People like to say “follow your passion.”
Everyone has something they’re really interested in and passionate about, whether it’s a social cause, a hobby, or something else entirely.
Your personal passions can seem like a pretty logical place to start looking for business ideas.
It’s something you know a lot about, and you probably have a solid grasp on who your audience is and what they want.
But is “passion” really that important for starting a business?
While some successful entrepreneurs were motivated by passion, this isn’t always the case.
After all, the whole idea is to make money, and not all personal interests are equally profitable.
Plus, a lot of the most lucrative niches and industries out there aren’t exactly fun and exciting.
Kitchen gadgets are a popular product for affiliate sites, but no one really wakes up in the morning with a burning desire to write two thousand words about coffee grinders.
A recent article from Entrepreneur offers a totally different way to think about choosing a niche.
Instead of focusing on what you’re personally passionate about, the author recommends focusing instead on solving problems that people have, narrowing down your options based on what has the most pre-existing demand.
When chatting with Davis, he consistently pushed against the “passion hypothesis” that you need to develop an idea that you deeply care about to succeed.
Instead, Davis recommends a technique that he learned in a product design class in graduate school: innovation tournaments. His argument is it doesn’t matter whether or not you have a burning passion for your idea.
“At the end of the day, if you start something of your own, you’ll automatically be passionate about it. After all, it’s your baby,” he says.
How does it work? Write down all the opportunities and problems you possibly can.
A hundred plus. He says that you just have to get into the zone of looking for interesting opportunities and they’ll come.
Then, you want to slowly cut down all the ideas that don’t meet certain thresholds.
“For example, cut down all the ideas that don’t have a total addressable market that’s large enough.” Cut down ideas that don’t have the right technology in place in the particular environment.
Once you have a single (or couple) idea, just start–do interviews with customers and see if there’s really demand for the product.
For more advice from entrepreneurs who started businesses outside of their personal interests, check out the full article on Forbes.