Everything you heard about ‘Passion in startup’ is wrong


When I ask people why they want to start up, they say, “I am passionate about startups.” But why does everyone talk about passion when it comes to startups?

Maybe, because they think passion is key to startup success.

I too had similar notions when I started my first company. I thought that since I was passionate about education, I should do something in the education domain.

But I was wrong. I failed. I discovered that education was not my passion, I was deeply interested in improving the Indian education system, but “passion” was too strong a word to describe my relationship with education.

I learnt that passion is not constant. It keeps changing with time. What you think you’re passionate about today may have not held the same value five or ten years earlier. There is no guarantee that it will remain your passion after ten years.

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. -Albert Einstein

I never thought I will write articles. My English wasn’t too good but as I started writing for my second startup blog, I found a connection with writing. I was writing my startup blog because it was my obligation as a marketing person. I never thought that I’ll write articles professionally to make a living.

Can I say today that I have a passion for writing? Of course, yes. But I am not sure what my passion will be next year.

How then does one define passion? Is it used to describe the things you want to do in a lifetime?

You may be passionate about coding today, but a few years later you may find your passion to be marketing or sales. This is not possible to nurture in the corporate world but it’s possible in a startup. You will have exposure to all kind of roles in a startup and have a better chance of discovering yourself.

In a startup, you are everything.

That was the best thing that happened to me in my life. I resigned from my boring job with a great deal of confusion about my passion. I was saying that education is my passion but deep inside I was confused. If education was my passion then why I did I not choose a career in teaching or started free classes for kids. Then I discovered the truth.

It really does not matter what your passions are. In a startup, you do everything passionately.

You don’t have to spend hours and days to find out your passion to start your company. You have to become willing to start up and then do everything passionately.

Do you think Sachin and Binny Bansal were passionate about selling books online? But they became passionate about providing a world-class customer service after starting Flipkart. I heard that in early days they were carrying contact numbers of all courier persons to make sure product delivery happened on/before time.

Starting up entails doing every job passionately rather than limiting oneself to one’s passion.

For example, if you are passionate about making movies and started a company in video making, you may not get a chance to actually make a movie.You will have a lot of other stuff to do: related to building your core team, talking to the customers, sales, marketing and raising funds. You can not build a great company by limiting your passion to video making; you have to become passionate at every activity.

This is all I learnt about passion in my entrepreneurship journey. Your passion alone can’t make or destroy your startup, but wonders can happen when you become passionate about solving a problem. Your passion will help you taking your first step into the startup world. You should then become flexible to passionately love everything around you.

You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out. - Steve Jobs

I have seen entrepreneurs who were most passionate about writing awesome code but at one point of time they have to leave the chair of the coder to handle management tasks. They feel proud of their coding skills and do coding on weekends as a hobby.

I am not saying that passion is not important. I am saying that you don’t have to be obsessed with your passion as it can hinder the growth of your startup. When you try new things, you will discover new passions.


Updates from around the world