Putting Passion Before Profit

rosieI had a great conversation the other day with Michael Katz, author of the blog It Sure Beats Working.  He mentioned something to me on the phone that he later blogged about:

The importance of putting your passion in front of your profit model.

Those are my words.  Here are some of his:

“… put aside the question of how you’re going to make money… and instead spend time (a lot of time) on three things:

1. What am I really good at?
2. What do I love to do?
3. What does somebody else need?

Get clear on that and then look for the business model.”

I suppose I could elaborate on this at length, but it’s a simple concept, really.  Perhaps it’s best illustrated by way of example.

A Passion That Leads to a Profit

Stacey Hedman is a friend of mine, a really talented marketer who was put on mandatory partial furlough at some point last year as a result of the economic downturn.  She took that extra free time and filled it with the relentless pursuit of what she truly loves: dogs and photography.  She started a part-time pet photography business called Cold Nose Photo, and she spends a lot of her time volunteering at local shelters, using her photography skills to help homeless dogs find adoptive homes.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent profile of Stacey in the Barnstable Patriot:

“Pet photography is something most people haven’t thought of before, but dogs and cats – even horses – quickly become true members of the family,” said Hedman. “It’s a dream come true that I get to roll around and spend time with so many pet personalities, seeing what unique images we can come up with.”

FYI, her business is really taking off. She’s really good at what she does, as it turns out.

One thing I think is worth pointing out is that Stacey started off by volunteering at the shelters.  She did not begin by writing a business plan, or doing a competitive analysis, or by building a bunch of revenue model spreadsheets, although she certainly could have easily done so, as a professional marketing consultant and an MBA.

She started by giving it away, giving of herself, and of her passion.  This actually served a practical purpose, by allowing her to see what it was that worked for people, want people wanted, and what they might be willing to pay for.

It’s counter intuitive, but the more time you spend around us social media types, the more you will hear it: you have to give to get.

6 Thoughts.

  1. Great post Beth. While profit is a necessity in this world (we all have to eat, pay bills and live our lives), it should be an outcome of a goal, not THE goal.

    Passion can drive profit. Look at the various companies out there today who’ve sprung up from passionate folks. Clif bar, Bear Naked and the many others that were started because the founders had a passion for what they did and wanted to do.

    Great blog Beth…keep up the great work.

  2. Pingback: Links for August 30, 2009 | Eric D. Brown - Technology, Strategy, People, Projects

  3. Pingback: Links for August 30, 2009 « Technology Strategy Center

  4. Pingback: The Flavor of Friendship » The Salty Blog

  5. Great example of how your passion can lead to profits.

    I’m a believer in ‘Putting Passions before Profits’ because while profits may follow your passion, the reverse is almost never true.

    Following a happiness-centric approach will bring abundance into your life – often in the form of profits but not always – but then again, waking up happy every day is worth more than millions (in fact, it can’t be bought even if you have millions anyway)

    That being said, it can be difficult to resist the lure of riches and chase money instead of dreams (trust me, I’ve been there!).
    Just like everything else, I believe that the decision and commitment to follow your passion takes persistence, dedication and hardwork… but the rewards are definitely worth it.

    Monique Van Dijk
    @thenucreative

    p.s I’m looking for people who are following their passion (whether profits have followed yet or not!) to profile in my new book. More details at http://bit.ly/gxgbB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *