The greatest entrepreneurs will tell you that passion is the key driver to their success. It's what causes most of us to work long hours, lay awake at night scheming, and get up the next day totally pumped to do it all over again. Life without passion is one which most entrepreneurs could never fathom!
On the other side of the spectrum, a recent Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of employees in the United States are actively engaged in their job, which is more than the miniscule worldwide statistic of 13 percent. Yep, a passion famine has hit our country in a very real way. This is, perhaps, why so many people dream about becoming an entrepreneur and building a business around the things they love.
Unfortunately, for many, the old psyche gets in the way - having them think that in order to be an entrepreneur, you have to take a huge risk, quit your job RIGHT NOW, sell your things, and live on your parent's couch until you make it....and then, of course, there's a 90 percent chance you won't make it.
It's thoughts like these that keep people unhappy and unfulfilled in their careers, trading a life of "passion" for a life of "security." The saddest part is, the two aren't mutually exclusive. Just ask Ian Bell and Dan Gaul, co-founders of Digital Trends.
These two friends have always had a passion for gadgets and could literally spend hours debating about which headphones will give you the best sound quality or which smartphone has the best high resolution camera. In fact, they actually met each other while comparing their iPhones in a buffet line at a wedding! This was years ago, when the Internet was still the Wild West and there weren't too many tech review sites. After a spirited conversation about technology, they decided to use Ian's skills as a writer and Dan's background as a website developer to create a platform that compared various gadgets (hoping maybe they'd get some free swag).
They did this on the side for a period of time, but never dreamed it would be their day jobs--they were simply having fun writing about what they were enthusiastic about. The thing is, true passion is like a magnet; the traffic to the site exploded in a major way and soon after, businesses were asking if they could advertise. And so the snowball began.
Eventually and organically, Ian and Dan quit their jobs to pursue Digital Trends full time. But take note here: neither put their family's livelihood at risk, went hungry, or slept on any couches. They took what they loved and morphed it into a business over time.
Today, Digital Trends receives 25 million unique monthly visitors worldwide and is partnered with the likes of Amazon and other major retailers. The two partners have since hired over 100 writers who are committed to giving their readership the best resource when it comes to choosing the right tech. In order to maintain the savvy yet, approachable voice of the site, Ian and Dan snatched up writers who were also experts in various tech industries, so they could truly provide readers with the most in-depth information. What's more, the founders invested heavily in their culture internally, modeling a unique space where employees can play... literally. From ping pong tables to an in-office theater and game room, the techie-heaven allows employees to focus on what drives their hunger for technology, providing opportunities for authentic play and conversations.
Fueled by the love of the project every step of the way, Ian and Dan created a multi-million dollar business and subsequently garnered organic employee engagement. This is reflected in Digital Trends' unique brand voice - a quality to which the company attributes its astounding readership and success.
What a great reminder to trust our passion....and let THAT, not complacency, be what drives us.