5 Hard questions to ask yourself before making your hobby a full-time job
By Ella Wilson
Sitting in your cubicle, daydreaming about the bakery you want to open or the charter fishing boat you want to captain? Before you turn your pastime into your full-time, here are some hard questions you need to ask yourself so your entrepreneurial dream doesn’t end up being a nightmare.
Can I realistically make a living with this venture?
Gary Dahl made his fortune with the Pet Rock, but you probably won’t. In fact, according to the Small Business Association, 30% of new businesses fail in the first two years.
Before you jump into launching your new business, do your market research and make an intelligent estimate of how many people you think would REASONABLY buy your product in the first year and the first five years. There is a ton of reputable (and a lot of disreputable, so watch out) market research out there that can give you insight on whether or not your idea could be successful enough to support you financially.
Do I have a financial backup plan?
Throwing everything into a business and having to give it up because you run out of money is a tragedy. Most businesses struggle right out of the gate. If you don’t have a financial backup plan, you may end up having to admit defeat before your business even has time to get off the ground.
Will I still love doing this 60 hours a week?
Even the most fun thing in the world can become drudgery when you do it day in and day out. You may love baking cakes once a month. But is standing in front of a hot oven covered in flour still going to make you happy for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, for years on end?
The very essence of a hobby is that it’s something you do in your free time to relax and enjoy yourself. Will you still enjoy it enough to devote your life to it if you’re doing it full-time?
Can I sell myself?
Even the best product will fail if you don’t market it. Are you able to get out there and hustle, to approach potential investors, customers, partners, and vendors? If you can’t do this yourself, you’ll need to have the capital to hire someone to do it for you.
What’s my tolerance for pain?
Building a business is equal parts fun and torture. There will be times when you can’t pay your bills. There will be times when you haven’t had a sale in weeks … or months. Your payment system will crash. Your big event will get rained out. THINGS HAPPEN. And when it’s your business, you’ve got no one to blame and no one to bail you out.
Can you realistically deal with that kind of pressure? Can you stay calm and think clearly even when everything is going to hell in a hand basket? Be honest with yourself. Not everyone is cut out for the highs and lows of entrepreneurial life.
Do I have a solid support system?
No man is an island. It is incredibly hard to succeed if you don’t have people around to support you when times get tough. From having a mentor who can help you navigate tough choices, to a spouse who has your back emotionally, to friends and colleagues who can help you make connections and fill in the gaps when you just need assistance – the more support you have, the better prepared you’ll be to meet the challenges of entrepreneurship.
Ready to become an entrepreneur? Let’s get your marketing up to speed.
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