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  • Writer's pictureTim Parmeter

The Passion Myth

In this article, we are going to be talking about a common myth in franchising. It is the word “passion.” Often, people will say, “Oh my gosh, I have a passion for this, therefore that is what I need my franchise to be.”

But is that really true? Do you need to have a passion for what the franchise does to be the owner of that franchise? The answer to that question may surprise you a little bit.

Branching Out

We have talked about industry experience in the past. Especially for those that have spent any amount of time in the corporate world, changing industries can be incredibly difficult. It is dumb and it doesn’t make any sense, but I don’t think any of us have the power to change the hiring departments in corporations.

Regardless, it is really difficult to change industries in the corporate world. Because of that, when people are coming into franchising they tend to think that they need to have industry experience in the franchise.

But in reality, that is not at all true. The joke we always tell people is that you can be the biggest slob on the planet and own a cleaning franchise. It is not your job to do the cleaning – the franchisor does not want you to be the doer. They want you to run the business.

Even if you DO have great industry experience, that is not necessarily what the franchise is looking for. We have discussed this topic before on the Franchising 101 Podcast, but what happens a lot with our FranCoach clients is that the franchise a person ends up becoming the owner of has nothing to do with the industry they have been involved with in the past.

Most of the time, it is something they did not even really think of before. And oftentimes, it is a franchise they did not even know existed before we got started.

What Role Does Passion Play?

But what about passion? If that is the question on your mind, you are not alone. I saw someone in the franchising industry write an article about this not too long ago. They were saying that you have to start a business you are passionate about.

Well – no. No, you don’t. That does not mean you can’t, but passion is a huge myth in franchising. I’ll give you a couple of examples as we think through this.

Let’s say you are passionate about fitness. I often have clients who say, “I am passionate about fitness. Therefore, I need to own a franchise that is in fitness.” Okay. Is that possible? It is absolutely possible. Is it required? Absolutely not.

Now, for certain things you can’t hate it, right? Should I be downing a dozen donuts every day, be morbidly obese, and walk into a gym that I own? Maybe not. If I absolutely hate animals, then I am probably not going to own a pet franchise. If I despise old people, I am probably not the right fit for senior care. Can’t stand kids? You get the point.

It is probably not that extreme, but finding the right franchise does not have to be, “I love fitness, it is my life, it is everything I do, therefore I need to own a fitness franchise.” Could you own a fitness franchise? Yes. But what is that franchisor looking for – and what will you actually be doing on a day-to-day basis?

The Business Side of Franchising

Let’s stick with our fitness example. In most cases, a fitness franchisor is not looking for you to come in there and be the yoga instructor. They are looking for you to run the business.

Are there exceptions where the owners are the doers? Of course there are. But for the most part, you will be the business owner. So yes, you need to have some understanding and some belief in fitness and the importance of it, but you don’t need to be the instructor. You will be hiring a person to do that.

Think about it like this: If you’re there teaching seven classes a day, who is doing everything else? Who is running the business? Who is doing the sales and the marketing? Who is the base of the business?

Take another example. People might say, “I love to cook. Therefore, I need to own a restaurant.” But if you are in there whipping up recipes all day long… again, who is running the business? Being the owner versus being the doer becomes a huge disconnect. There is another piece to consider from the passion perspective that people often don’t think about. Maybe your passion is a passion because it is NOT what you do all day every day.

Let’s say I have a job, I go to work every day – but man, do I love fitness. That is my release from the job, right? Or if I love to cook, that is my release from everything else. Now what if that is the thing you are doing all day every day?

If it is what you are doing, is that going to continue to be a passion area or are you going to start to get a little annoyed by it?

Again, can it be possible to own a business in the area of your true passion? Absolutely. But it is NOT a requirement, and it is not always advisable.

Keeping an Open Mind

At FranCoach, what we always encourage people to do is open up their minds. That “it” factor of your passion is not really what is going to make you successful. The real question you should ask is what are you doing day in and day out as a business owner? That is the key.

You want to think about the things that you are doing and how you are spending your time in the business – your tasks, so to speak. You want to ask yourself numerous questions about what your day-to-day life owning the business will look like.

  • Are you more operational?

  • Are you more sales and marketing oriented?

  • Do you like being the face of the business?

  • What kind of customers do you like?

  • Do you like to sell based on quality or price?

  • Do you like long-term relationships or do you want more project-based relationships?

  • What kind of staff are you going to have, if any?

  • Will your staff be more sales-driven? Skilled? Unskilled? A combo? Subcontractors?

Your answers to those questions will help you find the right franchise – and those are the things that are going to get you out of bed to go do this. Again, for some things, you do need to have a pretty good appreciation for the industry, but it does not have to be your passion.

Bringing Passion Into Your Franchise

The other thing that most people do not think about is how you can have a business that has nothing to do with your passion – but still tap into that passion every single day.

I am going to use a sports example. Let’s say that you love sports, and you are going to own a business that has nothing to do with sports, like a cleaning franchise. (By the way, I like cleaning as an example, and as we tell people any time we use examples, they are examples not suggestions.)

So you own a cleaning franchise, which has nothing to do with your passion for sports. Does that mean you cannot do anything with your passion within your business? Of course not. You can sponsor a Little League team or you can even sponsor the whole Little League. You can do whatever you want within that.

There is a local business in the town where I live that sells cheeseburgers, french fries, and ice cream. It is not remotely close to the realm of healthy, but its owners are avid cyclists. So you will see things within their business with pictures of their local cycling group. Why? Because cycling is their passion. They have used their business as a vehicle to promote cycling and to bring other people into that community.

Impacting Your Community Through Franchising

I do the same thing with my own business. FranCoach has nothing to do with sports. But I was a college athlete, I played basketball years ago, and I still enjoy and have an appreciation for college basketball – so we have sponsorships with three different college programs.

FranCoach has nothing to do with basketball, but sports are near and dear to my heart, so it is an opportunity for us to give back and have a little bit of an effect on small colleges around the country.

There are certain franchisors that also really promote this. For instance, we just had Erica Poynter from Grout Medic (part of Premium Service Brands) on the podcast. They have a thing that they call “Kids Lift.”

These are home services franchises. The one that we are specifically talking about is grout. Tons to do with kids, right? No, not at all. But part of their overall philosophy internally from that franchise is, “Hey, let’s find ways to give back to kids.” So their franchise brands and systems have something you can do.

There are people that like that philanthropic aspect. Maybe you do not have a passion, but you want to give back. Even if you do have a passion area – like sports, fitness, pets, kids, or education – you can find ways to give back within your community. Your business is now the vehicle for it.

We have all seen things around the holidays – like Toys for Tots. Again, as a business owner, you get to make a difference for local underprivileged kids in your area. If it is just you sitting with a box out on your front porch, you are probably not going to get that many people. But through your business, whether it’s retail or service-based, you can really have a humongous impact on the community.

Professional Passion vs. Personal Passion

Think about what things you have a passion for, whatever is your “it” – it is the sports, it is the kids, it is the education, it is the “it.” Can you own a business in that? Absolutely.

Are we going to have a conversation about whether that will stay your passion if you are doing that all day every day? Absolutely. We need to talk about whether those things are still going to be fun for you personally vs. professionally. If so, and there are times when it is, that is great. But don’t think that we are not going to have that conversation.

Typically, we like to shift the focus over to professional passions. We might ask, “What are the passion areas for you professionally?” I like to build a team. I like to solve problems. I like to, I like to, I like to…

These are the people I want to be around. My staff. The community. The customers. These are the things that are important to me as a business. I like something that is high quality, makes a difference, and impacts the community. OR I like selling cheap crap – as much of it as possible.

Again, it doesn’t matter what that “it” is. Those are the things we are going to find, and they are the things that will ultimately point us to the right business for you. And if that business has nothing to do with your passion area, know that the business is now your vehicle to affect the community in the way that you want.

The “passion” concept is one of those things that I think gets thrown out there a lot, even sometimes by people in franchising, and it drives me bonkers. Yes, you can have passion areas. But you should not feel like your passion has to be the business that you are in. Can it be? Of course it can, but there are so many other possible reasons, so many other possible things that can be huge, impactful drivers for what is best for you.

And remember – you can sell cheeseburgers and still have an impact on fitness in the community through a cycling club. You can have a franchise that does grout repair and impact underprivileged children in the community. Whatever your “it” is, your business is going to touch so many more people than you are individually.


Who Are We Anyway?

Wondering where all this sage information about franchising came from? FranCoach is a national search firm dedicated to working with individuals who are interested in owning a franchise. We've partnered with over 600 of the top franchisors in the country, spanning nearly 70 industries.

Our number one goal with our clients is to help them find the absolute best franchise for them to own. Our goal with our Franchising 101 podcast series and this series of informational articles is to help educate people on all aspects of franchise ownership.

Reach out to us to learn more about potentially becoming a franchise owner. There’s never any fee for our service, so why not take the first step today toward your better tomorrow?

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