“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak at a terrific conference for pet products called SuperZoo (@superzootweet). I am frequently booked as a keynote speaker for these types of big conferences and when I am, I always want to make sure that the people I am speaking to leave feeling empowered and educated. Before attending SuperZoo, I knew nothing about the event. My Director of Licensing, Faith Wall, informed me that I was about to go to one of the biggest pet conferences in the world. Part of the reason I was attending was Faith, in addition to representing our terrific clients Lil’ Jon, Ultra Music, and of course FUBU, recently took on a personal project, representing YouTube sensation Tara the Hero Cat (Yeah, I know, we’ll discuss that later).
When I arrived at the event, I took a quick look at my schedule. Now typically, my schedule for things like this goes: Keynote, Book-singing/meet-and-greet (maybe), and head home. But, when I looked at my schedule that day, I noticed that after my keynote, my day was filled with events. At first I didn’t understand why my speaking manager, and head of our speaking division, Champ Nichols (@ChampNichols, who booked me for the World Pet Association-presented event with the help of Mark Zenow), would give me such a rigorous schedule, knowing that I have emails and other business that I need to attend to throughout any given business day. Regardless, I was ready to fully commit to my day at the conference. I soon discovered that I was the first keynote speaker that SuperZoo has ever booked (they were trying to step their game up this year!). The pressure was on! I sent out a tweet to my followers, letting them know that despite it being 4am, four hours before I had to wake up, I was still working on my speech to make sure it was adequately tailored to my audience and that they would get as much from it as possible. When I finally got on stage, the lights were blaring and there were a good two thousand-plus people in the audience (There were even a few furry friends who came alone)
I did my speech, had some fun with Tara the Hero Cat on stage, and answered a few questions.
Me and Tara the Hero Cat getting ready to go on stage
The audience’s energy was so electric. My DJ, Danny Estrella (@dannyestrella), played “Selfie” by The Chainsmokers and people went nuts. One person literally put their dog in the air!
The audience and I decided to take a group selfie
After my keynote, my day was packed with meetings, photo-ops etc. Throughout the day I began to notice that I was even more excited to meet the attendees of the event than they were to meet me! I always take pictures with people but today people were posing with their pets. I saw dogs with glasses, dogs with beards, cats with bowties etc.
Kids have the best sense of humor
I was trying to figure out what it was about these people I was enjoying so much, and that’s when it hit me. These people were exhibiting the hallmark trait of a great entrepreneur: they were doing what they love! (I can’t stress how important that is enough, they were DOING WHAT THEY LOVE). It took me back to when I first started FUBU in 1989 and failed three times until ’92, and kept crawling until we finally found success and recognition in 1997. The reason it worked was because I was doing what I loved. I would’ve done it for free for the rest of my life because it was passion! I loved dressing people, I loved seeing people love how they looked in the clothing that I had made. I had that special entrepreneurial trait that I cannot overstate; I was doing what I loved.
I had a great time doing this meet-and-greet. The wait was over 90 minutes!
I met some incredible people at SuperZoo that day. Like every trade show I go to, the people were ambitious about taking their businesses to the next level, contributing to society and making some money, but again, there was something about the attendees of this event that made them very different from the people that typically come out to conferences. Everyone knows that pets can’t speak for themselves. It takes a special kind of person to advocate for animals and it’s easy to see how this kind of person would love what they do. Pets are known to have a calming effect on people, but being around people who love what they do so much, had a calming effect on me.
I’ve said it many times before: If your passion is only to make money, you’ll probably end up doing something you don’t like and never making money. Money is a byproduct and a tool; it’s not a purpose. Now that’s not to say that if you do what you love you’ll definitely have financial success, but when you fail at doing what you love, it’s not a true failure because you enjoyed what you were doing. You were happy. If a pet store owner goes out of business, I highly doubt they would regret their years of hugging, loving, rescuing and nurturing pets, and putting them with great families. If they loved what they did, no amount of money could equal the joy that they derived from finding the perfect pet for a little boy or girl and changing that child’s life for the better, forever.
Me with the founder of Ruff Ties
The reason I chose to write this blog is because in addition to emphasizing it to others, I often need to remind myself to do what I love. I recognize that “Do what you love” is a bit of a cliché, but even the most successful entrepreneurs need to take a second to recalibrate themselves once in a while. I often have to take a step back and ask myself, “Daymond, are you still doing what you love?” Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day aspects of a job that we lose track of the original reason we began walking down that path in the first place. Now I understand that not everyone has the financial stability required to begin doing what he or she loves right away. In those cases, people should do what they need to do to pay the bills during the day and make their passions their homework. If you work hard on your homework, it can become your career. That’s what I did, Red Lobster by day, FUBU by night!
Are you doing what you love? If so, let me know in the comments! Tell me what you’re doing, where you are, include a link to your website, and most importantly, tell me why you love what you do so much. I want to feel your passion! Let the world know how proud you are of what you do! Let them know you’d do it for free if you had to because you love it so much! If you’re an entrepreneur who’s not sure what your next business should be, ask yourself “What do I love enough to do for free?” You won’t regret it.
Tara the Hero Cat and I had a long day