There are enormous benefits to starting a business based on a passion, but experts warn there are also potential drawbacks-including the danger of losing enthusiasm for a passion once it becomes a nine-to-five job. To avoid burnout, Anderson encourages entrepreneurs to schedule downtime, set boundaries and continue to engage in their passions outside of work. "Instead of letting work diminish your passion, devote time to it outside of the office in the same way that you did before it was your job," she says.
Initially, Stone worried about the impact starting a magazine would have on her personal passion for fitness. "I was [taking] something that used to be my stress relief from work and turning it into my work," she says. "But I still love working out and being active, and I am even more passionate about it now than I ever thought I could be."
Snake and Karen Rock are still passionate about music, and the couple projects sales of more than $350,000 in 2005. "I had no idea that I would be able to parlay my passion for music into a career, but now we are growing so quickly that we can barely keep up," Snake says. "A lot of people wouldn't have the guts to try something like this, but I'm glad we did."
Are You Ready?
Can you turn your passion into a business? Ask yourself these important questions:
- Are you prepared to take the risk? Not only does starting a business require an investment of time and money, it also entails turning your passion into your job, which may not be right for everyone.
- Have other entrepreneurs been successful in the same field? Researching similar companies and talking to others who have experience in the industry is an important first step in determining your own likelihood of success.
- Is there a demand for the business? Check if there are similar businesses in your area, and try to gauge the demand for their product or service. You may also want to see if similar businesses have failed.
- Do you have the skills required to turn your passion from a hobby to a business? Perhaps you know how to restore antique cars, but have no idea how to market your services or use accounting software. If you need to develop additional skills to get your business off the ground, consider taking classes at a community college, asking the SBA for advice or volunteering in the field.
Jodi Helmer is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon.