Entrepreneurs are passionate by nature--not just in their jobs, but in everything they do. For some, this means picking up some pretty unconventional hobbies. We asked members in the Boston chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) to share how pursuing their passions has helped grow their businesses.

What is a hobby of yours, and how did you first become interested?

"I've been seriously hiking for about three years and have hiked all 48 of the New Hampshire 4,000 footers with my dog. I originally got into it with some other EO members, as a goal to train for another hike."--Jonathan Crandall, Chief Visionary, JC Grounds Management

"I am a technology guy, but I have a fierce passion for the arts. I started painting in junior high, and I also collect art. We ran out of room to display our collection, so my fiance and I decided to convert a property in Boston's North End into a private art gallery and guest quarters. We named it 'Bijou de la Vida,' which means 'the jewel of life.' Vida is my fiance's last name, and our puppy's name is Bijou, so it means a lot to us. Bottom line: The gallery makes us happy. The space is peaceful, museum-like and highly inspirational."--Ramin Khoshatefeh, President, enLabel Global Services, Inc.

"I've done a little bit of everything. I was a yoga instructor, part of a professional singing group and have even taken ballroom dancing classes. I also do voiceover work. But what I'm really passionate about is nursing. A few years ago, I took night classes while running my tech company during the day. Now I work at a nursing home and am on the board of the American Nurses Association Massachusetts Chapter, and I absolutely love it."--Mark Worster, CEO, Unitel

What do you most enjoy about your hobby?

"I love the challenge of reaching a greater goal. I've earned the NH48, which is the patch for hiking all 48 of the 4,000 footers. I also enjoy the exercise and opportunity for great conversations with friends."--Jonathan Crandall

"Everything, especially the creative aspect of painting, curating and the thrill of bidding and buying art. I love to share our collection with others, and it gives me great pleasure to see folks engaged in our collection, while being pushed to share their favorite piece--it's a lot of fun."--Ramin Khoshatefeh

"I became a nurse for one simple reason: I wanted to do something that truly had a positive impact on someone else's life. I've always been interested in healthcare, and after seeing my daughter pursue a nursing degree, I decided I wanted to follow in her footsteps."--Mark Worster

How has pursuing your hobby helped grow your business?

"Hiking gives me clarity and time to think. When I hike with fellow EO members, it provides time to share ideas with my peers. Hiking has also helped reinforce qualities like determination, persistence and mental strength--all very valuable from a business standpoint."--Jonathan Crandall

"We have hosted clients, friends and business partners for a number of events at the gallery. It serves as a meeting place of sorts, and it allows us to bring out the more personal side of doing business. We intend to use the space for non-profit fundraising and plan to host more clients and business partners in the future."--Ramin Khoshatefeh

"When you're in business, you have to learn how to adapt and think quickly on your feet. Pursuing so many different hobbies reinforces that. I'm constantly challenging myself to learn something new and grow as a professional."--Mark Worster

What advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs who don't feel they have time to pursue a hobby?

"Pursuing a hobby gives you an identity outside of your business, which has been very valuable to me. Making the time to actually get out there and do it can be challenging, but once you set aside the time, it's so worth it."--Jonathan Crandall

"I have four companies, four kids and am in the process of starting a new high tech venture. Now, we've started an art gallery. Life is certainly busy, but you can either make excuses or make happiness--you can't do both. So, follow your heart, and start doing something you are very passionate about. I am a big believer in doing what you love."--Ramin Khoshatefeh

"There's so much more to life than business. Explore your interests and find what really drives you. It might feel overwhelming at first, but when you find the right thing, you'll find the time to invest in it."--Mark Worster

Published on: Nov 9, 2015