Making the jump from passion to real business can seem impossible. Where do I even start? What if I fail? Aren't there thousands of more qualified people out there to do this?
Starting a company is hard, but if you have a true passion for something you might have a bigger leg up on the competition than you think. As a founder myself, I know how valuable a true passion for your field can be, but I wanted to get another founder's perspective as well.
It would be a massive understatement to say bikes have played a big role in my friend Piet Morgan's life. He grew up riding bikes with four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, he started Hammerhead to bring software to bikes and met his co-founder on his high school cycling team. And yes, he still goes on weekend rides to blow off some steam.
1. Throw work-life balance out the window.
"I don't believe in the work-life dichotomy. I think it is all life and it is really short. I want to spend as much of it as I can engaged in a mission that I find meaningful. I am fortunate to get to do this each day!"
I love the idea of throwing work-life balance out the window if you truly love what you do. It's that the point of turning your passion into a real business in the first place? I can say from experience that there is nothing better than feeling lucky you get to do what you do.
2. If your passion is deeply rooted, it will carry you far.
"I started when I was a child. I raced mountain bike in high school, and spent a good deal of time riding with Chris Froome (4 time Tour de France winner) on our high school team. I met Laurence (one of my co-founders) as a part of our high school cycling team as well. I rode my bike across the USA for Habitat for Humanity in 2005 and have participated in events all over the world."
When you are truly passionate about something it is so much easier to make connections with others who share that passion. Finding the right co-founder(s) is one of the hardest parts of starting a company. When you share a passion with someone, you are immediately set up for success.
3. Starting a business in an area you're not deeply passionate about is complete insanity.
"I believe strongly that being a founder is a somewhat arrogant position. One is essentially proceeding under the assumption that one can do something better than anyone else on earth may be doing it at present.
For this to not be complete insanity, I think that it makes sense to start a venture in a domain in which you are an expert. Having been a passionate and deeply engaged cyclists for over a decade, I believed that my insights into the cycling industry positioned me to build products within it that may have a shot at being exceptional."
4. Develop your business from a real world need you've experienced yourself.
"My ah ha moment came when I was forced to try to navigate on the bike with paper maps in this world of awesome technology. I knew that the bicycle industry was not made up of software technologists, and that the software world was largely overlooking cycling. I saw an opportunity to bring software to the bike and recruited a team that could make this happen."
Most of the great ideas come from a real-world need, and there's no one better to understand that need than someone with true domain expertise. We all see inefficiencies in the world every day. The key is being able to connect the dots between that inefficiency and a potential solution.
5. There's no such thing as the perfect moment, so just do it.
"I am of the mindset that one needs to commit to something and make it happen rather than wait for the stars to align perfectly - as they never do. When I decided to build a business bringing software to the bike, I resolved to build a basic product that could put us on the map, and recruit a team.
My co-founders Laurence and Reveen and I moved into a one bedroom house in Bayonne NJ from which we did nothing but work on the H1 product and prepare to bring it to market through a preorder campaign."
This advice couldn't have been more true for me when founding Triplemint. There is never the perfect time to jump in and your turn your passion into a business, you just have to do it.
6. You will lean on your passion when times get tough, and they will.
"We are doing something that is simply difficult. Karoo is essentially a custom smartphone, that is ruggedized and designed to handle the rigors of the cycling environment, from shock and vibration to mud, rain and a range of temperatures.
We have had so many challenges. Our passion for cycling has provided both the insight into what we should build, and the passion to keep going when it is simply really hard."