Some people aspire to turn their hobby into a full-time business venture. What could be better than pursuing your favorite hobby while you make money in the process? Many books out there encourage entrepreneurs to follow their passion. You are already knowledgeable, accomplished, and motivated about your hobby, so why shouldn’t you take the opportunity to monetize it? After all, it doesn’t make sense to pursue a business venture that doesn’t align with your interests and tastes.
While others may urge you to follow through on your aspirations, it is important to not lose sight of the realities of entrepreneurship. As with any start-up venture, you are investing your own hard-earned money. Since your hobby may become your only source of income, you may not be able to escape your company’s issues, payables, staff, and so forth. Instead of making decisions based on personal pleasure, your decisions must be designed to meet your bottom line. The question to ask yourself is – are you prepared to have your biggest source of enjoyment become your biggest source of financial concern?
Consider the pros and cons of starting a business based on your hobby. Pros may include, among other things, the certainty that you enjoy what you’re doing. Secondly, you may already have industry contacts, customers, and channels lined up and waiting for you to capitalize on. And, if you have spent a significant amount of time pursuing your hobby, you may stand out from the competition because your expertise and skill level may exceed that of your competitors. Lastly, you may be working from home, which may offer you a sense of relaxation and enjoyment.
Becoming an entrepreneur is about keeping customers happy, however. While you formerly may have been operating in a self-focused manner, your focus must shift from your own enjoyment to your customers’. You must adhere to their schedule, follow up with them, and focus on maintaining a good reputation in your community. A client can be thought of like a boss, and, instead of one, you may have twenty.
There are various disadvantages associated with capitalizing on your hobby. As you become preoccupied with routine business concerns, you may gradually become disconnected from the aspects of your hobby you once found enjoyable. Or, you may be in for a rude awakening when your skills aren’t as good as you thought they were. This type of reality check will hit close to home, especially if your hobby is a source of personal fulfillment to you. Once your focus becomes aligned with your customers’, you may experience frustration that your ideas, designs, and preferences do not align with their needs or vision. And, of course, you may simply find that your hobby is not as lucrative as you’d like it to be.
Furthermore, there are many hobbyists in your field who may undercut your pricing structure. Since many people pursue their hobbies in their spare time and for their own enjoyment, they may offer their products and services at well below market rates, driving down pricing and contributing to the competition. You may find yourself operating alongside people who drastically undercut their products and services because their only return on investment is the enjoyment they derive from their hobby.
Of course, you never know until you try. It’s important to be aware of the potential pitfalls associated with quitting your job and forging ahead to start your own business venture, however. Take note of the above-mentioned pros and cons, and use your time wisely.