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My Best Advice for Building a Successful Business

Solution Provider

Last week, I was on many of the major television networks talking about the state of the economy — particularly jobs. The July unemployment report had just been released, and it showed a slight decline in jobless claims, which signaled that some companies are hiring again. However, according to many experts, the actual unemployment rate is much higher than what’s reported because a significant number of Americans have simply given up looking for a job.


What are these people who aren’t showing up in the unemployment statistics doing? Some are under-employed; that means they have taken lower paying part-time jobs to make ends meet. But a lot of others, in my opinion, are joining the millions of Americans who are self-employed. They are starting their own small businesses. But as we all know, starting and growing a small business isn’t easy, particularly in today’s volatile economy.


So what does it take to build a successful business? Here’s my best piece of advice: Always remember, passion doesn’t equal profits.


There are far too many small business experts who say, “If you’re passionate about what you do, you can’t help but succeed.” Oh yes, you can! Passion is not the singular key to business success. Let me repeat: Passion is not the singular key to business success!


Believing that passion by itself is the key to business success is like believing sappy chick flicks reflect real life. Anyone who has built a successful business understands that it requires a lot more than passion.


Please don’t misunderstand me. Passion is one of the important ingredients for success — in everything you do. It is life’s energy source. Without a high level of enjoyment in the work you do, you won’t have the energy and the drive you need to get you through the inevitable challenges your business will face. Furthermore, when you love something and are passionate about it, I think it’s easier to excel at it.


Think about successful athletes. They practice hours and hours each day despite aches and pains or inclement weather. Their lives are focused on improving their game so that they can be serious competitors. They have a special talent and passion for the sport, which provides them with the necessary energy, but it’s their commitment and dedication that sets them apart.


The same is true in business. Success depends on practicing the fundamentals daily, keeping your eye on the goal, being willing to be coached, and maintaining a strong, committed work ethic. There are lots of passionate people in the world who never achieve their goals. Building a business is plain old hard work. And if you don’t have the discipline to get up and go after it every single day, then you’re not going to be successful. If it were that easy, then every new business would be a success.


What’s your best advice for other small business owners? Share your thoughts here or on Constant Contact’s Facebook Page.


Occasional Advisor



Thank you for this wonderful advice. I shared your article on my website. I did credit you and provide links to your website from mine. My readers could learn so much from you. You are an inspiration to me.


Stacie Walker

Not applicable

Hi Stacie


Thank you so much.  Glad you enjoyed the article.  I am launching a multi-city book tour in October.  Constant Contact is one of my sponsor.  My new book "It's Your Biz" is really based on the premise of this article.  And the book tour is being called Conversations About Jobs:  How Small Businesses Can Put America Back to Work.


Would love to involve you in some way.  Feel free to email me.  And thanks for connecting with me here on Constant Contact's site.  This is an excellent company and ideal resource to help small businesses soar to success.  I am honored to be working with them.



Occasional Visitor

I couldn't agree more with you that passion alone won't make a business successful. I think passion is actually less important than having a product or service that fills the need of a niche in the marketplace. If there's no need for your product or service, then you're very unlikely to be successful no matter how passionnate you are about it. 


Colonel Harlan Sanders was very passionnate about his fried chicken recipe though he was already retiree age. HIs passion drove him to keep going even after initial difficulty. He knew he had something good and people wanted it. The rest is history as he's one of the most recognized symbols for a brand in the world.

Not applicable

Thank you for this wonderful advice