She Loves Tea But Sells Coffee!

The Internet Is a tool.  How we use it is a choice.  My friend loves tea, but she sells coffee.  Read on to discover the lesson this holds for your online marketing endeavors.

I feel blessed and grateful to use the Internet in my online business. My appreciation for the comforts of working from home was strengthened after taking a job offline for several weeks. It was pleasing to see that commissions from affiliate programs continued to roll in despite my absence.

While I enjoyed working with people face-to-face, I will definitely not miss the daily commute, nor the office politics!

dollars in cup
© Canstock Images

During this time offline,  I met with a friend from Canada who was visiting relatives in Australia. She owns a successful coffee business.  Her company sells specialty coffee beans to high-end cafes, restaurants, and hotels. Her success got me thinking…

You see, my friend does not like coffee; she dislikes it intensely and avoids drinking it like the plague.  She loves tea, with a passion, and is always giving away samples of new blends of tea that she discovers on her travels.

I asked her why she is selling coffee when she never drinks it herself. Wouldn’t she be even more successful selling tea – her passion for tea would certainly shine through.

Don’t the gurus advise us that we are more likely to succeed if we are passionate about our products?

Her answer was interesting, “What I prefer is irrelevant. I focus on what my customers love and can’t get enough of.  I could have gone into the tea business, and I considered it, but the research clearly indicated that coffee would be a more profitable business for me.”

Then I asked, “So, being passionate about what you sell or promote is not necessary for success?”

My friend replied, “My business is not about me and what I prefer.  I am indeed very passionate about giving people what they want!”

The same principle applies to making the internet your money-creating tool. Always place the passions (wants, needs and desires) of your customers ahead of your own personal preferences. This requires thinking with a business mindset not a consumer mindset.  An online mentor once told me, “Money flows over the internet for exactly the same reason as it flows anywhere.  If you can fulfill what others want or need, the money will flow to you.”

My tea-loving friend, who nevertheless operates a coffee business, is a perfect example.

Making extra income online is not magic. But can you succeed without passion?  I wrote an article about it at the Wealthy Affiliate community because people misunderstand what it takes to ignite passion within you if you don’t have any.   Some preach the ‘do it with passion or not at all’ mentality, otherwise you are doomed to mediocrity. Not so!

Forget about searching for your passion.  It is more important to be good at what you do. Why?  Click here to read about it at my WA blog. (note: you will be able to close the pop up that appears and continue reading).

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Comments 11

  • Jude, I need advice. I am a native Floridian with a few years experience working in the coffee trade. I have always wanted to start my own shop, and feel that my town has space for several more coffee shops. Recently a friend offered to partner with me to open a coffee shop by day and beer-wine bar by night. Obviously people have done this before, but I haven’t found much info on the strengths or pitfalls of combining these two seemingly complementary businesses.

    • Jeff, interesting idea – a coffee shop by day and beer and wine bar by night. It could work out for both of you but you would need to have clear contracts for who owns/does/is responsible for what in the partnership. The other consideration is if the day business does really well, but the night business does not, or vice versa, what happens then?

      If in your partnership you take on equal responsibility for both sides of the business, that could present a challenge. Generally speaking it is better to focus on one business at a time, then expand to include other products services when your first business is up, running and successful. Otherwise, you could end up spreading yourselves too thin because essentially you have two businesses to manage.

      When you study people who are successful with multiple businesses, you will usually find that they started with one main business and they focused 100{b836676211964b66ddb1a94012779accd2cb69eec60a63bc16d10fd7c8344bc8} on that, and only when it became successful did they move on to expand their business or start up a second or third business.

      Jeff, thanks for stopping by.


  • Hi Jude, a great common sense article. However, is just having an interest in a product strong enough to keep you focused and interested?

    What I am trying to say is with your friend selling coffee, successfully but hating it, how does she portray her product in a good enough light to encourage the customer to be interested in purchasing?


    • Hi Lis,

      Great question, Lis. My friend’s mindset is focused on giving her customers what they want. Her personal preference is irrelevant. What is evident to her loyal customers is that she is passionate about fulfilling their needs and wants. They don’t care whether she likes coffee or not. All they care about is the service she provides, quality coffee, reliable delivery and good customer service. That is what she focuses on in her marketing.

      In business you have to meet the market need and demand. Not every McDonald’s or Taco franchise owner likes hamburgers or tacos and would not eat that type of food. But they know there is a huge hungry market in their area for exactly that food, so that is the business they decide to build – one that has market demand.

      Of course, it’s great if you can combine passion for a product and it also be hot, popular and in demand with a large target audience wanting to consume what you sell. A friend of mine owns a flower shop and is passionate about her collection of odd, rare flowers, which sells at the same price range as her regular stock. The majority of her customers prefer traditional flowers. If she were to only sell what she is truly passionate about, she would be out of business. Make sense?

      I really appreciate your dropping by and commenting. Thanks bunches, and see you around.

      ~ Jude

    • Hi Jude, that makes a great deal of sense. It just took me a bit of time to get my head around it all :). Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question, it has been a great help.

      All the best.

  • Great post, I totally agree with what your friend said about being passionate. You don’t necessarily need to have passion for the actual product but you have to have a desire to give people what they want and need. I think your post is a good reminder for anyone to make sure that this is what they aspire to do.

    • Hi Laura,

      Glad you found my post a good reminder.

      We can spend a lot of time thinking about the best methods of advertising, better prices, how to set up blogs and sales pages, but none of that brings results (sales). That changes when we make it a priority to focus on providing solutions to other people’s problems. “Money always flows from problem to solution”.

      Thanks for visiting. I will stop by your blog too.


  • I think this article hits the nail on the head.
    Give the customer what THEY want!
    I believe that is what EVERY business should be doing.
    It’s all about the customer and fulfilling their needs.

  • Hello Jude. I absolutely agree. We run all our business activities with two simple focal points in mind. The first is that our one and only goal is to give customers value. The other is to always over-deliver. They’ll be back in droves if you sell a £20 product to them and deliver $100 value and backup. You are so right, and as usual, give a simple message which reminds us all what we are doing and why we are doing it.

    As Laura said – it’s so important to enjoy what we do as well.
    Thank you

    • Indeed, the enjoyment can come from giving good service and making customers happy and satisfied.

      Thank you for stopping by and your input, Richard.

      My best wishes to you and Averil. ~Jude

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