On the Job

Follow your business passion without sacrifice

Career advice tends to be varied, except for when it comes to following your business passion. Suddenly, every piece of guidance can sound like a Vegas poker tournament: You’ve got to go all in, it’s all or nothing, go big or go home, etc. The fact is that the wisest entrepreneurs did not bet everything to initially succeed, and some of the most fortunate ones never had to. There is some logic to this.

The most important thing to understand is that you can, and should, start small. It’s worth noting that Google was just trying to be a better way to search the Internet, just as Facebook was focused on connecting college kids online across Harvard’s campus. Try to boil your goal down into one simple idea. Focus on that.

The simple idea should be done in the cheapest, quickest way possible. What that means is getting a basic test out so that others can try it, give you some feedback and allow you to improve the concept so you can get it out to test again. It’s called the Lean Startup, or iterative model. What if your idea sounded good, but isn’t that great in real life? This approach lets you learn that as soon as possible before you invest too much time or money into it.

Most importantly, you may not have an “all in” moment, and if you do, it will likely not be at the beginning of you pursuing a business. Quitting your job to pursue an idea is often foolish, just as spending all your money unnecessarily to explore a business concept doesn’t make any sense. Instead, focus on finding smart ways to test your proposal, save up money from your day job to create a prototype or even barter with experts who have skills you need to move your business idea forward. Use your creativity to test the waters as much as possible until they simply get so deep that you have to dive in.

To paraphrase serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban, he doesn’t consider business a risk as he has already studied new ventures enough to be an expert in them. You should do the same.

Tags: | | | |