As an adjunct university professor for almost 20 years, I would often have students say to me, “What kind of business or profession should I consider going into right now?” I would respond by asking them, “What do you like to do? What do you really enjoy?” They’d respond by saying something like . . . “No, no, you don’t understand, I’m asking what I should do?” And I’d reply back by saying . . . “No, you don’t understand, what do you like to do? What are you really interested in?”
They’d look back at me, obviously perplexed, and stutter out something about trying to figure out what a good profession to go into would be or what kind of business they should start. I would proceed to explain to them that you can’t achieve sustained success over time without doing something you love. Therefore, they should think about what they really enjoy doing and look for opportunities in those areas.
According to the NFIB (the National Federation of Independent Business), it’s estimated that 60 percent of all businesses started in the late ’90s “were based on hobbies or personal interests.” More and more you see people turning their dreams into their livelihood.
I saw a great example of this in action when I attended a fundraiser for Azusa Pacific University over the weekend. During the evening, the program highlighted a graduate from the physics department. His name is Steven Moser. He graduated in 2001 from the university. After graduation, he worked at NASA’s JPL in Pasadena. While Moser was working at JPL, a close family member died in a tragic accident. Moser and his wife (who also had a very successful career) evaluated their lives and decided to make a major change. They chose to pursue a hobby they had had for some time, making all-natural body care products and turning it into a full-time business. This would enable them to work from home, spend time with the family and do what they really love.
Steven’s company is called Anti-Body. It not only offers all-natural body-care products, but it also promotes global fair trade. It sources all its raw materials directly from workers in developing countries, creating sustainability for those that might be exploited in most markets.
This is a great example of doing what you love and loving what you do. Moser changed the course of his life to do what he loves. His business seems to be thriving, and he definitely loves what he is doing.
I understand that loving what you do is no guarantee that you’ll be successful. However, I am equally confident that if you’re not happy at what you’re doing, you can never achieve any sustainable success over time. So if you’re thinking about starting your own business, do what I used to tell my children when they couldn’t figure out what ice cream they wanted to eat. Stick your tongue out. Wave it around. What does it feel like? Pick something you really want. You’ll be happier (and I’m not talking just about ice cream).