn, I was making an income that fulfilled my needs. I had a passion and a purpose in my business, and at the time there was a huge market for what I was selling.
If there is no market for your passion or purpose, take a look inside and see what else fuels your spirit.
We all have more than one thing we love or are interested in. I started my online business with e-tail because I had experience in retail, I was good at it and I liked it enough to want to really want to get into it and immerse myself in the niche market. I reveled in reading about the latest kid’s products. Got excited when I went to a trade show and looked at all the innovative new products that were coming into the marketplaces. Felt joy when I received an email from a customer telling me how beautiful her granddaughter looked in the seafoam green and pink flowered dress I had carefully sourced. I also sold books on Amazon – which I also loved. I love to read . I love books. It was a product line I adored. I looked forward to sourcing books and watching them sell.
But there was additional passion and purpose inside me which revealed itself 7 years ago… to help motivated entrepreneurs turn their passion and purpose into a profitable online business.
So how about you?
Are you building a business that plays to your skills, your talents, your passion and purpose? Or are you trying to follow a cookie cutter formula because you heard it works? Do you enjoy the core actions in your online business? Remember, you won’t like every aspect of it, but you’d better have an interest at the core.
Is there a market for your passion and purpose fueled business?
How much money do you want to make?
Maybe your passion is a facet of a larger scope.
The bottom line? If you’re not making the money you want online, before you buy another “traffic” ebook, or the latest get rich quick pitch, ask yourself “What exactly is it that I like to do? What am I good at? What energizes me?” Then see if it’s in alignment with what you’re doing now. Chances are it isn’t.
Want to revisit your business and help align it with your passion?
Share your thoughts below and let’s take a look at your next step.
This is an awsome post. Business is like life. How you channel your energies productively in life is how you do it in business. The alignment of oneself with one’s life and work in the real world.
Lisa, I LOVE this post.
It is such common sense. Money does not fall on your lap. You have to care that’s the most important thing, even if not every day is Nirvana you have to want to be good at what you do, create good supplier long term relationships where you pay fast, they count on you so they give you first look at items, provide excellent customer service and fast shipping, have great product knowledge or willingness and desire to learn and also best of all it all has to ring true and it won’t ring true if you are just faking it. You have to “feel good” about what you are doing more than just dollars. They say that is especially true of women entrepreneurs, it is not just business and men don’t think like that they say in studies but that’s why we are the fastest growing segment. We build relationships, we respect loyalty by suppliers and customers alike and we want to please our customers. We do take it personally. I don’t know about you but men I know say, “It’s business it’s not personal” Yes and no….it’s not black and white to me, I do care & want to respect myself as an ethical person. Sorry guys!
Lisa thank you so much for this blog post and for going into such depth about this. I am so there right now and I need this to help me on finding and seeking out the right path for myself and my business. Thank you for this wealth of information and perspective on this matter.
Don’t know if you’ve had a chance to listen to yesterday’s Monthly Progress Check Coaching Call yet (it’s an audio this month, so you can just pop it in your iPod!) but I talked about this a lot. It’s interesting, there were a lot of questions that came in from people who are at this point – and it’s sooo important to look at what’s going on when you at a crossroads.
Enjoy the weekend with your family!
Lisa, I actually got chills reading this blog post, because I do feel like I’m in the right niche and answered yes to almost every question you touched on here. I’m currently in the BGG and am sooo exited to complete my Holistic Business review and get moving towards making my passion a business!! Thanks for another great 10 minute break from my real job!! I guess this would be considered some of the CDA (Consistent Daily Action) you speak of in other blogs and training videos!!;-) THANKS!
When you feel it through and through, you know you’re in the right niche! And when you’re in the right niche, the marketing and growth comes naturally because your interest motivates you to always be looking for new growth opportunities.
I’m looking forward to working with you to build your niche business this year!
PS: Your Personalized Getting Started Audio is on it’s way!
This is a really good post! My self I do build custom computers and repair computers, I have even sold computer software on ebay and made good money. I love to play guitar and I thought selling guitar accessories and learning books would be good. But computers is my passion and this post helped me to re-think my e-biz.
Bryant – Georgia
As usual, a fantastic post! You are absolutely correct. One has to be passionate about the niche that one chooses, in order to maintain focus & enthusiasm.
I must ask you Lisa if you can help me gain FOCUS in my business, help me to select a solid niche, and finally to help me build a PROFITABLE business?
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the MOnthly Progress Check Coaching Call from yesterday (in the Business Growth Center) you have to listen this weekend!
There’s about 10-15 minutes of that call dedicated specifically to your questions (that you submitted) – I gave you some homework assignments for the weekend, so be sure and check it out. 🙂
If you do, you will have clarity by next week and be on the way!
Lisa, you are so right. The on-line business world is based entirely about PASSION and the love for that particular item. You are right in saying that no one can follow a cookie cutter template, but one needs a solid niche to have passion, knowledge, and a desire to present your knowledge to that interested section of the market. That is the PURPOSE that is needed.
I am so glad that you found your “additional passion and purpose inside me which revealed itself 7 years ago… to help motivated entrepreneurs turn their passion and purpose into a profitable online business”.
Frank Ferrari, DPM
Frank Ferrari, D.P.M.
Lisa, this is a great post! I had been contemplating about this for the past year. I looked at where my passions, interests, and values lie, and I realized what I needed to do. I’m not quite there yet, but I have a much better sense of direction. I currently have three goals in mind, but alas, there are not enough hours in the day to do everything, so I’ve placed one goal on the back burner while I move full steam ahead on another. The third goal is hovering above, somewhere between continuing what I’m doing, with an eye towards fine-tuning it. I know this sounds kind of cryptic :~) I will definitely be updating you on my latest activities since we last communicated back in February – yikes!
Many times it takes some digging and trying things out before we find out true passion and purpose in our business – but each step is a necessary one and can’t be skipped.
In fact, it is often the steps we take that aren’t are purpose and passion that cause us to realize what we really want to do!
Or we trying something out, and people respond to our efforts and then the lightbulb goes off “This is it!”.
Of course then there are those times that we are afraid to tap into our true purpose (out of the fear of failure or the fear of success) and so we skirt around it, doing different things to distract us. It’s very common and I’ve done it myself!
One way around that is to say “If I could do anything right now and be guaranteed success, what would I do?”
The clues to your passion and purpose are in that answer.
Can’t wait to hear what your next steps are!
You did a great job of framing the picture, now I need to finish the portrait of what I want to see inside of it.
Great post, Lisa! You’ve really hit at the heart of what motivates some – and holds many back. I’ve had the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs online for the past 13 years – and those who “make” it as true business owners are driven by passion and purpose.
As an entrepreneur myself I know that the passion is what pulls you through the low spots – when you’re tired, things aren’t working, the computer won’t print and your VA just quit. (oops was I thinking out loud? 🙂 ) If I didn’t love what I do so much, I’d never come back into the office. But because I *do* love it – I can’t stay away. Because I’d do it even if I didn’t get paid! THAT’S the true test of passion.
Great Post, it came to my email at just the right time. I am at a crossroads both in my life and in what to do to make money. I have been trying to sell some stuff online for a while but it hasn’t been working out like I would like. It’s the proverbial one step forward two steps back. I started thinking about going back to a “real” job, which physically would be difficult but I got really depressed, and it came to me again, I am not happy in a “real” job I want to work at my own business, I have wanted that forever it seems like. In reading the post it became clear to me that I need to change my perspective and review what I love doing and what I am good at etc. I believe with that I can get off the “crossroads” and decide what direction to go in. Thanks Lisa
You help us along and have a knack to say the right thing at the right time.
For me the passion is there. The thing I wanted most in 30 plus years of police work is the same thing I want in my web business. I want people to be be as safe and secure as possible in their daily lives.
Lisa, a great post–obviously written with passion!
It’s so easy to lose sight of what energizes us and gives meaning to our lives. Even when we have the right field, it’s important to look at what aspect most ignites the spark within.
Thank you for the reminder, and for the added elements that give this article such depth.
When I first started my vintage jewelry business it was a lot of work. It still is and I’m learning more everyday. At first it was hard and I only had my grandmother that expressed the passion in my early life. She is gone now but I think that is what kept me going even though some days I felt like I would quit. I love vintage jewelry and find expressing myself through it fun. Setting up the site(s) is taking time but almost coming naturally now. Still, every now and then I need the motivation–Thank you for the post! Linda
Couldn’t agree with you more, Lisa.
People often ask me why, after 25+ years, I’m still working offline as a childbirth educator. Why continue to help pregnant couple learn all about labor and delivery? It certainly isn’t a money-making profession. That’s for sure! It’s more like a “labor” of love. 🙂
The reason I keep teaching my classes is that I LOVE teaching. I’m not in it for the money. If that were the case, I would have bailed out about 20 years ago and found a real job.
You’ve done a fabulous job of helping others to step back, take a few breaths, examine and re-examine what you truly love to do — and then go for it! And when you go for it, be sure to use a business model that’s right for you.
Thanx so much Lisa for giving me and many of us the soul-searching inspiration… Times are tough for us all and we need to make the very best of our situations. Looking beyond our immediate thoughts is so important. many thanx for all you do for us…
It’s often hard to look beyond the day-to-day operations of running our businesses (or to have the time to look) in order to see if we are on the right path… going in the right direction.
Throughout the year, I go through many periods of time where I look at my business, what I’m doing, why I’m doing it – and I keep asking myself questions until I get the answers I seek. Sometimes the answer is “Yes, everything is as it should be – keep on doing what you’re doing.” Other times it’s “No, you’re off track, you need to regroup.”
What happens is that either the business (the needs of my customers) grows and changes and *I* need to grow and change to best serve my customers. Or *I* grow and change as a person and the business needs to change to reflect that. Or sometimes the environment changes (economy, the eBay marketplace etc.) changes.
But tuning in and taking a regular temperature of where you AND your business are is the thing that will keep you on the right path.
I have lost all my passion and I don’t know how to find my niche.
This is an awesome post.