Everyone has a dream. America was built on people following their dreams. For many people, that dream is to start their own business. This is great. I would highly recommend it.
When it comes to deciding on the type of business, there are many choices and much research needs to be done. There is one thing though, that you should NOT do; that is, turn your hobby into your job. I say this from experience. I did this, and I'm sorry that I did. Read on to learn why.
You've probably heard plenty of advice about turning your hobby into your job and making money doing what you love. Yes, this can be done and some people have done this successfully. Unfortunately, it usually does not translate well into business reality.
There are several reasons why I go against this common advice:
FUN: Look at it this way: the reason you picked up your hobby in the first place was probably because you enjoyed it. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. If your hobby becomes your business, you'll have to work at it! Hard work is rewarding, but it can quickly douse the spark of fun you previously derived from your hobby.
LACK OF OBJECTIVITY: If you're doing something you love, you will tend you see your business through rose colored glasses, doing things and offering products YOU would like, while not seeing clearly what your CUSTOMERS want.
Of course, your dreams and desires are important, and you need to be passionate about your company to be successful. However, in my opinion it's a mistake to let your interests and not your skills dictate the type of business in which you should be.
Here's my real world example:
I love landscaping. I love tending to gardens, planting and designing landscapes, and generally making the outdoors beautiful. By accident I got into the landscaping business where I do these things for other people. Here's what happened.
I work all day, several days a week from April through November, doing landscaping for other people. Then I come home and what do I have to do? I have to do my own landscaping for my own home. Cut grass, plant flowers, etc. Much of this work takes place on the weekends. So, during the season, my entire life IS landscaping. There is nothing else. Do you think I get tired of it? ABSOLUTELY.
So, when deciding on your type of business, I would suggest not choosing your hobby. Make sure what you do in your off time is different from what you do during your business time. I cannot stress this enough. I've talked with many other people in a hobby business and most regret it.
That being said, choosing your business should involve things you know and enjoy, things that interest you, things that you would enjoy doing, but things you DO NOT do during your off time.
Here are some suggestions:
I would encourage everyone that has the desire to go for it! Starting your own business can be highly rewarding.
- Think about your current career and if that can be adapted to your own business. What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most, and what kind of business would allow you to concentrate on those things?
- Focus on your strengths, and be honest. Are you a strong manager? Good with people? Talented at a craft? Identify your weaknesses and decide how you can either stay away from them or delegate those tasks to others.
- Do your product research. Starting a business is a huge investment, and if you buy the wrong business, you probably won't want to try again. Know everything you can about your potential opportunity and don't rush into it. Planning and research take time. Better to spend time now, instead of wasting time and money later.
- Test your idea. Present it to your family and friends. What do they think? Test the market. Try a test run on sample customers.