America was built on the premise of following your dreams. Today, that maxim is applied to everyday life, especially careers. You’ve probably seen plenty of advice about turning your hobby into your job and making money doing what you love. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t translate well into business reality.
Look at it this way: the reason you picked up your hobby in the first place was probably that you enjoyed it. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. If your hobby becomes your business, you’ll have to work at it! Hard work is rewarding, but it can quickly douse the spark of fun you previously derived from your hobby.
Still not convinced? Here’s something else to consider – everyone I’ve met who owns a golf, fishing, or scuba-diving business tells me they play, dive, or get on the water less than before. Owning a business that is related to your hobby will not get you more involved in the enjoyable part. Instead, it will take you away from the fun of the hobby.
Objectivity is another major concern when it comes to translating a hobby into a business. For example, let’s say you enjoy fishing, so you decide to open a fishing supply store. You will typically stock your store with products you like – which won’t necessarily be what your customers want. Also, you may enjoy fishing, but sitting in a boat with a pole is not the same as running a store, and you may not have the skills necessary for retail management. See the problems?
Of course, your dreams and desires are important, and you need to be passionate about your company to be successful, but it is a mistake to let your interests and not your skills dictate the type of business you should own if you decide to become an entrepreneur. Now that you know what you should not do, it’s time to look at what you should do when getting into your own business:
1. Consider looking at your current career instead of your hobby. What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most, and what kind of business would allow you to concentrate on those enjoyable aspects?
2. Focus on your strengths, and be honest with yourself. Are you a strong manager? Good with people? Talented at a craft? Try to find a business that will let you capitalize on your strengths while incorporating what you love to do.
3. Do your research! Starting or buying a business is a huge investment, and if you buy the wrong business for your skills and fail, you probably won’t want to try again. Know what you’re getting into before you begin to give yourself the best chance of success.
You can run a business that you enjoy, as long as you are realistic in your decision-making process. You don’t have to give up on your dreams – simply refocus your intentions, and go for it!