The Definitive Guide to Business

Casper co-founder: Don't follow your passion—do this instead

Casper Co-Founders T. Luke Sherwin, Jeff Chapin, Neil Parikh, and Philip Krim attend Casper's LA celebration at Blind Dragon on July 9, 2015 in West Hollywood, California.
Rachel Murray | Getty Images
Casper Co-Founders T. Luke Sherwin, Jeff Chapin, Neil Parikh, and Philip Krim attend Casper's LA celebration at Blind Dragon on July 9, 2015 in West Hollywood, California.

The founders of direct-to-consumer mattress company Casper have seen a lot of success: Their company has raised $240 million in funding from famous investors like 50 Cent, Kyrie Irving and Ashton Kutcher's A Grade Investments, as well as Target. In May, Target reportedly offered to acquire the brand for a cool $1 billion, according to Recode, but invested $75 million instead.

For young people who want to find their own success, Casper co-founder and Chief Product Officer Jeff Chapin has some advice. But it sure isn't "follow your passion."

Although you've probably heard it from others, you won't hear it from him.

"Passion is whimsical," he tells CNBC Make It. "There are so many things that can captivate you, that don't have to do with your passions." So many jobs can still be intellectually interesting or rewarding, he says.

To Chapin, "follow your passion" sounds a lot like "go do your hobby." The result is people thinking, "I love kitesurfing, so I'm going to go start a kitesurfing business," Chapin says as an example. "The reality is you probably ruined your hobby because now you turned your passion into your job."

So if you are trying to figure out a career path, Chapin suggests a different strategy: Figure out what problems you have an advantage at solving. Start with a simple problem. If you can fix it, find another one. Then do it again.

"Find things where you can get successes quickly," suggests Chapin. "Don't tackle world peace. Figure out how to get food to the homeless person on the street down the corner. Start local and very small."

The process will reveal your strengths and where you can add value, Chapin explains.

"It is learning how your brain works, so that you can figure out what you are individually good at," he says. "What are the problems that you gravitate towards and can solve better than other people?"

It will also help foster belief in your ability to succeed.

"You just do these loops: You do a project, you have success, you get feedback, you do another one, another one and another one," he says. "At some point, you're like OK, I can do anything and I'll solve the problem."

If Chapin were just starting out and didn't know which way to go, "I would work on the [area in which] I thought I could have the highest likelihood of success," he says. "It is a confidence-building thing, so you can later in life tackle any problem."

Always keep learning and taking on more complex problems. The success will follow.

"Keep trying new things, keep getting exposure to new things and then you'll get better at them," he says.

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