2nd June, 2018
As the Shark Tank contestants of last season demonstrate, one of the first steps to starting a winning business is to build something you’re passionate about.
While some founders may be motivated to build a startup based on nothing more than the value of the opportunity alone, many more look for something personally rewarding.
Fact is, starting a new business from scratch can be a supremely difficult task that may not yield any significant pay off for a long time.
Not only is it easier to invest time and energy into a concept you’re attached to, passion is also one of the key things investors like the Sharks look for in a founder.
LEARN MORE: 3 ways to turn your passion project into a business
A few years ago, Emma Head was a home baking enthusiast, creating sweet treats for family and friends with little thought to turning her skill into a business.
“I was baking cookies with funny quotes for my friends and posting photos of them to Instagram,” Head said. “My friends happened to love my cookie recipe, and those two things proved to be a winning combination.”
Soon after, Head’s cookies were discovered by a local café in Carlton, Melbourne, and she was prompted to officially register her kitchen for commercial production.
“Interest built in my product mainly from my activity on Instagram from the fun quotes I was posting,” she said. “But I did this without thinking too much about it.
“I focused on what and why I was doing what I was doing, without getting caught up on the outcome. I just loved to make people laugh.”
Head’s attitude towards her business is critical to Sweet Mickie’s ongoing success and reveals one way that entrepreneurs can create a startup they’re passionate about.
LEARN MORE: How to turn a passion into a product line
Today, Jimalie is a thriving, coconut-based health foods brand. But it hasn’t always been that way, and Founder Jaypee Abraham explained that his concept has gone through several iterations as he strived to develop the concept for market.
“When we started Jimalie we only had a few coconut-based products, not the diverse range that our customers have come to love today.
“But I saw the appetite in the local market and new that if we kept pushing and innovating, we’d soon have a leading position.”
And while Abraham is clearly passionate about his range of coconut oils, wraps and sauces, it’s the sense of legacy that really keeps him going.
“The name Jimalie is a combination of my Dad’s name and the name of the village in the Philippines where our farm is.
“After moving to Australia when I was young, Mum wanted to sell the farm but Dad wouldn’t hear of it. Later we discovered he was giving away part of the profits from the farm to support the village.”
After his father’s passing, Abraham continued the tradition, and to this day continues to look for ways to support the community through his business activities.
LEARN MORE: Driving innovation in a legacy business
When Anthony and Rebecca Keain were travelling with their kids overseas in 2014, they stumbled across a product idea while out to dinner one evening.
“We were sitting a table near a mother and her three busy children, and just as they were getting up to leave, we noticed the mum reach under their table and pull out something that looked like a stroller,” said Rebecca Keain.
Watching on, the couple were surprised to see the device quickly unfurl into a portable cart, allowing the woman to leave the restaurant with her children and all their belongings in tow.
“Being busy parents ourselves, we immediately saw the value of the product for use in our own sporting activities, beach days, shopping, gardening, camping and much more besides,” Keain said.
The couple went on to source an example of the cart before beginning the process of developing a version for the Australian market. The result is Cart-A-Lot.
“Our primary objective was to develop a superior quality folding cart, suitable for our busy Australian lifestyle.
“We also designed and developed a unique range of accessories to compliment the cart’s use, and by 2015 we launched the very first Cart-A-Lot onto the Australian market.”
Regardless of how they come across their business concept, most entrepreneurs start out by working on something they truly believe in.
Whether it’s the process, the product or the positive impact the idea offers others, you can also find success in something you love.
LEARN MORE: How to turn a startup into a profitable business