UnwantedNews: "To be honest, I don`t have a problem working `for` others. I just want to feel like my efforts make a difference. I want my effort to be valued.
When you own and operate your business, you are helping others solve the problems in their own lives. How can I do that. How do I find a topic of passion and interest?"
Wow! You sound like a very deep, caring person who MIGHT be barking up the wrong tree looking for fulfillment possibly in the the wrong place (or maybe just the wrong place for now). Based on those few sentences, it`s obvious that you want to feel like your work makes a difference in someone`s life. If you don`t know how to do that just yet, maybe volunteer with an organization that interests you, even if it`s just a little. (Children w/ special needs, Veterans affairs, battered women, homelessness, the list goes on and on) Even if you can only give an hour or so a week, you might find your "inspiration" or "passion" for something. If not, move on to the next thing, but soon I bet you will find something that shows you just how much of a difference you can make. From there you might find a different career path working for someone that does work you believe in, or you might be inspired to start your own company, non-profit or for profit that means something to you. Very very best of luck!! Keep us posted!
I am a bit of a contrarian with this idea of a need to have a "passion" for your business idea or follow your interests. I would not fault anyone for undertaking a business for which they have a passion for the product, industry, etc. I would also not fault someone else who went into a business just because it is profitable. Read "Built to Last" or "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. Jim speaks to both extremes such as 3M where they really had little idea of what they wanted to do and Wal-Mart where Sam Walton had strong conviction for what he wanted to do. Motorola started out as a battery repair company, and look where they are today. 3M had to make sandpaper just to stay in business. The point is that many businesses such as 3M and HP were not founded in the businesses in which they became successful. Taking the risk, executing a plan and making adjustments as needed seems to be a common recipe.
I would not take this as advice to just jump. I`d recommend every opportunity be planned and adequate due diligence performed. Venture capitalists and private equity folks do not have a love for the businesses they are in. They have a love of making money and creating value. I highly doubt that Warren Buffet loves sheet rock or women`s intimates but Berkshire owns large stakes in companies in both industries.
If you are looking for ideas, ask someone that has their own business: "if you had to do it over again, what company would you start"; "if you only had $__K what business would you look hard at?"....
I’m going to rewrite your question the way I interpreted it before I read anyone’s comment:
How can I find what I’m passionate about?
I think this is an extremely valuable question for many of us who are headed down the road of starting our own business. I too, have asked that question of myself many times and have yet to find the answer. But I think I’m heading in the right direction.
Here are a few things I’ve been doing to try and answer this question for myself:
1. I try to answer the question, “What do I enjoy doing?” This question should not be confused with “What am I good at?” Granted, being good at something might make it easier for you to make money at it, but it might not. There are several different career fields I could perform much better than average, but I don’t enjoy them at all and would never want to start a business in those fields.
2. Ask questions about everything. I’ve realized that I have a very narrow viewpoint of the world. I tend to see things one way only and discount other viewpoints or ideas. To counteract this I’m trying to change my thinking and look at things more creatively (check out this question I posed to the forum about becoming more creative in my thought process here). The point here is to see things differently and maybe by seeing something differently a light will go off and you’ll be able to say, “This is it! This is what I’m passionate about.” You`ll also find that the SuN Community is an excellent resource for aspiring (as well as actual) entrepreneurs.
3. Start keeping track of your thoughts. You might here this called an idea journal, but it doesn’t just have to be for great ideas. In our case we could be keeping track of what we like or dislike in our current jobs. We could look at jobs we think would be perfect for us and write out the things we think would be awesome about that job and what we think would cause us to have a bad day.
To be honest, I’m not sure that any of the steps I’m taking are going to answer the question that you and I would like answered, but I think they will help. If you come across the answer before I do, please let me know how you found it.