One of the first lessons you should learn as an entrepreneur is how to separate a passion project from a legitimate business idea that has the potential to be a profitable venture. You may enjoy investing your time in a project that brings you joy. However, that same time could be better focused on making money. After all, you have to put food on the table and your bills need to be paid. If your project cannot contribute financially to your basic needs, it needs to be put to the side.
Now, this is not to say that all passion projects cannot be both fun to pursue and financially rewarding. You may enjoy writing books because it allows you to explore your imagination. You could self-publish your books, build a fan base, make a good living from your book royalties. Then, you can spend the rest of your days writing more books you love creating and getting paid for your creativity.
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While the above scenario sounds rewarding, most individuals who pursue certain business ideas are met with objections. Many will tell them they are making the wrong decision. For example, when you chose to become an entrepreneur, how many people told you that you were crazy to give up a guaranteed paycheck? The average person is risk averse, and pursuing your passions usually comes with high risks. This is why most people prefer to choose certainty over the unknown. It is much easier to take the safe bet than pursue something unfamiliar.
When you are pursuing a business idea, you will need to determine whether the objection you receive is legitimate. In order to properly analyze the feedback, we have created a checklist that will help you come to the right decision.
Evaluate the feedback without being defensive and emotional
When you believe you have a good idea, you can become annoyed when other people tell you it will not work. To you, such criticism comes off as narrow-minded and based off of being risk-averse. And while this may be the very case, there are times when the people who are questioning your business idea present legitimate counter-arguments. In order to discern what type of information is being presented to you, you need to take in the feedback with an open mind. This will help you view your own idea with an objective mind.
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Who are the individuals offering their opinion? Are they coming from a place of experience, or are they communicating from a place of pessimism? It never hurts to hear constructive criticism as long as it can be validated with points that make sense. Sometimes your opponents can help you improve your idea, so it has a greater potential to be successful and improve the weaknesses that could lead to failure. If this is not the case, that person may be trying to push their own biased perspective. You never want to get talked out of pursuing your passions by someone who is too pessimistic to see a good opportunity.
If you believe that your business idea is worth your time, find a group of supporters who share your enthusiasm. Being an innovator is not always appreciated by the majority, so you will only find solace from a small number of people. Most people often forget the status quo was once a radical new idea. iPhones paved the way for smartphones. Uber disrupted the taxi industry by making ride-sharing normal. Your idea may seem too unique for most at first, but everyone eventually adapts when a great idea can be enjoyed by all.
Is persevering worth the effort?
The costs of following a business idea can be time, energy, and money. You need to determine if the rewards down the line will outweigh the costs you are enduring at the moment. This examination period lets you identify what your project is really worth to you. You may determine that you will continue to pursue your passion no matter the costs. But you can also discover that the costs exceed the reward. This does not mean that your project is a total failure. It just may not be the right time to put all of your focus into bringing it to life.
The key to determining the right path to pursue is separating your emotions from the decision-making process. If you have become overly attached to your project, this means you could be blind to its downsides. It is better to be devoid of emotions and make rational decisions. You do not want to risk putting your personal life and other business venture in jeopardy by staying attached to a project that can sink you financially. Be smart and get out if it is the most logical option.
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Can you adapt to the counter-arguments?
If you find that the counter-arguments made against your project are valid, will you be willing to make the necessary changes? This can be a tough decision to make because what you believe to be an important factor to your concept may have to be stripped away. You may determine that taking this course of action diminishes the authenticity and unique value of your project. If that is the case, the advice being given to you should be taken lightly.
One key criterion for being a successful entrepreneur is being able to be adaptable. But there also comes times when you need to be steadfast in your vision. If your business idea is a representation of you, you may feel that being stubborn in your pursuits, as they are, is the only option for you. There is nothing wrong with having that mindset if you know it will produce the greatest reward for you.
Knowing how to correctly address the criticism given to your business idea can be the difference between failure and success. You need to determine what objections are backed by valid points, and those that are nothing more than pessimism. In the end, you will either find it worthwhile to stay true to your ultimate goal or realize your attention is better served on more feasible projects.
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