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  • Writer's pictureRita Benkhalti

Passion had nothing to do with choosing which business to start

My top priority was: being able to travel and work from anywhere in the world. Since I was about to risk my career, invest all my money, and spend all my time building something new, I wanted to make sure that once it was created, it would offer me a life I was happy with. In my case, choosing which business to start was not about becoming rich nor about fulfilling my deepest passion. It was about freedom of geographic location.

At the time, I had narrowed down my business ideas to two final candidates:

  1. Opening a tutoring center to help students succeed in their academic lives.

  2. Helping people from around the world immigrate to Canada.

Of course these ideas were not completely "random". I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals and I had previous experience in both these industries. I had been a tutor/teacher for a few years and I had helped friends fill out their immigration applications to Canada. So I was comfortable in these industries and I knew the day-to-day work for both options would feel rewarding and make me happy. The three concepts I used to narrow down my choices were:

  1. Previous experience in the industry

  2. Rewarding work: feeling like I help people

  3. Comfortable and happy with the day-to-day activities

I focused on these concepts instead of stressing out about "finding my true passion" because there simply was not a clear answer as to what this "passion" could be. I believe that most human beings don't have one definitive passion in life. We are extremely complex, adaptable, and flexible creatures who can find complete happiness in so many different professions. Moreover, a passion can be experienced as a life-long hobby, and not as work. For example, I knew I was passionate about dancing. And it was precisely because I was passionate about it that I did not want to mix dance with business. I wanted to keep this passion pure, free of stress and unrelated to money. And let's be real, I was 24 years old when making these decisions and way too young to establish my definitive "life passion". So for everyone out there feeling like they can't move on with their business dreams because they are not sure what their "passion" is, just drop it. I am here to tell you this:

Focus on the kind of lifestyle you want to achieve with your business. Being happy in your day-to-day business activities is more important than fulfilling your "passion".

So, going back to my two business choices, I will admit that I was actually a little more excited and passionate about the tutoring center idea. However, no matter how much I tried, I could not imagine myself being 100% free to travel the world while having to build a tutoring center in Vancouver (the city where I lived at the time). On the contrary, most Canadian immigration applications are created and submitted online which gave me much more freedom of mobility. I had a winner!

It's been 9 years since I made the decision to build an immigration consulting company and never regretted it. I have been able to travel the world and work online thanks to the business I created. I was also able to host seminars in various countries to give information about immigrating to Canada and I built an impressive global professional network. In addition, having clients from all around the world makes me feel connected to so many cultures and countries that even when I am not traveling, I feel like I maintain and internationally focused mindset in my daily routine. This is exactly the kind of lifestyle I wanted to achieve with my business. Loving the lifestyle is what kept me going in times of challenge. Had I been only focused on money, fame, intellectual realization, or even my "passion", I would not have been able to remain motivated and surmount all the hardships inevitable to entrepreneurship.

I knew from the beginning what lifestyle I wanted to get out of the business and this is what has kept me going.

If you're considering starting your own business, begin by defining how you want to live. What will your day-to-day look like? What do you value most in your life to feel happy? Once you have established all these requirements, make your business fit the mold. Not the other way around.

Next week we'll take a look at how I prepared a plan to make my business choice into reality.

Until then, read out loud: I GOT THIS.

The Make Things Happen blog is published every Sunday. Make sure to come back next week for more advice on how to be successful in your business by developing the right mindset, skills, and tool kit!


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