While I enjoy a challenging full-time “9-5” career, in my heart and soul is the core desire to be my own boss and start my own business. This desire has lead me to continually search for ways to truly disconnect from the standard corporate world and do my own thing and pursue something I really love to do – something that inspires you and drives you every day. Does this sound familiar? If so, you most likely have the heart and passion of a hobby entrepreneur as well.
If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today? ~Steve Jobs
This question posed by the late Steve Jobs has been stuck in my mind since I first read it many years ago, but it’s a question that’s not a new one and has been asked by many people over the years. I personally love this quote because I feel it connects to my current day to day lifestyle and how I view my future goals.
Through a lot of reading on varied business topics such as, “How to become an Entrepreneur”, I have found that most of these books and articles all seem to share the same consensus – to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to go ALL-IN with a thorough, mapped out business plan. For some businesses like product store fronts and franchises, going ALL-IN might be required. However, for me personally, that is not how I came to become the entrepreneur I am today. I was able to take a risk that would not affect me financially if it didn’t work out. With a single investment from my personal savings I was able to get the ball rolling. Because I did not immediately need the funds for my home life, I was able to go a decent period of time without bringing in revenue. I started with a plan, but did not really focus on a model at the time. I was curious to learn what revenue streams could come out of this project before I solidified a model and goal.
A former direct-competitor of my ‘hobby business’ recently sold his brand and company to a mutual competitor. This is something that has always bothered me. His business as a whole, or just the brand for that matter, had huge potential. So, what happened? He was that guy who quit his six-figure income job. He gave up his promised paycheck and went all in. He left his stability and decided to dive into ‘following his dream’. He noted “It wasn’t making me rich by any stretch of the word (and not six figures comfortable) but it could have paid a modest man’s bills.” Fast forward a few years and he appeared to be burned out on the business. The business he once had tons of passion for was slowly drying up for him. He was giving up on his own brand. He wanted to start over with a second chance – one with-out all the mistakes he believed he made during his current start-up journey. Watching what happened with his company opened my eyes to what could have happened to mine if I quickly went all in as well.
If you are thinking about taking steps towards starting up your own business, becoming a hobby entrepreneur first might be a great place to start for you. It could be just the thing to help you test the market and get your foot in the door, while you simultaneously are building your brand and audience. Making smaller investments more frequently paired with the ability to be agile and flexible have helped me bring my business to where it is today. To be completely honest, you should know that you will be in for some long working hours and many personal sacrifices to build your brand and audience effectively. However, as long as you continue to follow through and remain dedicated, it will be worth it in the end. Just remember these wise words.
You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing. ~Dale Carnegie