I just returned home from a tech + business event here in London, Ontario and it sure felt good to get out from behind the computer. There are some really great things happening here in the Forest City, and it's alway refreshing to meet entrepreneurs and business owners face-to-face. The evening's panel featured an impressive lineup (and the turnout didn't disappoint). We got to hear some thoughtful insights from some of London's brightest (Dr. Cecil Shewchuk, Sarah Prevette, Pam Bains, Jeff Evans, and Taylor Ablitt) as they shared their stories from the early days of starting out to present-day musings.
One thing that struck me was how each and every founder touched on "passion" as the driving force behind their success. Had there been enough time (alas, the sign of an engaging panel) for another question, I was eager to learn more about how they uncovered that passion and what keeps that passion fuelled day-to-day. I suppose this is a question I have for everyone: how does one discover their (true) passion and keep that ignited, even through challenging circumstances their business may face?
Personally, when I work with a client, I always try to uncover their "passion" -- what was it that first sparked their interest in their industry, product or the service they provide. For some clients, I can tell they haven't been in touch with that initial passion in a long time, but when I see their eyes light up, I know I've tapped into something. From there, I can take the conversation back with me and develop the right content or website or social media campaign that will best showcase this passion to the people who need to hear it: their customers. Passion is intoxicating. Passion is something that pushes you to get outside your comfort zone, take the small risks to get you started. Passion is also something to keep in close contact with as you navigate the rough waters that every business owner and entrepreneur has to face in order to reach new heights.
If you're feeling out of touch or are experiencing doubt (we all do!) I would suggest that you try going back to that moment of excitement you first felt when you started your business, made your first sale or launched your new website to the world. Watching each of the panelists faces light up while recalling the early successes (for Pam Bains, it was selling 12 computers in a week through an ad in the London Free Press) was energizing. If I learned anything from the founders panel tonight, it was that a good idea or product will only carry you so far. Being emotionally invested in yourself and discovering what it is that gets you going is the true path to success.
Signing off (for now),