Danny Boice is the Founder and CEO of Trustify, a new service that lets consumers order a private investigator on-demand to verify anything or anyone. Prior to Trustify, Danny founded Speek, which patented a new way of doing conference calls without annoying dial-ins and PINs. He was also appointed as Entrepreneur in Residence to the United States under President Obama and has taught at Georgetown University as an Adjunct Professor.
The mantra of following your passion is so deeply linked to the success of business leaders, artists and innovators that it almost comes as a footnote when handing out advice to would-be entrepreneurs. But that is a mistake -- if anything, finding your passion is more important today than it has ever been before.
Starting a business is not easy. It's hours and hours of hard work and it requires total dedication. In a globalized economy, you are not only facing competition from your neighbors down the block, but from innovators all over the world. For this reason, it's critical that your business projects be rooted in the purpose of solving a problem that is so personal and dear to your heart that you will sacrifice almost anything to achieve your goal. Otherwise, growing your business will feel too much like dead-end work, and you will be more likely to fail.
With my latest endeavor, I've created a company that democratizes private investigation so that the average consumer can afford it. My passion comes from my own experience as a consumer looking to hire a private investigator. Through that experience, I saw an industry that needed a shakeup, and I'm now using my personal connection to the problem to develop solutions that will benefit consumers in their darkest moment of need. We've gone from idea to business in a short period of time, and this is in part because of my passion to change the way people hire investigators.
1. There is no substitute for hard work.
Passion must be your foundation, but passion alone will not create a business. An obsessive work ethic is critical. In many ways, obsession is simply a more advanced stage of passion. You are so consumed with solving the problem at hand that you can think of nothing else. This is good: Embrace it, thrive on it.
At the beginning, be prepared to spend every single waking hour of every single day on growing your business. This will sometimes come at the expense of your family, friends and even your health, but it's worth it.
I'm obsessive about making my new business perform better, and I've surrounded myself with like-minded people. Every day, our team wakes up and thinks about ways to make our service better and make our customers happier. We are insatiable when it comes to this goal.
Great ideas are all around us, but it is those who work obsessively that eventually turn those ideas into successful businesses.
2. Embrace the tough moments and learn from them.
Life will always throw us curve balls, both at the office and in our personal lives. There will be days when you feel as though you just can't take it anymore and that you are in over your head. But it is these moments that define us and feed our character.
Embrace your challenges because they will push you to become a better and more resilient entrepreneur who is better poised to outshine the competition. Find strength in your passions and use that to push yourself when the going gets tough. Keep working toward your goal. When you look back, you'll be proud of the progress you've made. After all, pressure makes diamonds.
3. Passion plus work equals success.
No one has ever said that starting a business would be a safe or easy path. It's not. But that's why we respect entrepreneurs. They are the ones who follow their passions through the rough patches, making sacrifices in the process. I nurture my passions because they in turn inspire me and help me to put in the crazy amount of work that is essential to success.
My current venture is rooted in a deep passion for democratizing a valuable service that was once only available to the wealthy. To push that passion from an idea to a thriving company, my team and I have put in thousands of hours. This means that if I'm awake, I'm working. If I'm awake, I'm looking over new investigators to hire, or working with my team to improve the customer experience, or scouting new office space for our expanding group. Sure, there have been times when I've wanted to take a break, but I can't take my foot off the gas until we've hit our stride.
The truth is, that obsessive work ethic is paying off. Trustify's customer base is expanding each day, and we're growing 100 percent month over month.
Just think of it as the one-two punch: Passion plus obsessive work ethic equals success.