They say that if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. Well, I beg to differ. From the outside looking in, I have all of the "criteria" to love my job. I'm my own boss, I've built two companies from the ground up, my businesses are profitable and sustainable, and I work with globally recognized brands and top talent.
I realize how incredibly lucky I am. However, I definitely haven't loved the whole journey, and I can't say I'm passionate about every part of my job. In the past 17 years, I've experienced very high highs and very low lows. Being an entrepreneur and a leader have been two of the greatest challenges I've ever had to navigate.
For the record, I wouldn't change a thing. But these days, entrepreneurship and leadership are often seen with Instagram filters. We are encouraged to find something we love to do and make a living out of it. Yet not all passion projects are meant to be taken into full-time entrepreneurial endeavors.
Unfortunately, your passion alone won't sustain a successful business. So before you take the entrepreneurial plunge, ask yourself these three questions first.
1. Are you prepared to fall out of love?
It's no surprise that the hobby you're considering turning into a full-time job should be something that you're truly passionate about it -- especially because you'll be spending 80-plus hours a week getting it off the ground.
Pretty soon that thing you used to love to do is now making you feel burned out, stressed, and defeated. It's no longer fun. It's now all-consuming.
As your business grows, you'll likely be pulled in many different directions. Bookkeeping, hiring, training, and general operations will fall under your belt. That means you're no longer doing the craft or skill that used to give you so much joy.
2. Are you filling a gap or solving a problem?
Think about your passion on a much larger scale: how do you wish to change an industry (or the world) with it? Is it innovative, something that has never been done before?
Having a problem-solving passion that fills a niche is important in distinguishing it from similar businesses and oversaturated markets. With it already being hard enough for the average startup to stand out from the crowd, ensure that it diverges enough from its rivals before attempting to take the plunge.
3. Will it be relevant 10 years from now?
Some hobbies can be turned into scalable businesses. Others have a shelf life. For example, let's say you love to bake desserts that cater to a Keto diet. Your delicious baked goods are in such high demand that you're thinking of opening a real brick and mortar that's dedicated solely to the Keto lifestyle.
The thing is, diets come and go. Remember the grapefruit diet? Or Atkins, or The Zone? The list goes on and on, which is why basing a business plan off of what's popular today doesn't mean it will be in vogue a year from now, let alone ten. So before you invest thousands of dollars into a bakery, be prepared to pivot your passion in order to keep the lights on. Instead of solely dedicating to Keto baked goods, include Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan recipes into the mix that will cater to a wider buying audience and give you longevity.
There's no doubt that being passionate about what you do plays an instrumental role in keeping any business afloat. However, it will only get you so far.
It's important to have outlets that give you joy. Whether that's music, cooking, or design, think about just how much time, money, and sacrifice you're willing to make in order to make it a sustainable career. If you're prepared to weather the storms and risk turning that passion project into a challenge, then go for it. If not, there's absolutely nothing wrong with keeping it a source of selfcare, rather than income.