I encounter a lot of solopreneurs, individuals who wish to build a business doing what they love. Consistently, there's a lack of understanding about how to grow a viable business, one that can financially support the business owner.
Here is a common idea:
"If I have a passion for something, then there must be enough other people who have the same passion, that I can build a business with this."
This is true... but building a business on passion alone? It takes a lot longer than one might imagine... what I've seen out there is 3 - 10 years of consistent effort before you can live on an income based on a passion-led business.
(There's nothing wrong with this, as long as you don't need that income anytime soon.)
However, if you want to build a business that can support you sooner, such as within a few years, or even within 12 months, then you need to build a compassion-led (market-led) business.
Let's delve into 2 sources of energy when we are building a business...
Passion Energy -- your own philosophies, ideas, hobbies, your own background, knowledge, your message, peak experiences you've had, teachers you've studied with, things you love doing, topics you enjoy talking about. In short, your passions. "Do what you love."
Compassion Energy -- actual other people's problems, challenges, issues, frustrations, habits, needs, yearnings, dreams. In short, a business based on what other people want so much, that they would pay for it. "Meet people where they're at."
When I say other people's problems, I mean not just what you believe philosophically -- that "the world needs this" or "people need that." -- such philosophizing would still be your own ideas and theories.
Compassion energy comes from real individuals you have talked with. You know their names, you know enough about their unique life to really know the problems they are facing, that you could design (or re-design) your service to help them.
Think of a time when you saw someone suffering, and you felt motivated to help them ease their pain.
Or think of a time when you got really excited about someone else's dream, and you felt energized to do whatever you could to help them reach their goals.
That's drawing from a compassionate source of energy. You were motivated by what other, actual, real world people were needing and wanting.
Money comes from other people, not from your own passions. Your income is derived from other actual people's spending.
So when you build a business drawing primarily from compassion energy, you are able to get clients sooner. Your marketing becomes clearer and a little easier -- because it's about giving people what they want. Your business can then support you sooner.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for Counselors, Coaches, Speakers, and Authors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.