"It's a little strange -- I'm going from hip hop to kosher food," says Ruby Azrak, the sole investor behind Hot Nosh 24/6 , a new line of kosher vending machines that sell onion rings, pizza, potato knishes, vegetable cutlets and mozzarella sticks. Within two years, Azrak hopes to have 2,000 machines installed in airports, hospitals, colleges and yeshivas nationwide.

Azrak has a talent for starting and investing in all sorts of businesses, which was quite apparent as I recently waited for him in his Manhattan office, surrounded by piles of rhinestone-studded sweatshirts from House of Dereon , singer Beyonce and her mom's clothing line, which he also runs.

While Azrak certainly wears the role of entrepreneur well, it's clear that his passion is for starting a business itself, not necessarily a specific type of business. Does this distinction play any role in a small-business owner's success?

For the Love of the Game

Since the early '90s, Azrak has been involved in a number of other ventures, from jewelry to men's underwear to partnering with Russell Simmons in the clothing line Phat Farm, which they built into a $700 million retail business then sold to Kellwood Company ( KWD). Azrak has also created an apparel brand for rapper Nelly, which he sold last June. In addition to House of Dereon, he's now focusing on Hot Nosh 24/6.

As for how Azrak embarked into the food realm, he explains that about five months ago he was approached by a mutual friend who knew Alan Cohnen and Doron Fetman, New York-based creators of the novel kosher-vending-machine concept, who were seeking a business partner.

No matter what type of business it is, "I'm into the marketing," Azrak says matter-of-factly. He spends a significant amount of every workday meeting with people to not only increase awareness of his brands, but also to keep in touch with potential new ventures from real estate to retail and from "young kids who are trying to create a line that need a financial backer," he says.

What possesses Azrak to put money behind an idea? "When I think an idea has merit, a lot of it has to do with the people behind it. It's also the passion," says Azrak.

Clearly, it takes a certain type of personality -- and a willingness to embrace risk -- to continually embark upon new business ventures. "This type of entrepreneur is always looking for challenges, saying to himself, 'I could do that,'" says Martin Lehman, a counselor with nonprofit small-business advisors Score NYC .

There are many people who can concentrate on two or three different ventures at one time. It depends, however, on their level of participation in the business, explains Score chairman Herbert Winkler. Investing in several businesses, like Azrak does, is much different than running a business completely on one's own. An investor can work with or hire people who have the knowledge of the particular field -- similar to a doctor who has a manager to run the office, take care of the appointments and get new business, explains Winkler.

The Passion Itself

While some are attracted primarily by the thrill of starting a business, there are others driven to start businesses by their unique, individual tastes.

Doni Freundlich, for instance, founded ABF Beverage, producer of Herbal Mist Tea , a new line of all-natural iced teas infused with healthful herbs, in August 2006.

Freundlich had worked in his family's food business for years, and had always been passionate about tea. However, he was not pleased with what was on the beverage market at that time.

"I am an avid iced-tea drinker and have been drinking Snapple and Arizona for many years. But I was never satisfied with those products; their use of high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener was never to my liking, for health reasons," Freundlich explains.

Being passionate about the product can be crucial to certain types of small businesses. "You need the passion to be your own boss, to make your own decisions and handle the pressure of the day-to-day duties," says Winkler.

Still, sometimes passion for a particular product or service can force this type of entrepreneur to spend too much time in the quest for perfection. "My passion for tea got in the way as far as timeliness is concerned. I refused to settle for something that didn't meet the taste profile that I was looking for. Where formulation should have taken three to four months it took us nearly seven months to perfect," says Freundlich.

No matter what an entrepreneur's motive for starting a business, it will require the best use of one's native skills -- and a lot of hard work.