People who are just getting started in online business constantly deal with a key question: how to find your passion.
Ideally, when you’re trying to decide what subject you want to build your business around, create a course or other content about, you really would like to have a topic that:
- 1You’re incredibly passionate about – you burn with a desire to help other people in that area
- 2You know a lot about – it’s always easier to create a course or program if you’re already an expert in that area, so you don’t have to spend time figuring out what to teach
- 3You know there are a lot of people out there who are willing to spend significant amounts of money to have their problems solved in that topic area
I’m going to assume we don’t have to talk about item #3 – that we can all agree that if there isn’t a large group of people willing to spend some significant amounts of money to get their problems resolved, that may not be the best market for you to invest your time and money to create a course about it.
It’s the other two that aren’t quite as obvious…
Passion or knowledge: which is more important when you choose a topic to focus on for your course, blog, podcast or business?
Of course, you want both. You want something that you love so much that you’d do it for free, and that you know so much about that you could eventually be considered one of the world’s top experts on that subject.
But what if you can’t figure out anything that fits both of those categories? Here's a video that may help:
Someone who was facing this challenge recently asked me: “My problem is that everything that I'm good at I'm not passionate about, and everything that I'm passionate about I'm not all that good at. What should I do?”
Find Your Passion Or Choose What You Already Know About? Which Is More Important?
As potential online business owners and content creators we can struggle with this question for weeks. But the answer is clearly revealed just by looking at the world around us.
We pay lots of money every year to people who are really good at what they do, many of whom are not passionate about it.
People who don’t spend all their off-work spare time thinking about that subject and how they can better help people with their problems.
Many of those people go by some version of the title of “employee.”
For example, how many employees do you know who are employed in the industry but are probably not truly passionate about batteries, bugles, bugs, backend loaders, bell’s palsy, brakes, broccoli, ball bearings, burpees, basketballs, Botox, or barnacles? Some may be, but many aren’t. Yet, many of them could probably be classified as experts – and they certainly know more about those subjects than the people they serve.
They have knowledge, not necessarily passion.
Here’s another way of thinking about this debate: as I think about the people I regularly do business with, I can’t think of a single one who has a great passion about their topic who isn’t knowledgeable or good at it.
Not. A. Single. One.
If that’s not enough, here’s another question for you: “if you were paying for something and had a choice between getting good information and getting information that person is passionate about but may not actually be accurate, which one will you choose?”
I believe that if you can only have one, knowledge beats passion almost every time.Do the thing you are good at. Make that your work. Make that the thing that you go all into.
A Little-Known Secret About How To Find Your Passion
Here's what ends up happening - when you do what you're good at, passion will follow.
Perhaps that passion won’t be for the batteries, bugles, bugs, backend loaders, etc. mentioned earlier. It will usually be for the people who are using those tools to solve problems or achieve some kind of transformation in their lives.
Because when you're good at something and you start serving people passion is going to start happening.
Passion for serving the people who are buying that thing to solve their problem.
That’s the secret about passion: you can live without passion for the thing you’re selling yet still have a huge passion for the people you’re serving.
At one point I was the Brand Manager for Depends.
I can tell you that I never really got all that passionate about adult diapers. But I loved, loved, loved the fact that those products literally changed peoples’ lives, enabling them to have our brand tagline become real in their life – to “get back into life.”
As soon as you start to realize that it’s not your subject area but the transformation that happens because of what you do, then everything starts to shift in what you do and how you do it.
And your passion for what you do!
Don’t Start With Passion – Start With Knowledge And Skills
One of my gripes about the expert space, that I think does a major disservice to many people, comes when someone is just getting started looking for a product to create, and we ask them the traditional question “what are you passionate about?"
Frankly, I believe that’s exactly the wrong question.
That one question alone has kept many people out of this business, because they can’t think of anything that they are passionate about.
Instead, if you’re trying to figure out what product you should create, I invite you to ask yourself a different set of questions. For example:
- 1What topic areas do you find people asking you unsolicited questions about over and over again?
- 2What subject could you talk about for 30 minutes or more with no advance preparation?
- 3What do you find yourself consistently helping other people do?
- 4What do you think about when you haven’t got anything else to think about?
- 5What were your favorite topics in school?
- 6Think about your past jobs – what were you best at? What did your bosses ask you to teach or train other people to do?
- 7What have you realized that you know enough about that you could probably teach someone else how to do it?
Notice how none of these are asking about your passion?
They all focus on what you know and what other people know you know.
By the way, that last phrase: “what other people know you know” – the answer to that is a pretty good indication you should think about creating a product about that topic.
Your First Online Product Or Online Course Probably Won’t Be Your Last
And here’s something else. Most people struggle to find the product they want to create because they’re trapped into a notion that this first product should be the sum of their life’s work.
That they can and will only produce one product in their lifetime. Or, at least products about one topic.
Let me give you a piece of insider knowledge: your first launch is probably going to be one of your worst.
In fact, I strongly suggest that if you have a “life’s work” product that you not make it your first product or your first launch.
The first product you create probably won’t be very good. Three years later you’re going to look back at it and you’re going to be at least slightly embarrassed. The product’s quality, the marketing you employed, even things like your slides and graphics, will probably be cringe-worthy three years later.
And here’s something else: your first launch is probably going to not do very well. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes and you’re going to learn a lot from it.
I suggest you don’t fight these facts. Use them to your advantage!
Choose a topic you care about, but perhaps may not be the thing your soul is yearning to impart to the world. Let that be your first product and your first launch, so you can learn from something that isn’t all that important in the long-term scheme of your life and career.
Then take those learnings to figure out what you really want to do, to be known for, and to pour your heart and soul into giving to the world.
If you think about your first product that way, it’s pretty clear that it’s probably not a good idea to spend a ton of time and energy trying to get the perfect answer of what to do for that first product.
Make it as good as you can, but don’t spend months trying to make it perfect, because, frankly, it won’t be. No matter how hard you try. (I speak from experience – my own, and that of countless others I’ve worked with.)
Of Course, Use Wisdom In Your Choice
Given everything I said above, some may interpret me as saying that it doesn’t matter what you choose for your first product.
That wouldn’t be correct.
I recommend that you:
- 1Don’t choose something that you’ll hate doing. For example, I could never teach accounting. Even though I have a minor in it from college and enough knowledge that I could some areas of accounting to people who didn’t know anything about it, I really dislike doing it. That dislike would definitely show in the product and my marketing of it
- 2Choose something that you’re at least somewhat interested in
You’re going to spend a lot of time in the world of whatever you choose. Choose something you at least like. You don’t want to make yourself miserable.
Don’t Wait Long: Just Choose Something!
I literally see this all the time: people crippled and unable to make any progress because they’re agonizing over what to do their product about.
Or this happens: they’ve chosen their product, but in their excited sharing of it with others, they had someone tell them it didn’t appeal to them (probably a family member,) that it was a stupid idea (also, probably a family member,) some expert said they needed to niche down further, or they discovered that someone else had already created a product about that subject with which there was no way they could possibly see themselves competing.
If that’s happening to you, I have one piece of advice.
Choose something. Get started. Go create an opt-in incentive, start creating a list.
In other words, start working on creating a product about that topic.
Start doing the longest leadtime task in the process of selling your product – finding a group of people who are interested in your subject area who you can send promotional emails to.
This next step’s important - realize that topics evolve over time. They get better, they niche down further. You’ll get more insights, you’ll receive feedback from others. Brilliant ideas will leap fully formed into your brain at 3am and cost you the rest of your night’s sleep.
Your topic will get better as you work on it.
But it won’t really start getting better until you start working on it.
If you wait for perfection before you get going, you’ll never get started. And that’s the last thing I would ever want to have happen to you!
Just get started. Choose something. Work on it, and it will come, I promise.
This is Don Crowther saying…
Just go do this stuff!