Most people lead rather ordinary lives, built around family, job, church and hobbies. This is fine for most. The need to pay the bills leads many to engage in work that is unfulfilling, boring and stifling. That so many people work at energy sapping employment should be a motivating factor in seeking entrepreneurial opportunity. Sadly, most people are totally risk averse and eliminate themselves from the potential rewards available almost exclusively to entrepreneurs.
The perceived risk taker (the entrepreneur) is, in actuality, not the real risk taker. The real risk taker is the person willing to work a dull job, for average pay, letting life fly by without ever knowing the excitement of being in the fray. This person leaves life without ever having made a mark. Looking back on a journey that did not include excitement, change and risk would seem to reflect an empty, unfulfilled life lived.
Entrepreneurs crave change, excitement, competition and risk, understanding that these are the defining hurdles to be overcome if success is to be achieved. The ability to test oneself against the overwhelming mass of competitive opportunities available in the marketplace is a narcotic to serial entrepreneurs. They might not always succeed, but they will always try.
Most new products are developed from an entrepreneur’s life experience. The hundreds of new product ideas I review each year are overwhelmingly skewed to hobby: pet, cosmetic, sporting goods and children’s products. And overwhelmingly, these offerings can be described as having a fun component.
Would it surprise you to know that the toy industry is 60% smaller than the pet product market? It did me! However, I have seen a dynamic at work in many product categories that I think explains this surprising number. I call it “Passion for Fun”. Golfers, hunters (and fisherman) and pet owners are among the most passionate people I interview. They are intensely immersed in all aspects of their passion. Maybe toy manufacturers are not making hot new toys, or parents are spending more money on educational products, but I know parents love their children. They just are not passionate about toys.
An avid outdoorsman will buy any and every product that might potentially provide them an edge when hunting or fishing. More strikes for a fisherman, closer and clearer shots for a hunter, more fish caught and more game killed is the goal of every sportsman. They are passionate about their sport and keen to know of any product that will increase their success and their fun.
Pet owners are every bit as passionate about their animals. Sharing one’s home with an animal is a statement of commitment, sharing and passion in itself. Pet toys, exercisers, top grade foods, and even vitamin enriched bottled waters are huge sellers to pet owners as they pamper their animals. The joy pet owners receive from sharing their lives with a loved pet is highly rewarding. Watching a child play with a puppy, or kitten, is one of parent’s most valued memories.
Golfers share the same commitment to expanding their enjoyment of every aspect of the golfing experience. I review more golf products every year than any other single category. In every instance, the entrepreneur believes they have developed a product that will improve golf performance, lower scores and increase the play experience. These entrepreneurs are always golfers with passion, looking to provide an edge through the unique features contained in their invention.
Passion for fun entrepreneurs, because of the love they have for their hobby or sport, provides products that represent joy to them. It is so much easier to succeed with a product that screams leisure, happiness or fun. The ability to build an exciting new product opportunity that provides a fun feature and benefit to an area of passion is a dream come true for these entrepreneur’s.
My father worked a dead end job. He was intensely unhappy that life had passed him by (his words). He told me as a young man, “do something that is fun, not work”. Work and fun mean different things to different people. Some people are happiest at work, no matter the type of work: it identifies them. Invariably this type of person is an entrepreneur. They enjoy the work because they own the business.
Most people, however, would rather make a living from “fun” work. Working as a golf pro, sportscaster, artist, writer, personal trainer or coach are just a few jobs that many people would describe as fun and rewarding. Most of the products that I review, and that succeed in the marketplace, offer features and benefits providing a way to deliver more fun to passions and hobbies.
I do review many work-related products, as well. Many of these have huge potential. The ability to provide an advance in wellness, technology or e-commerce can be hugely lucrative. As a capitalist I love these projects. Nevertheless, the real fun and passion I view when working with hobby, fun related products is usually absent from industrial inventions.
Novel hobby and sport related products are often more easily conceived, easier to patent and trademark and more easily designed and manufactured than most industrial products. The capital required to launch a pet exercise toy can be a fraction of a mechanical tool or technology. Often times, we utilize the inventor of a fun product as the branding spokesperson for the item. The passion for fun that the entrepreneur has vested in their product is contagious and transfers to greater sales and believability.
When aspiring entrepreneurs are seeking a product to create and market we strongly advise that they look around the house or garage. What is their true passion? What provides enjoyment, happiness and a feeling of contentment? When they scrap book, assemble model planes, play chess, golf, swim, or read, is there something that they often think would improve the experience. This is the surest way to discover potential opportunity in an area of great interest. You can invent that new product, and it will be rewarding to you and every user as your entrepreneurial career commences.