“If you do what you love, the money will follow,” or so the cliché goes. But does financial success always follow when you pursue your passion?
Passion is undeniably the special sauce in building a successful business. It provides the drive, energy and enthusiasm to help us persevere and overcome challenges.
Most naturopaths, herbalists and nutritionists enter the industry due to a passionate love of natural health and a desire to help others. However, entrepreneurship and business skills don’t always accompany this.
Passion is an important motivator. It can keep us going through the rough patches but it’s not the whole story.
Think of passion as the touch paper that fires our imagination and cheer squad to spur us over the hurdles. Without a deep abiding love for what we do, in alignment with our values and ethics, running a small business can be soul destroying.
Through mentoring practitioners for decades, I’ve identified some common passion-killers and how to remedy them.
Finding or reconnecting with your passion
You were probably asked a hundred times in your first year of uni why you want to pursue this career. Personal experience, curiosity or perhaps a deep love of plants might’ve led you there.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a student cite their number one reason being to run a business or manage a clinic. Those with a love of Xero or project management don’t tend to invest tens of thousands into a career in complementary medicine!
Once out in practice, sometimes the grind can knock your shine. If you’ve misplaced your passion, go back to where you began. What drove you to undertake the herculean task of a bachelor’s degree? What were your aspirations as a bright-eyed new grad?
Often a desire to help people feel well and live their best life is at the core of our motivation. Passions can sometimes be broad, not fitting into a neat little niche.
It’s whatever drives you to do what you do, ideally in life overall, not just your work.
In mentoring when practitioners are overwhelmed, have lost their mojo or are wanting to reboot their practice, a values exercise is a good place to start. It unearths what really drives us and also identifies the rub points in business and practice. Working out of alignment with our values, is a common passion killer.
What if you have multiple passions? When there are many different conditions, modalities or other interests that ring your bell.
Multipassionate is usually defined as not fitting neatly into a conventional career box.
Being limited to one client group, way of working or even a single career doesn’t satisfy.
Generic business advice tells us to choose one thing, specialise and be the best at it. In fact, being a specialist vs a ‘generalist’ has dominated Marketing 101 for new graduates in recent decades. But niching before gaining clinical experience can be a huge pitfall. Who you think you want to work with mightn’t light your fire in practice, be sustainable or profitable.
The key to being a successful multipassionate is to focus on the link that connects your passions and leverage it to find your tribe.
It’s important to pinpoint the connection, or risk losing sight of where your business is going. When your message, let alone energy, is diluted by too many disparate offerings it can confuse potential clients and also burn you out.
From the Japanese words iki (life) and gai (worth/value), ikigai neatly encapsulates the elements, along with passion, to create a meaningful and potentially profitable career.
While discovering what you love and brings you joy (passion) is a cornerstone, so too is being good at it, and there’s a need for which clients are willing to pay.
If you’re floundering to turn your passion into a business, this simple diagram can help identify where things are falling short.
Sometimes even the most passionate practitioners burn out. This tends to happen more quickly when we have poor boundaries, don’t quarantine enough downtime away from work or have drifted from our core values.
But passion can also be thwarted by a lack of business and/or client management skills. We also need direction, business acumen and financial nous. It’s difficult to keep the flame alive when clients don’t show or you can’t cover your overheads.
Very few practitioners are fired up by doing their quarterly BAS or annual tax return, but regularly taking the pulse of our business is necessary to maintain one! Using curiosity to generate a bit of passion for the things that keep our practice running, and having a good accountant to keep you (literally) accountable ultimately makes our work easier.
If you don’t know where to start, lost your mojo or need to get your business back on track, book an exploratory mentoring session.