6 Reasons to Keep Your Hobby a Hobby 5

I am a little bit tired (and by a little bit, I actually mean really tired) of hearing about how you should create a business from your greatest passion in life. Well, you can really screw up your passion for something by having to earn a living from it. So, here’s the other side of the coin- six key reasons why you may just want to keep your hobby a hobby.

Hobbies are all about you!

Having a hobby is a total self-indulgence. It is something that you can do that is mostly- if not entirely-you-centric. While you may think you can have a business that is all about you, you would be wrong. A business is about your customers. In your business, you only get a say if it jives with your customers’ wants-otherwise, they don’t buy from you!

You may kill the magic

Do you remember when Dorothy and the gang peered behind the curtain to find out the Wizard of Oz was kind of a douche bag? Or when you found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real? Or when you figured out that your parents weren’t superheroes, just people with flaws? It sucked, right? Our hobbies are about escapism. There is a bit of magic and fantasy in them. When you make that your business, you are privy to the nuts and bolts. That kills the magic.

We need downtime

We weren’t designed to always be “on”. We need time to recombobulate and relax. And if you are earning a living in from your hobby, then WTF are you going to do in your free time?

There’s a good reason a hobby or passion is not called “work”

By name, work is work and fun is fun. Sometimes, work can be fun, but it’s not called that for a reason. Can your hobby take that? Once you depend on something to earn a living, to put food on your family’s table and to pay your mortgage, it changes your relationship with it, introducing emotions like stress. Do you want to do that to your passion?

Passion doesn’t guarantee success

There’s no relationship between loving something and being good at running a business related to doing that something. A passion for cooking lasagna doesn’t automatically qualify you to run an Italian restaurant or start a food company (neither does a passion for eating lasagna, for that matter).

You’ll do less of what you love

Your job when you run a business is to run a business. Ask how many hours the photographer spends shooting photos, the foodie spends baking and the wedding planner spends picking out linens and flowers vs. doing a bunch of crappy administrative tasks. It’s a bit out of balance. Just because you love doing your hobby, you don’t get to do that particular facet of it 100% of the time when it becomes your business.

At the end of the day, while you absolutely need to be passionate about making your business a success, but you don’t need to make a business from your greatest passion in life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

About the Author Carol Roth is a business strategist, deal maker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She has helped her clients, ranging from solopreneurs to multinational corporations, raise more than $1 billion in capital, complete hundreds of millions of dollars in M&A transactions, secure high-profile licensing and partnership deals, create brand… Read more »

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  • http://www.klariti.com Anna Thompson

    Hi Carol,

    reminds me of the Peter Principle if you remember that from the 70s.

    …A passion for cooking lasagna doesn’t automatically qualify you to run an Italian restaurant

    you also see this in sports where players believe they’ll succeed as managers. There may be exceptions but… different skills are needed.


    • Kai Davis


      I completely agree. If you love doing something, that doesn’t mean you’d love doing it every day as your job.

      Thanks for the comment!


  • http://www.CarolRoth.com Carol Roth

    Thanks Anna- yes, I actually reference the Peter Principle in The Entrepreneur Equation (my book)- it’s very true!

    Thanks for the comment.

  • http://thefascinationnation.com Tom McDermott

    Well said Carol – I completely agree! People need to look at passion like we do profit in a business; it’s not what we should “focus on” when we create a business or career, it should be the natural outcome if we’re doing the right things.

    Having said that, a hobby “might be” a clue or a compass for some, pointing them in the right direction. Clearly it was for Mozart and Michael Jordan. But Michael loved baseball too, and he wasn’t half as good. Therefore, we also need to figure out what our natural talent is, or more importantly, our Top Natural Talent, when considering a career/business. There are countless other examples out there for people that have found phenomenal success following their passion, but they also had incredible natural talent. And that’s what we really need to pay attention to.

    But what if our Top Natural Talent is not on display for everyone to see? WHat if we struggle to figure out where we naturally shine. I suggest we look inside our head and not in our heart. We need to focus on the top natural talent and tendencies of our mind, just like Einstein, Pasteur, or even Steve Jobs, Where does your mind naturally want to wander…? What does it naturally prefer to ponder? What is your “Greatest Natural Fascination”? Not any fascination, but YOUR GNF. Your MOST burning questions. For Einstein, it was space and time – He wondered about space and time more than anything, and he would, whether he got paid for it or not. So it could be a clue… But, he ALSO leveraged his considerable, natural mathematical talent in pursuit of his most burning questions. Had he not had that talent, he never would have discovered the theory of relativity! Countless other examples; Steve Jobs’ GNF is elegant design. Oprah Winfrey’s is the human spirit’s ability to overcome. But, they also leveraged their top natural talent in pursuit of their GNFs.

    Consequently, I suggest we first focus on our own GNF when looking for a career/calling, and not our passion. Then we need to put our Top Natural Talent to work on our GNF. This is how we have BOTH individual and collective success. So put your passion in perspective and set your Greatest Natural Fascination on Fire!!

  • http://www.NewHobbyIdea.com G Wells

    You are exactly right Corol and there are so many people pushing others to start a business and make moneys from their hobbies but they have no idea how much effort and time it will take from their lives to see it through to profit. Just the gobs of paper work the IRS expects from you as a business owner should turn you away from entrepreneurship. Been there done it, right on Carol.
    G Wells