✔ It's all about passion! - Passion 6: Help [part 1]

Note: This is the 18th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

It's all about passion - 18

Passion to Help

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain

Your mission is to help others

As we discussed in the previous chapters, businesses are being created to solve problems. To help others do something more efficiently and easily. That's especially what the Startup businesses are all about. I created Nozbe to solve my own time-management problems.

By solving my own problem I found out there are other "Michaels" out there and many more folks have the same problem. Now, every day I know there are thousands upon thousands of people and companies that rely on my software to manage their lives. I literally make their lives better by providing this service. This feeling is incredible. And when I receive emails from the people saying how thankful they are for my solution, I'm the happiest person alive.

Here's where the passion to help kicks in. When we design our stuff, we are focused on helping others. We make decisions based on this. We keep asking ourselves "will this new feature really help or will it just be a nice thing to have"... and then we decide. Again, we are here to help, and many more startups must understand that this kind of passion is really necessary to build a fantastic product and run a passionate startup.

You can help even more

I'm constantly trying to see how we can help others even more. I've seen many startups dedicate some of their profits to charities or directly getting involved in doing charitable work. In my company we're trying to do these things as well. The passion to help (as any other types of passion) is contagious and once you've helped a little and felt the rewarding feeling of doing so, you want to help more. It's amazing.

What I've found even more rewarding is when your startup product helps beyond your imagination, when it's used for something more than just business. When it really helps those in need and changes the world. That's the ultimate stage of helping and it's the most rewarding one.

Ultimately, the passion to help makes you feel like you're really alive and that there is a higher purpose to all the things you're doing.

“Service isn’t limited to saving lives or the environment. It can also improve life. If you are a musician and put a smile on the faces of thousands or millions, I view that as service. If you are a mentor and change the life of one child for the better, the world has been improved. Improving the quality of life in the world is in no fashion inferior to adding more lives. Service is an attitude. Find the cause or vehicle that interests you most and make no apologies." - Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”

Seriously, I mean it. Your mission is to help

Many startup founders think their mission is to create a social-media-thingy that will quickly grow users and when it does, it will open the doors to get high VC funding and later get really rich quickly.

I'm very active in Startup Community in Europe, in my home country of Poland and I also take part in the startup meetings in Silicon Valley whenever I get a chance. I see this get-rich-quick attitude all of the time and it pains me to see it. I mentioned this already in the "Money" chapter in this book.

Create a product that helps, helps even more, and then some

When you help and solve real problems more elegantly than the other guys, people notice. This is what inspires folks and this is your mission. A startup without "help" in its DNA is simply not the way to go. Your job is to be passionate about helping others through your software and only then you're doing your job and achieving greatness. Life is short, and we should use our talents to help others... while building a great business along with it. And the business will be great only if people feel you're really helping.

Many great startups are doing exactly this. Harvest, a time-tracking startup has a fantastic product that helps people and companies track their time and bill their clients. They go one step further by giving free access to their software to other new startups who convince them they are also building a fantastic service and want to track their time with Harvest. Great mission to help.

Basecamp (formerly 37signals) build very simple to use web apps that let you manage information, projects, people, etc. and they spend lots of time on their blog teaching others how they actually built their products. They say they want to "out-teach" their competition by showing other aspiring startup owners how they can achieve a similar type of success. I should know, they inspired me to build Nozbe in the first place and I keep following their advice when running my own startup. These guys even shared the back-end of their software ("Ruby on Rails" programming system) for free as open source and many great companies (including Twitter) were born based on their system.

These companies are really passionate about helping others. This makes them even more successful. They have raving fans (and not simply "customers") and they are doing really great.

To be continued... or get the book free and continue reading :-)

Question: Are you doing something to help others? Share your story or plans with me :)

Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2014 (passionbook)

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