From Passion to Entrepreneur

In Education by Chrissy Ford

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

At a young age, this is something that each of us are asked by family, teachers, and even complete strangers. We reply with answers like “astronaut”, “firefighter”, or “doctor”. But never have I heard entrepreneur.

My love for all things dental didn’t start at a young age. My entire childhood, I dreamt of becoming a veterinarian. In fact, I had never even considered a career in anything else. I was so sure–until I got to grade 11. We were tasked by the school counselor to reach out to a local business to shadow for a day. I was so excited; I was getting to see a day in the life of a veterinarian!

Sometimes things don’t play out the way you expect. After almost fainting twice during a surgery and watching a sick dog having to be put down, I concluded that this career wasn’t for me.

I was devastated…now what? The career I had dreamt about since I was five had been shattered. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

It was my mom who first suggested looking into dental hygiene. I still remember the discussion in the car that day as I was trying to figure out a new life plan.

The very next week I got the opportunity to set up another shadow day in a dental office…and the rest is history.

I loved every part of it. This was what I was meant to do!

Look at what you love

I worked as a full-time clinical hygienist for 15 years before stepping out of the operatory part time to help our office manager. One day a week turned into two and two into three. I had found a love for the business side of dentistry too!

I was now working part time as practice manager, clinician, and also teaching at the University of Alberta. My passion for all sides of dentistry only grew with each new venture out of the operatory.

I loved to educate others and to help empower clinicians to provide better care to their patients. I kept asking myself, how could I use my passion to marry the two together and help others create a purposeful and profitable hygiene department like I had done?

Cultivate belief in yourself

Many times, the answer to how to cultivate your passion is right in front of you. Passion is like the fuel in the car which helps the automobile to move. It can inspire you and help to drive your vision forward.

Turning your passion into a thriving business may not be as daunting as you think. You may not think you have the expertise, but many skills, including soft skills like communication and being a natural-born leader, can help.

I worked tirelessly over the next six months creating a website, logo and my first two courses.

But now what? Self-doubt started creeping in. Would people sign up? Was there a need for this content? Would people like me as a speaker?

Entrepreneurs can be prone to doubt. It is important to remember that you are not the only one who has self-doubts. Everyone doubts themselves. Even John Lennon said, “Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”

My passion pushed my business forward. I sold out every course in my first year of business! I was officially an entrepreneur. I was the founder and CEO of Advanced Hygiene Solutions, a continuing education company specifically geared to help dental hygienists.

Follow your passion

As Steve Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

In the past three years I have continued to grow my business, my brand as a speaker, and I co-founded a second company–Advanced Hygiene Consulting.

If you aren’t 100 percent committed to making your vision a reality, you won’t be impassioned enough to nurture your business through its inevitable growing pains. Entrepreneurship can only be maintained with passion. My passion for what I do every day keeps me going through the not so glamorous parts of running your own business.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but if building a business is a burning desire you have in your heart, then go for it!

When you do it for the passion first and the rewards second, the sky’s the limit!