Why passion in entrepreneurship is grossly misunderstood | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 28, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 28, 2019

Why passion in entrepreneurship is grossly misunderstood

The importance of passion in anything you do is something we hear about again and again. Especially if you are looking to become an entrepreneur, you will hear lots of advice and come across lots of articles eschewing the importance of “following your dream” and “loving what you do”.

Unfortunately, more often than not, they are either explained incorrectly or interpreted wrongly.

Don’t get me wrong; loving what you do is quite important if you want work to not feel like work. The clichéd notion of entrepreneurship being a crazy, soul-sucking and enormously pressurising journey is not false. It can be even more taxing on yourself, your physical and mental health than you can imagine.

But the often-repeated perception that you have to love exactly what you do is mostly inaccurate. For example, someone who has launched a successful digital marketing firm may tell you that passion in digital marketing is what made them start this venture, and the same must apply for you. Or someone who started a sports marketing venture will tell you their passion in sports is what prompted them to get into this field. They think the same should apply for other entrepreneurs, that is, they must possess the exact passion in whatever product/service they are offering.

Think about the logical loophole. What about Mark Zuckerberg, who launched perhaps the most revolutionary social media platform the world has ever seen? Do you think this stemmed from Mark’s deep passion in human relationships, social relationships? It’s far from it. If you read about his background or watched “The Social Network”, you’ll know that Mark was a loner and an introvert who had very few friends. Yet his brainchild, Facebook has completely changed how the average human being stays connected to their friends. What about Uber? Was Travis Kalanick deeply passionate about human transportation? Was he obsessed with finding an easier, cheaper way for people to move around? Again, the answer is no. Travis actually spoke on stage to reveal the real story: his friends were all gushing when they first saw a fancy black car pulling up outside of a San Francisco bar to pick him up. Their reaction is what prompted him to launch Uber; in his words, he wanted to be seen as a “big shot” in his hometown because he owns such a badass venture. In the process, he ended up introducing the concept of both ride-sharing and gig economy to the entire world, and spawning a completely new breed of business models!

If you look around, you will find all sorts of big businesses pursuing products and services you can’t imagine any sane person to be passionate about: manufacturing cement, bottling water, selling insurance, producing bulbs, selling milk, providing internet connectivity, etc. Yet there are multi-billion dollar companies in these spaces. How did they get so big, if you are supposed to love what you sell? I for one can’t fathom that the founders of hellotask are passionate about maids. Or the brains behind Truck Lagbe are extremely fond of trucks.

In all the cases mentioned above, what we can notice are people who were passionate about solving a problem. Each of these entrepreneurs noticed an actual need in the market that was not being filled, and they instantly jumped in to meet that need. And in the process, they excelled so well because they were passionate about the process of entrepreneurship. The charm of starting your business is that you get to dictate how it will go; the product, the marketing, the sales, the hiring, the pricing, etc. You get to work with something that starts from scratch, and after toiling for years, you see it grow to gigantic proportions. That is what fuels your passion. Successful entrepreneurs are those who love the “process”; all the things that go into running a regular business. They need not be passionate about the actual product/service; simply because as I already discussed, there are many things you just cannot be passionate about.

What about Elon Musk? The guy is pursuing 10 different businesses at the same time; is he passionate about all of them, starting from selling solar panels to producing electric cars to drilling giant holes to building rockets? Or is it more likely that he is passionate about solving extremely ambitious problems that fits into his overarching life goals of advancing sustainability and preserving the future of mankind?

Therefore, it is time for you to tune out that guy who owns a digital agency and insists you need to be extremely passionate about what you’re selling. He has gotten passion in entrepreneurship all wrong. Just be passionate about the process of launching and growing a business. That will help you get through the dark days, and enjoy the bright ones more!


Co-founder of Alpha Catering, Muhammed Asif Khan is striving to leave an impact by working hard and helping everyone around him. For any support or advice, you can reach him at muhammed.asifkhan92@gmail.com.

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