4 Things I've Learned While Planning a New Business That's a Passion Project
About six months ago, when I decided to finally begin working on a new startup, I thought I was prepared for the challenge. After all I had been successfully running my public relations business, fifteen media, for more than four years. I figured at least I knew what to expect when it comes to starting a business. How wrong I was.
The main difference is that my new project, Glamtrepreneur, deals with an issue that's very important to me. The company I'm planning to launch next year will have a goal of creating programming and initiatives to teach girls about entrepreneurship. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy doing PR and I will still continue to do it, but I didn’t realize how a passion project, like Glamtrepreneur, would unleash a whole different set of learning experiences.
Now that I have successfully hosted half the Glamtrepreneur workshops I have scheduled for the summer, I can share a thing or two about launching a business associated with a cause one deeply cares about:
1. Learn to harness the passion. At times passion is a double-edge sword. Entrepreneurs need to be passionate about what they do to make their business succeed. But passion can also be a detriment. When I first started working on Glamtrepreneur, every time I talked about it, I would get unnecessarily fired up about what I was doing. I realized that I needed to scale back my approach a bit or no one would ever take me seriously.
One thing that has helped me tremendously is hiring an outside writer to develop talking points. This way when I meet with people I can convey my passion and ideas in a concise manner -- rather than rambling on and on.
2. Enjoy the ride. It's harder to be patient when I work on a passion project. With my PR business, I feel like I can go with the flow. I take one thing at a time, and I haven't worried that I need to do everything at once. For Glamtrepreneur, I find myself constantly worrying about where I want the project to be one day, rather than focusing on what I am doing today.
3. Don’t become frustrated when people don’t understand the vision. When people don’t immediately get what I am trying to do with Glamtrepreneur, I'm impatient. If someone doesn’t think my project is important, I take it as a personal insult. That hasn't been the case for me in running my PR firm. But I recognize that I need to learn to detach my emotions from this new project as best as I can.
The other night, for example, I was on a date with someone I had been seeing for a few weeks. I felt myself becoming extremely defensive when he didn't quite understand my vision for Glamtrepreneur. I had to remind myself that not everyone can immediately jump into my head and comprehend all my ideas.
Be grateful. Through my work on the Glamtrepreneur project, I have realized how many people it takes to turn a vision into a reality. Sometimes entrepreneurs might take for granted the other people around them. But there is no way to execute a plan without others. Even though a startup owner might have great ideas, he or she can't do everything alone.
Take the time to tell people thank you because without them there's no business. Starting a new enterprise is definitely a team effort.