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Is the Difference Between Your Gift & Your Passion Hurting Your Business?

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Starting your own business can be scary. If only I had a nickel for every time someone told me that 80% of businesses fail within the first year. So how do you make sure you are one of the 20% that succeeds?

I remember when I decided to start my own business. I had always known that I wanted to be my own boss, but I wasn’t sure what my business would be. Then about 2 years ago I began to realize I had a passion. I have a journalism degree, so you would expect that I would love communication, but it wasn’t until I was running a focus group for people who have diabetes, that I began to see how a lack of communication can keep us from getting the right support and reaching our goals. It was then that I became passionate about the idea of helping others learn how to communicate. The problem was, I wasn’t exactly sure how.

As luck would have it I was given the opportunity to leave my job and go out on my own.

I spent the next 3 months trying to figure out how to translate my passion into a business. It was fun, challenging and exhausting.

And then I found out that my husband and I were expecting our first child. It was so exciting, and also threw a bit of a wrench into the mix in terms of starting a business.

Fast forward a year, I had a business that was working, but it was a lot of work. It was all about mindful communication coaching for individuals, about seeing the value in everything and learning to use that ability to cut down on miscommunication. I was passionate about what I was doing, so why did it seem like such an uphill battle to make it successful?

Then I went to a conference with my good friend and colleague, Kelsey Murphy. As we sat there the first day, listening intently, a speaker came up and said something that changed the way I think.gift vs passion blog quote

He said that entrepreneurs are usually good at a lot of things. Imagine me proudly nodding my head in agreement. Then he added that you need to find that one thing that comes easily to you, but seems hard to everyone else, and then build your business on that.

When I thought about it, I realized that my passion and what comes easy to me might not necessarily be the same thing. But what came easy to me?

The next day Kelsey (my unofficial brainstorm buddy) and I got up and headed to the coffee shop to get some work done. As we talked about creating a free guide on her new website, I began to get really energized. Ideas began to flow and I realized, I was having a blast. Then it hit me, holy moly, creating content is what comes easy to me. The act of brainstorming and turning ideas into content, that’s what comes easy to me! I had always known that I enjoyed creating things, and most of my career had been in health improvement program creation, so how had I gotten here? Was my passion keeping me from running a truly successful business?

I think the answer is a bit of yes, and a bit of no. After a lot of soul searching and business plan updating, I could see that my passion was a part of my values and an important part of how I ran my company. My gift would dictate the different services and tools that I would use to ensure that my business was successful.

A month later, I am happy to report that business is great. Content for posts, videos and courses come so much easier to me now and business is actually finding me! I believe it’s because I was able to find a way to merge my passion and my gift to make a successful business.

So the big question is how do you know what your gift is?

Here are a few things to think about that will help you uncover what you do best.

1.  Notice your energy levels. When are you most energized during the day? Write down what you were doing and look for patterns.

2.  Don’t just look on the surface. Make sure you not only look at the tasks that you are good at, but the behaviors behind those tasks. Your gift may lie in the behavior or the way you do something rather than simply in the task you complete.

3.  Notice compliments. Be conscious of the complements you get. Do you ever hear someone tell you that they don’t know how you did something so fast, or well, or how you didn’t get nervous? When you start to see trends in how impressed people are with a particular thing you do, you will begin to see how something that comes easily to you, looks hard to everyone else.

Ultimately, if you want to start your own business, you want 2 things: for it to be successful and to have fun. It took me a while to realize that I am happy when I am using my gift to help others translate their services into content to create passive income. I also realized that my passion for mindful communication can still be a part of my business. And the great thing is that as my business gains success, I have the flexibility to donate time and resources to spread my passion for mindful communication out into the world.

Now I’m not saying that your passion and your gift can’t be the same thing. If they are, that’s awesome, then go out and conquer the world. If you are like me, and there is a bit of a blurry line between what you are passionate about, and what you are really good at, then I encourage you to dig a little deeper before you jump in and start your own company. A little bit of reflection can make all of the difference. Building a business on your gift and infusing your passion into the way you do business is a sure fire way to be successful and have fun.

So what is your passion? And what comes easy to you? Are they the same thing? Let me know in the comments below.

Dana Malstaff

Dana Malstaff

Dana Malstaff is the Founder of Boss Mom and creator Nurture to Convert.
She is a mother, author, speaker, messaging strategist, podcaster, blind spot reducer, and movement maker. She believes that too many brilliant moms are struggling to figure out how to grow their business while balancing all that is required to be a good mom, partner, and woman. So many moms are trying to grow their business using trends that feel inauthentic and aren't realistic for their inconsistent schedules. She has helped thousands of women become known for their brain and not their dance moves

3 thoughts on “Is the Difference Between Your Gift & Your Passion Hurting Your Business?”

  1. Dana,

    I was lucky enough to catch your answer on Pat’s episode 227 of SPI. Your comment about the difference between gift and passion arrested me. I came here specifically hunting your further thoughts on the matter.

    My gifts lie in language and logic. I have spent my best energy in the software industry as a result, but in my later years have tried my hand at writing. This met with little success. The screenplay I wrote got some very nice comments but it’s not sensational enough to penetrate the Hollywood barriers (I have trouble fathoming how Sharknado 2 & 3 were even pitched, much less made). I think there’s a non-fiction book that wants to get out but I have not convinced myself that anyone would read it. At 60, I don’t feel like writing a book offers that resume-reinforcement element to launch another service business.

    My passion is completely inflamed by talking to people about starting their own business. I ran my own gig for 15 years. The problem, as I see it, is that this topic has been covered to death. Everyone has written about it. I feel like my thoughts on the matter would be redundant at best.

    I don’t think of these as gifts but I am both stubborn and patient. This is yielding slow progress into the online product sales industry but the jury is out on whether I can grow that business. Including the paper route when I was 5, this will be my ninth commercial endeavor.

    If you have other thoughts beyond the introspection guidance you have offered above, I would love to hear it. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Your gift vs your passion: My experience - Nyawira Githae

  3. Pingback: Your gift vs your passion: My experience – Nyawira Githae

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