Imagine you love to fish. You love the feeling of spending all day on a boat with the sun on your back, the wind in your hair and the waves beneath your feet. You love the thrill of the catch and the feeling you get while enjoying your fresh-caught dinner later that night.
You love it so much you decide to move to the coast and buy a fishing guide business. But the thing is, this isn't your hobby anymore. It's a business, and you are the owner. To pull a profit, you must get up early every morning, cast to fill the bait well, keep the fishing poles in the water and help your customers enjoy their fishing trip -- a trip you once enjoyed yourself. You are in the sun all day -- and they are very long days -- but your work isn't done when the sun sets. Afterwards you must clean the boat, handle your paperwork, lock up and bring everything home in preparation for doing it all again tomorrow. On rainy days, you are marketing for new customers. What once was a hobby you could enjoy at your leisure has now become your work. And it turns out, you don't like it as much as you thought you would. What’s worse, you no longer enjoy fishing as a hobby.
If you are considering business ownership, it might seem like common sense to start with your passion. Everyone always says, “love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life.” You're making this career move so you can finally love your work. But will your hobby actually translate into a business that makes you both happy and successful? Odds are, it won't.
You have to be passionate, but you need to be passionate about being a business owner. You see, there's a big difference between your vocation -- your job, and your avocation -- your hobby. When you try to convert your hobby into a business without objectively doing your research, it often results in the loss of the hobby and a business that is not what you expected. Just because you like to do something as a hobby does not mean that you will like doing it every day as a job. As a franchise coach, my advice to you is to buy into an industry you don't love. Here's why:
Loving the product or service offered shouldn't be the reason you buy a franchise.
There are lots of great products, services and activities that we personally enjoy; however, owning one of these businesses is a completely different thing. Becoming a business owner requires a serious investment of time and money. You need to make sure the business fits your skills, lifestyle and financial goals before you commit your money and your time. You need to do your due diligence to insure the investment will provide long-term benefits including happiness and financial stability.
You need to enjoy the daily activities involved in the daily operation of the business. At the same time, you should make sure that the business provides ample flexibility so you can spend time with your hobbies. If you truly want to be a successful business owner, it's time to think with your brain and not your heart.
Instead of loving the industry, you should love the business model.
When you buy a franchise, you are buying the right to use the franchisors business operating system within a specific geographic area. The business model outlines how you will spend your days. If you don't enjoy the daily activities of the business, you will quickly come to hate your job and wonder why you chose this franchise in the first place. So, forget love, and pay attention how the business fits you:
- You've done your due diligence and know what you are getting into. Your research is solid. You know the ins and outs of the business, you've spoken with current and past franchisees, and you feel the franchise is a good investment.
- The business model checks out. The product or service has proven to be lucrative and the business model is one that will stand the test of time. You have spoken with franchisees and know customers value the product or service. Based on your research, you know the business model has proven itself to be successful and you believe it will bring you success as well.
- You can afford the expense required to buy the franchise. You understand and are comfortable with the investment. You have the funding available to cover upfront expenses, as well as enough money or other income to cover your personal living expenses. It takes time for businesses to become profitable, and you are prepared for the start-up process.
- You have read the FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document) and are aware of what owning this franchise will be like. All franchisors are legally required to provide prospective franchisees with the FDD at least 14 days before any contract is signed or any money is paid; however, most reputable franchisors provide the FDD early in the due diligence process. You have carefully reviewed the information in the FDD and have all your questions answered. You may have also had the FDD reviewed by a franchise attorney.
- You will have help and guidance. The beauty of buying a franchise instead of starting your own business is that you won't be on your own. A good franchise will provide training and assistance to franchisees, and there will be a network of support when you need it. You have spoken with enough franchisees to know that the franchisor provides exceptional training and support and will be there for you as you grow your business.
Sure you can like, or even love the industry you work in, but as a franchise coach I often see people mix vocation and avocation with consistently poor results. It is OK to be passionate. Be passionate about being a business owner. Be passionate about building wealth. Be passionate about creating well-paying jobs. Be passionate about providing exceptional customer service. And when you are not working on building a successful business, enjoy some quality time on the water fishing with friends and family.