"There's lots of bad reasons to start a company. But, there's only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it's to change the world." -Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote
Before my coaching days, when I was still acting, I desperately wanted to open up a bakery with a close friend of mine.
Specifically, a mini-pie bakery (I've had the entrepreneurial bug since childhood when I opened my first "business", a stationary shop and post office. I made the stationary and charged my family to send letters to one another.).
I love baking, pies, and the friend I wanted to open up shop with. It seemed like the perfect recipe (pun intended) for business success.
We spent our days researching industrial baking equipment, neighborhood demographics, testing pie ingredients, and learning how to write a business plan for potential investors.
Google docs were started, a name was brainstormed, and we started daydreaming about the interior of the shop.
A few meetings later, we were told we were pretty much un-investible.
I didn't have my business grit and coaching tools back then, so the rejections were enough for us to close shop before we opened.
Looking back, I think I dodged a bullet.
The thing is, not all passions and interests should be turned into a business.
But, Kim! Aren't you all about following your dreams and doing what you love?
Why, yes, yes, I am. I sincerely believe our dreams aren't random, and we can all create the life we want. But that doesn't mean that every single thing we love should be turned into something we pursue for profit. I love to sing, but no one should ever pay me for it. Ever.
5 Reasons you shouldn't start that passion-fueled business:
1. Your passion is currently your form of entertainment or happiness. Sometimes turning something we love into work sucks all the joy out of it. As our passion turns into work we have to do, we can become resentful.
Example: I love spin class. Love it with a capital "L". Spinning puts me in my happy place. At one point I thought about training to become a teacher. I know the switch from feeling so grateful and full of energy during every class would crossover into feeling like, well work, if I became an instructor.
2. You don't enjoy the gritty work that would come with your passion-fueled business. This is something that never crossed my mind when I was dreaming of mini-pies. The grind of owning a bakery: the early, early mornings spent baking and living at the shop until we turned a profit.
Truth: Starting your own business requires work and treating it like a business. Unless you're bankrolled or have a generous sugar daddy, you often wear multiple hats in the lean, start-up years. Many passion-fueled and "glamorous" businesses require mundane, unsexy tasks behind closed doors.
3. Your love is really lust. As creatives, we tend to get obsessed with new shiny objects all the time. We're passionate people and new projects, classes, art forms, places...rev our engines. This is an amazing quality, but it can result in "flings" and lots of half-finished projects. I'm talking to you, book writing career.
While waiting until we're ready results in procrastination and failure to launch, jumping into the deep end of every new exciting opportunity keeps us scattered, unfocused, and results in discouraged half-assed attempts.
Date around: Before you decide to commit all of your energy and resources into starting a new business around your latest new project du jour, get to know it a little bit, and make sure it's "the one" before you tie the knot.
4. You don't have a way to generate revenue. Revenue, money, income...whatever you want to call it, is what separates a business from a hobby. It's tempting and pretty common to jump into a new passion-filled business endeavor without thinking about where the money will come from. You know, hoping it will just follow.
Reality check: Do you know how your passion will translate into revenue? Are you ready to think about how to monetize your passion?
5. Your new passion-business idea is actually a crafty-cover up to avoid the work you really need to do somewhere else, say in your current business.
It can be pretty clever to create a new project, label it a business (because that makes it official and important!) as an excuse for not getting anything un-fun done in your current business.
This is more common than you'd think.
I have clients who love to come up with entirely new business ideas. They'll even make a new website to avoid some of the uncomfortable or scary steps in their current business. This is a great way to own 13 domain names you'll never use.
Gut check: Is this new project really a clever mask for fear or something you're avoiding somewhere else in your life?
Passion is beautiful. It's a shining, bright light that pulls and motivates us.
I'm all for creating a business around what you love. It can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.
I'm the first person to cheerlead anyone who wants to step out on their own into the world of entrepreneurialism.
So, don't go quitting your dreams, just keep an eye out for those tempting, shiny objects that might be better off as hobbies. You're allowed to do something you love just for fun.
Wishing you your version of success.
P.S. Ever thought about starting a business that might have been better off left as a hobby? Let me know in the comments below!
P.P.S. Know someone else who might like this blog? I'd be ever so grateful if you shared it with them!