This is the 3rd in a series of posts about Love & Entrepreneurship.  The last two posts have used your typical definition of love and talked about your significant other.  The topic today is much more broad.  It’s about doing what you love and maintaining the passion for it.

Many of us get into the entrepreneurial journey to do more of what we love to do.

That was true for me.  I’m an activist.  I love doing everything I can to make the world a better place today and for generations to come.  That’s why I became an social entrepreneur.  I wanted to have the freedom to do whatever I thought would make the world better.  Working in a cubicle for a large nonprofit didn’t do that for me.  I had to do whatever my bosses and whatever funders thought was the best way to make the world better.  I learned a lot but it was never going to be 100% giving my unique gifts to the world to make it better.

Now, I’m years and years into the journey and know just how hard it can be to maintain one’s passion for changing the world.      

For me, I got really discouraged when I realized MOST of my customers simply buy from me because it’s convenient.  They think the mission is okay but they’re just as likely to visit other places.  Some customers don’t even know what our mission is.  I couldn’t figure out how to tell people what they didn’t really want to know.  Not everyone is ready for questioning every purchase they make.  Not everyone is ready for the invitation to simply consider our mission.  That got super discouraging at one point in our business.  I thought, “What’s the point then?  If these people don’t want to consider the possibility of change, why are we even doing this?”

Thankfully at this time, someone brought my attention to the core group of customers and supporters who love our mission.  Some of them have totally transformed their purchasing habits because of us.  They are super loyal to us and our mission.  This core group is the group that’s changing the world.  This core group keeps me going and maintaining my passion.  They are worth all the hard work I put into my business.

At the same time, I realized that my business could never survive with just the core group of customers and supporters who love our mission.  We need the revenue from the people who come simply because it is convenient.  In fact, I set forth this hypothesis: “The more we grow our customer base over all, the more the core group of people who love our mission will grow.”  Instead of focusing on preaching at the people who didn’t want to hear our message, I shifted my focus to getting the message of our mission to more and more people. I thought that, even if only 20% of them get our mission and decide to become customers, it’s totally worth it.  This hypothesis has proven to be true.  It’s helped our business grow AND it’s helped me maintain my passion.

I just can’t let myself get caught up in the people who don’t get it and the random customer who is actually opposed to our mission.  I have to maintain my focus on those who get it and are continuing to get it.  I can still serve everyone with a smile and share the mission with anyone who’s willing to listen but my focus and my attention is on that core group.

I got into this to do what I love.  I maintain my passion over time by realizing that only 20% of people get our mission and buy because of that mission.  I don’t get lost in the 80% who don’t get it (especially the 20% who are hostile).

So that’s my #1 tip for doing what you love and maintaining your passion.  Focus on your core group.  What does think look like for you?  Who are your core group that really gets what your business is all about?  How can you shift your focus toward those people?  How can you keep the ones who normally cause you the most stress from doing so?

There are 2 major pitfall to avoid.

Pitfall #1: Believing that others will care about your mission as much as you.  No one will EVER care about your mission as much as you do.  Avoid this pitfall.  Don’t even expect that core group to care as much as you do.  They can still care a lot.  But no one will ever care as much as you.

Pitfall #2: Letting busyness get in the way of doing what you love.  Don’t let piles of paperwork or a crowded calendar drown out your passion.  Figure out how to get focused and productive in the areas most important to you.  I have created something to shortcut you toward the kind of productivity a successful entrepreneur needs.  I created “The Ultimate Guide to Entrepreneurial Productivity.”  You can check it out at the link below. 

That’s it for today.  Next week, we’ll conclude the series about Love & Entrepreneurship by talking about Partnerships.  I’ll see you then.  In the meantime, keep overflowing!