How to Find Your Business “Sweet Spot” In 15 Minutes (or less)

2816789184_68c121ca1dFor many, it is the ultimate dream to do what we love and what we are good at and get paid handsomely for it.  Does one have to search their whole life to achieve this result?  It may seem as if young professionals have to pay their dues, but that is not the case.

After reading the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, I gained ultimate clarity in my business and you can absolutely do the same.  Collins refers to something called the Hedgehog Concept, which is basically the intersection of our passion, talent and compensation.  I like to refer to this as our “sweet spot.”  When everything aligns in our businesses, we can feeling so much more productive and it is like we are batting 1.000 and hitting our sweet spot in everything we do.

It is so very important to find this clarity early on.  Imagine putting in a life of efforts into a business or job, only to realize after many years you are burnt out and hate what you do.   Even if you find yourself in your young business wearing to many hats, we need to find what you truly desire to be doing.  I am quite excited about this post, because I feel many will have some “ah-ha” moments while reading it.

So, how does one get clear on their passion, talent and economic drive?  Anyone can tell you if you get clarity on these things that you will be ultra-successful, but how do we do it?  Here is your instruction manual.  To find your sweet spot, we must start by asking ourselves these three questions:

  1. What can I be the best in the world at? (Your god-given talent)
  2. What do I deeply love to do? (What you are passionate about)
  3. What drives my economic engine? (What you are well paid to do)

Take a moment and write down the first few things that come to mind before we proceed.  I want to clarify something from the start.  From the written words of Jim Collins, this concept is “not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, a plan to be the best.  It is an understanding of what you can be the best at.  The distinction is absolutely crucial.”

You may think the first question comes off a bit egocentric.  If so, you are off the mark.  We all need to get real with ourselves and look at the brutal facts.  You will live a life of mediocrity if you don’t strive to be excellent or the best at what you do.  Not to compare with others, but to be the greatest at what you do.  The three circles below show the intersection to find your sweet spot.

hedgehog_v1_2

Talent

Think back to your high school days.  You are taking a math final and thirty minutes in, a student walks to the front of the room to hand in their exam.  You follow behind another thirty minutes later feeling pretty confident about your work.  You both end up getting A’s.  See, you may be pretty solid in math, but your peer can be genetically hardwired for it and destined to be a math mathematician.  Their brain may function and process in a different way.  If your Creator did not make you over 6 feet tall, he probably didn’t want you to become a basketball player!  I am not saying you can’t (because Muggsy Bogues was 5’3″), but please be aware enough to look at the brutal facts about your life and businesses.

Your talent is what you feel you are the best in the world at.  This is your genetic or God-given gifts.  Not only do we want to look at what you are best at, but also address what you will never be the best at.  Sometimes we get caught up in the trends in the marketplace and get involved in too many things at once and lose track of our vision.  Maybe it’s the latest MLM launch that has the absolute “the best” product, or someone creates an affiliate course that you must promote.  Look, there are millions of “once in a lifetime” opportunities. Are you going to hop on the bandwagon and risk your credibility just to make a couple bucks, or will you feel good about turning it down knowing you are doing what you love?  When we start to get involved in too many things, it is best to take a step back and see what we can eliminate from our business.

Here’s a personal example.  My original business model included Business and Life Coaching for young entrepreneurs and PPC Internet Marketing.  First, there is not much money in the coaching side, so I decided to be flexible and take a variety of clients.  What I found is that I was not as inspired by working with these clients and I actually love working with young entrepreneurs so much that I’d do it for free.  After realizing I could never be the best business coach in the world (because my heart is not there at the moment) and that I still have more business experience I want to gain for myself,  I decided to eliminate growing that part of my business model and focus on consulting and coach young entrepreneurs as I please.  The same with the PPC Internet Marketing.  Yes, I could make really great money, but I was not inspired by it and I would never be the best in the world at it. PPC was also dropped it like a bad habit!

You must have the discipline to realize that just because you are good at something and making money at it, doesn’t necessarily mean you can become the best at it.  Yes, you can operate and make a good income, but you will always have a mediocre business.  Try not to be too broad and completely laser target your talents.

“I can be the best in the world at telling stories to young entrepreneurs about entrepreneurship, social media, health and life, that inspire them take action in their business and personal lives.”

Questions to ask yourself to help find your hidden talents:
1. What do you currently do for free that other people get overly excited about?
2. In what situations do you find yourself the most creative?
3. What do other people compliment you on often?
4. What frustrates me and what can I fix?
5. What were you born to do?

Passion

Thinking about passion, I am immediately reminded of a story from the book Aspire! by Kevin Hall.  Kevin’s mentor, Arthur Watkins, is a lifelong devoted teacher and wordsmith.  On his honeymoon touring the National Parks, he was caught cheating on his wife!  She found him in the closet, not with another woman, but accompanied by the Hebrew dictionary where he was memorizing the Hebrew alphabet.  How would YOU explain this? Arthur had no explanation other than he was enjoying the two loves of his life.  I am pretty confident that knowing 13 languages resembles a passion for words.

As I am writing this article, it is 1:32am.  I had already shut everything down, had some fascinating thoughts while reading in bed and leaped up an grabbed my notebook to start writing.  That’s passion.  Spending 14 hours pumping out content on my day of rest (Sunday) to voluntarily help other young entrepreneurs is…well, maybe just a bit crazy….but PASSION!!!

What does passion mean to you?  Do you think you can devote hours upon hours to projects because they have become some sort of positive addictions?  Motivation to feel passionate about something is impossible.  You may see some temporary results, but you cannot manufacture passion.  It must stem from within.  Passion is willing to go from wake to faint everyday.  Something your are willing to miss meals and cut your sleep for.  Passion is at every waking moment you are thinking about learning as much as you possibly can about that one thing.

Questions to ask yourself to help find your passion:
1. What things do you absolutely love doing that put a big ol’ smile on your face?
2. What you would do if no one ever knew about it and you never got paid for it?
3. What things made you incredibly happy as a child?
4. If you were to pick any volunteer activity, what would you do?
5. If you were to check out 3 types of books at the library, what would they be about?

Compensation

You do not have to be in a great industry to be paid well to do what you love and are talented at.  I really don’t think there is such thing as a bad niche.  As long as there is traffic and you are provide good content, you can create an income.  I don’t think there is a better story of understand one’s economic engine than Gary Vaynerchuk.  Although Gary created a quite successful wine business, for the past few years, he has consistently pumped out an online wine show.  He has seriously shaken up the wine world and without a doubt in my mind, is building a billion dollar brand.  He understands what he loves (the most passionate wine guy) and what he is naturally talented at (connecting and caring for people).  Through this, he has built an online platform that has online advertisers salivating.

We cannot monetize a blog over night.  The idea of even throwing Adsense on a blog is just silly.  Do what you love and the money will follow your passion and talent.  It takes time so be ready to bare with it and pump out the content.  At least a year.  I have been blogging for just over 6 months and have been approached about advertisers to buy space to advertise on my blog.  They are smart, but I have not really considered it at this point.  The money would be great, but a few extra dollars is not worth tainting my brand equity.  I still have something to prove.  I write and do videos because I love it.  I know the money is just around the corner and to get there, I have to keep pumping it out nonstop.  The same rules apply for you in whatever you are doing.  Here is how you pump out content:

  1. pump it out
  2. Pump It Out
  3. PUMP IT OUT!!!

A great measure of your economic engine is understanding your denominator.  Let’s consider the letter x as out denominator.  Think about how much profit you can make per (x).  It could be per person, per store, per visit, per customer and so on.  By targeting your denominator, you can determine how to raise your income over time.  It is not necessary to have one single denominator, but it is best.  You can then produce greater insight to raising your income over time.  For example, in Gary’s case, he could say he wants to go from profit per customer purchase to profit per visitor on his website.  This may allow for him to plan and maximize his the income coming in by focusing on how and from where he drives traffic to his website.

Questions to ask yourself to help find your economic engine:
1. Do you currently enjoy what you do?
2. What value do you tend to give away for free?
3. What would you love to get paid to do for the rest of your life?
4. Are you currently paid well for your expertise?
5. What product or service do you think the marketplace needs and would want from you?

The Sweet Spot

The intersection of out talent, passion and compensation is such a unique place.  I think very few business owners will ever reach this place and it is quite sad.  I have seen people around me build tremendous success and be extremely unhappy.  They think they love what they do because their ego is satisfied with material things.  I was incredibly blessed to find myself at abundant financial times in my business early on.  The challenge was that I found myself quite miserable because I realized everything I was doing was ego driven.

Not everyone must go through these experiences.  I have made almost every mistake in the book and am sure I have even created new ones.  I enjoy failure now.  The funny thing is when the money is taken out of the picture, it flows so much easier to you.  If you are dissatisfied with what you do right now, find a way out.  Money won’t ever be a solution to your problem.  It is like taking an Asprin when you have a broken leg.  It will take the pain away, but you will still have a broken leg.  Find your intersection, and you will feel like you are hitting for the cycle every time you come to the plate.  You will feel like everything you touch turns to gold. 😉

{photos by:  EQ4PM, Sweet One}

  • ryermal

    Wow Brad… I don't think anyone can sum this up quite as well as you did here. We've been in the same “business” for a while – the business of being a cool, young, approachable dude, who's doing his part to change the world by inspiring and helping others grow through Social Media. Synchronicity for sure.

    Your passion is second to none. The amount of effort you put into this post stands testament to that – and I am certain that it did not feel like work while you were writing this. Rather, you just “let it flow”.

    You are an amazing guy, and a model for the power within each of us “young entrepreneurs”. Keep doing what you're doing, the world is only becoming a better place because of what you do.

    Sincerely,
    Russell A. Yermal
    TheSuccessMan.com

  • chrisdunn

    Great post brad!

    I think one of the best things about this “recession” is that it's making a lot of people reevaluate their lives and what they're doing with them. In the recent stock market and housing boom, a lot of people jumped into businesses just because it was easy to make money. Now days, it's not that easy… we have to be creative and innovative to make it in pretty much every field right now. And that's the best part!

    All my best,

    Chris Dunn

  • stevesoucy

    Yeah baby, what's it called when we retweet on Facebook? That's where most of my peeps are. I love this Brad. Most excellent that you've written it, and I'm proud to show it to all my friends.

    Strangely enough, just what I needed today too!

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  • Swati Khandelwal

    Gr8 Post,

    It gives a real clarity about what a person is doin not only for making money , but to know what he is best at and doing it for the his own passion and happiness.

  • jenniearmato

    Hi, I'd like to know where you got those Circles of Success from?

    You can email me … jennie @ jenniearmato.com

    Thanks

  • dave

    “Content?”
    Your work is nothing but “content” to you? You wasted 14 hours on Sunday to try and dream up some crap with which to fill a perceived void? Just to add something fresh to the hooting and hollering on the Internet? More blather for your facetweetblogbook? Yes. Perhaps you're right–maybe the so-called blogosphere is just nothing but a great steaming caldron full of bubbling, liquid shit-like “content.” Dig a hole and sure enough somebody'll be right along to fill it with “content.” Well, excuse me. I had Taco Bell tonight and I have to deposit some “content” into the toilet. I love metaphor, don't you? Of course you do because, well, check out the big brain on Brad…

  • Pedro Navarro

    You make it sound real easy Brad. Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to be blessed with so much clarity! As for myself, I keep on with eyes wide open, hoping to find some clarity to elighten my life, and put me back on track.
    Best regards from Chile, nice blog you got going here!

  • After a long time I am reading something that is authentic, heartfelt, and makes business sense. I loved your post because of the emphasis on the internal and external drivers needed to be happy and successful.

    I just wrote a post today on what is missing in our discussion on personal branding. I elaborate on some of the points you make here about finding your inner passion in that. I would love to hear your comments on my post 🙂

    Cheers!!!

  • Tom Knight

    Hey Brad,
    This is great content. Thanks.

  • Brad, this was brilliant. I want to thank you for putting the time forth to share it. I'm a reflector, and I enjoy the activity and the results, but I've been unsure as to whether I should follow this unique talent of mine, or pursue a more conventional healing path. Your tools for self-inquiry have showed me that it is possible for me to lead my life, doing what I've been called to do, which is to reveal our divine nature.

    I also love your comments on authenticity. I feel “sold” by a lot of people, and have made this mistake in approaching my own customers in the past. Your focus on authenticity and “caring” for people produces genuine relationships and long term-profits. Be well and much success to you – Jewel

  • The role of the venture capitalist is to partner the entrepreneur in the journey. Despite frequent misconceptions that make it seem more hostile. The start-up ecosystem has been termed a zoo (or in certain geographies, a jungle) where vulture capitalists pounce on innocent entrepreneurs as their hapless prey. By and large, however, a star VC can provide the missing expertise a start-up needs for winning the marathon. The best VCs don't just hand over cash; they help the companies in their portfolio plan and pace themselves like marathon runners, and they also help the companies make sound decisions and build teamwork, and they tap their own networks to strengthen each entrepreneur's team.

    Tan Yinglan

    The Way Of The VC – Top Venture Capitalists On Your Board (Amazon: http://www.tinyurl.com/wayofthevc)
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  • I followed your tweets to your blog, and I am loving it. I teaching “Spanish & Entrepreneurship” at the University of Illinois. I have many great students, and that makes my job always exciting. However, I find that my best students are often paralyzed (or aim too low) precisely because they are talented at many different things. Adding questions #2 and #3 may be just what they need to find their path. Thanks!

  • luayrahil

    I can smell passion through your words.
    Talents, passion and economic engine are the secret of a successful and happy life.
    I would like to thank you for sharing, but my words will fall short for the impact that your words had on my life, thanks again.
    Twitter @LuayRahil

  • luayrahil

    I can smell passion through your words.
    Talents, passion and economic engine are the secret of a successful and happy life.
    I would like to thank you for sharing, but my words will fall short for the impact that your words had on my life, thanks again.
    Twitter @LuayRahil

  • Great article Bradley, It has got me to think about things in a new way. I appreciate the “sweet spot theory”. Haven’t quite figured it all out yet but that is half the fun.

  • Simer

    After reading this I think I’ve finally found my passion. Now I just have to give the sweet spot a shot haha :).

    Thanks Brad

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