It’s not selfish…

My sister’s wedding last Saturday was absolutely perfect. The weather couldn’t have been better, there were no hitches (apart from the obvious one – excuse the pun!) and everyone had a fantastic day. And now…well now there’s that strange feeling of bereftness as all the organising has finished, the stress has diminished, the excitement has died down and you kind of find yourself thinking ‘Wow! That was amazing…but it’s all over in a flash!’

Organising something as huge as a wedding or other big event means that for a time you become totally passionate about what you are doing – it’s kind of all-consuming – but then once it’s over, it’s over very abruptly! There is no slow deflation. It’s there…and then it’s not and so you often find yourself looking to put all that passion into something else – a new project instead.

We all have passion within us! As I’ve talked about in previous newsletters, it’s very important to have your dreams, aims, goals and projects and to have a real desire to reach them, whether it’s in your personal life or in business. Passion is one of the most important traits that will help you achieve!

Take ‘The Apprentice’ for example. It was the final on Wednesday and once again this year, I have really enjoyed watching the series. First and foremost because I love seeing some of the candidates make absolute fools of themselves during the tasks – it’s amazing what stupid things people come out with when they are under pressure, secondly because some of the tasks are really quite interesting and thirdly because there is a raw passion from each…to win.

This year it wasn’t obvious from the start that Doctor Leah would eventually win! For the most part she kept quietly in the background – until it really mattered and then she really went for it – with passion! And the reason Leah managed to make it all the way to the final and then go on to win, is because she is so passionate about her business plan and the skills that it is based on. She knows her subject and her idea for a chain of cosmetic clinics was borne from a passion for that subject – and Lord Sugar could see that.

And this is my point. Lord Sugar too has always been all about the passion. You can tell he is passionate about everything he does. It’s a vibe. In fact, in the past he has said:

“If you want to start your own business, choose something that you have an interest or passion for”.

And I whole-heartedly agree, because this applies to any business and anybody, including you and me.

If you have a natural interest and a passion for a particular subject, product or niche then this is where you should get started. You can always expand later but you must establish yourself first in an area that you know and love. If you think about it logically you’ll understand what I mean. For example, you wouldn’t start up a jewellery shop if you were allergic to metal, or start selling burgers if you were a vegetarian. The same as you wouldn’t become a sheep farmer if you were frightened of animals!

So why try and sell computer accessories if you don’t know the first thing about them and aren’t techie minded at all? Why try and sell model cars or trains when you can’t fathom why people would be interested in them in the first place?

To start with, be selfish and think about you

You must take a good look at your own hobbies or interests because if you start by selling something that you know about then you will be so much more enthusiastic about your products right from the beginning. This is because they will be products that you can identify with, products that you know something about and products that you feel really comfortable with.

We all have a passion for something, and anyone can turn their passion into a business with a little bit of creativity and thought.

If you are, or can become, an expert on your chosen product or an expert in your niche you will ultimately do much better with your business. You see, buyers like to purchase from people or places that are helpful and know about what they are selling. This will come naturally when you have a passion and an interest in your product and indeed your job.

To put this into context, here’s a very recent example of something that happened to me. I wanted to purchase an armchair for my sitting room. We were in one particular store and I wanted to know how long it would take from order to delivery and whether a particular fabric was available.

The (very disinterested) shop assistant who I spoke to told me it was probably 4 days for delivery and that the fabric options should be fine. Ok, that sounds good I thought as I was in a little bit of a rush for the item. So off we went to place the order. Imagine my surprise – and I must admit slight annoyance – when a good 15 minutes later and having gone through almost the entire ordering process, I was then told that actually the delivery time was 6 weeks and the fabric I wanted would cause a further 2 week delay on the delivery time on top.

Now I should have twigged really when the assistant said these words: “…probably…” “…should be fine…”

Granted, there was never a firm guarantee given but in fact the assistant really knew nothing about the product, the delivery times or in fact the ordering process. As you can imagine, this didn’t instil a great deal of confidence in me and there was quite obviously no order placed that day!

I simply felt like this company really weren’t bothered whether I ordered with them or not, even though it was blatantly obvious that I wanted the armchair and all they had to do was pop my credit card through the till! The assistant didn’t even recommend other options – for example suggesting a similar item that did have a 4 day delivery time (which was an option I discovered on my own later) or perhaps steering me towards a similar fabric.

This was very frustrating and very annoying. And they lost a sale due to lack of knowledge, lack of passion and because it was extremely simple for me to walk away. And it’s exactly the same with your online business. Remember that the ‘back button’ is very accessible!

The importance of being passionate

So this is why it is so important that you know your product to start with. Once you have learned exactly how to easily spot a hot niche and product, you can learn as you go, but because your first product is always the most challenging, stick to what you know and have an interest and passion for – however small – until you are ready to move on.

So, as a starting point here are a few ideas for you…

  • Perhaps you really enjoy a good game of tennis.
  • Maybe you like painting.
  • Maybe you are a new mum or dad and know everything there is to know about the needs of new parents.
  • Do you like making things?
  • Do you like tinkering with cars?
  • Or maybe you just like collecting things….

All of these subjects have related products that will do well online. Have a good think because I know you will be able to come up with some ideas. When you do, simply write them down and that’s when you’ll start getting excited and see the potential within your subject of passion!

Remember; have an interest, become an expert, work with passion and you’ll go far.