Every entrepreneur and hopeful business founder has likely heard the advice to do something he or she loves or can feel passionate about.
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This advice has merit, as passion about an idea or product can really help drive a person to succeed. And if you don't believe in an idea or care about its success, it's harder to rise above the inevitable challenges and this will show in the results.
But it might not always be easy to find a fun or exciting niche that's practical for business purposes. Whether you're looking to start an enterprise or earn a living or just want to feel more passionate about a current endeavor, looking within, setting goals and shifting your perspective are helpful habits to practice.
1. Find a niche.
“If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” -- Bishop T.D. Jakes
Working at something fun and interesting is what many people aspire to do. But identifying a special niche interest is a struggle for some people. Rather than focusing on turning a hobby into a business, be creative. Consider how your unique skills, quirks or interests might translate into or transform a business.
For example, with a passion for the environment, someone could start a green consulting or marketing service. A love of exercise could be applied to personal training, fitness-related retail or corporate health consulting.
Brainstorm about ways to improve or change a service, add an unique point of value to an existing sector or meet an unmet need and thereby prompt your creativity to flow. Having something to excel at or a unique focus can be a powerful motivator.
2. Set goals and rewards.
“In the long run men hit only what they aim at.” -- Henry David Thoreau
No matter what type of work someone does, his or her motivation can be enhanced by creating a target to shoot toward. Without setting goals, a person is simply floating around aimlessly. Pairing goals with rewards can be even more powerful.
The ability to set both short-term and long-term goals is an important skill for anyone striving to succeed. Reaching a certain target brings a sense of accomplishment, fuels passion, stirs positive emotion and encourages the flow of new ideas and energy.
Short-term goals should be specific and focused on what an individual wants to accomplish today or this week. They could involve making progress on a project, attaining a specific sales figure or doing customer outreach. Longer-term goals should be fixed on the big picture over the months and years ahead: They might include a plan for growth, developing a product or reaching another benchmark.
Setting sales, customer service and productivity goals is often helpful in inspiring the passion for someone to work through day-to-day tasks.
Knowing what to strive for and having a reward in sight can make work feel all the more exciting. Every task does not necessarily need a reward.
Try making the achievements fun. Keep short-term goals realistic and ensure accountability if that helps inspire motivation. Make it a game. For example, try to “level up” by achieving a goal that unlocks a specific reward. Short-term goals could be tied to a favorite dinner or activity, while bigger achievements might be recognized with a vacation or a new gadget. Use whatever rewards drive the most motivation and gratification.
3. Change your perspective.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” -- Helen Keller
Arriving at the right perspective and attitude is perhaps the most important factor in sustaining passion and enjoying an activity. Maintaining a negative view or a pessimistic outlook or remaining stuck in a rut puts a damper on motivation. These patterns can even turn a great business idea sour or simply create a toxic work environment.
Think about what you excel at -- not what you lack, especially when first launching a new business. Focus on your end goals not all the little steps you must take to get there.
When feeling worn down or burnt out, step outside the normal routine and set aside some time for yourself outside work. Try to see your problems from someone else’s point of view if an answer is not apparent. Or slip on those rose-colored glasses when things seem tough.
4. Enjoy what you do.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -- Steve Jobs
Achieving goals, seeing the excitement of growth and looking at an old industry from a new perspective can help inspire a person's entrepreneurial spirit. And this makes it easier to work through the struggles of launching a company from the ground up.
In my personal experience as an entrepreneur, focusing on finding a unique benefit, setting goals and being conscious of my perspective have proved helpful. After mixed experiences with some early endeavors, I began to realize that it's not necessarily what business you're in but how you look at it that matters.
Take my business, in the mattress industry, for example. Though I was not sure about what to expect initially, I eventually discovered my passion after deciding to put an early company of mine, a retail mattress business, online. My colleagues and I focused on developing beds with unique, niche benefits and worked hard to implement an ecommerce strategy in a tough industry.
Each milestone reached can continue to offer entrepreneurial inspiration and make it easy to feel passionate about each day of work.
How did you find your passion and what helps you stay motivated every day?
This story originally appeared at Entrepreneur. Copyright 2014.