Mark Twain once said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

However, over 87 percent of America’s workforce is unable to reach their full potential at their job because they are not passionate about their line of work. It’s time to make a change. But, there is a big difference between a hobby and a passion, and it is crucial that wantrepreneurs differentiate between the two before quitting their day job.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been very business-driven. As I grew older, my entrepreneurial spirit eventually collided with my passion for sports and experience as a Little League coach. The natural merging of these two passions sparked a new awareness for a largely untapped business opportunity that would serve the sports and fitness industry while giving me the opportunity to pursue a career I wholeheartedly enjoy.

In an effort to get the most out of the American workforce, more and more business professionals are breaking away and leveraging their passion to make an enjoyable living. At the same time, those individuals are quickly learning that it takes more than just following your dreams to succeed.

When 75 percent of venture-backed startups are failing, it’s critical to consider the following strategies in order to keep your passion in business. 

Do your research

Before diving head first into any industry, it’s always important to thoroughly research every aspect to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. It’s incredibly risky to plunge into a business without knowing the demand for the product or service.

Once you identify exactly what the market wants or needs within the targeted industry, you can begin monitoring top competitors and seeking out potential team members. You’ll want to research what skills and experience team members should possess to help you build your business. Understand the team you need in order to be successful. The success of a new venture lies in the fate of a founder, along with the team he or she builds.

Related: 7 Steps to Starting a Side Hustle While Working Full Time

Be all in, all the time

It’s vital to always give 100 percent as a leader, because that mentality will reflect the work of your team members. Leadership is defined through action, and a leader cannot lead from behind the scenes. Whether it be an upcoming pitch, meeting, event or simple deliverables, as the leader, you should always be plugged in and take on an active role in your company. Active leadership plays a pivotal role in painting the vision of a company’s future in order to excite employees and encourage them to consistently contribute to that future and become a valuable asset to your company.

Furthermore, while it is incredibly important to value your employees, it is also important to eliminate toxic work personalities who are not as motivated or driven to help accomplish the company’s goals, and to do so without ever looking back.

A recent study found that 78 percent of participating employees stated their commitment to their organization declined in the face of toxic behavior, and 66 percent said their performance declined. Therefore, building and maintaining a driven team alongside a fearless leader is a critical component of business longevity, and one bad apple can quickly turn everything sour.

Create a culture worth celebrating

If you have great leadership and motivated team members, then the next step is fostering a strong, positive work environment that is worth celebrating. Company culture is your startup’s fingerprint – it is unique to your company and will follow you everywhere you go. Positive culture is a vital aspect of running a business, as more than 50 percent of executives say culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value and growth rates.

A strong company culture also has the power to turn employees into advocates, contributing to the culture, promoting it and living it, both internally and externally. Happy employees also help to attract talent, and having a culture that attracts great talent can lead to 33 percent higher revenue.

Think quicker, think smarter

Timing is an important element of building a business. While you want to start your business at a time when the economy is healthy and your prospective industry is expanding, there is also a flow (and an art)  to decision-making that’s important to be aware of while building your business. More specifically, timing.

Time is the one variable you cannot change, and its role is detrimental in building a business. When building a company from the ground up, you don’t have an abundance of time to ponder wrong decisions. Sometimes, decisions have to be made based on what is best for the future of the company at a moment’s notice.

There is time in perspective to competitors in the market and those entering the market. Even when it comes to employees, you only have so much time to find if you’ve hired the right folks and made the right business decisions. As I once read, if you’re 70 percent of the way to making a decision, make the decision. If you try to get to 90 percent, you’ve waited too long. If I could have had that mindset from day one, I would probably have had fewer sleepless nights when I was going through tough times.

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