Love what you do.
Nothing illustrates this better than the recent CommunityNext panel of successful web developers moderated by Guy Kawasaki. You can see the whole video on Guy’s blog.
The panel featured Sean Suhl, Akash Garg, Drew Curtis, Marcus Frind, Max Levchin and James Hong. These entrepreneurs have all built their success without following the standard cookie-cutter rules of business model development.
The one thing they all have in common is that they built success by doing something they really wanted to do. Stuff that was fun. Stuff that was engaging and meaningful to them. Drew Curtis just wanted to amuse himself and his friends. Fark was born. Marcus Frind was an asp programmer. He wanted to learn the new asp.net technology. He didn’t want to do it by readng a book so he built PlentyOfFish.
Don’t Let Your Business Plan Take Away Your Passion
There’s a lot to be said for creating a business plan. But one thing that’s vitally important is to not allow your plan to paint you into a corner. Or take away your passion for what you’re creating.
A big trap in business planning comes from all the research you do to create your plan. As you research your markets and your competition theres a real danger that what you create will just be a copy of what’s already being done by others. It won’t be nearly as successful.
I was having a discussion with a high school friend of mine one time about music. We were talking about Grunge and Alternative and he said something amazing. He said “All the bands that came after Nirvana and Pearl Jam tried to do what they did. What they didn’t realize is that what Nirvana and Pearl Jam REALLY did, was something new”.
I’m the last person to say that business planning isn’t important. It is. Extremely. It’s just not as important as loving what you do.
Love what you do. Success will follow.
*Update. As soon as I posted this, I realized that my garage band analogy fits in with the fact that Guy is the founder of Garage. My subconscious is probably feeling pretty good about itself right now.