The point of following your passion when you start a company isn’t because it magically makes the work easy. It’s still hard and you’ll still hit the dip.
The real benefit is this:
By following an internal compass (what you care about) rather than an external one (market trends & “opportunities”), you’ll repeatedly return to the same problems throughout your career and can accumulate a real long-term advantage.
What you do in the future can build on what you’ve built up in the past, regardless of whether it ended in success or failure.
Thanks to following the market (instead of myself) with my first company, I now have 4 year’s worth of deep knowledge in an industry I never again want to touch. That’s a bad waste of good experience. The contacts, industry knowledge & hard-won customer relationships… all worthless.
On the other hand, I’m now on my third[ish] play in the education space and still get huge value out all the stuff that didn’t work during the earlier attempts. I spend my day talking to and working with all the same people and can directly apply the previous companies’ learnings to what I’m doing today.
My first business felt like a 4-year dead end because I didn’t want to continue from where we ended up. In contrast, my educational attempts since then feel like the first three legs on a somewhat bendy path.
There’s no back-tracking when you’ve got a compass. It’s all progress.
And progress accelerates over time because you’ve built up the experience, expertise, and connections. You’ve created your own unfair advantage in the field you love.