For many small business owners in the startup stages of success, having a hobby is something they can only dream of fitting into their busy schedules. On another hand, there are countless aspiring entrepreneurs who have made psyching themselves up for entrepreneurship their hobby by keeping up-to-date with positive thinking affirmations, TED talks, and the latest blog posts on Entrepreneur.com. Over the years, we have interviewed many clients about their beginnings as small business owners, and a lot of them agree that in order to apply research, it helps to have a hobby.
For one to go from being just an aspiring entrepreneur to somebody in the active stages of building one’s empire, they must do research. A lot of research. A mind-numbing amount. But too much can lead to inaction.
Instead of pushing your hobbies and interests out of the way to quench your thirst for knowledge and inspiration, use your hobby as motivation. And what’s knowledge and inspiration without the motivation it takes to apply it?
Let’s say you are wildly passionate about sports. You may have played basketball in high school, but were too short to pursue it professionally. If you had years of retail experience under your belt — or even if you hadn’t — you could still pursue your passion by opening up a sporting goods shop.
We recently spoke to a client who stumbled into the role of small business owner almost by accident. A full-time freelance journalist, she was so consumed by her love of storytelling that she started hosting spoken-word events and literary-themed burlesque shows around her town. Her events became such a hit that those who enjoyed her shows urged her to open a bookstore. Now, because she put in the legwork for years, she is a sponsored business owner with a following eager to donate books.
While fusing your hobby with your business concept, you still have to keep your eye on the prize and avoid becoming lackadaisical in your approach to launching your startup. Client and fitness giant John Meadows — owner of Mountain Dog Diet, LLC — has practically made turning a hobby into a business an art form.
“Even though you’re having fun building your business, you’re still working. People say, ‘Oh, you probably don’t feel like you’re working!’ Well, guess what? I do feel like I’m working!” he weighs in.
Of course, plenty of people don’t have hobbies but still possess the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not abnormal for people to feel a pull toward small business ownership without really knowing what their path is or what industry they’ll thrive in. If you are one of those people, take some time for yourself to really explore what your interests are. See what sticks and what doesn’t. Get creative and don’t be afraid to make a mess. Through process of elimination, you may just find your true calling.
As Pablo Picasso once said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” And we don’t want to argue with one of the most iconic artists of all time.
RELATED READING: If you’re serious about a hobby or passion, check out our list of factors to consider when determining how to turn a hobby into a business.