Most of us dream of starting a passion business at least once in our lives. Perhaps you love backing and have always wanted to open a bakery or coffee shop. Or, maybe you love collecting stamps and have considered buying and selling them on eBay.

Perhaps you pain on the weekends but have never found the courage to try to sell your art. If any of these statements sound familiar, a passion business may (or may not) be right for you.

One of the side benefits of starting Sixty and Me, a community with over 500,000 baby boomer women, is that I got to see thousands of people pursuing their dreams. Many of the members of our communities started businesses in their 50s or 60s and were kind enough to share their experiences with me.

Through these conversations, I discovered one important truth about starting a passion business. I’d like to share this truth with you now so that you can avoid the mistakes I have seen other older entrepreneurs making.

The Number 1 Mistake People Make When Starting a Passion Business is…

Over the years, I have seen hundreds of people starting passion businesses. The great majority of these ventures fail because their owners are unable to treat their business as anything more than a hobby.

These people forget that nobody cares about your passion business. Nobody cares if you enjoy your work. All they care about is whether you can solve their problems.

They also try to do everything themselves because they believe that nobody can step into their shoes. As a result, they end up burning out or, worse, growing to hate their previous passion.

Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes

Building a successful business requires more than just “doing what you love.” It requires you to put yourselves in the shoes of your potential customers and to solve their needs.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What are people who share my passion, but, who are less experienced than me struggling with? Could I create a video course or book to help them?

What are people struggling to do by themselves now? Could I create a standard solution?

What products related to my passion are marketed badly or have a reputation for poor quality? Could I create something similar but so a better job of promoting or supporting it?

You Can’t Do Everything Yourself

Delegating is always hard. That said, when you build a business around one of your passions, letting go is even more difficult. Why? Because you think that you can do things better than anyone else. You are probably right!

Systems are the basis of every successful business. When I started Sixty and Me, I wrote every article myself. I also stared in any video courses that we created.

Now, we have over 200 guest writers who contribute to Sixty and Me. In addition, despite the fact that I was involved in its creation, I didn’t appear in the last gentle yoga DVD series that we created.

While you may enjoy your work because you are passionate about it, you can’t build a successful business until you stop treating your work as a hobby. This means being willing to take a step back and let others take on more responsibility.

At the end of the day, “doing what you love” is great advice, but, not for the reason that most people think. Doing what you love will help you to keep going during the 12, 14 or 16 hour days of growing your business. But, it won’t, by itself, create a viable business.

In order to build a business, you will need to use your passion to spark conversations with your potential customers and to inspire your employees. When you use passion in these ways, nothing can stop you.

Do you think that “just do what you love and the money will follow” is good advice? What do you think are the secrets to building a successful business? Please join the conversation!

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