The Accidental Entrepreneur Talks About the Need for Passion

Light coming through an open door

by Lauren Keyson

Bruce Bachenheimer, the accidental entrepreneur, is a Clinical Professor of Management and the Director of Pace University’s Entrepreneurship Lab. He tells his students that passion is a must for entrepreneurs and that if they don’t yet know what that passion is, they should keep looking.

Sometimes it can happen when it’s least expected – and he is a great example of this.

Bruce Bachenheimer 

“Passion is very important. When I found a passion for something, whether it was an entrepreneurial venture or something else, it was very important that I pursue it. Where is that passion going to come from? It can come from almost anywhere and at any time. Early on I discovered a passion for Japanese. I found an exchange program and went to college there for a semester. Later, inspired by Thoreau’s Walden, I decided to leave a career on Wall Street and go sailing. And just as Thoreau decided to leave the woods after his path from the cabin to the pond became too worn in, it was time for me to find something else.

“Just over a decade ago I found a passion for teaching and I did what it took to get a teaching position without a typical academic background. Examples of my entrepreneurial passion include having started an online financial services company in Australia and a woodworking business in Maryland. With passion it is very easy to focus all your time and energy and accomplish something.

“When I talk to my students and they don’t know what their passion is, I tell them it’s fine – wait and keep looking, don’t just settle. I lost the desire for my job as a Wall Street trader and was basically just going through the motions. It was exciting and paid a lot of money, but I knew I wanted to do something else, just not what at the time. When you don’t have it, you can’t force a passion on yourself. I think it’s a mistake. But keep that radar open and try a lot of different things because you never know where that passion will come from.”

“Sometimes that one passion can last a lifetime. For me, some things run their course after a couple of years.”

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