Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Fifth Element: Passion

A few days ago I was pitching Moniker to a business case competition panel and I recounted this story…

"I’ve heard start-ups need four key elements to be successful.

One, a great team. No question, I think Moniker has the best team. From Ivy League scholars to award-winning professionals, the four of us are the best at what we do.

Two, a great idea. We think we’ve got a great idea in open-source luxury and a great partner in Trinity Apparel to make our idea become a reality.

Three, cash. We’ve all been serious savers throughout our working lives and have been able to self-fund to this point, making cash an non-issue to date.

Four, luck. I believe luck is in the eye of the beholder. One person will fall down the stairs, break their leg and lament over their bad luck. Another person will fall down the stairs, break their leg and feel lucky they didn’t break their neck.

So yes, I think we're lucky and have all the key elements in place to be successful."

In reality, I think there’s a missing element from this story, a fifth element.


Before I “officially” became an entrepreneur I remember chatting to a young couple, Dan and Garnet, who started up a Web-based focus group business. They were telling me about their business and how they got started at their kitchen table with one computer.

The hours Dan and Garnet put in at their “day jobs” to keep their household running meant they had to spend evenings and weekends at their kitchen table working on their business.

At the time I thought they were crazy. When did they have fun? Weren’t they drained from a day of work already? To put in another eight hours of work before starting the insanity all over again was inconceivable to me.

And yet Dan and Garnet did not look burnt out at all. In fact, they were energetic and glowing with pride talking about their business, which was just beginning to take flight.

I now know I was looking into the faces of people with a true passion. And this story has now become my reality.

I work a day job to help keep the household running, and when I arrive home I start my second day of work. Weekends are not spent going to movies, Sunday afternoons are not spent on coffee dates with friends.

Nope, I’m at my kitchen table with my computer working on Moniker.

To prove the point, here I am, at 11 pm on a Saturday night. My husband is out with friends and I’m at home working.

Everyone thought I was crazy to turn down a fun night out on the town.

That’s exactly what I used to think...until I found my passion.

NB: Dan and Garnet's hard work and dedication did pay off. It's been eight years since that fateful conversation and Dan and Garnet now run a wildly successful business called iTracks.

I know they have office space now, but I'll bet they can still be found at their kitchen table most nights, working.

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