Here’s Why “Do What You Love” is Bad Startup Advice

“Do what you love” advice--given as a blanket statement--is completely wrong, and I have a very relevant perspective.

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These things alone, however, won’t guarantee you’ll love your career though. The opposite of career dissatisfaction isn’t career satisfaction –it’s the absence of dissatisfaction. Hersberg notes, to be truly satisfied, you also need “motivational factors” which include: challenging work, personal growth, responsibility, and recognition.

So, “doing what you love” is okay, sure, but do what you love if, and it’s a big if, it includes the H/M Factors:

– Hygiene Factors: decent pay, some security, a decent work environment, etc.

– Motivational Factors: Challenging work, personal growth, etc.

In my personal experience I found my dream career not in “doing what I loved” when I had to make my first entrepreneurial journey, but instead in doing something I never knew I had an interest in until I warmed into it and it provided H/M factors galore.

I love order tracking software, e-commerce, and environmental compliance now, but how would I ever in a million years have predicted that when I was 21? Without the full spectrum of hygiene and motivation, no matter what you do you’ll probably be dissatisfied, love the field or not.

So as you self-reflect and plan for the future, opt for a  business that will provide wicked H/M factors because if it doesn’t you won’t be doing what you love for long; you’ll be doing something that you’ll probably learn to hate.

Entrepreneurial Note

I realize it is really hard to get the hygiene factors taken care of when you start a business, but the motivational ones will be through the roof. So, my advice is this: If it doesn’t look like you’ll get both hygiene and motivation within 2-3 years, you probably gave it a really good shot but should probably look at something different if your outlook is still bleak. If you can get both factors and be an entrepreneur, the world is your oyster, my friend!

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Photo: River Island

Matt Whitteker is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of: NoNotes.com (Call Recording and Transcription), Assent Compliance (Environmental Compliance Software), Visit www.mattwhitteker.com for a full bio and articles.

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