What sparked that desire to start your own business or company? Undoubtedly, you had a powerful story and vision you wanted to share. Passion will keep you motivated and help you succeed as an entrepreneur, regardless of where you are in your journey. Playing to your strengths and abilities, having a passion for the process, and improving the lives of others will fuel your passion throughout all the moments of hardship. Here are a few lesson’s I’ve learned along the way.
Play to your strengths
Passion involves starting a business that allows you to engage on multiple levels, discover and develop your strengths and talents, and challenge yourself. Lastly, it should help you build more resources than you could ever achieve working for someone else!
An analytical and math-minded guy, I especially enjoy focusing on the financial aspects of my business and determining ways to improve performance. Problems and puzzles are what keep me engaged. The moment I become engrossed in a spreadsheet, I lose track of time. Everything around me seems irrelevant. Background noises and distractions melt away. It’s my favorite feeling to be in the flow of my work. When you can become that engrossed in what you do for a living, it’s an excellent indicator that you are in the right line of work.
Improve Other Peoples’ Lives
It may be intriguing to go into the field of your talents or to pursue something that you know will bring you success. You should not believe that entrepreneurship is just about accumulating money, however. No matter how much money you end up with, that is a recipe for a lonely life. For me and most of my entrepreneurial friends and family members, a successful business is about using our talents and energy to build something useful that benefits our families and employees while also positively contributing to our communities and the world. Don’t rule out even greater opportunities and impact: bring your passion alive by making a difference. In the following anecdote, I describe how I found my version of success.
PeopleCare Heritage Centers and Pavingstone Manufacturing have been my two biggest business successes to date. My parents ran a similar nursing retirement facility in my youth, but I had never imagined that I would run a chain. Paving stones were not the stuff of my childhood dreams. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time in both businesses immensely because we built successful companies that provided exceptional services and goods to appreciative clients and customers. The process resulted in creating thousands of jobs with positive impacts on our employees and our community. Our suppliers and the families they support were also equally important. In selling those businesses, we were able to accomplish a greater purpose, which was to build a secure future for our children and grandchildren and make a positive social impact. We were able to make a difference in the lives and careers of our employees, associates, and others through philanthropy.
I’ve known some driven entrepreneurs who have achieved immense wealth only to wonder why their enormous homes, expensive collections of cars, and wines can’t bring them the joy and peace they believe they deserve. They’d worked hard and succeeded on many levels, except when it came to their relationships—and their souls. The angels in my life saved my life from becoming one of those lonely entrepreneurs. I could never have survived the challenges that come with starting, growing, and running diverse companies without the love, trust, and support of my family and friends.
A Passion for the Process
My gratitude for my success is a result of the connections I’ve made through my businesses, the lives I’ve touched, as well as the process and journey itself. I excel in the mathematical areas of my job, but I have also learned to enjoy the process itself, even on days when there are problems after problems. If you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t just look forward to the days of success. You are committed to bringing your vision to life regardless of obstacles.
Remember that you can find your passion in a variety of ways. Not all businesses or entrepreneurial journeys are the same. Some companies offer more day-to-day excitement than others. Some are more exciting to discuss with friends. Other businesses demand more creativity. But even paving stones and nursing retirement centers, logistics, and real estate can be very interesting and rewarding lines of work. As an entrepreneur and a person, your success will significantly depend on the quality of the relationships you build. In a sense, everyone involved with or affected by your business is a partner and a stakeholder in it. To some extent, these critical relationships extend to your employees, customers, suppliers, and even your competitors.
A Way of Life
When you are an entrepreneur, you commit yourself to a way of life. Firing up your passions keeps your business alive. Your passion is your legacy, your unique imprint on the world. It is what differentiates you from your competitors. But more importantly, it is the well of inspiration that gives back to others. Leaving your family, friends, employees, and communities with that kind of gift is incredible. Don’t forget to appreciate the blessings and angels who have helped you achieve your dreams.
Bob Schlegel and his wife and business partner, Myrna, came from humble roots in a small Ontario, Canada, farming community. Together, they launched their first family business, PeopleCare Heritage Centers, that grew to include 15 facilities in both the U.S. and Canada. Later, Schlegel and a partner launched Pavestone Company, which became the nation’s leading supplier of concrete landscaping products. The Schlegels sold both businesses and today are involved in a myriad of new enterprises and philanthropic endeavors. Bob’s new book, Angels and Entrepreneurs: A Lifestyle Formula for Starting Your Own Business and Riding the Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship (SAVIO Republic, Feb. 22, 2022), shares the lessons learned from navigating the life of an entrepreneur. Learn more at bobschlegelauthor.com.