Fun Money

Beware of Burnout

Once you've found your passion and turned your favorite hobby into a profitable business, you're home free, right? Not quite. As many a hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur has experienced, burnout tends to set in. Think about it: Once you get your hobby-based business off the ground, you start to live and breathe that hobby 24/7. "You're no longer doing [the hobby] for your enjoyment," O'Berry explains. "You're doing it for your livelihood."

Before you make the leap, you should think long and hard about whether doing your hobby as a business will ultimately drain your enthusiasm for it. According to Jain, you'll have to ask yourself "If I never did this for fun ever again, how much would I miss it? Is it replaceable by something else?"

One way to avoid burnout is to continue learning new things about your hobby. Another is to spend your free time pursuing an entirely different hobby. That's what entrepreneur Steve Edmiston has done for years. In the early 1990s when he ran a law firm, game-making and writing screenplays were two of his favorite hobbies. When he chose to pursue game-making as a full-time business, screenwriting naturally took over as the fun outlet.

In 2000, Edmiston sold his interest in the law firm and launched a Seattle business that manufactured coffee table games. "I had that desire for game creation that had nothing to do with being a lawyer," explains Edmiston, co-founder of Front Porch Classics Inc.

It all came together after he met a few contacts at the local Young Entrepreneurs Organization, who also wanted to start a new business. Edmiston, 41, then decided to join forces with Mark Jacobsen and Mark Pattison, both 41. In 2002, their game, Old Century Baseball, earned the Toy of the Year honor from Disney's Family Fun Magazine.

Currently on Front Porch Classics Inc.'s agenda: marketing Dread Pirate, a treasure hunt game that Edmiston had originally created for his daughter's birthday a few years ago. With sales exceeding $1 million, the hobby has certainly proved to be more than just a game for this trio.

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This article was originally published in the April 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Fun Money.

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